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Image Credit: TechRadar

Camera

Samsung wants you to take photos at any angle, so the Galaxy S10 has a triple-lens camera on back with a 12MP regular lens, 12MP optically zoomed telephoto lens, and a brand new 16MP ultra-wide lens.

We got to test the S10 camera via our S10 Plus review unit (they have the same cameras), and got impressive results. Here's the gallery:

Image 1 of 14

The Galaxy S10 camera takes excellent photos, even in mixed and low light conditions. It's not too dark on our subject, US Mobile Editor David Lumb, and the bright moving flames are captured with detail without being overexposed.

Image 2 of 14

Here's the same shot in Live Focus (Samsung's portrait mode). It properly blurs the background, and you can change the background blur intensity even after the shot is taken. Samsung also includes blur filters: artistic, spin, zoom and color point (which in this case made the background black and white). They're actually really cool looking.

Image 3 of 14

Shot suggestions helped us frame up the shot. This camera reticle can be helpful and you don't have to snap the photo. The shutter just activates when you hover over the reticle 'Best Shot' dot. But it's not always accurate. Sometimes it stuck the circle off-center in a group shot for no apparent reason. Overall, it's a nice touch with some room for improvement.

Image 4 of 14

In our ongoing Galaxy S10 camera review, we've noticed subjects up close with enough light contain excellent detail. Rejoice food photo takers. The scene optimizer AI works well for food.

Image 5 of 14

The 12MP camera gives us a lot of detail, and while vibrancy and saturation are cranked up a bit compared to an iPhone, Samsung's camera no longer makes food look oversaturated and alien looking. There was a time when Samsung's cameras would make hotdogs, for example, look fire engine red by amping up contrast.

Image 6 of 14

Testing the blur effect of the main camera (without switching to portrait mode) proved to give us the depth effect we desired. Strong detail in the foreground, with rich bokeh in the background.

Image 7 of 14

We tapped the background to get that in focus, and the bokeh gave our foreground some nice blur. The detail in the background is crisp – like the fried chicken.

Image 8 of 14

The Galaxy S10 camera sometimes looks better than real life. Its blues and orangey-reds here really pop, while the white doesn't appear to be too warm to along with it (before you often couldn't have one without the other). We still feel the Google Pixel 3 Night Sight mode does a better job, but Samsung is very close. More comparisons to come.

Image 9 of 14

Image 10 of 14

Here's a well-lit location of two subjects. The photo avoids being too warm, striking fairly good color and white balance.

Image 11 of 14

Here's the same shot from the new ultra-wide camera. The hard part about such a wide camera is that there's often needless excess in there. Cropping or using the regular lens is just fine. Not every shot deserves this camera lens, but it creates a neat effect in the situations.

Image 12 of 14

Here's another ultra-wide photo we took using the S10 camera. This is a more appropriate picture demonstrating some of the elements you'd miss with the tighter regular lens.

Image 13 of 14

The S10 is good at active tracking fast-moving subjects. Case in point, it was able to capture these bright flames as they moved in the San Francisco wind. They're crisp, not blurry, and not overexposed despite the camera also needing to capture the dark stones.

Image 14 of 14

We still find the Samsung's camera to amp up vibrancy and saturation, also applying an Instagram filter ahead of time. This works well for us, but comes down to taste. The iPhone XS we use often has true-to-life colors, but next to the S10 or Google Pixel 3, they look rather drab.

We’re going to take a hard look at the camera, how it compared to the class-leading Pixel 3, and determine how good the ultra-wide photos look. Samsung’s 123-degree field of view is rather wide, which serves the purpose of not having to back up to get everything in a shot. But that may result in an unnatural fisheye look. This ultra-wide camera also lacks OIS compared to the other two lenses.

Samsung Galaxy S10

Image Credit: TechRadar

On the front, we have a single 10MP camera with dual auto-focuses. If you upgrade to the S10 Plus, you’ll also get an 8MP camera meant for enhancing depth in portrait photos.

Scene optimizer gains 10 new categories, with Samsung’s camera AI now able to tell the difference between a cat and dog to fine tune things like white balance. Shot Suggestions is a new feature that uses the neural processor engine to nudge you to properly level your shots or frame subjects better.

On the video side, the software has been upgraded to record in HDR10+ and offer Digital Video Stabilization. Samsung says that this is meant to make all of your Ultra HD video as smooth as an action cam. Shots fired, GoPro Hero7 Black.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy S10 packs in a 3,400mAh battery, an upgrade over the 3,000mAh capacity of the Galaxy S9. 

