Company’s S-line king joins the handful of good 5G phones in the UK, but is only for big-phone lovers
The Galaxy S10 5G is the largest, most advanced and most expensive smartphone in Samsung’s current lineup, aimed not just at being “the 5G one” but also the best one.
Unlike the OnePlus 7 Pro, which comes in either 4G or 5G versions that are identical in size, weight and features, the S10 5G is its own phone. It’s bigger, heavier, thicker and has more cameras and sensors on the back and front than the S10+.
The front is filled by the 6.7in QHD+ AMOLED screen, which curves at the sides and has an large oval-shaped cut out in the top right of the display for two selfie cameras and a depth sensor.
The screen is really lovely, as you’d expect for a top Samsung: bright, crisp and colourful with good viewing angles. It is not quite as bright or smooth as the fantastic 90Hz screen on the OnePlus 7 Pro, but better than all the rest.
The massive screen means the S10 5G is a very big phone. At 77.1mm wide and 162.6mm tall the S10 5G compares similarly to 5G rivals such the OnePlus 7 Pro or the 4G-only iPhone XS Max. But the way the back tapers at the sides and its comparatively light 198g weight, which undercuts the competition by 8-10g, makes the S10 5G just about manageable. I could fit it in a men’s jeans pocket, but anything smaller was a struggle.
If you don’t want the biggest of phones and the downsides of weight, cost, size, one-handed use, etc that come with them, this is most definitely not for you.
The display hides Samsung’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner for unlocking the phone with your thumb on the screen, which works well enough but isn’t as fast or accurate as the optical sensor on the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G or traditional fingerprint sensors.
The phone is water resistant to the international IP68 standard, or depths of up to 1.5 metres in fresh water for 30 minutes. Drop the S10 5G in the toilet and you’ll be able to rinse it afterwards. It also has a headphone socket, which is rare in 2019.
- Screen: 6.7in QHD+ AMOLED (502ppi).
- Processor: Samsung Exynos 9820 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 855.
- RAM: 8GB of RAM.
- Storage: 256GB.
- Operating system: One UI based on Android 9 Pie.
- Camera: rear triple camera + depth sensor, front 10MP selfie-camera + depth sensor.
- Connectivity: single sim, LTE, 5G, wifi, NFC, Bluetooth 5, wireless charging and GPS.
- Dimensions: 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.9mm.
- Weight: 198g.
36-hour battery life
The Galaxy S10 5G has the same processor, memory and storage as most of the other Galaxy S10 versions and therefore performs similarly. In this US this means Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor, but in the UK, Europe and many other regions it means Samsung’s own Exynos 9820, as tested here.
It’s a fast-feeling phone, if not quite the fastest, and will handle most of what you can throw at it. Games and augmented reality experiences, which are being pushed hard with 5G, were smooth but made the phone heat up quite a bit.
The S10 5G has the largest battery in Samsung’s S10 phone line and so lasts the longest at 36 hours between charges. With the screen set to default FHD+ resolution and the always-on display (AOD) setting off, the phone made it from 7am on day one until 7pm on day two with fairly heavy usage, mainly on 4G with bursts on Vodafone’s new 5G network where available in London.
The S10 5G is also faster charging than Samsung’s other phones with a 25W charger included in the box. It hit 90% in an hour, which is still not the fastest charging phone but is a significant improvement over other Samsung devices. Wireless charging at up to 15W with a Qi charging matt works well, as does wireless power sharing charging something else from the back of the S10 5G such as Samsung’s Galaxy Buds.