Samsung S10 Series: Release Date, Price, Reviews for Samsung's Flagships

"The Anti-iPhone."

Samsung celebrated the tenth anniversary of its Galaxy S-series smartphone with a bang: The global tech giant launched three S10 models, teased a 5G-enabled version, and finally unveiled its finalized Galaxy Fold. Its first Unpacked event of 2019 walked a line between teasing the future of mobile phone technology while also giving consumers something worth shelling out money for right now.

The new flagship S10 series — which includes the S10, S10+, and S10e — speak to the second half of the equation, and will be the first of the five handsets to hit stores around the world. Their signature attraction may be Samsung’s new “Infinity-O” hole-punch display, a significant improvement upon Apple’s loathed iPhone notch, a significant step toward completely bezel-less screens. The trio’s OLED displays are cut using a high-precision laser to give users the best screen-to-body ratio Samsung could muster.

Of course, top-notch displays are to be expected from Samsung, but the S10 series has other lures as well, including all new wireless charging capabilities, improved security measures, and artificial intelligence-powered camera features. But it’s still the S10’s progress toward doing away with the notch entirely that reviewers have already dubbed it the “anti-iPhone.” Has your curiosity been piqued? Here’s what to know.

samsung galaxy s10 models
How the new S10 models look stacked side-by-side.

Galaxy S10 Series: Release Date and Pre-Order Guide

The S10, S10+, and S10e are all currently available for pre-order on Samsung’s website or through many popular cellular carriers, like AT&T and Verizon. The phones will be available online and in stores beginning March 8, but you may want to order sooner rather than later to get a bit more for your money.

That’s because customers who reserve their S10 model before its release date will get a free pair of Samsung’s newly announced Galaxy Buds. These wireless earbuds are the Galaxy-maker’s response to Apple’s AirPods and will cost $129 after March 8.

Galaxy S10 Series: New Features

All three of the phones come with slightly differing specs, but they all get the same marquis features.

  • In-Screen Ultrasonic Fingerprint Reader: This improvement on the traditional finger print scanner bounces high-frequency sound-waves off of users’ thumbs to create 3D depth maps of the ridges of your finger tips. This will replace optical readers, which simply take a 2D picture of fingerprints, and make the area where you can unlock your phone via fingerprint significantly larger.
  • Wireless PowerShare: If you’re traveling and need to charge your Galaxy Buds, you can use your S10 as a wireless charger. Users can turn this feature on and place a device on its back panel to begin juicing up. The phones will then transfer some of their charge using induction.
  • Instagram Mode: Instagram diehards will be able to post images to their account or Story right from the S10’s camera app. This comes thanks to a suite of built-in Instagram editing tools, which include stickers, hashtags, text, and more.
  • Scene Optimizer: The S10 models’ cameras will be able to recognize up to 30 different photo scenes and recommend complementary filters or edits to make the image pop.
samsung S10
The S10's ultrasonic fingerprint reader in action.

Galaxy S10: Price, Specs, Cameras, Pros and Cons

Let’s start with what will likely be the most popular of the three, the 6.1-inch Galaxy S10 which is the ‘middle-of-the-road’ model that the other three devices will resemble. It starts at $899 for 128GB of on-board memory, supports wireless charging, packs three rear cameras, and a single selfie-cam.

Its trio of back cameras are arranged horizontally and include a 12 MP 77-degree wide-angle lens, a 12 MP 2x telephoto lens, and a 16 MP ultra-wide sensor with a 123-degree field of view. The single front-facing camera comes in at 10MP.

As for internals, the S10 packs a Snapdragon 855 processor, which should equate to a roughly 30 percent increase in computing speed compared to the S9. There is also a 3,400 mAh battery that Samsung promises will last 24 hours. It also comes with all the aforementioned new features.

The only components this phone is missing out on compared to its larger counterpart is a bigger battery and an extra front camera. So if you prefer a slightly smaller phone and don’t take that many selfies, the S10 will be the model for you.

samsung s10 cameras
The three lenses found on the back of the S10 and S10+ models.

Galaxy S10+: Price, Specs, Cameras, Pros and Cons

Starting at an extra $100, the S10+ will get you a few extra bells and whistles. The 6.4-inch phablet touts the largest display out of the three, and overall has the most impressive specs. It starts at $999 for the variant with 128GB of memory.

The main case for the upgrade is probably its extra front-facing camera, which has an 8 MP depth sensor that will enable users to take stunning portrait photos with a bokeh effect. The battery is notably more powerful too, coming in at 4,100 mAh.

Otherwise, the S10+ has exactly the same internals as its smaller counterpart, though it can hold up to 1.5TB of storage with microSD cards, compared to the S10’s 1TB cap. That’s laptop-like memory in the palm of your hand, making it a compelling purchase for smartphone power-users.

An extra $100 may seem like a lot to shell out for better selfies and a longer battery life, but the S10+ could be a worthwhile cop for power-users. The S10+ makes the most out of Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare feature and its massive screen lets users appreciate the screen-to-body ratio provided by its hole-punch display.

samsung s10
All of the S10 models will function as portable wireless chargers.

Galaxy S10e: Price, Specs, Cameras, Pros and Cons

Finally, the cheapest S10 of the bunch still touts a sizable, 5.8-inch OLED screen and 128GB of storage for $749. For the $150 in savings relative to the standard S10, S10e customers only miss out on one of the key new features: the ultrasonic finger print sensor (instead, users will make due with an optical fingerprint reader housed on the smartphone’s right edge.)

The budget S10e also does not include Samsung’s “Infinity Display,” which makes it seem like the screen wraps around the phone’s edges, so the S10e’s bezels will be slightly more pronounced than on the others. Just like the S10, it only packs one front-facing camera, but it has two rear-cameras: a 16MP ultra-wide lens and a 12 MP wide lens.

As you might expect, the S10e also has the least powerful battery, coming in at 3,100. That said, Samsung’s “Adaptive Performance” feature should help to optimize how the S10e uses its power to make sure you aren’t left at zero before the end of the day.

All-in-all, the S10e offers a few pretty great flagship features — like its OLED screen and its punch-hole display — for slight savings. It’s priced exactly like the XR, and seems targeted at the same kind of user: Those who care about having a 2019 smartphone but who don’t want to spend $1,000.

samsung s10 launch event
From left to right: the Galaxy S10e, S10, and S10 Plus.

Galaxy S10: Early Reviews

While many tech publications are still waiting to give the S10 models the full review treatment, early impressions paint a positive picture of Samsung’s new roster. Dan Seifert from The Verge called it the “anti-iPhone” and went out on a limb and said the S10+ is the peak for Android hardware.

“We’ve already seen glimpses of where the next 10 years will take us, but if you’re looking for the best Android phone available today, the S10 Plus is it,” he stated.

Sam Rutherford of Gizmodo wrote that the price tags seem high at first, but not when compared to the prices on last year’s flagships.

samsung S10 models
All of the Galaxy S10 models launching on March 8, minus the upcoming Galaxy S10 5G that will hit shelves on March 8.

“The biggest thing stopping anyone from picking up the S10 is price,” he wrote. “But when you compare that to the Pixel 3 which hasn’t gotten a price drop and still costs $800 for less sophisticated hardware, and the $1,000 iPhone XS, the Galaxy S10 comes the closest to making all those dollars worth it.”

CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt called the S10e the “anti-iPhone XR” (sensing a theme?), and said that even though it doesn’t pack as many features as its more expensive siblings, it felt better in her hand.