However, because of the increase in screen size, Samsung is still quoting the same "all-day" battery life for the S10 as it did for its predecessor, and we found this to be true.

We regularly got to the end of day with around 20% left in the tank, with our usage including a couple of hours of Spotify streaming, another two hours of video, a range of social messaging, an hour or two of gaming and a smattering of emails, web browsing and camera use throughout the day.

With more reserved use, it’s possible to get a day and a half from the Galaxy S10 before you have to considering finding a charger.

Running the TechRadar battery test, where we play a 90 minute full HD video with the screen at full brightness and accounts syncing over Wi-Fi in the background, the Galaxy S10 lost just 11%.

That’s the same result as the iPhone XS, and a marked improvement over the Galaxy S9 which dropped 17% in the same test. It means you’ll be able to knock back a couple of movies on the S10 and still have plenty of juice left in the tank.

The Galaxy S10 supports wireless charging, like the previous generation, but Samsung has added a new feature here too. It’s called Wireless PowerShare and allows you to use the Galaxy S10 as a wireless charging mat for your other wirelessly charging devices.

Any device which supports the Qi wireless charging standard can be charged by being placed on the rear of the S10, including the new Samsung Galaxy Buds as well as the most recent iPhones.

Charging speeds are slow, but if your friend is in desperate need of some power and there’s no charger in sight, you could potentially become even more popular.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S10

Image Credit: TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S10 gets proper under-the-hood upgrades, touting the new top-of-the-line Snapdragon or Exynos chipsets, depending on which country you live in. 

It's plenty fast. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset we benchmarked came back with a record-breaking multi-score speed... for Android. The iPhone XS is still a bit faster, but Samsung is very close at 11,002 to Apple's 11,481.

It also comes with 8GB of RAM – a serious upgrade over the 4GB of RAM in last year’s S9 – and includes options for 128GB or 512GB of internal storage. There’s no 64GB version to worry about here, and Samsung still supports expandable storage.

Also onboard is next-gen Wi-Fi 6, which will support seamless transition between Wi-Fi routers and is four times faster than 802.11ax. It should deliver a 20% speed boost, but you’ll need a new router to really get any use out of this feature.

What you won’t get on this phone is the S10 Plus and Note 9-exclusive vapor chamber cooling. If you’re a gamer, you may want to upgrade to the larger phone for more than just the bigger screen.

Early verdict

The Galaxy S10 is a deserved 10th anniversary phone for Samsung and its storied S series. Its new display type lays out more pixels across less body, has a triple-lens camera so you can now take ultra-wide photos, and contains a bigger battery surrounded by beefier specs.

You’ll like all of these features, while your friends will like the new Wireless PowerShare perk. The S10 marks an anniversary, but it also marks something a bit different among smartphones. It disrupts the sameness of smartphones just enough to become a tempting upgrade. 

The price, however, may give you second thoughts. That’s where the Galaxy S10e plays an important role.

Our Galaxy S10 hands-on review isn’t finished yet. This phone requires a lot more testing and day-to-day use to determine if the three-eyed rear camera is the best in the world and the ‘punch-hole’ Infinity-O display is the style of screen we want to stare at in 2019.

Image 1 of 14

Here's the same shot in Live Focus (Samsung's portrait mode). It properly blurs the background, and you can change the background blur intensity even after the shot is taken. Samsung also includes blur filters: artistic, spin, zoom and color point (which in this case made the background black and white). They're actually really cool looking.

Image 2 of 14

The Galaxy S10 camera takes excellent photos, even in mixed and low light conditions. It's not too dark on our subject, US Mobile Editor David Lumb, and the bright moving flames are captured with detail without being overexposed.

Image 3 of 14

Shot suggestions helped us frame up the shot. This camera reticle can be helpful and you don't have to snap the photo. The shutter just activates when you hover over the reticle 'Best Shot' dot. But it's not always accurate. Sometimes it stuck the circle off-center in a group shot for no apparent reason. Overall, it's a nice touch with some room for improvement.

Image 4 of 14

In our ongoing Galaxy S10 camera review, we've noticed subjects up close with enough light contain excellent detail. Rejoice food photo takers. The scene optimizer AI works well for food.

Image 5 of 14

The 12MP camera gives us a lot of detail, and while vibrancy and saturation are cranked up a bit compared to an iPhone, Samsung's camera no longer makes food look oversaturated and alien looking. There was a time when Samsung's cameras would make hotdogs, for example, look fire engine red by amping up contrast.

Image 6 of 14

Testing the blur effect of the main camera (without switching to portrait mode) proved to give us the depth effect we desired. Strong detail in the foreground, with rich bokeh in the background.

