Galaxy S10 Plus
The Galaxy S10 Plus sets a high bar for all smartphones, let alone devices just from Samsung.
The more compact Galaxy S10e requires some trade-offs, though not as many as you might expect.
The Galaxy S10 finds itself wedged between the S10 Plus and S10e in size, features and price.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 rollout features not one, not two, but three new phones. In addition to the standard 6.3-inch Note 10, Samsung also offers a supersized 6.8-inch Note 10 Plus — the first time the phone maker has come out with different versions of its phablet. And for anyone craving the faster networking performance of 5G, Samsung offers the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, initially a Verizon exclusive, to take advantage of the emerging wireless networking technology.
All those Note 10 models give smartphone shoppers more choices. But they also run the risk of ratcheting up the confusion. After all, this spring’s Galaxy S10 launch saw Samsung introduce four different versions. Throw in the intriguing midrange and budget options Samsung has started bringing to the U.S. and the older flagship phones that remain on sale, and that’s a lot of Galaxy handsets to keep straight.
Not to worry: we can help you spot the difference between a Galaxy A50 and a Galaxy S10, along with every model in between. Here’s a closer look at all the currently available Samsung phones we’ve reviewed, ranked first to worst.
Samsung Phones: What’s New
As noted, Samsung unveiled a trio of Galaxy Note 10 models during its Aug. 7 Unpacked event. Those phones arrive in stores Aug. 23, though Samsung and wireless carriers are taking Note 10 pre-orders now. We’ve gone hands-on with the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus, and we’re in the midst of testing the larger of those two models now. You can find out how the Galaxy Note 10 Plus compares with other Samsung phones — and the rest of the smartphone world — by reading our report on Note 10 Plus benchmarks.
The Galaxy Fold is set to ship in September, after Samsung postponed the original launch to work out problems with the phone’s display. You can read our hands-on with the Galaxy Fold to find out what you can expect when that $1,980 device goes on sale.
The best Samsung phone
The Galaxy S10 Plus sets a high bar for all smartphones, let alone devices just from Samsung. The phone’s new Infinity-O display creates an immersive experience with apps and videos filling up the screen, with no obtrusive bezels or notches. (Those two circular cutouts for the S10 Plus’ front cameras can be a little distracting, especially on white backgrounds.) And with a Snapdragon 855 processor, the S10 Plus can keep up with any of the best Android phones released this year.
With an ultrawide and telephoto lens joining the S10 Plus’ main rear camera, you can expect excellent photos, though other camera phones outshine the S10 Plus when the lights are low. Still, with a Scene Optimizer feature that adjusts camera settings based on what you’re photographing, you’ll get a great-looking shot more often than not.
If there’s a reason to pause before buying the Galaxy S10 Plus, it’s the phone’s high price, which can be especially off-putting when you consider that lower-cost phones in the S10 lineup offer similar features.
See our full Galaxy S10 Plus review.
A great small-screen phone
With a price that’s $150 less than the Galaxy S10, the more compact Galaxy S10e requires some trade-offs, though not as many as you might expect. You still get the standout features of Samsung’s latest Galaxy S phones — a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 855 chipset, an AMOLED screen and the ability to wirelessly charge other devices through Samsung’s cool Wireless PowerShare feature. The biggest sacrifices you have to make are settling for two rear cameras instead of three and giving up the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor underneath the display of the pricier Galaxy S10 models. (On the the S10e, the fingerprint reader is on the phone’s power button.)
In addition to its high value, the Galaxy S10e will also appeal to people who’ve felt left out as phone-screen sizes surge beyond 6 inches. With a 5.8-inch display, the Galaxy S10e fits comfortably in your hand. And thanks to the Infinity-O display, which places the front camera cutout within the display, you still enjoy plenty of screen real estate.
See our full Galaxy S10e review.
Not to be overlooked
The Galaxy S10 finds itself wedged between the S10 Plus and S10e in size, features and price. As a result, you might be tempted to gloss over this 6.1-inch phone, but that would be a mistake. Most of the features you’ll find in the Galaxy S10 Plus are in the S10, including the powerful Snapdragon 855 processor, high-performing triple-lens rear cameras and the ability to charge other devices wirelessly. The S10 even offers decent battery life — 10 hours and 19 minutes on our test — despite having a smaller battery than the S10 Plus.
The biggest difference between the S10 and S10 Plus comes down to the front cameras. Our testing found that the double lenses on the S10 Plus performed a little better than the S10’s lone selfie cam. If you can swing the extra $100, the extra screen space on the Galaxy S10 Plus is worth it. But if you don’t need a supersized phone and still want high-end features, the Galaxy S10 fits the bill.
