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Galaxy S10: Everything we think we know about Samsung’s most exciting phone in years

Published Jul 11th, 2018 10:27AM EDT
Galaxy S10 Release Date
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 leaked for the gazillionth time on Tuesday, and this time it took the form of a supposedly official marketing render created by Samsung. The source has a good track record, which means the leaked render is likely genuine. It also means we can once again safely say that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 is going to be a snoozefest. Just like the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ Samsung launched earlier this year, the Note 9 will feature improved specs stuffed inside the same design from last year. That might work for Apple since it doesn’t have any competition, but there are plenty of other Android phones to choose from. Samsung’s Galaxy S9 sales are believed to be significantly lower than last year’s S8 sales, and we can likely expect the Galaxy Note 9 to continue that trend.

If you’re a Samsung fan and it’s excitement you’re looking for, you’ve already stopped caring about the Galaxy Note 9 and turned your attention to the Galaxy S10. After a year full of boring, uninspired flagship phones, Samsung is expected to completely flip the script right out of the gate in 2019. The company’s next-generation Galaxy S10 flagship smartphone series is expected to debut at CES 2019 in early January next year, and it’s shaping up to be Samsung’s most exciting smartphone series in years. Let’s take a look at everything we think we know so far about Samsung’s next-gen flagships.

Beginning on the outside of Samsung’s new phones seems particularly apropos since the designs of the company’s current Galaxy flagship phones are believed to be one of the main things people dislike about them. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are gorgeous smartphones, of course, but since they look exactly like last year’s models people aren’t keen on shelling out between $720 and $960 to upgrade.

Interestingly, the biggest remaining questions surrounding the Galaxy S10 pertain to the phone’s design. In fact, the design might be the only significant detail that hasn’t leaked at this point. We can’t say anything with any certainty at this point, but we’ve heard from our own trusted sources that Samsung is spicing things up in 2019. The Galaxy S10 will have a design that’s similar to the S9 and S8 in that it’ll feature an Infinity Display that curves downward on either side, but we’ve been told that the bezels above and below the screen will be much narrower than they are on the S9 and S8.

We’ve also heard that the Galaxy S10 will not have a notch in the display, so Android fans don’t have to worry that Samsung’s next flagship phone will be an iPhone X clone like practically every other Android phone out there right now.

Another thing we’re pretty sure of when it comes to the Galaxy S10’s design is that the back is going to look a bit different because there won’t be a fingerprint sensor there. No, Samsung isn’t bringing back the home button. Instead, the Galaxy S10 is expected to be Samsung’s first smartphone to feature an optical fingerprint sensor embedded under the display. To unlock the phone or authenticate Samsung Pay purchases, the user will simply hold his or her finger on the screen in a specific area toward the bottom. It’s referred to as fingerprint on display (FOD) technology, and it’s already available on a few Chinese smartphones.

As far as we know at this point, there will be three different versions of the Galaxy S10 and two of them are expected to include FOD technology: the main Galaxy S10 and the larger Galaxy S10+. A third new Galaxy S10 is expected to debut alongside those two models, and it’ll feature less impressive specs and a lower price tag. This is the same strategy Apple is using with its 2018 iPhone lineup.

Of note, Samsung’s entry-level Galaxy S10 model likely won’t include the same FOD tech as the other two versions. Instead, there has been some chatter that the phone’s fingerprint sensor will be embedded in the power button on the side of the handset.

Where size is concerned, the Galaxy S10 is expected to have a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display while the larger Galaxy S10+ features a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED screen. That would be the largest display Samsung has ever used on a flagship smartphone. Thanks to the new design and smaller bezels, however, the phone should be about the same size as the current Galaxy S9+, which features a 6.2-inch screen. It’s currently not known how large the display will be on the entry-level Galaxy S10 model.

Moving along to performance, the Galaxy S10 is expected to be powered by next-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon and Samsung Exynos chipsets. Both new chips will use a 7nm process, but not much is known about the Snapdragon 855 at this point. Details surrounding the Exynos 9820 leaked just yesterday, however, and it appears as though it’s going to bring huge performance improvements to the Galaxy S10. The Exynos 9820 will be found in the Galaxy S10 models sold in most markets, while the versions available in the United States and China will likely be powered by the new Snapdragon chipset. Next-generation LPDDR5 RAM chips and UFS3.0 flash storage modules will also offer improved efficiency and faster performance.

Last but certainly not least, we arrive at the cameras. The cameras on this year’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ got pretty substantial upgrades, but Samsung’s 2019 Galaxy S phones are expected to take a huge step forward in this department.

According to a big leak from earlier this week, the Galaxy S10+ phablet will feature a total of five cameras. The back of the phone will pack a triple-lens setup like the Huawei P20 Pro, but the third lens won’t be monochrome. Instead, the report in question stated that the phone will have a 12-megapixel wide-angle sensor, a 12-megapixel telephoto sensor for optical zoom and Portrait Mode photos, and a new 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor with a viewing angle of 120 degrees. Around front, the Galaxy S10+ is believed to include a standard wide-angle lens and a secondary telephoto lens to enable Portrait Mode selfies.

It was initially believed that the 5.8-inch Galaxy S10 would feature a dual-lens rear camera and a single-lens selfie camera. That would make the triple-lens setup on the S10+ one of the phone’s main selling points aside from size. While that’s still a possibility, the report from earlier this week said that the 5.8-inch model will sport the same triple-lens rear camera as the Galaxy S10+. The phone is still expected to feature a single-lens selfie cam, and the entry-level Galaxy S10 model may include single-lens camera solutions on the front and back.

There are a few more tidbits floating around the rumor mill right now, but none of the remaining info is well sourced. For example, a few reports have suggested that the Galaxy S10 will feature a 3D facial recognition system like the iPhone X, while others say the phone’s 3D scanning capabilities will be confined to the back of the phone and will be used for enhanced augmented reality features. The Galaxy S10’s design and pricing are the biggest remaining question marks though, and we likely still have a while to wait before those key questions are answered.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.