The smartphones in the Galaxy S10 family are equipped with Samsung's first Dynamic AMOLED displays. It's like the Super AMOLEDs of yesteryear, but with an emphasis on HDR - these Galaxies are the first smartphones to support HDR10+ (the '+' is what counts here). But most importantly, these panels are much better now.
The S10+ in particular has a 6.4-inch panel with 1440x3040px resolution - QuadHD+, if you're so inclined, in a 19:9 aspect ratio. Pixel density works out to a plentiful 526ppi.
Oh, we almost forgot - it's an Infinity-O display, the 'O' denoting the cutout for the selfie camera.
We measured 385nits of maximum brightness on our S10+ unit when handling the slider manually. Letting the Auto take over, the phone is capable of cranking that up to more than twice that - 793nits in our test. That's a class-leading result and a substantial jump from the Note9 and S9+, and also the iPhone XS Max. The iPhone remains capable of pushing the manual brightness much higher than the S10+, if that's your thing.
Now, regarding the measurement of max brightness, it must be noted that our results differ from the numbers Samsung quotes (up to 1200nits). But we do carry out our brightness testing at a 75% average picture level (APL), which means that our white test pattern takes up 75% of the physical size of the screen as we consider this a rather real-life level.
Due to the nature of the technology, an AMOLED screen would be able to push its brightness progressively higher as the area that needs to be lit up in white gets smaller. So any AMOLED max screen brightness measurement is only comparable with other tests when the size of the test pattern is clear.
We can only imagine Samsung's claim for 1200nits maximum brightness may very well be true, it would just be measured under different conditions (with a smaller APL). We played around just to see what happens with a 10% APL and we got a 1025-nit reading. Also, we can't exclude the option that Samsung may be driving their screen to the advertized brightness level only when certain conditions are met - such as when playing HDR video. So we hope you get our point, you should compare these test results only to the other devices we ourselves have tested.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
In our sunlight legibility test, the Galaxy S10+ is unsurprisingly a top-class performer. Our reading for it under direct light is right up there with the S9+, Note9, and iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XS and the Mate 20 Pro still reach higher values.
The handling of colors that's been more or less unchanged for generations of Galaxies has been overhauled. The menu now gives you two settings - Vivid and the default Natural. Natural is tuned for the sRGB color space where we measured an average DeltaE of 1.9 and a maximum of 4.1. The whites remain accurate to within a DeltaE of 2, which is stellar.
The Vivid mode comes with a significantly punchier output which we didn't find to be accurate to any particular color space. Previously, the Basic mode was tuned for sRGB, AMOLED Photo was accurate to the AdobeRGB color space, and AMOLED Cinema was the go-to mode for DCI-P3 content. On the S10+ you don't get that differentiation.
When in Vivid mode, you get a slider for adjusting the color temperature in a five-step range from cool to warm, with the default in between. There is an additional set of RGB sliders under the advanced button below. We didn't find the sliders to improve accuracy, though we won't judge if you like a particular look you can achieve with them.
As for HDR10+, let's try for a simple explanation. Think of it like this - even an HDR panel may end up having a narrower dynamic range than you may want within a single movie. HDR10 content comes with static metadata that specifies how to allocate that available dynamic range from the moment you start the playback. If your display's dynamic range is 16 arbitrary units, and your movie spans 20 units, you'd lose 4 when playing back because the dynamic range was preallocated for the best average for this movie. Imagine that you could allocate on the fly the 16 units of DR based on the dynamic range needed to display each individual frame instead of setting it in the beginning. That's roughly what the '+' in HDR10+ does. Basically, HDR10+ uses a similar principle for employing dynamic metadata to Dolby Vision, only minus the royalty fees.
There's the tiny caveat that as of now, HDR10+ content is realistically only available on Amazon Prime Video, and devices that support it are few. Those include, you guessed it, some Samsung TVs, some TVs by Panasonic and Philips, and these Galaxy S10s here.
The Galaxy S10+ has a 4,100mAh power pack inside - one of the highest capacity batteries around. The Mate 20 Pro still has that extra 100mAh more, while the arch-rival iPhone XS Max only packs a 3,174mAh cell. All three of these have essentially the same display area, though the iPhone has a lower-res display - of course, there's also the matter of each maker having its own chipset inside.
In our testing the Exynos version of the Galaxy S10+ clocked a little short of 12 hours in Wi-Fi web browsing and almost 15 hours of looping videos in airplane mode. We measured a full 24 hours of 3G voice calls too. All of that resulted in an overall Endurance rating of 91 hours.
Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSer App. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Samsung Galaxy S10+ for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
Comparing the numbers to the two phones above, there are a few differences here and there, with mostly the iPhone's poor voice call endurance (16:08h) standing out. The S10+ outlasts the XS Max by an hour in video playback, with the Mate 20 Pro quitting yet half an hour later. The Mate is also the champ in web browsing beating the Galaxy by some 2 hours, leaving the iPhone in third.
Overall, the Galaxy S10+'s battery life is very good, it's just we were expecting (hoping for?) even better endurance, fooled by the significant increase in capacity over last year's model (3,500mAh in the S9+).
Filling up that battery once it's been depleted happens with Samsung's Adaptive Fast Charger that's been around unchanged since the dawn of time (or the Galaxy S5, same thing). It's rated at 9V/1.67A and 5V/2A, so 15W is the maximum it'll output. It charges the S10+ from flat to full in 1:33h with the battery indicator showing 41% at the half-hour mark - so not really all that bad, especially considering the big battery. For perspective, the Mate 20 Pro gets a full charge in 1 hour flat and it's at 74% 30 minutes into it, while the iPhone's 5V/1A dinosaur of an adapter only pumps in 15% in half an hour.
Now, the Galaxy S10+ can also be charged wirelessly and it supports Samsung's Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, which is Qi-based as before. We didn't have such a charger to test with, but the previous generation 9W Samsung Fast Chargers yielded something along the lines of 20% for 30 minutes and 3 hours for a full charge.
Ah, not only can the S10+ be charged wirelessly, it can also charge other devices. The feature is called Wireless PowerShare and has a toggle to enable it in the quick toggles area and it'll turn off if there's nothing to be charged within a certain amount of time. Perhaps the best bit is that you can be charging your S10+ with a cable and it can simultaneously charge a second device wirelessly. We can see this being handy for filling up two devices overnight when travelling light and carrying a single adaptor and cable.
The Galaxy S10+ has a stereo speaker setup that's made up of the main bottom-firing loudspeaker and the earpiece (a fairly typical front-facing one, wink). When holding the phone in landscape, each speaker handles the respective channel, while in portrait they're assigned the channel they had last time they were in landscape. Of course, the dedicated bottom speaker is boomier, there's no escaping that.
In our three-pronged test, the Galaxy S10+ posted an 'Excellent' score for speaker loudness, showing an improvement over both the S9+ and the Note9's 'Very Good' marks. It's also a joy to listen to, with noticeably more presence than the S9+ and sound remaining clear at max volume.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is an extraordinary phone when it comes to audio reproduction. Its clarity was perfect with an active external amplifier and plugging in headphones had no impact whatsoever - a truly rare feat.
Volume levels were impressive too - the Galaxy S10+ was among the loudest phones we've heard in both parts of the test. Even the most demanding audiophiles with super high-impedance headphones will have a hard time finding something wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S10+'s audio output.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|+0.05, -0.04||-92.6||93.5||0.0026||0.072||-58.7||+0.02, -0.16||-92.1||92.0||0.0017||0.013||-85.6|
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.