Let's start by discussing the two elephants in the room: the S10+'s pricing, and the imminent launch of the Galaxy Note10. For most people who don't care about the S Pen or marginally larger screens, the S10+ shouldn't feel inferior to the Note10 in any way.
If you're outright paying the full price of the phone, the S10+ may so far have been too expensive to consider. Of course the situation can be vastly different when it comes to carrier subsidies or installment plans. And we've recently started seeing more and more deals that bring even the full price down, but the fact remains that this handset is anything but affordable. That situation could soon be improved by the arrival of the Note10, which may push the S10+'s pricing to a lower level that's more palatable for more people.
Even so, it's important to remember that competing at this level is expensive for Samsung, and it's not all down to the bill of materials. R&D costs, marketing, distribution in all parts of the globe - all of those things take a toll. There's also the added brand cachet of competing head to head in the hyper-premium segment with the likes of Apple.
The S10+ comes with a camera system that is easily among the best out there right now - with exact classifications depending on your specific tastes and use cases more than anything else. There aren't very many devices out there playing the realism card in camera image algorithms anymore, so at this point you basically have to choose how much you want the phone to 'improve' upon what your eyes saw when snapping a picture. We feel like the S10+ strikes a very good balance in this regard, between realism and accuracy on one side, and shots that simply 'pop', on the other.
The phone has beautiful premium hardware, a uniquely shaped hole in its display housing the front facing cameras, sturdy build quality, and it's even less slippery in the hand than you might expect. Its innards are packed with ample RAM and storage and Samsung's highest-performing chipset ever, while the battery capacity has been upped significantly from the S9+'s and that has resulted in great endurance.
It's got a unique in-display fingerprint sensor, a revamped software experience that's truly a departure from Samsung's past skins on top of Android, and hey, it still has a headphone jack. If you love having options, choices, and knobs everywhere to control a gazillion aspects of your smartphone experience, then this is definitely the phone for you. Or, one of a select few, to be accurate.
Likewise if you value screen quality - there are only a few handsets out there that will deliver the absolute best panels in the industry right now, and the S10+ is part of that group. And the dual curves on the sides make for a look that's still mesmerizing, even though there are some downsides relating to glare and accidental touches.
For all of its advantages, amazing hardware and fresh software, the S10+ feels slower than some of its competitors. It won't win any race when it comes to either perceived speed or smoothness. In many ways it provides a premium experience worthy of its price tag, but it doesn't quite reach 100%.
While for most people the performance will be adequate, we can't help but feel that Samsung missed an opportunity to truly make its flagship the fastest and smoothest Android phone out there. While working on the brand new One UI, it could have focused more on that, alongside the user interface and user experience improvements, and then it would have had the phone to beat, on all counts.
As it is, we're finding ourselves having mixed feelings about the S10+. It's very close to perfection in many regards, but not quite there. That's the beauty of the mobile world, though - there are so many choices that you can easily pick one based on your unique priorities alone. From where we're standing, the S10+'s advantages heavily outweigh its disadvantages for everyone except those who are primarily focused on raw perceived speed, be that of the UI in general or the fingerprint authentication.
The Galaxy S10+ is one of the best all-rounders currently available in the smartphone world. It's undoubtedly the best Samsung flagship ever made, and it can hold its own in a lot of areas. It's not the perfect smartphone for everyone, but it could very well be the best smartphone for most people.
Note: we've used the Exynos-powered Galaxy S10+ for this long-term review, so all of our assessments made here are based on living with that handset. A quick Google search on the differences between it and the Snapdragon 855 model would reveal that the latter seems to have a slight upper hand in some areas like camera image quality, performance, and battery life. The differences don't seem to be huge, but they are something to keep in mind.
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