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Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10 + in the test: Samsung's expensive smartphone trio is approaching perfection

Galaxy S10e, S10 und S10+ im Test: Samsungs teures Smartphone-Trio nähert sich der Perfektion

tl; dr: From two Galaxy S9 last year, Samsung makes three Galaxy S10 in the new year. Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10 + cover the high-end Android segment from 5.8 inches to 6.4 inches. The smartphones offer bigger displays, larger batteries, more power and better cameras, but are smaller and lighter.

Two become three Galaxy S

Samsung celebrates ten generation Galaxy S with three variants of the Galaxy S10, after the last few years have always been a maximum of two offshoots. The exception is the Galaxy S6, with which Samsung said the plastic Ade four years ago and changed to the now established aluminum and glass. The sixth Galaxy S was also available in three variants: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6 Edge +.

The new squad is made up of the Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10 +. The Galaxy S10 + is a Galaxy S10 with a larger display, larger battery and two instead of a front camera. The “e” in Galaxy S10e stands for Essential without sacrificing the key features. Above all, this smartphone is smaller.

749 euros and thus 150 euros less than the Galaxy S10 costs the Galaxy S10e. The leap from the Galaxy S10, which costs at least 899 euros, the Galaxy S10 + is equal to 350 euros, since Samsung offers the smartphone in this country only with back of ceramic and 512 GB for 1,249 euros or 1TB for 1,599 euros, while other countries one Basic version with glass back and 128 GB memory preserved.

Specifications at a glance

Design and workmanship

Regardless of whether the cheapest or most expensive Galaxy S10 is used, all three smartphones are instantly recognizable from Samsung. Especially with the Galaxy S10 and S10 +, there is no need for a well-trained eye to detect this, since the devices are perceived as a clear evolution of the Galaxy S8 and S9 – especially when switched off, since the recently thinner display edges and the camera in the Display are not visible yet. As before, an aluminum frame holds two glass sheets slightly curved towards the sides. As in recent years, the structure is symmetrical and creates a harmonious appearance that has not lost its elegance. The last only small steps in the design do not harm the smartphones.

Backs made of Gorilla Glass (S10e, S10) or ceramic (S10 +)
Backs made of Gorilla Glass (S10e, S10) or ceramic (S10 +)

For the Galaxy S10 + Samsung brings a new material into play: ceramics. The material is reserved for the 1 TB version and some 512 GB models. In Germany, the Galaxy S10 + is exclusively available with ceramic back.

Slightly out of line dances the Galaxy S10e, since it waives the curved glass in otherwise very similar structure, whereby the frame on the sides is a little wider. Although the Galaxy S10e is almost seamless in the frame, the usable area is completely flat. This should be particularly pleasing to those who criticize Samsung's edge displays for years due to the potential reflections in the edge area or the unwanted palm inputs. All Edge Display features are still available.


Side view of the S10 and S10 + with curved glass
Side view of the S10 and S10 + with curved glass

Side view of the S10e with flat front without edge display
Side view of the S10e with flat front without edge display

All three variants combine at the bottom of the remaining 3.5-mm jack, the USB 3.1-type C connector and one of the two good-sounding stereo speakers. On the left side above the volume rocker and then the Bixby button. It is still sometimes annoying in everyday life, but since the last firmware update but at least (almost) freely occupied. For easy pressing, the button can be assigned to a separate App, for example, WhatsApp or Spotify. Only the Google Assistant does not accept Samsung on the button. However, double-pressing leads the user back to Samsung Assistant Bixby.

The power button, which was even easier to reach with the left index finger or right thumb on the former Galaxy S generation, sits on the right side. Admittedly, the button is not needed at least to power on, because the smartphone can be activated by lifting or the always-on display, but when switching off, some finger acrobatics is required.

