Samsung Galaxy S10: What we know so far

Samsung Galaxy S10: What we know so far

Once a tap starts to leak, often times that tap is going to keep on leaking. That’s exactly what happens with almost every major smartphone launch, including the Samsung Galaxy S10. 

The downside is that there isn’t a great deal of mystery surrounding product launches any longer, we tend to have a fairly good idea before a launch event is even called let alone the event date. But to be honest, it does result in us keeping our expectations in check.

Although conversely, that doesn’t stop people from having completely unrealistic expectations…the iPhoneX springs to mind. Either way, we’ve taken a look at just what we expect to happen when the Samsung Galaxy S10 is finally brought on stage at the Samsung Unpacked keynote — the date of which is still (officially) under wraps!

Samsung Galaxy S10 launch and release dates

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ were announced a little under a year ago at MWC on February 25th, 2018. The previous model — the Galaxy S8 — was unveiled at a New York launch event on March 29th, 2017. That leaves a wide berth for a release date, but there have been some murmurs of a CES launch. We’d be surprised if that were the case given we’re just over a week away from the Las Vegas event (January 8-11, 2019).

A major technology retailer spoke directly to Gizmodo about the potential 2019 launch of the flagship Samsung handset. This retailer believes that the launch date will be at a February 20, 2019 event. The handsets unveiled will then be available to purchase on Friday, March, 8th. We really don’t have too long to wait if that is the case.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Models

Normally we would be discussing two models when talking about the next iteration of the Galaxy lineage. That doesn’t look like it will be the case in 2019. We are led to believe that we’ll see three distinct models:

  • Galaxy S10 Lite (Codename: “Beyond 0”)
  • Galaxy S10 (Codename: “Beyond 1”)
  • Galaxy S10 Plus or Galaxy S10+ (Codename: “Beyond 2”)

Unsurprisingly, the S10 Lite is the outlier and device we know the least about. It will be slightly smaller and have less in the way of hardware, including cameras, storage and RAM. We wouldn’t be too shocked if Samsung offered a similar methodology to that of Apple. The Lite model essentially being almost identical to the previous years’ model internally with a shiny new external suit.

The standard Galaxy S10 will include all but a few of the bells and whistles found on the Plus model. That means the same base hardware configurations but with key omissions being the rear-facing camera capabilities and maximum internal options.

Of course, the Galaxy S10 Plus will pack in everything, have a bigger display and extra camera oomph. That is offset by a much higher entry price point.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Specifications

In North American markets, Samsung news experts SamMobile expect the device to be powered by the recently announced Snapdragon 855 chipset. For worldwide buyers, Samsung’s own Exynos 9820 will be the chipset that helps power the super smartphone.

Beyond the chipset, we are hearing that the device will include 8GB of RAM as standard with a potential 12GB RAM option. That’s a serious upgrade over the previous models packing in up to 6GB or 8GB of RAM.

Battery size is something we have little to no knowledge of. A larger battery and the power saving capabilities of the new Snapdragon 855 could see the S10 Plus model potentially push two days if Samsung matches the 4000mAh cell found in the Note 9.

It’s clear that this will be an absolute beast, with specs that every device will be looking to emulate throughout 2019 and beyond.

Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung Galaxy S10 Leak

We’ve seen just how good the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is in the photography arena, it really is a superb device with exceptional cameras — although solely in daylight scenarios. The Galaxy S10 looks like it will break free from poor night photography with a night photography mode that will emulate Night Sight as found on Pixel devices.

Will it rival the performance of the Huawei Night Mode or Pixel Night Sight? Time will tell, but we do know, thanks to some digging by XDA developers, that it could be called “Bright Night.”

Round the back of the device, going by the renders from serial tipsters @OnLeaks and 91Mobiles, the rear-facing cameras will follow a similar pattern to that of the previous S-line. That likely means the S10+ is likely to have an extra camera module round back, much as we saw with the S9 and S9+.

The S10 Lite is only expected to come with two rear-facing cameras and a single camera hidden in the display notch. As a betting man, I wouldn’t be majorly surprised if this model matches the camera performance of the Galaxy S9 and S9+.

Video recording modes will be plentiful, some of these thanks to the Exynos 9820, which is capable of encoding and decoding 8K video at 30fps. That is something truly special, but that is not 100% capable on the Snapdragon 855. Therefore we doubt the feature will come to the S10 until there is parity in the chipset capabilities.

Despite this minor omission, we do expect 4K 60fps video recording and 4K HDR recording on the S10. In practice, this allows video capture with real-time object or background replacement.

Samsung Galaxy S10 design and device features

This is where we are really going to get into the real main course as it were. There is plenty to discuss as we will likely see the biggest hardware and software changes on a Galaxy device since the S8 release. We’ve also seen a little conflicting information courtesy of a few tipsters and leakers, so, as always, take everything with a pinch of salt.

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Evan Blass @evleaks
A case manufacturer’s expectations for the Galaxy S10 lineup:
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3:37 AM – Dec 8, 2018

Naturally, the inclusion of the punch hole notch means we aren’t yet at the point of in-display or under-display front-facing cameras. Although we do expect Samsung to really push this tech in the coming years.

Notch

Samsung has mocked other brands (Apple especially) in ads because of the camera notch. No doubt in a bid to save face somewhat, the punch hole style notch ensures that there is less display lost to a cutout section. We’ve seen a few conflicting reports as to where the ‘hole’ will be in relation to the display.

