Samsung Galaxy S10 redux: The best of both worlds

The Samsung Galaxy S10 will be two years old on March 8th, which means many will try to upgrade their devices to a more recent model. Newer S-series smartphones have faster displays, more powerful processors and more noticeable cameras. The latest Galaxy S21 series is a natural upgrade.

However, today I want to talk about the value of this ex-flagship to the renewed smartphone market and why it could be worth your money in 2021. This is the Samsung Galaxy S10 Redux.

Samsung Galaxy S10: The Background

Samsung Galaxy S10 rear view camera module

Recognition: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Galaxy S10 was quite a departure from the design of its predecessor. It was the first device in the Galaxy S series to feature a hole-hole display and a built-in fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S9’s IP68 water and dust resistance, 3.5mm headphone jack, and microSD expansion have been retained, but an ultra-wide and telephoto camera, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and wireless reverse have been added. Store added.

Connected: Samsung Galaxy S series – a story of the biggest name in Android

The design of the Galaxy S10 was the standout feature over the 2019 competition. The thin bezels, curved glass, and gorgeous hole-hole display made the Galaxy S10 look much more premium than the competing Google Pixel 3 XL and iPhone XS – both had large notches and comparatively unconvincing designs.

The sleek design of the Galaxy S10 helped it stand out from the competition in 2019.

Samsung sold more Galaxy S10 models than the previous generation in the quarter following its launch. According to Counterpoint Research, the company sold 16 million units of the S10 series from March to May 2019 – 12% more than the Galaxy S9 series the previous year. This makes sense since the S9 series hasn’t done much to differentiate itself from its predecessor.

The Galaxy S10 Plus was the most popular model in the range. It added a bigger 6.4-inch screen and a bigger 4,000 mAh battery. A selfie depth sensor was also added that enlarged the hole that took up more of the display than that of the standard Galaxy S10.

How does it hold up?

Samsung Galaxy S10 hero shot from home screen

Recognition: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Galaxy S10 doesn’t look too out of place in 2021. It features a glass sandwich layout, a punch display, and curved edges. However, if you pay attention to the details, you will find some key differences between this and newer devices.

Continue reading: Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. Older Galaxy S Phones: Should You Upgrade?

First, the hole is larger than that of the Galaxy S21 and is in the corner rather than the center. This doesn’t work any differently, but it doesn’t look as nifty as the less intrusive, current implementations.

What is also different is the use of glass on the back along with curved edges. These are features that Samsung started phasing out its sub-premium devices in favor of polycarbonate rear cases and flat front glass. A case in point is the Galaxy S21, which uses both.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 focuses on holes and curved edges

Recognition: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Using a 6.1-inch Quad HD Dynamic AMOLED 60Hz display is both better and worse than Samsung’s recent offering. It’s nowhere near as fluid as the 120 Hz panel on the Galaxy S21. It’s much sharper than the S21’s Full HD panel, however. The general user experience of the Galaxy S21 screen is likely to be better as the sharpness drop is barely noticeable and Samsung shipped the S10 in Full HD mode anyway.

There are some great advantages to being a slightly older device. This was the last Samsung Galaxy S series with a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also has a microSD expansion which has been discontinued for the Galaxy S21 series. That versatility is hard to find in a 2021 flagship. For those who appreciate those old features, the Galaxy S10 is a great option.

The Galaxy S10 strikes a balance between modern performance and older features.

The Galaxy S10’s performance is more than acceptable thanks to 8GB of RAM and Snapdragon 855 chipset (or Exynos 9820 in select regions). I tested a few games and turned on my most used social media apps and the device did it without any problems. Depending on the SKU you choose, there is 128GB or 512GB of storage available. This is in line with current offerings but benefits from the expandable storage mentioned above.

I found the Galaxy S10’s battery to be one of the obvious areas where we’ve seen improvements over the past few years. The 3,400 mAh cell is comparatively small as the 4,000 mAh cell of the Galaxy S21, so that the battery life is of course severely affected. I used it for almost a whole day – a below average number for modern smartphones. Fortunately, you get a charger in the box where you don’t with the Galaxy S21, even though the device only charges with 15W as opposed to the 25W of the latest generation.

Continue reading: The case against bundled phone chargers

The Galaxy S10 strikes a good balance between modern performance and older features, making it a unique option in 2021. The outstanding features include the impressive display, the excellent build quality and design, as well as the solid performance even for a two-year-old device.

How do the cameras work?

Samsung Galaxy S10 triple camera close-up

Recognition: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

A smartphone’s camera is one of the most talked about features. To evaluate the S10, we should really test the performance of its four overall cameras. While the hardware used here is different from that of the S21, the focal lengths used are similar and therefore the general versatility of the camera setup is largely the same.

Samsung Galaxy S10
Reversing cameras12MP main, 1: 1.5-2.4, 26mm, OIS
12MP 2x telephoto, f / 2.4, 52 mm, OIS
16 MP ultra wide, f / 2.2, 12 mm

UHD 4K 60fps
FHD 240fps
HD 960fps

Front camera10 MP, f / 1.9, 26 mm, autofocus

UHD 4K 60fps

When looking at the samples, the first thing you notice is the additional saturation and contrast. This has been a huge feature of Samsung smartphone camera samples in the past and is no exception here. This is a more subjective area, but regardless of your preferences, images will not be overly lifelike due to the over-the-top processing.

Another standout feature of the Galaxy S10’s images is the noise. It’s not massively noticeable as long as the light is good, but there is a lot of noise in images where the lighting is not perfect. For example, there is a lot of noise to be heard in the photos of the flowers, where the green is beginning to shadow. The same applies to the image of a path in a city center.

Something pretty crucial that sticks out to me is how much worse the ultra-wide camera is compared to the main and telephoto units. There is much poorer light pickup, which means you get more noise reduction, which can sometimes result in smeared images. There is also less dynamic range. Again, it’s not terrible, but camera consistency, which many phone manufacturers have improved over time.

The selfie quality varies greatly depending on the lighting conditions. With sufficient lighting, there are many details across the board. The camera can capture accurate skin tones and good dynamic range. Entering even slightly suboptimal light, however, leads to strong noise suppression, which means that details are massively reduced. It’s not a terrible selfie camera, but it’s a far cry from the excellent Galaxy S21 selfie camera.

The Galaxy S10’s camera setup shows its age in the small details. It’s still more than usable in 2021 and in great light it can shine. However, performance is below average in more demanding environments, which is a good argument for the latest offerings.

See also: The best camera phones you can get

Samsung Galaxy S10 in 2021: the verdict

Samsung Galaxy S10 on top of the display

Recognition: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

There is no question that the Samsung Galaxy S10 is still a competent phone in 2021. Samsung did a great job keeping the phone up to date with software updates and I recommend them to do so. It balances welcome legacy features with modern performance. For around $ 400 in the US or £ 300 in the UK, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is still a compelling buy in the refurbished or used market.

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