Samsung sells more phones than any other company, but its most recent financial results show mobile profits are leveling off. After nine years of Galaxy phones, Samsung is reportedly planning to pull out all the stops to turn things around with the upcoming Galaxy S10. There will be three versions of the phone sporting “hole punch” displays. While nothing is confirmed at this point, we’ve got plenty of leaked information, and now we’ve even got some leaked photos of the phones. Let’s round it all up and see if we can figure out what Samsung’s next flagship phone will offer.
Even though Samsung was among the first Android device makers to offer biometric features in phones, it has struggled to keep up. After moving the fingerprint sensor around a few times and pushing its buggy iris scanning tech, Samsung could be set for something different.
Few preliminary Galaxy S10 details:
– “Punch hole” style selfie cam cutout (sounds like Infinity-O display).
– Ultrasonic, in-display FPS
– Three rear cameras (standard/wide/tele)
– One UI over Android Pie
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) November 13, 2018
There is strong evidence that the Galaxy S10 will have a fingerprint reader in the display, but it won’t use optical technology like the OnePlus 6T. Instead, Samsung will use ultrasonic fingerprint tech. That’s a more expensive way to get it done, but the “active area” that reads fingers can be larger.
The iris scanner may even be getting the boot in the Galaxy S10. After working for years to make the scanner more reliable, face unlock technology has completely superseded it. Samsung might equip the Galaxy S10 with a 3D sensor to make its face unlock faster and more secure. Currently, Samsung face unlock just uses the front-facing camera. From the leaks so far, there does not appear to be room on the front of the phone for the iris scanner or a 3D sensor like the iPhone X family has.
The Era of the Hole Punch
We know Samsung is going to keep pushing the envelope with narrow bezels, and that means it’s going to have to go the notch route. The company showed off several screen notch concepts at its recent developer conference, and the Infinity-O seems to be the one popping up most often in reports. A render from noted leaker OnLeaks shows the supposed GS10 in all its glory.
As you can see, there’s a hole punch in the display featuring two sensors, most likely standard cameras. The hole looks a bit odd, but it allows Samsung to push the OLED panel all the way to the edge of the device. This render is not official — it comes from leaked CAD files used to create a third-party reproduction. OnLeaks has traditionally been very accurate overall, and more recent photo leaks (below) support this.
Samsung Galaxy S10 “Beyond 1,” in the wild. pic.twitter.com/EMquh59Kln
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 3, 2019
On the eve of CES, noted leaker Evan Blass tweeted a photo of the alleged Galaxy S10 (above). This was the first time we saw the phone in the flesh rather than a render. Like the previous render, this phone has a hole punch camera on the front, but there’s just one instead of two. In general, it’s less “pretty” than the render with a noticeably larger bezel on the bottom compared with the top. This is something we’ve seen on a lot of phones in recent years, but I would have expected Samsung to avoid this particular design quirk.
Multiple Models and Specs
Current reports point to at least three models of the Galaxy S10, split up by screen size and possibly the number of cameras. These phones will range from 5.8 to 6.4-inches. The larger models will be the more “premium” versions of the phone, which will include three camera sensors on the back. A Leak from SamMobile claims the main camera will be 12MP along with a 16MP wide-angle and 13MP telephoto sensor. The recent leaks support the three-camera setup rumor.
Some sources suggest the base model GS10 Lite will have a flat OLED panel and a single front-facing camera in the cutout. The January photo leak appears to show a phone with a curved display and a single camera sensor. That means it’s probably the middle-tier phone. The top-of-the-line Galaxy S10+ is closer to what we see in the OnLeaks render with the two cameras in the cutout.
With just a few weeks to go before Samsung announces the phone, a handful of good photos (above and below) have popped up online. The images show both the Galaxy S10 and the S10+, helping us confirm several differences between the two phones. Both devices have hole-punch displays, but the smaller phone only has a single front-facing camera. The Plus includes a second sensor, making the display hole wider. It also looks like the “chin” on the bottom edge is narrower on the S10+.
There’s no fingerprint sensor on the back, which supports the in-display sensor hypothesis. Both these devices also have a trio of camera sensors. The lower-end version of the S10 might have fewer cameras on the back. The pics also 100 percent confirm these phones will retain the headphone jack.
More recently, a pair of images from a now-deleted Twitter account show both the Galaxy S10 and S10+. Above, that’s the GS10+ with the pill-shaped cutout. Below, you can see the regular Galaxy S10 with the circular hole. There won’t be any surprises at Unpacked this time.
The phones will most likely run on the Snapdragon 855 SoC in the US and the Samsung Exynos 9820 internationally. We have yet to see either of these chips in the wild, but the 855 will probably debut in the S10. Samsung may also allow “reverse wireless charging” on the Galaxy S10, according to Evan Blass. Similar to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, you could use the phone as a wireless charger for accessories like your smartwatch. A leak from WinFuture shows Samsung’s alleged Galaxy Buds sitting on the back of the Galaxy S10 to charge.
There’s also chatter about a fourth phone that may or may not count as a Galaxy S10 depending on your perspective. The “Beyond X” could be a new ultra-premium part of Samsung’s lineup with features you can’t get in the standard GS10 devices. We’re expecting a display as large as 6.7-inches and 5G support. Samsung has said several times the Galaxy S10 won’t be a 5G phone, but that leaves the company room to say the Beyond X isn’t technically the Galaxy S10. If this phone exists, it will likely launch at a later date.
Pricing, Release Date, and More
Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S10 family at its Unpacked event on Feb. 20 — that’s shortly before Mobile World Congress kicks off. The specific launch plans for carriers around the globe will be available in the following days, but it’ll most likely be a few weeks after the announcement before the phone goes on sale.
Samsung’s recent phones have been more expensive than ever — the Galaxy Note 9 was $1,000 at launch. However, phone sales are slowing down a bit. Samsung will probably keep at least one S10 model around $800 at launch (like the GS9). The larger models will probably go past $1,000, and the Beyond X could be significantly more expensive. Even the high-end S10+ could reach over $1,500 with a rumored 1TB of storage.
You can expect the Galaxy S10 to have Android Pie out of the box with the new Samsung One UI. That interface is currently rolling out on the Galaxy S9 and Note 9. It aims to make apps and system dialogs easier to use on large phones and make the overall style more cohesive.
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