Samsung has fired the first shot in the 2019 Smartphone war with the launch of not one but four new Galaxy S10 models. Traditionally, Samsung has launched its flagship Galaxy S phones in Barcelona, however this year, the Korean Electronics giant chose the Bill Graham Civic auditorium in San Francisco for its UnPacked 2019 event.
This happens to be the venue also frequented by Apple for many of its product launches. Coincidence or not, it’s clear that Samsung is intent on taking the competition right to Apple’s doorstep.
The Galaxy S10 line-up
The four members of the Galaxy S10 range start with a first-ever lower-priced S10e model, followed by the fully fledged S10 and even larger S10+, along with the ultra high-tech Galaxy S10 ‘5G’ variant.
According to a Samsung spokesperson, the rationale behind four new S10 models was to provide wider choice for informed consumers who are “…more aware of what they want in a phone”. This is a similar strategy followed by Apple with its iPhone XR ‘entry-level’ option.
Another first, there’s going to be a Galaxy S10 ‘5G’ model that be one of the first phones available in Australia to work on the upcoming 5G mobile network.
Unlike the others, the Galaxy S10 5G will feature a bigger 6.7 inch Dynamic OLED display, a higher capacity 4500mAh battery and a new 3D depth-sensing camera. We can expect to see the 5G model to go on sale a bit later than others, although it will still be available before July 2019.
The remaining three Galaxy S10s will be on sale earlier on March 8th, and with features detailed below. Pre-orders will begin on the 21st of February.
A dynamic display
Starting with the screen, all of the S10s are equipped with the latest Dynamic OLED display technology. It’s still an OLED screen, which has now been verified by DisplayMate to produce “…the world’s most accurate colors (sic) on a mobile device.”
The display is also brighter than ever at 1200nits, and is HDR10+ certified. This means the S10 will dazzle on the movie and video front with wide, dynamic colour range support when playing HDR10+ content, and the extra screen brightness is ideal for outdoor viewing in Australia’s sunny climate.
Lastly, the Dynamic AMOLED display reduces blue light through its TÜV Rheinland-certified Eye Comfort feature without compromising picture quality or adding a filter.
Size-wise, the S10 and S10+ get 6.2 and 6.4 inch screens respectively, both of which are curved at the edges. The S10e is a more compact device and has a 5.8inch display instead with a completely flat edges.
No more ‘notch’
Samsung has also introduced what it calls ‘Infinity-O’ technology, which has taken all of the sensors and dual front facing cameras and combined them into a small oval window on the upper right hand edge of the screen. This negates the traditional ‘notch’ or top edge ‘cut-out’ that the iPhone X and other Android phones have used to position their cameras and sensors.
Overall, the oval is smaller, and the off-centre position may make it less noticeable. However, considering that the non-5G models use fewer sensors as they don’t support 3D Facial Recognition technology, there’s less to deal with compared to Apple’s 8-element TrueDepth system that requires a ‘notch’ to fit across the top of the screen.
Ultrasonic Fingerprint scanner
The new Dynamic OLED technology also hides another trick – an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Samsung has moved the fingerprint sensor from the rear of the phone to beneath the lower portion of the screen. As it uses ultrasonic signals to ‘map’ your fingerprint, this creates a 3D picture, rather than a less secure 2D ‘photo’ like some other phones.
Essentially, the technology makes it more difficult to spoof a fingerprint, and as you can use your fingerprint to access Samsung’s secure Knox encrypted file protection, it needs to be quite secure.