During the Samsung Developer Conference, much was made of the folding display, but it was the support for Infinity-U, Infinity-V and Inifity-O displays that really points towards Samsung adopting the hole-style notch on the next few flagship releases.

Then there is the Samsung Galaxy A8s, which was unveiled just a few weeks ago for Chinese and Asian markets. The devices already utilize the Inifinity-O hole style. I personally quite like it, although I can see why some might prefer a notch as some do house neat 3D face-scanning tech.

It wasn’t until the Qualcomm Tech Summit that we got some sort of confirmation that one position looks very likely to be right. The prototype 5G phone from Samsung had a conveniently placed top right notch position, which we hope points to the punch hole being hidden from eagle-eyed tech journalists.

The notch is set to have some neat tricks too. A special effect glow around this display hole has been ported to the Samsung Galaxy A8s already, which gives us a glimpse into one of potentially a few neat little extras we might see on the S10.

In-display fingerprint reader

We’ve seen the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and OnePlus 6T ship with the en-vogue in-display fingerprint reader in the past 6 months. Samsung won’t let these brands get ahead of them, especially in the display tech game, so all info points towards the inclusion of an in-display fingerprint reader.

Samsung is ditching the iris scanner in this upcoming model, instead, the S10 will rely on some new in-display reader tech dubbed “Ultrasonic”. That means a faster fingerprint recognition and a bigger area to scan your digits.

There are reports that the new fingerprint sensor uses ultrasound to create an accurate, 3D image of your finger when the relevant portion of the display is pressed. A standard optical in-display reader actually uses light to illuminate your entire fingerprint for authentication. Using ultrasound means that it should, in theory, be much more accurate than simply using light to verify a registered digit.

Headphone port

Despite our own Stephen Hall being more than indifferent towards headphone ports, many of us on the 9to5Google team still use the input. There are reports of headphone jack support disappearing, but there are also case leaks pointing towards the S10 including the headphone port.

I personally use the headphone port daily, not for headphone audio though. Instead, to hook up to my car stereo. Dongle life is still a potential though, Samsung could still pull the port to test the waters for future releases.

Reverse wireless charging

Much like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is expected to offer the ability to charge other devices via the wireless charger round back. The feature is rumored to be called “Powershare” and will literally do exactly what it says, allow a secondary device to trickle charge via the wireless charging dock at the back of the S10.

Not exactly essential but a neat parlor trick — which Samsung loves to pack into their flagship devices.

Storage options

We saw the Note 9 become one of the very first smartphones with the ability to expand internal storage via microSD to 1TB thanks to the 512GB model. Now, we are probably going to see the S10 eclipse that with a massive 1TB storage model. Yes, 1TB!

Beyond that headline grabber, we’ll see a base 128GB model for the slightly smaller 6.1-inch Galaxy S10 and a 512GB top-tier standard model storage variant. As for the big boy Galaxy S10+, expect a 128GB base model, 512GB mid-tier and then the whopping 1TB top-tier storage option to be available at launch.

We don’t yet know what storage options the proposed Lite model will ship with, but would expect at the very least a 64GB base model to fit in line with a lower entry cost.

We haven’t heard anything that leads us to believe the S10 is dropping microSD card support either, which means you could potentially expand that even further.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Pricing

In the UK, the 5.8-inch flat Galaxy S10 will cost £669 and offer 128GB of storage. The standard Galaxy S10 will offer 128GB or 512GB of storage at £799 and £999 respectively.

Finally, the Galaxy S10+ will offer a 128GB model for £899, 512GB for £1099, and a whopping 1TB model at £1399. Directly translated, that would be over $1,750 USD. That’s probably not what the final price will be in the States, but this will still likely be the most expensive phone Samsung has ever produced.

What the Samsung Galaxy S10 Won’t include

We’ve talked about what we expect the Samsung Galaxy S10 to include, but there are going to be some omissions as well. We’ve reached the point where the omissions are starting to become the major core selling point in smartphones. Things like the removable battery are dead, headphone ports are dying left right and center, as are physical fingerprint readers.

5G Connectivity

Whilst we saw a Samsung test device for 5G connectivity at the Qualcomm 5G launch event, we are not expecting any of the S10 models to come with 5G support right out of the box. Despite earlier reports (even our own) that the S10 may come packing 5G connectivity, the tech is still relatively new, with very few carriers in North America and Europe even investing in the tech for consumers at present beyond a few major cities and sites.

S-Pen

Sorry if this seems obvious but no, there will be no S-Pen or support for the stylus on the S10 or S10 Plus. At present, the neat drawing tool is still exclusive to the Note line. And yes, I have made us all more stupid just for even mentioning that it is. So apologies for that.

Android Oreo…finally

It’s about time we saw Samsung devices shipping with the latest version of Android pre-installed. The massive overhaul that is OneUI on top of Android Pie will take some getting used to for many users. It’s the change that Samsung Experience has needed for quite a while and it might finally banish the bad taste left by TouchWiz all those years ago.

What are you hoping to see on the Samsung Galaxy S10?

We want to open up the floor to you guys, what beyond the leaks and even including the leaks would you like to see come launch day? We are now on a slow build-up to the 2019 flagship announcements, of which the Samsung Galaxy S10 is shaping up to be one of the major players.

Let us know in the comments section what you are hoping to see from Samsung, or what you don’t want to see.