Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review: A unique jack of all trades

  • If Google Pixel 3 is about the camera, and Apple iPhone XS about speed, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is about the best balance
  •  It’s certainly the most unique-looking flagship smartphone, but it’s more a jack of all trades and master of none

The Galaxy Fold may have dominated the headlines this year but Samsung’s marketable device for now is the Galaxy S10. Officially launched in India, the Galaxy S10 Plus is the yearly update to Samsung’s flagship devices.

If the Google Pixel is about the camera, and Apple’s iPhones about speed, Samsung’s phone is about the best balance in the flagship segment. Other than its design, there’s really nothing unique about this smartphone. But is that a downer?

Performance: Simply put, the Galaxy S10 Plus is a fast phone. However, it’s not blazing fast like the OnePlus 6T. And you could say that this may work against Samsung. The Galaxy S10 Plus is one of the most expensive smartphones you can buy, yet it’s not the fastest Android phone out there.

To be sure, it does the job, and does it admirably. Lags and stutters are far and few, and unless you’re shifting to this phone from a OnePlus 6T, you will not feel the difference.

Display: Samsung has packed an absolutely top-notch display on this phone. It handles the widest colour ranges any phone can today, supports HDR10+ playback and it’s curved on both sides.

Samsung has also put a punch hole on the top right, to accommodate the front cameras, which gives it a more unique look than the notch designs other companies have used. Whether you like this, will depend on your personal preference. The display on the Galaxy S10 Plus isn’t a big upgrade to last year’s S9 but it definitely ranks among the best you can get today.

Camera: As far as flagship phones are concerned, the camera is the weakest aspect of the Galaxy S10 Plus. That doesn’t mean it has a poor camera. On the contrary, it will take some excellent shots for you, but Samsung’s algorithms are tuned to make every photo really bright. As a result, it often overexposes images or makes them look unnaturally bright.

Low-light images look really bright, which might look good against those taken by the newest iPhones, but fall short of the Pixel’s ability in this context. Both the front and rear cameras soften the details often, which shows especially when you’re clicking in indoor conditions, under fluorescent lighting.

That said, Samsung has three cameras on the back of this device – wide angle, telephoto and regular. These give you a lot of choice for how you want to shoot your photo. Samsung also has software tricks like filters, a night mode (that kicks in automatically if you’re shooting in areas with under 1 Lux of light and the Scene Optimizer feature is turned on), a mode that helps you frame your photos better etc.

Battery: With its 4100 mAh battery, the Galaxy S10 Plus can easily last a full work day. That means a charge every morning would get you through the work hours, but you might need a quick half an hour charge if you want it to last a full 24 hours.

While that’s in line with industry standards for flagships today, what’s worth noting is that Samsung’s fast-charging technology is amongst the slower ones out there. The S10 doesn’t charge as fast as a OnePlus or Oppo phone.

On the other hand, the S10 can wirelessly charge any device that supports Qi wireless charging. You simply need to turn on the phone’s wireless charging feature, and put a device on its back. This can be useful for those who have the new iPhones, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds or other Qi supported devices.

Software: Samsung has often taken flak for the software on its device, but its new OneUI is well tuned. The interface may not impress everyone from a design point of view, but it’s intuitive enough to get used to easily.

Verdict: From the Galaxy S6 to S10 today, Samsung has made its flagship smartphones unique. The Galaxy S series is unique enough for one to want to stick to these devices. However, it’s not the best, fastest or the most affordable flagship out there. It’s certainly the most unique-looking flagship phone , but it’s more a jack of all trades and master of none. It has a decent camera, great performance, good battery life and great display, but there’s no one aspect where it can trump every other phone by a mile. You could argue that Samsung’s design does that, but whether you like a curved design depends on the user. 

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