Galaxy S10: The baseline model ($900)
The I-hate-to-call-it-standard Galaxy S10 is a natural entry point because it is the standard-bearer of the S10 family. It all starts with a 6.1-inch screen in a relatively compact frame thanks to the slim bezels around the sides. Samsung boasts that this is the first screen to earn HDR10+ certification. HDR10+ is Samsung’s format that competes with Dolby Vision.
The S10 gets you three rear cameras — a 16-megapixel ultrawide sensor with fixed focus, a main 12-megapixel dual aperture wide-angle lens with OIS, and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with OIS that can achieve 2x optical zoom. That means you’re able to take portrait photos and photos from any of the sensors, just by toggling on the screen.
For selfies, you get a 10-megapixel front-facing camera, also with dual aperture. Introduced in the Galaxy S9, dual aperture means that the camera automatically lets in more light when it senses you’re in a low-light environment.
You’ll be able to buy the S10 in 128GB or 256GB storage configurations, both with 8GB RAM. It’ll take up to 512GB in microSD storage, and battery capacity is 3,400 mAh. You get two curved screens, plus Gorilla Glass 6 on the front, and Gorilla Glass 5 on the back. The S10 phones also support Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 and Wi-Fi 6.
Colors for all: The Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10E will come in Flamingo Pink, Canary Yellow, Prism Green and Prism Blue, as well as Prism Black and Prism White (which a coworker misheard as “Prison White”). Not every country gets every color: US buyers will have to pine away for Canary Yellow and Prism Green, for example.
Galaxy S10E: The ‘value’ S10 ($750)
Think of the 5.8-inch Galaxy S10E as “compact” rather than “small.” You still get a large helping of screen on a body that’s shorter and thinner than last year’s Galaxy S9. It’s hard not to draw parallels with Apple’s iPhone XR here, which costs the same and also self-styles as the “value” iPhone XS.
For the Galaxy S10, the big trade-off is having “only” two rear cameras — the wide and ultrawide sensors, but no telephoto lens. There’s also “just” the single 10-megapixel selfie cam, just like what you get on the Galaxy S10. You also lose the curved screens (it’s flat) and in-screen fingerprint reader, but Samsung throws you a bone and inserts a sensor into the power button on the phone’s right side, which is one of my favored placements. And yes, it works just fine.
Galaxy S10 Plus: The 1TB storage king with all the things ($1,000)
No surprise here that for $100 more, you get a larger screen (6.4 inches) and a bigger battery (4,100 mAh). You’ll have the same triple-camera setup as the S10 on the back, but the S10 Plus adds a second selfie lens to augment that 10-megapixel camera — an 8-megapixel sensor that can help take depth-mode portrait selfies using hardware, rather than software algorithms.
Sure, you can get the S10 Plus in 128GB or 512GB storage options, but if you never want to worry about storage again, the 1TB version — with 12GB RAM — is the configuration for you. Samsung kicks in a supposedly more durable ceramic backing option in white and black if you buy the 512GB or 1TB models. Stay tuned for a drop test to see how tough that ceramic really is.
Galaxy S10 5G: The deluxe edition (price TBA, but likely over $1,000)
Here’s what we know about the Galaxy S10 with 5G: this model has a 6.7-inch screen, two cameras on the front and four cameras on the back. Yes, four, because the 5G model gets a 3D depth-sensing camera in addition to all the lenses on the S10 Plus. But here’s the thing. This camera is only for fancy photo tricks and AR, and not for securely scanning your face like Apple’s Face ID. Just to set your expectations.
Wireless PowerShare: Pretty great so far
My favorite new Galaxy S10 feature — by far — lets you use the back of a Galaxy S10 phone to charge any other wireless charging device that uses the Qi standard. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro does this too. Swipe down on the notifications shade and tap on “Wireless PowerShare.” Then turn the phone over on its face and place the back of a friend’s phone, for example, or the new Galaxy Buds in their case, onto the back of the Galaxy S10 to give it a boost.
Sharing is caring, right? But let’s not overdo it. Samsung has set a threshold so that your phone will stop giving up its reserves when it hits 30 percent.
While you’ll be a hero to friends who need a hand, the real benefit is that you can wirelessly charge your compatible accessories or a second phone without carting around a cable for each one if you’re out for a long day, or on vacation. Just keep in mind that since wireless charging is convenient, but typically much slower than wired charging, you’ll be better off using Wireless PowerShare overnight.