A floppy affair

In any case, especially the two larger models should always be operated with two hands. This is not necessarily due to the dimensions, which are in the depth even slightly thinner than last year, but primarily on the slippery exterior. The glass of the smartphone is without a cover already pretty slippery in the hand – and not only there. In the test, the Galaxy S10 + slides in a suit trousers with side-mounted pockets sitting in the same and was thus subjected to an undesirable Droptest. Scratches in the frame were the result, the glass remained completely healthy.

Headphone jack and UBS 3.1 type for all three versions
Headphone jack and UBS 3.1 type for all three versions

The Galaxy S10e is again a special case in the keys, as it combines the power button in the same place as the big smartphones with a slightly recessed in the housing sitting fingerprint sensor, which is integrated with Galaxy S10 and S10 + in the display. But even with the smallest of the three smartphones, the button is still a bit too high to be comfortably reached with an index finger or a thumb.

Apart from some point of criticism in terms of ergonomics, there is nothing to complain about Samsung's tenth Galaxy S. The materials used are all high-quality and composed with precision, so that the subject processing can be awarded top marks. The IP68 certification against the ingress of water and dust ensures safety in all three versions during the less cautious everyday use in the kitchen, in the bathroom or at the lake.

OLED displays from 5.8 inches to 6.4 inches

As soon as the displays are switched on, the distinguishing features of the Galaxy S9, S9 + or even Galaxy Note 9 are immediately noticeable. The display margins have become noticeably thinner again, although the difference does not seem so dramatic on Samsung's recordings. In direct comparison with the devices of the previous year uses the Galaxy S10 but clearly more area of ​​the front for the display.

The Samsung creates above all on the now integrated in the screen front cameras. It's one for Galaxy S10e and S10, and two for the Galaxy S10 +, so you can use the second lens to calculate a bokeh effect. Samsung is the first manufacturer to implement this front-camera cut-out procedure for OLED displays. The final result is correspondingly good, as the background lighting required for LC displays is not used here and therefore can not cast shadows on the recess or cause other misrepresentations in the display.


No Notch, but the (dual) camera in the display
No Notch, but the (dual) camera in the display

Galaxy S10e 5.8 inches, S10 6.1 inches and S10 + 6.4 inches
Galaxy S10e 5.8 inches, S10 6.1 inches and S10 + 6.4 inches

Slightly thicker display edges on the Galaxy S10e with a flat front
Slightly thicker display edges on the Galaxy S10e with a flat front

Anyone who does not want to make friends with the camera in the display can permanently display a black bar in the Android settings, which thanks to OLED perfectly conceals the camera, but reduces the display unnecessarily in everyday life, just around the circle or how to get rid of the “pill” of the camera on the Galaxy S10 +. There were no problems with apps in everyday life except for Lufthansa's Miles and More app, as Android simply displays a slightly wider status bar down to the bottom of the camera before the actual content of the application begins below.

The OLED displays range from 5.8 inches in the Galaxy S10e over 6.1 inches in the Galaxy S10 up to 6.4 inches in the Galaxy S10 +. Samsung has adjusted the resolution only vertically so that more pixels are available for the front camera and the resulting wider status bar. The Galaxy S10 and S10 + are 3,040 × 1,440 pixels, while the Galaxy S10e comes to 2,280 × 1,080 pixels – each with a diamond subpixel matrix. Under Android, the higher-resolution models also run with 2,280 × 1,080 pixels, the native resolution is not used from the factory, but can be activated at any time. However, the resolution is not the only difference compared to the previous year, although less seems to have changed at first glance. Samsung has made significant changes under the hood.

Surprisingly natural appearance

Anyone who has gone through the setup process of the Galaxy S10 and lands for the first time on the Android home screen, is positively surprised by the extremely natural appearance, which is not comparable to the exaggerated color saturation of earlier Galaxy-S generations. Red no longer looks like orange, but just as red should look like: red. Instead squeaky colorful, the displays are almost inconspicuously neutral. This type of presentation is similar to the Samsung also supplied OLED displays of an iPhone X or Xs and Xs Max (test).

