Samsung’s new lineup of Galaxy smartphones are finally launching, and Hip-Hop Wired got the chance to take the S10 Plus for a test run. I walked away thoroughly impressed with the company’s latest premium flagship phone and its new features.
The Galaxy S10 when it officially launches March 8 will come in three offerings the entry-level S10e starting at $749, the mainstream model S10 for $899 and the premium offering S10 Plus for $999. Being an iPhone user for the past 8 years using a Galaxy phone was quite weird, but I must admit I found myself opting to use the S10 Plus more than 8 Plus thanks to all of its awesome tweaks. So let’s break down what makes the phone the best Android phone on the market.
Immediately when you pick up the S10 Plus, the first thing you will notice is its remarkable screen to body ratio. The phone features a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display which is the biggest screen ever on Samsung device. The handset now has a 93.1% screen ratio which allowed the tech giant to squeeze in more pixels and at the same time reducing the bezel.
Samsung’s new Infinity-O display is absolutely beautiful allowing you to switch between a natural or vivid look, but you can’t go wrong with either choice. The Galaxy S10 Plus’ screen is highly detailed thanks to a 1440 x 3040 QHD+ resolution alongside its tall 19:9 aspect ratio providing an impressive 526ppi pixel density. When you first power on the phone the screen’s resolution is set to Full HD+ (2280 x 1080) by default but still provides clear and detailed pictures and text and can run 4K movies or graphics and while conserving battery life. If you really want to bring out the details in your Netflix movies or gaming, you can bump it up WQHD+ (30340 x 1440).
The Galaxy S10 Plus is also the first phone alongside the S10 to have HDR10+ support that allows for fantastic contrast and color which also enhance those movies or videos, or you watch your phone.
Owners will also notice that the annoying notch where the front-facing camera would be placed and is now replaced with a laser-cut hole in the top right corner of the phone that houses the phones TWO front cameras. If you are worried, it will be an eye-sore I am happy to report you won’t even notice it at all despite being bigger than some single camera notches. One thing I love about is that it allows for more notification icons across the top of the screen and it while watching movies it completely disappears thanks to a black bar being applied.
Except for the phone’s battery, the cameras are the most essential feature now and days and Samsung has always delivered in that department and on the S10 Plus they have outdone themselves. The new Pro-Grade triple camera system in the back and the dual front-facing camera will impress the avid smartphone photographer in you.
The Pro-Grade triple-lens rear camera system includes a 12MP conventional lens, a 12MP optically zoomed telephoto lens and the new 16MP ultra-wide lens that allows you get even more subjects in your shot and take stunning landscape shots. Scene Optimizer returns and is much smarter and can recognize 10 new categories which help the camera adjust the settings like brightening up the scene. Shot Suggestions also will you give you hints suggesting different angles to fix photos thanks to the phones neural processing unit. When using it, I found it very helpful thanks to an on-screen reticule that will help you center your shot and flash “best shot” once the settings are perfect.
Live Focus (Samsungs depth effect feature) is back and better than ever thanks to the addition of three different blurring tools. Alongside the standard background blur effect, there is now Spin, and Zoom that adds different blur effects to your photo and a final option called color point that keeps the desired subject in color while turning the background black and white. The amount of blur can be easily adjusted after you take the picture with an on-screen slider.
The dual front-facing features two cameras, a 10MP and an 8MP camera that allows Live Focus for your selfies. You can also apply the same new depth effect options as mentioned above. The only drawback is the photos taken with the front cameras in low light situations look soft-looking and due to the camera software trying to reduce camera noise. But to be fair Samsung’s phones are not the only ones with that issue.
Video also looks really good as well thanks to the camera being able to record in HDR10+ and now offering Digital Video Stabilization on the rear camera system which allows for smooth action footage even though your moving. Samsung hopes this could give GoPro a run for its money with this latest upgrade.
Battery Life and Wireless Power Share
Under the hood the S10 Plus sports a big 4,100mAh all-day intelligent battery and for the most part that is the case with moderate use. My work day consists of me being on my phone a good portion of the day, so that means Twitter, Instagram, checking Gmail and streaming music on Tidal and my phone held a decent charge by the time I got home and was at 45%.
I am sure if your day includes movie streaming, increasing the phones brightness, heavy camera usage and bumping the phone’s graphics up to WQHD+ (30340 x 1440) could put even more strain on the phone’s battery. I did notice that the phone did optimize itself based on how I used significantly increasing the battery time. There are also Bixby Routines that can also help save battery life as well.
One of my favorite features on the phone is Wireless Power Share that turns the phone basically into a charging mat. While Apple is still playing catch up in this department, Samsung is clearly ahead of the curve, While the S10 Plus is not the first smartphone to have this tool see the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, its the most readily available phone to feature the tech. I put it to the test on a friends iPhone, and it worked seemingly and it the best part is it stopped charging the phone when it hit 30% battery life.
Wireless Power Share bridges the divide between Apple and Samsung phones for the sake of sharing juice if there isn’t a power outlet in sight.
Last but not least, the in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint reader works so smoothly, and it’s cool. Samsung wised up and moved the scanner from the back of the phone and placing it in the screen. Once you register your fingerprint, you can tap the screen and an on-screen image of a print that will show you where to place your finger.
Now you may have some issues at first unlocking the phone through the scanner but because you have to place your finger firmly over the scanner for it to work. Once you figure that it will come naturally to you in no time. I definitely seeing Samsung improving the in-screen reader’s accuracy with more updates over-time.
The Bixby button not so conveniently located to volume button is annoying at times especially when trying to raise or lower the volume. You won’t really need to use it because you can operate Bixby with your voice. Speaking with Michael Yaeger a member of Samsung’s Products team he did reveal that an update is coming soon that will allow users to reassign the Bixby button which is a relief.
If you’re not a season Samsung Galaxy owner and are transitioning from the iPhone to the S10 Plus, the phone can feel very weird in your hands. I noticed that I would mistakenly pull out the Apps edge menu while scrolling or watching a video or sometimes while typing I would accidentally hit the wrong keys or close the screen. As time went along and I got used to holding the phone, it happened less and less, but Galaxy newbies might find it troublesome.
Despite being the most expensive model until the upcoming 5G model and Galaxy Fold drops, it still offers you so many features like super fast performance, an easy to use interface plus a free pair of wireless earbuds all while still being cheaper than Apple’s current premium smartphone model. The S10 Plus is the best Android phone on the market and worth every penny and if you are a fan of the Korean tech giants smartphones, you will be delighted with the phone.
While it might be a lost cause trying to lure Apple fans away from the iPhone the S10 Plus makes a pretty good case as to why they should give the phone a try. The lure of incredible battery life, great cameras, and wireless charging are quite enticing, hell it has this iPhone owner thinking of ditching my 8 Plus altogether because it’s that impressive. Samsung’s S10 Plus is definitely up there with Google’s Pixel 3 and owners will be quite pleased once they get the smartphone in their hands.
Photos: MoNae Mayweather/Bernard Smalls/Hip-Hop Wired