The lead-up to a phone launch is usually when we expect to see and hear more about it as more people get their hands on long-held company secrets, and today it’s – again – Samsung’s turn.
GSMArena has revealed a two-page document that purports to be a spec list for its upcoming Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10e phones, expected to be launched in San Fransisco in a little over a week. The document refers to the phones by internal codenames Beyond 1 (S10), Beyond 2 (S10+) and Beyond 0 (S10e) and paint a pretty exciting picture of just what it is Samsung has up its sleeve. It’s worth noting that GSMArena themselves express some doubt over the validity of the specs, with a number of things like screen size of the S10+ contradicting previous rumours. It feels like they might be early spec sheets (since some information is different or out of date), but it’s also possible that they’ve been deliberately seeded with some misinformation to weed out leakers.
At the same time, XDA Developers has been hunting for hints in recent releases and come up with some interesting pointers at new camera features, while Samsung Vietnam appears to be determined to spoil new features with YouTube videos teasing them ahead of the launch at Unpacked next week.
So then, let’s begin.
All three phones in the Galaxy S10 family will feature Dynamic AMOLED HDR+ displays at 3040×1440 resolution, slightly lower on the S10e. The displays are all 19:9 aspect ratio from 5.8-inches through 6.1- up to 6.3-inches for the S10+ (GSMArena points out that this contradicts rumours of 6.4-inches). The HDR+ nature of the displays is likely to lead to the device’s admission to access Netflix’s (and other services’) HDR video catalogues.
All those got new displays are behind Gorilla Glass, with the S10 and S10+ getting Gorilla Glass 6 while the S10e gets GG5. While we’re taking protection, sll models will also feature IP68 water and dust resistance.
They’ll all feature configurations starting with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, and range up to the maximum configuration of the S10+ wth 12GB RAM and a whopping 1TB of storage (the lesser models max out at different places along the way).
They’ll also feel rather like each other in the hand, at 7.8mm thickness and an extra slight bump to 7.9mm on the S10e.
As rumoured, the S10e gets a side-mounted fingerprint sensor while the main S10 and S10+ get the rumoured in-screen “Ultrasonic” fingerprint sensor. It’s noted that this sensor will perform some kind of 3D scanning for additional security. Samsung Vietnam overnight had handily teased us about this very feature:
The colour palette is similar across all lines with the gorgeous-looking Prism colours (White, Black and Green) available everywhere. The S10e will have its own Canary Yellow colour, and the S10+ in its maximum 12GB/1TB configuration will have their own “Luxurious Ceramic” finish in Black or White.
The spec sheet is light on processor ID, likely due to Samsung’s dual Snapdragon/Exynos processor spread across the range.
On battery and charging, we can expect USB C inputs with 3,100 3,400 and a whopping 4,100 mAh batteries across the range, all with wireless charging and all with the ability to donate some of their battery charge to other devices. Again, we now cross to Samsung Vietnam to confirm this feature:
The cameras are where things get interesting.
Unlike the S9, there is no more single-sensor camera array on the range. All phones feature what you would assume is an evolution of Samsung’s dual-aperture camera from last year – 12MP with dual pixel and a 77-degree field of view. It’s aperture comes down to f/1.5, but it’s upper setting is not specified.
All three phones also feature a 16MP “Ultra wide” camera with a 123-degree field of view. This is denoted as “FF” in the document, which usually means “fixed focus” – that would be unusual.
The S10 and S10+ however both get a third camera – a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto shooter with a 45-degree field of view. This should greatly enhance the zoom capabilities of the camera.
Around front, we’ll find a 10MP camera with f/1.9 aperture peering through the “punch hole” in the screen on all models. All models are said to have dual pixel features, autofocus. The document also claims UHD selfies, a sign that it might actually be a little old, as it claims this time be a “world first” (it’s no longer).
The S10+ infamously gets an additional 8MP f/2.2 camera alongside, elongating its punch hole and causing journalists everywhere to write paragraph upon paragraph about how it’s the worst thing ever (I daresay if you invest in an S10+ you’ll get used to it very fast). It’s designated “live focus” and Spears to provide depth where we had been expecting a Pixel-like “group selfie” feature. It’s still likely to produce amazing selfies.
Camera software features
Over at XDA Developers, they’ve been combing through code from the recent Android 9.0 updates on other Samsung devices, hoping to find hints about Galaxy S10 features that may have been referenced in earlier software releases, and they’ve found a few interesting tidbits.
Firstly, there’s references to Full HD Super Slow Motion, and doubled the recording time to 0.8s if you sacrifice this newfound resolution. We had a lot of fun with the S9’s Super Slow Motion features last year, and if this is accurate it should make the feature much easier to use and produce far more compelling results.
Another new software feature appears to be a camera assistant called “Best Shot” that will automatically take a photo for you when it thinks it’s lined up correctly.
There’s also some new lighting effects, a document scanning mode, super steady shots, and support for HEIF image formats and a reference to HDR 10+ recording support. This would explain the range-wide HDR+ screens.
That’s not all, though – head over to XDA to see the full list.
These phones look amazing on paper, and judging by the leaked photos and renders seen over the last few weeks they’ll also be lookers in person too!
Many of Samsung’s ranging decisions attempt to place their phones in direct competition with Apple’s iPhones, and this year seems no exception. The S10 and S10+ are poised to become the premium phones against the iPhone XS and XS Max, while the S10e seems likely to take on the “phone for everyone” mantle opposite Apple’s only-slightly-lower-specced iPhone XR (and with a comparably bright colour to boot). This probably hints at where they’ll sit pricing-wise as well.
Samsung is really going for the premium end of the market here, cramming in features and specs rather than resting on their laurels. We can’t wait to take the Galaxy S10 out for a spin in any of its forms.