It has been about a month since Samsung released its new Galaxy S10 series, and I'm here, as a devoted Android customer, to say it's worth the price.
I got my Galaxy S7 back in 2016, and it was getting a little slow. The camera didn't take very clear pictures at all anymore either, which is problematic for me since I have to take pictures for work from time to time.
Since I recently finished paying that phone off after two and a half years, I decided it was time for something new, so naturally I gravitated toward the newest Galaxy model.
Confession: I got a test S10+ from Verizon to try out for a while so I could write this review and, on a personal note, decide if I wanted one for myself, but it didn't go quite as planned.
The good news: The phone was great, and the test period definitely got me hooked on the S10 series.
The bad news: My test period only lasted five days before my clumsy side came out and my beautiful new phone failed the drop test. Yes, I broke it-shattered it, actually.
While leaving work one night I stumbled stepping down from the sidewalk outside the office, and the S10+, which was in the front pocket of my purse, flew out of the bag and hit the blacktop-hard. The screen virtually turned into a seizure-inducing strobe light as it flashed bright colors as at me through the shattered glass. I paid the price for not having a case on it, which I'm sure would have broken the fall a bit.
Luckily for me, Verizon was very understanding and just simply asked me to send the phone back if I was done with it.
So instead of writing my review on the phone after only a five-day test period, or abandoning it altogether, I decided to buy one of my own-which I had planned on doing at some point anyway-so I could personalize it exactly how I wanted and get an even better feel for the phone. But don't worry, I made sure I had a case in hand before getting the phone to eliminate the chance of another fatal fall.
Instead of splurging on the S10+, though, I decided to settle for the plain old S10, which is a little smaller, has a slightly inferior camera and was about $5 less per month than the S10+. So far, though, I haven't seen much of a difference between the two, so I'm happy with my purchase.
I can't quite decide what my favorite feature is yet, but there are a few differences from my S7 I'm definitely enjoying.
First of all is the longer battery life. One charging session at night is sufficient to get through the whole day. I think I used to charge my S7 at least two or three times a day in order to use it as much as I wanted.
I monitored the S10 battery while I was at the gym the other day to see what the consumption was. I watched about 35 minutes of Netflix while I did cardio and then played a couple games for about 10-15 minutes while I stretched, and my battery only went down by about 13%. I had the screen brightness turned all the way up while watching Netflix too to combat glare from the harsh lights at the gym.
Another plus while working out is the S10 shows me the battery percentage left on my wireless Bluetooth headphones when I sync them with my phone. While mine have a decently long battery life and will usually get me through quite a few gym sessions before having to charge them, I never really know when they need to be plugged in. A red light will flash when the battery gets low, but that still doesn't tell me how much time I have left, so I really like being able to see the battery percentage on my phone.
A couple of my other favorite features are the bigger screen size-especially for watching Netflix at the gym-and a much higher quality camera.
But if I absolutely had to choose my favorite aspect of the S10, I think I would go with facial recognition. All I have to do is look at my screen, and it unlocks. This feature, though, is sometimes difficult to use in the dark, as it's harder for the screen to make out the face. But for those times, I also have a passcode and a fingerprint set up.
Now, I know there are always worries about the security of facial recognition. I've seen multiple reports claiming the S10's facial recognition is easily fooled by a video or photo of a person. I, however, have had no such luck when testing that theory out on mine. I tried holding my phone up to two different pictures of me on my computer, a picture of me on a co-worker's phone and a printed out picture of my face. None of them unlocked my phone. Either that's a good sign, or I'm doing something differently than the rest of those who have reported the bug, but I'm definitely satisfied.
I've come across a couple other features that are pretty cool but don't necessarily stand out as must-haves for me, personally.
One is the power share feature. I can essentially turn my S10 into a wireless charging plate for other phones and accessories. For instance, if a friend with another Samsung Galaxy phone needs a quick charge and my S10 has more than 30% battery left, the phones can be placed back to back, and the S10 will actually charge the other phone. A special powershare setting just needs to be turned on on both of the phones. Of course this means the S10 loses some of its power-roughly 25 percent per hour-but it's a useful feature in pinch. Along with phones, the S10 can also wirelessly charge Galaxy watches and buds, though I'm not sure I see myself purchasing either of those.
Another cool feature I appreciate but could probably live without is the free six-month trial of Spotify Premium that comes with every S10 model. This allows me to listen to as many songs as I want on Spotify without ads, and I can even download my favorites and listen offline when I don't have an internet connection. Now, I'm not a person who listens to music a whole lot outside of the radio in the car and maybe some instrumental stuff when I'm reading, but I still have to admit the free Spotify is pretty neat.
The only real con to the S10 I can think of so far is the charger differs from the S7, which used a micro USB cable. Starting with the S8, though, newer Galaxy phones use a USB C cord, which means I had to buy all new chargers. The S10 itself does come with a charger, but I like having several so I can keep one at home, one at work and one in my car. Now, those two new chargers didn't exactly break the bank, but it was just a tad inconvenient, so if I had come up with a negative about the S10, that would be it.
The S10 series
Samsung's new Galaxy series comes with three options-the S10e, S10 and S10+-with plans to release a fourth model in May. The S10 5G, which just debuted in South Korea this week, focuses on "hyper-fast" data speeds. With each model, starting with the S10e, the price goes up, but so do the features. The screen gets bigger, the camera better and the battery stronger. The S10e model is probably the most different of the four when looking at a side-by-side comparison. Its screen doesn't have the sleek curved edge of the other three, and the fingerprint sensor is on the side of the phone instead of on the screen.
Screen size ranges from 5.8 inches on the S10e to 6.7 on the S10 5G, while number of rear cameras ranges from two on the S10e, three on S10 and S10+, and four on the S10 5G. Average prices for the three models currently on the market are $650, $800 and $900.
My standard S10 has one front and three rear cameras and a 6.1-inch curved screen. I pay $30 a month through AT&T, but prices may vary based on carrier.
If it isn't already obvious, I definitely recommend the Galaxy S10 for anyone looking to upgrade their phone.
Obviously if you're an iPhone person, the newest iPhone XR might be the way to go instead. Or if you're looking to save some money, the Google Pixel 3 is a good option for a new device as well. But after a couple weeks with my new S10, I will definitely continue to be a loyal Samsung customer.