Samsung took the lead twice this year, the first time with the Galaxy Fold, their version of a flexible phone, and the second time with the Galaxy S10 5G. Thankfully, the latter was not kept in a glass case at Mobile World Congress so we could take a look and see what the most wholesome device of Samsung’s lineup offered. Spoiler: it’s better than iPhone XS!
iPhone XS is considered the king of video recording in media circles, so we wanted to see how the Galaxy S10 5G fared in that area. We didn’t expect to see huge differences in the short amount of time we spent at the booth, but boy were we wrong!
The easiest skill to test in the MWC Barcelona crowd was stabilization and, remarkably, Galaxy S10 5G’s video was nowhere near as shaky as the one shot with the iPhone XS – see in the clip above what I’m talking about!
Samsung really upped their video game this year, so the S10 5G can record in 4K UHD with HDR10+ in HEVC format, if you choose so. Remember, the HEVC will save you lots of space, making room for more videos to store locally.
The Galaxy S10 5G also has the potential to take better stills than iPhone XS. The phone has a triple camera on the back made from a main 12MP camera with variable aperture, a 16MP ultrawide snapper, and a 12MP telephoto lens. On the front, there’s a single 10MP selfie camera. The regular S10 has the same combo, but the 5G model takes it up a notch with two 3D ToF sensors, one on the front, the other one on the back.
From what we’ve seen, the depth-sensing camera allows for new bokeh effects in Live Focus mode but also maintains faces in focus, while the background becomes blurry, in video (they call it Video Live Focus.)
To me, this also showed Samsung’s care to equip the phone with the hardware necessary for more advanced AR applications, not to mention for better face recognition.
Are the camera upgrades and 5G support enough to justify a price close to $2,000? Not really. Especially considering that Samsung depends on Verizon to make 5G work – the technology is there, but the mobile network, not so much. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will launch first with Verizon on board, so you’ll have to wait until the end of the year to experience the new speed, when Verizon 5G will reach 30 cities or so.
Sprint is expected to be quicker this year. They’re said to bring 5G this May to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City, with Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, DC to follow. Nevertheless, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will come with Sprint support only after launching with Verizon.
At the booth, we saw one example of what Galaxy S10 could do with 5G. Thanks to the speed and low latency, we could watch a baseball game and rotate the field or zoom in on a player with no freezing.
Until then, Samsung sweetened the pricy deal with hardware upgrades. The Galaxy S10 5G has the biggest screen from the lineup, a 6.7-inch one, and the biggest battery, coming in at 4,500mAh.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have expendable storage, forcing you to stick to 256GB. You also get only 8GB of RAM, not the 12GB the Plus model offers.
Bottom line: The reason we went to see the Galaxy S10 5G up close is because it is the most capable of all 2019 Samsung phones. It has the biggest display and battery, everything the standard version has to offer in terms of camera plus time-of-flight technology, the headphone jack many of you are still looking for and Wireless PowerShare (which I think it’s brilliant for two-phone users.) It’s also an investment for the end of the year and 2020, when 5G will start working. Taking the lead means thinking ahead of time and this is what Samsung did with the S10 5G phone.