Review: 5 Things We Love About Samsung's Galaxy S10+

The CRN Test Center gives high marks to the new Samsung flagship for its display, camera and ultrasonic fingerprint scanner.


With each new year, there are fewer and fewer reasons to brush aside Samsung's Galaxy smartphones as an alternative option to Apple’s iPhone.

At the CRN Test Center, we think Samsung's latest flagship, the Galaxy S10+, is the strongest offering in the series yet--and biggest challenger to the iPhone’s dominance in the U.S.--thanks to improvements to its design, performance and usability.

[Related: Samsung: Galaxy S10 Offers 'Compelling Story' For Businesses]

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What follows are our five favorite things about the Galaxy S10+, which has a starting price of $999.99.


The Galaxy S10+ features a 6.4-inch display, which makes it a bit larger than the 6.2-inch display on its predecessor model, the S9+. But the bigger change--which we consider a major improvement--is the introduction of a new design featuring a front-facing camera in the upper right-hand corner. That has allowed for a much slimmer bezel and improved screen-to-body ratio (93.1 percent, according to Samsung) on the S10+. In a word, the S10+ display just looks terrific, with the phone's AMOLED display vibrant as always and the screen offering a true "edge-to-edge" look (much more so than on the iPhone, with its prominent notch).

While not all reviewers have loved the hole-punch design on the S10+ display, we barely noticed the cutout in the top corner because, a.) it's just not that large, and, b.) it's enough out of the way of where you typically focus while using the device. The S10+ display also gets a boost in outdoor visibility with brightness of up to 1,200 nits, according to Samsung.

User Interface

Samsung has also introduced a new smartphone user interface—dubbed One UI—with the Galaxy S10+, and we're big fans. We see One UI as one of the big ways that the newest Galaxy phones are closing the gap with the iPhone in terms of offering an appealing overall aesthetic. Essentially, One UI succeeds at offering an interface that is cleaner and more minimal than on past Galaxy phones. It also features enhanced visual clarity through improved color tuning, better control of notifications, easier one-handed use and simplified apps--such as having fewer choices in the Settings app.


The Galaxy S10+ offers zippy performance thanks to moving up to a powerful new Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 855, an eight-core processor with a clock speed of up to 2.84 GHz (compared to 2.8 GHz on the Galaxy S9+'s processor, the Snapdragon 845). Along with the bump in processor performance, the Galaxy S10+ also supports WiFi 6 for 20 percent faster wireless speeds. Overall, we think the Galaxy S10+ offers smoother performance than some past Galaxy models we've tried, which have had more hiccups and lag.

For the battery performance, the Galaxy S10+ moves up to a 4,100 mAh battery, 17 percent larger than on the S9+. Our tryout yielded battery life of 13 hours for streaming video, which we consider an excellent result--more than most users will typically need between charging opportunities.


For the Galaxy S10+, Samsung has introduced a new camera sensor—an "ultra-wide" lens for capturing large scenes. The 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera features a 120-degree field of view, which is four times wider than the normal camera field-of-view. This is not just a gimmick -- there are plenty of occasions where having the ability to quickly switch to an ultra-wide shot can make the difference between an amazing photo and a not-so-great one. And the S10+ camera software does indeed make it easy to switch to the ultra-wide camera, with just one tap. Along with the ultra-wide camera, the S10+ rear camera system includes a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens.

Fingerprint Scanner

Initially, the new "ultrasonic" fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S10+ was one of the weak points of the device for us, due to slow log-in and frequent failures to authenticate. But with a recent software update, the ultrasonic scanner has become a highlight of the Galaxy S10+, in our view. As skeptics of facial recognition, we were excited to see Samsung doubling down on fingerprint scanning with the S10+ by developing an in-display scanner--which appears on the unlock screen when needed, and then disappears afterwards.

Following the software update, the ultrasonic scanner now works quickly for log-in, as it's supposed to, and we've noticed much greater accuracy, too. Since unlocking your device is one of the things you do most often with your phone, we're glad to see Samsung investing to improve this experience on the Galaxy S10+.