Image 7 of 14

We tapped the background to get that in focus, and the bokeh gave our foreground some nice blur. The detail in the background is crisp – like the fried chicken.

Image 8 of 14

The Galaxy S10 camera sometimes looks better than real life. Its blues and orangey-reds here really pop, while the white doesn't appear to be too warm to along with it (before you often couldn't have one without the other). We still feel the Google Pixel 3 Night Sight mode does a better job, but Samsung is very close. More comparisons to come.

Image 9 of 14

Image 10 of 14

Here's a well-lit location of two subjects. The photo avoids being too warm, striking fairly good color and white balance.

Image 11 of 14

Here's the same shot from the new ultra-wide camera. The hard part about such a wide camera is that there's often needless excess in there. Cropping or using the regular lens is just fine. Not every shot deserves this camera lens, but it creates a neat effect in the situations.

Image 12 of 14

Here's another ultra-wide photo we took using the S10 camera. This is a more appropriate picture demonstrating some of the elements you'd miss with the tighter regular lens.

Image 13 of 14

The S10 is good at active tracking fast-moving subjects. Case in point, it was able to capture these bright flames as they moved in the San Francisco wind. They're crisp, not blurry, and not overexposed despite the camera also needing to capture the dark stones.

Image 14 of 14

We still find the Samsung's camera to amp up vibrancy and saturation, also applying an Instagram filter ahead of time. This works well for us, but comes down to taste. The iPhone XS we use often has true-to-life colors, but next to the S10 or Google Pixel 3, they look rather drab.

Image 1 of 14

Here's the same shot in Live Focus (Samsung's portrait mode). It properly blurs the background, and you can change the background blur intensity even after the shot is taken. Samsung also includes blur filters: artistic, spin, zoom and color point (which in this case made the background black and white). They're actually really cool looking.

Image 2 of 14

The Galaxy S10 camera takes excellent photos, even in mixed and low light conditions. It's not too dark on our subject, US Mobile Editor David Lumb, and the bright moving flames are captured with detail without being overexposed.

Image 3 of 14

Shot suggestions helped us frame up the shot. This camera reticle can be helpful and you don't have to snap the photo. The shutter just activates when you hover over the reticle 'Best Shot' dot. But it's not always accurate. Sometimes it stuck the circle off-center in a group shot for no apparent reason. Overall, it's a nice touch with some room for improvement.

Image 4 of 14

In our ongoing Galaxy S10 camera review, we've noticed subjects up close with enough light contain excellent detail. Rejoice food photo takers. The scene optimizer AI works well for food.

Image 5 of 14

The 12MP camera gives us a lot of detail, and while vibrancy and saturation are cranked up a bit compared to an iPhone, Samsung's camera no longer makes food look oversaturated and alien looking. There was a time when Samsung's cameras would make hotdogs, for example, look fire engine red by amping up contrast.

Image 6 of 14

Testing the blur effect of the main camera (without switching to portrait mode) proved to give us the depth effect we desired. Strong detail in the foreground, with rich bokeh in the background.

Image 7 of 14

We tapped the background to get that in focus, and the bokeh gave our foreground some nice blur. The detail in the background is crisp – like the fried chicken.

Image 8 of 14

The Galaxy S10 camera sometimes looks better than real life. Its blues and orangey-reds here really pop, while the white doesn't appear to be too warm to along with it (before you often couldn't have one without the other). We still feel the Google Pixel 3 Night Sight mode does a better job, but Samsung is very close. More comparisons to come.

Image 9 of 14

Image 10 of 14

Here's a well-lit location of two subjects. The photo avoids being too warm, striking fairly good color and white balance.

Image 11 of 14

Here's the same shot from the new ultra-wide camera. The hard part about such a wide camera is that there's often needless excess in there. Cropping or using the regular lens is just fine. Not every shot deserves this camera lens, but it creates a neat effect in the situations.

Image 12 of 14

Here's another ultra-wide photo we took using the S10 camera. This is a more appropriate picture demonstrating some of the elements you'd miss with the tighter regular lens.

Image 13 of 14

The S10 is good at active tracking fast-moving subjects. Case in point, it was able to capture these bright flames as they moved in the San Francisco wind. They're crisp, not blurry, and not overexposed despite the camera also needing to capture the dark stones.

Image 14 of 14

We still find the Samsung's camera to amp up vibrancy and saturation, also applying an Instagram filter ahead of time. This works well for us, but comes down to taste. The iPhone XS we use often has true-to-life colors, but next to the S10 or Google Pixel 3, they look rather drab.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.