Quality-wise, the Super AMOLED Infinity Display fitted to the Galaxy S10+ is among the best there is at the moment, in any smartphone. It's a joy to look at, no matter what the ambient light conditions around you may be, and it's easily visible even in direct sunlight. In short, you will never go wrong with the Galaxy S10+ on the display front, not by a long shot.
Samsung has toned down the number of screen modes this year, and it's a welcome change, as it drastically simplifies your options. Stay with the default Vivid mode if you love extra saturation, or go with Natural if you want the most accuracy. You also get automatic color management in this mode, which will switch from sRGB to DCI-P3 based on how the content you're looking at is encoded. Additionally, Vivid mode comes with a white point slider, so if you want the extra color saturation but not with the downside of bluish whites, you can adjust that towards Warm.
The default resolution out of the box still isn't the full one the panel is capable of, and this continues to baffle us. If there's a huge number of people out there who enjoy the very marginal power savings that come with downscaling to lower resolutions, then Samsung could have catered to them simply by having the option to go lower than QHD+, without making 1080p+ the default. After all, you're buying a gorgeous, high-res screen in this phone, and not utilizing that gorgeousness to its full potential from the moment you take it out of the box doesn't make a lot of sense.
Plus, people who actually care about the aforementioned screen resolution settings would undoubtedly have been able to locate them and change them if necessary. Alternatively it could just be that Samsung is betting most people won't notice the difference in pixel density, but then the obvious question is - why did it choose to use a high-res panel in the first place? Just for the spec sheet bragging rights?
As this is an AMOLED panel, unsurprisingly you get an Always On Display, and it works very well. You can schedule it to turn on and off at specific times, and it's very customizable, as almost everything else on a Samsung phone. It's a useful way to quickly see what time it is, what notifications you've got waiting for you, and what song is currently playing.
Overall the S10+'s screen is amazing and one of the best ever put in a smartphone. Auto-brightness works well for the most part, but you can always manually adjust it if you feel it's doing something wrong, and it will remember each customization you make and then apply it automatically in the future when it is subjected to the same amount of ambient light.
While in recent years Samsung has continuously toned down the lateral curves of the screens of its flagships (more so with the Note line than the S devices), they're still there, with everything that entails. The 'endless' look with the on-screen content seemingly dropping off to the sides is still quite a sight to behold, but as more and more competitors are also starting to use double edge-curved AMOLED panels this is becoming less and less of a competitive advantage.
The downsides are still there too: the glare coming from the edges, depending on how light hits the screen, and of course the accidental touches in those areas, triggered by the palm of the hand you're holding the phone with. Palm rejection in the S10+ is good, but could have been better, so you're probably going to have to constantly adjust your grip in order not to trigger accidental touches - especially if you're coming from a smartphone that didn't have curved display edges.
We want to say this is something that you'll adjust to in time, but even after many weeks of using the S10+ we still found it pretty annoying sometimes. Obviously though, your mileage may vary, and you may dig the looks of the curved panel so much that you're willing to live with this. We know we do. Slapping a case on the handset helps, so if you are going to do that anyway, then this becomes more bearable, although that introduces another downside to the curved edges: cases will have 'lips' protecting the screen from falls only on the top and bottom, so there's less all-round protection here than would be possible with a vanilla "2.5D glass" covered screen.
Samsung took a long time to get with the notch trend, and for its flagships this year it just skipped that design element entirely. Instead, the two front cameras are housed in a literal hole in the display, in the upper right side. That is still almost like a notch, but you do gain a small screen area in between the hole-punch and the upper bezel. We aren't sure if this is really worth it, though, especially with the off-center placement of the punch-hole.
As you'd expect, it moves all of the icons that are right-aligned in the status bar to the center, which makes for an odd look. Granted, a lot of people may become used to that in time, but others, like us, might struggle with 'muscle memory', instinctively looking at the top right part of the screen to quickly glance at the connections and battery percentage. On the S10+, those are not where you'd expect them to be, hence you'll need to move your gaze just a little bit to the left, every single time.
We're wondering why the hole-punch couldn't just be centered, thus providing an easy differentiation point between the left and right sides of the status bar. The Note10 that's on the way has been rumored to come with a centered hole-punch, so OCD sufferers will probably find in that one more reason to pick that handset up instead of the S10+, alongside the S-Pen and possibly larger screen area.
While it hasn't outright incorporated all of the mobile world's newest trends (pop-up selfie cameras come to mind), Samsung did fit the Galaxy S10+ with an in-display fingerprint sensor. This is a mixed bag at best, even with the latest updates.
The other Android manufacturers all use optical sensors under their screens, while Samsung chose an ultrasonic one. The latter has theoretical advantages over the former, chief among them being that there's no need to illuminate your finger with a ray of light as it's touching the designated area on the screen. That's required for the optical models because they're literally taking a picture of your finger when you touch them. In low-light situations this can get annoying, say when you want to unlock your phone in the dark. The ultrasonic sensor is also better at unlocking even if your finger is slightly wet or sweaty, and it's supposedly a bit more secure too.
That's great, but in practice the S10+'s sensor is slower than a lot of optical ones. It's not just slower than the latest-gen optical scanners, it's even slower than the previous-gen models, such as the one in the OnePlus 6T. We have both phones around and it's not a contest - the 6T's is faster every single time (with a big caveat here that is you should enroll your fingers in a dark space first). It's also easier to use because the highlighted area where you need to touch the screen to unlock is bigger, so there's less fiddling involved.
On the other hand, the S10+'s sensor is slightly more accurate and reliable, especially after you enroll the same finger multiple times from different angles. But that difference is marginal and if we were to pick, right now we'd go with a latest-gen optical sensor. They're almost as fast as traditional capacitive fingerprint scanners at this point, while Samsung's simply isn't. The Korean company did improve its performance with software updates since the phone came out, but we're not sure if it can fix it further, to bring it at least to par, speed-wise, with the best optical sensors from last year.
The slow animations don't help either. You can tap the display once to bring up the fingerprint image that tells you where to place your finger, but for some reason that can't just instantly show up - it has to be 'drawn' by an animation that is entirely unnecessary and this will waste half a second every single time. Alternatively, you can just learn where the sensor is positioned and simply hit that area without any cue, and this is the way to go if you aren't a particularly patient person.
On the topic of animations, the Screen transition effect option that resides in Settings > Biometrics and security > Biometrics preferences is something we turned off immediately upon setting up the Galaxy S10+, thinking it would get rid of animations entirely and thus speed things up, but it didn't to the former and had only a marginal effect on how fast unlocking is. Still, we felt it necessary to mention that our thoughts regarding how fast the sensor is haven't been influenced by that.
Face unlock is an option but it's of the unsecure variety that uses just the front camera for authentication, which means it will be fooled by being shown a photo or video of you. There are actually two modes here, one in which the recognition is faster but that's even less secure than usual. We agree with Samsung that it is in fact very fast, on par with the fastest RGB camera based face unlocking implementations out there.
If you don't enable Faster recognition, then unsurprisingly it gets slower, to the point where it takes around the same time to unlock the phone using this method as the fingerprint sensor.