In the Android settings you look for the previously varied options for the presentation now in vain. More than one switch for the “Natural” and “Living” presets was left over from the previous Adaptive Display, AMOLED Cinema, AMOLED Photo, and Simple modes. And at the factory the preset “Natural” is selected instead of “Living”. So restrained Samsung is not known. Those who select “Living” get a more intense color saturation, but nothing more. But that's not all changes.

Samsung redirects the brightness

Samsung regulates the brightness of the new screens differently than in the years before, which stands out above all considering the Average Picture Level (APL). For Samsung's OLED displays, we would like to cite maximum brightness levels of 1,000 cd / m² and more, such as DisplayMate display measurements. If another page like ComputerBase only comes to 600 cd / m², it quickly speaks of incorrect measurement results. However, OLED displays reach their maximum brightness only in relation to the APL, which states what percentage of the screen is white when measuring the brightness, for example. ComputerBase measures APL at 100 percent, DisplayMate for single-point brightness only at 1 percent APL. And it is precisely in this point Samsung controls the displays unlike the years before. In addition, Samsung again differentiates between manual and control via the brightness sensor, which unlocks a higher brightness.

Very good Dynamic AMOLED displays on all three versions
Very good Dynamic AMOLED displays on all three versions

In the factory preset “Natural” with purely manual brightness control (Adaptive Brightness: off), Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10 + achieve values ​​between 319 and 325 cd / m². The white point coincides with a pleasant 6,900 Kelvin identical to that of the iPhone Xs Max and thus has neither a yellow nor a blue cast. In the “Live” preset with slightly stronger colors, the smartphones reach values ​​between 337 and 341 cd / m². This preset is suitable for a few percentage points lighter display and was therefore chosen for the determination of the peak brightness.

In automatic mode, all three Galaxy S10 shine much brighter than with the manual control. At 100 percent APL, it is 519 cd / m² for the Galaxy S10, 524 cd / m² for the Galaxy S10 + and 562 cd / m² for the Galaxy S10e. For OLED screens, these are basically good values, but not as good as the Galaxy S9, S9 + or Galaxy Note 9, which could shine about 100 percent brighter in automatic mode with 100 percent APL. Simply brighter is not necessarily better, because the Galaxy S10 with increasing brightness keep their higher quality display.

2,280 × 1,080 pixels on S10e, S10 and S10 + with 3,040 × 1,440 pixels
2,280 × 1,080 pixels on S10e, S10 and S10 + with 3,040 × 1,440 pixels

However, the test shows that even more can be obtained from the displays with only 20 percent APL – less is not possible with the measuring device used by ComputerBase. In this scenario, white is displayed on 20 percent of the display and black on the remaining 80 percent. Lo and behold: Suddenly, all three Galaxy S10 values ​​reach around 800 cd / m². With even lower white content, even higher values ​​in the four-digit range should be achievable. According to Samsung, up to 1200 cd / m² should be possible for a short time, which corresponds to a realistic specification.

In practice, the Galaxy S10 with the factory settings and adaptive brightness control deliver a very good brightness in everyday life to always be able to read all the contents on the display. 100 percent white plays just as little a role in everyday life as 1 percent white. In mixed mode, the screens are never too dark – only if you explicitly ask for it. At a minimum, up to 2 cd / m² are possible, so that the smartphone does not dazzle even in completely darkened rooms.

Dynamic HDR10 +

In terms of color fidelity, Samsung is now fully on DCI-P3, which is 100 percent covered. Multimedia focus is underlined by support for the HDR10 + dynamic HDR standard, which Samsung is working with industry leaders such as 20th Century Fox, Amazon, Broadcom, DTS, JVC / Kenwood, MediaTek, Oppo, Panasonic, Qualcomm and TCL. Also for the use of the static HDR standard HDR10, the new Samsung smartphones are suitable, as current FAQs from Netflix show.

On the next page: Ultrasound fingerprint sensor in the display

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