See our full Galaxy S10 review.
Samsung’s best budget buy
After years of putting most of its U.S. focus on flagship phones, Samsung has turned more of its attention to midrange models. And if the results are anything like the $349 Galaxy A50, Samsung’s efforts deserve praise. The 6.4-inch AMOLED display is one of the best you’ll find in this price range, and the Galaxy A50’s Exynos 9610 chipset keeps pace with comparable midrange phones.
The three rear cameras on the Galaxy A50 perform admirably, though you’ll get better photos from Google’s Pixel 3a, which costs around the same as the A50. But if you prefer Samsung’s phones and have balked at the escalating prices of the Galaxy S and Note lines, the Galaxy A50 is the answer to your prayers.
Read our full Galaxy A50 review.
Last year’s phone for less
Samsung’s older phones remain available from multiple carriers and retailers, and they’re still an option even if they lack the latest hardware found in the Galaxy S10. Samsung has upgraded the phones to Android 9 with the phone maker’s own OneUI interface, so the software experience is the same as what you’d get with a newer flagship.
You won’t benefit from the Snapdragon 855 processor that powers the S10 lineup (including the entry-level S10e), and the Galaxy S9 Plus has only two rear cameras instead of the three found on the S10 and S10 Plus. But the S9 Plus lasted nearly 11 hours on our battery test, and its cameras compared well to other flagships’. More important, the S10’s arrival has meant a drop in price for the S9 Plus, which now costs less than $700.
Read our full Galaxy S9 Plus review.
Samsung’s last single-camera phone
The Galaxy S9 is even cheaper than the S9 Plus now that the Galaxy S10 is available, with a price less than $600. But there’s a reason, this smaller 5.8-inch phone doesn’t command as much as the 6.2-inch S9 Plus — the S9 has only one rear camera. The dual-pixel 12-MP shooter on the Galaxy S9 is certainly capable, but even the budget-priced Galaxy A50 features multiple lenses.
For that reason, unless you really dislike phones with screens larger than 6 inches or you’re trying to keep a lid on costs, we’d recommend the Galaxy S9 Plus over the S9. The S9 Plus ships with more RAM, too, which gives it a performance boost over the S9.
Read our full Galaxy S9 review.
Wait for a price drop
Just as the Galaxy S9 has been supplanted by the Galaxy S10, last year’s Galaxy Note 10 is making way for the new Note 10. However, the Note 9 hasn’t seen the corresponding drop in price that the Galaxy S9 has enjoyed now that its successor is widely available. That’s likely to change after the Note 10 arrives in stores Aug. 23, but for now, we’d suggest holding off on a Note 9 purchase until last year’s model becomes a better bargain.
The Note 10 will feature faster performance, thanks to the Snapdragon 855, but the Snapdragon 845 inside the Note 9 remains a powerful processor. You’d forgo the three rear cameras on the Galaxy Note 10 as well, and the gesture-based controls for the S Pen are exclusive to Samsung’s newer phablet. Yet, the cameras on the Note 9 are still very good and benefit from Samsung’s Scene Optimizer. The Note 9’s version of the S Pen also features Bluetooth connectivity, an addition that made the already capable S Pen an even better tool for power users. The Note 9 boasts good battery life, too, lasting nearly 11.5 hours on our battery test.
Read our full Galaxy Note 9 review.
Not ready for most users yet
It’s hard to recommend the Galaxy S10 5G at this point, though it’s hardly the fault of Samsung’s phone. Rather, because 5G networks are still being built out at this point and limited to select cities, it’s likely you won’t enjoy the benefit of faster data speeds — certainly not enough to justify the phone’s steep $1,299 asking price.
That’s a shame, because the Galaxy S10 5G sports the great features of the other S10 models and improves upon them with additions like a time-of-flight sensor for better portrait shots. Until the Galaxy Note 10 Plus came along, this 6.7-inch phone offered the largest screen you could buy on a Samsung handset, and it’s very immersive and colorful. The phone’s large size makes it hard to use with just one hand, though — an S Pen stylus like the one included with the Note 10 would really come in handy here.
Read our full Galaxy S10 5G review.
How we test Samsung phones
We approach Samsung phones the same way we test other smartphones. We evaluate the phone over several days of real-world use. We also put the phones through a battery of benchmarks to measure performance. We use a light meter to ascertain display quality data, like brightness and color accuracy, and our proprietary battery test determines longevity on a charge by endlessly streaming web pages over an LTE network.
When assigning a rating, we look at a phone’s design and display, its camera output, battery life and how quickly it charges, overall performance and software. We also consider how the phone compares with similarly priced handsets. Even after we post a rating, we’ll update our review whenever software updates deliver new features.