The $1,300 Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is here: What you need to know

Get ready for 5G speed: The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G has landed in the U.S.

samsung galaxy s10 5g news announcement4
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

For the 10th anniversary of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, it’s either go big or go home, and Samsung is going gargantuan. Its ultimate flagship smartphone this year, apart from the experimental Samsung Galaxy Fold, isn’t the Galaxy S10 Plus, but the Galaxy S10 5G.

Updates

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is now available in the U.S.

It’s time to open the doors on a new generation of speed and power — the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is now available in the U.S. If you’ve pre-ordered the device, then you can expect to receive your new 5G phone today, while those who had resisted taking the plunge until they were able to get the device in their hands at a store will finally be able to sample the next evolution in mobiles for themselves. Be warned, not all Verizon stores will be carrying the phone.

It’s a huge and expensive device, but don’t be worried you’ve missed out on the best deals if you didn’t pre-order. Verizon is offering some excellent deals on both variants of the S10 5G, and you’ll be able to pick up the 256GB model for $54.16/month, for 24 months, on Verizon Device Payment. The 512GB model is obviously more expensive, and will put you back $58.33/month. Both of those deals come with 0% APR.

If you’re looking for discounts (and who isn’t?) there are plenty available. You can get up to $450 off in the form of monthly bill credits by trading in an eligible smartphone, while those switching to Verizon can also claim a $200 Mastercard. Be aware that to access 5G networks you’ll need to be on Verizon’s Above and Beyond Unlimited Plan.

Still, if you want to experience the fledgling 5G networks in many U.S. cities, then it’s either this or the Moto Z3 that you’ll need to do it. The S10 5G first launched in South Korea on April 5.

Verizon opens pre-orders for the Galaxy S10 5G

While other notable Samsung phones have, um, “folded,” the Galaxy S10 5G is set for a glorious launch. Verizon has opened its pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, revealing the release date of Samsung’s massive new device, and how much it’ll set you back to access that sweet 5G network speed.

As previously expected, devices are set to be delivered on May 16, matching earlier rumors of the release date. There are two variants on offer — one with 256GB of storage, and one with 512GB. The 256GB version costs a heady $1,300 outright, or $54.16/month for 24 months with a $0 upfront cost. The 512GB version is $1,400 outright, or $58.33/month with $0 upfront cost.

There’s some additional sugar to sweeten this brew though. Verizon is offering up to $650 off as an extra incentive when you switch to Verizon and trade in an eligible device. For those swapping to Verizon, that’s a $200 Prepaid Mastercard when you switch to any Unlimited plan, and up to $450 off an eligible trade-in. Existing customers can still trade in a device for up to $450 off. If you pre-order before May 15 then you’ll also get the Samsung VIP kit, which consists of the Samsung Galaxy Buds, a Wireless Charging Battery Pack, and a water bottle, as well as an extra $10 discount for your 5G access.

Specifications

The phone shares many of the same specifications as the Galaxy S10 Plus, which the company announced alongside the Galaxy S10 and a lower-cost Galaxy S10e, but there’s a massive 6.7-inch screen instead of the 6.4-inch one seen on the Plus. That’s the biggest screen we’ve ever seen in a Galaxy S device. Samsung has also managed to keep the S10 5G’s size almost the same as the 6.4-inch Galaxy Note 9, which is an impressive feat achieved by shrinking down the bezels through the new hole-punch camera display technology.

What exactly is 5G? It’s the fifth-generation mobile network technology, following 4G LTE, and it promises much faster data speeds and lower latency. While there aren’t a lot of 5G networks available yet, U.S. carriers are expected to ramp up deployment in 2019 through 2021, though it’s unlikely we’ll see any kind of nationwide coverage soon. Instead, select cities will have specific 5G zones, so these 5G phones won’t offer too much for the immediate future and will frequently drop back to 4G LTE when there’s no 5G service available.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Galaxy S10 5G is different not just in size from the rest of the S10 range, but because it also has a 5G logo on the back. More importantly, it has a fourth camera on the rear. The ultra-wide-angle, telephoto, and standard lenses that are present on the S10 and S10 Plus are paired with a fourth Time of Flight (ToF) camera on the S10 5G to accurately capture 3D depth data. This ToF camera is also present on the front next to the standard 10-megapixel selfie camera. Samsung said this will enable augmented reality experiences that are only possible through 5G, though no examples were shared of what this may look like.

The ToF cameras also enable a new feature called Video Live Focus — considering Samsung’s Portrait Mode is called Live Focus, which is a portrait-mode live effect for videos, where a blur is added behind a subject. A new tool called Quick Measure is also available, and while Samsung hasn’t mentioned what it does, we presume it means using the depth camera to get measurements of objects in the real world, not unlike Apple’s Measure app.

The rest of the specs, as previously mentioned, are in line with the S10 Plus including the 8GB of RAM, 128GB of base storage, and the in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.

The entire Galaxy S10 range may feature the latest Snapdragon 855 processor from Qualcomm, but it’s the special X50 modem that’s used in the S10 5G that enables connectivity to 5G networks. The rest of the phones do not use this modem, so they won’t work with 5G networks at all. To ensure 5G doesn’t cause any major battery drain — which was a problem with some of the first 4G devices — Samsung has outfitted a massive 4,500mAh battery in the Galaxy S10 5G. To juice this beefy battery back up, Samsung’s also outfitting the S10 5G with Super Fast Charging at 25W, so you shouldn’t need to wait too long to get back to 100 percent.

Price and availability

Three colors will be available for the S10 5G, including a black, gold, and silver model.

The Galaxy S10 5G is now available in the U.S. on May 16, exclusively from Verizon, but it will come to other carriers later this summer. The phone’s cost starts from $1,300.

Updated on May 16, 2019: The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is now available.

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