Samsung Galaxy S10: Here’s everything we know

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While the Samsung Galaxy S9 will go down as one of 2018’s most popular Android smartphones, work on its replacement, the Samsung Galaxy S10, is well underway. What should we expect from Samsung’s next flagship?

Whether it’s an even more advanced camera or jaw-dropping good looks, we’ve gathered all the rumors, leaks, and news into one place so you can quickly find everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S10.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S9’s camera is a great leap ahead from the Galaxy S8, but what about its plans for the Galaxy S10? Samsung may take a leaf out of Huawei’s book, and increase camera performance by adding more lenses.

In December, famed Samsung leaker Ice Universe gave the best hint at what the camera setup may look like on the Galaxy S10 trio. According to the tipster, the Galaxy S10 Lite will have one front-facing camera and two rear cameras, while the Galaxy S10 will have one front-facing camera and three rear cameras.  The Galaxy S10 Plus will have two front-facing cameras along with three rear-facing cameras.

Ice Universe is not the only person offering camera predictions on the Samsung Galaxy S10. Earlier this year Sammobile predicted the Galaxy S10 will come with three camera lenses on the back. The main lens will be the same 12-megapixel variable aperture lens that we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S9, joined by a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens with a 123-degree field of view, an f/1.9 aperture, but no optical image stabilization or auto-focus. The third lens seems to be the same one we saw on the S9 Plus — a 13-megapixel lens with a much smaller f/2.4 aperture, likely equipped with a 2x telephoto zoom.

The report also suggests that only a larger Galaxy S10 Plus would be equipped with the full three lenses — the smaller S10 would likely have just two lenses, and it’s not immediately clear which lens would be left out. The Bell claims the S9 Plus’ dual-lens camera will return on the S10 Plus, but with an additional 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. It also says the S10 will come with a dual selfie camera.

The Wall Street Journal also provided rumored information about the camera setup on the 5G edition of the Samsung Galaxy S10. It says the flagship will feature four cameras lens on its rear and two front-facing cameras. Details are sparse on what the lenses will actually do, but it’s claimed the lenses “promise richer photos and better spatial perception.”

Design

Ice Universe

Will the Galaxy S10’s look deviate from the Galaxy S8 and S9? It seems so.

Reports vary on the screen size of the Galaxy S10, and it all comes down to the number of models. Noted and experienced leakster Evan Blass has thrown his lot in on the S10 screen size debate, backing up reports that Samsung is currently testing for three models of the S10. The first model, nicknamed the S10 Lite, sports a 5.8-inch screen. The middle model, the S10, has a 6.1-inch display. The largest model, the S10 Plus, would have a 6.4-inch display. These measurements are apparently based on case manufacturer estimations though, so take them with a pinch of salt (for now). The pictures also contain the small cutouts for the front-facing cameras, eliminating almost all bezel.

samsung galaxy s10 news and rumors dt3vhk5uwaan8al jpg large
Evan Blass | @evleaks

Previous reports from the Wall Street Journal said the display sizes for the Samsung Galaxy S10 would range from 5.8 inches to 6.4 inches, and that a future 5G model would feature a massive 6.7-inch screen. TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims there will be one model with a 5.8-inch display, one with a 6.1-inch display, and one with a 6.4-inch display, and that the two higher-end models will have an in-display fingerprint sensor. All of the phones are expected to ship with AMOLED screens.

According to the latest news from IceUniverse, the S10 will not deviate from previous galaxy smartphones in one particular way: The headphone jack. According to a short video of an alleged S10 protective case, the S10 range will still sport the venerable port. If true, this will likely be very welcome news for Samsung fans, many of whom are keen to see support for the port continue.

Excitingly, in September, Samsung CEO DJ Koh reported the upcoming Galaxy S10 lineup will sport radical changes, but he didn’t go into detail outside of saying the phone will come in an “amazing” array of color options. In addition to bright yellow and green options — with Huawei P20 Pro-style gradient finishes — Samsung may use ceramic for the rear panel on a black and white Galaxy S10, according to SamMobile.

Ceramic looks great, with a high-shine, premium feeling finish, but it’s also very strong, meaning the back of the phone should resist scratches and marks more effectively. The rumor does not have a source, so take it as speculation for now, but Samsung wouldn’t be the first to use the hard-wearing material on a phone — Xiaomi, Essential, and even OnePlus have used ceramic before.

In December, famed Samsung leaker Ice Universe offered us a glimpse of what he believes the upcoming Galaxy S10 will look like. While it’s just a render, it’s worth noting he is one of the best Samsung leakers in the business and has based his predictions, at least partially, off a screen protector.

91 Mobiles

The primary difference between the render from Ice Universe and those from 91 Mobiles is bezel size. Ice Universe believes the bezels will be nearly non-existent on the Galaxy S10. A day earlier, 91 Mobiles released renders of what it believes the Samsung Galaxy S10 will look like. The renders are fairly similar, and show a phone with a nearly 100 percent screen-to-body-ratio, thanks to cutouts in the AMOLED display for the camera sensors.

Ice Universe

The speaker grille is also missing from both renders, suggesting the Galaxy S10 will have a bone-conduction speaker. However, the screen protector Ice Universe used for reference does appear to show a small notch for a speaker grille. Although bone-conduction speakers sound good in theory, it’s likely Samsung will wait until the technology is further developed before using it in a phone.

Ice Universe

Shortly after Ice Universe showed off the front of the Galaxy S10, he published a render of the back of the phone. And while there’s been a lot of speculation about the camera array on the Galaxy S10, Ice Universe believes the phone will have dual lenses. It’s also worth noting there’s no fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone: The S10 will reportedly ship with an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor.

There’s also the off-chance different versions of the Samsung Galaxy S10 will have different camera configurations. A render from 91 Mobiles shows a triple camera array on the Galaxy S10, and the Wall Street Journal reports at least one version of the upcoming flagship will ship with four camera sensors.

91 Mobiles

There may be three versions of the Galaxy S10, according to sources who spoke with Bloomberg. The rumor is similar to one from The Bell earlier this year, and says the upcoming phones are referred to under the code name Beyond; the Beyond 1 and Beyond 2 are likely the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. At least two models will reportedly feature fingerprint-on-display (FOD) technology as well as AMOLED screens. The sources also refer to the Beyond 0, which is possibly a Galaxy S10 Mini — a budget version of the flagship apparently with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Samsung often releases a tough version of its latest Galaxy S phone, so the Beyond 0 may also refer to a Galaxy S10 Active.

Specifications

Ice Universe / @UniverseIce

Samsung remains tight-lipped about the Galaxy S10, but we know one thing for sure: The initial version won’t be the company’s first phone with 5G. Samsung’s CEO DJ Koh Dong-Jin confirmed that fact at a press event in South Korea, squashing any previous rumors that claimed otherwise. That doesn’t mean there will not be a 5G version of the Galaxy S10 however; Bloomberg is reporting the South Korean smartphone giant has at least one 5G version of the S10 in the works to be released in 2019.

Earlier this year, Koh said that Samsung was working with carriers to roll out a 5G phone by March 2019 in certain locations. And while he didn’t provide many details, Bloomberg is reporting the 5G-compatible Samsung Galaxy S10 may be a Verizon exclusive. In November 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported Samsung would initially release its 5G smartphone in the U.S. and South Korea.

As far as other specs are concerned, it’s a fair bet that U.S. versions of the Galaxy S10 will feature a new iteration of Qualcomm’s mobile chipset, most likely the Snapdragon 855. And while Qualcomm has not officially announced its next mobile processor, the company did provide some details about it in a press release in August 2018, stating that its next mobile chip will be built using a 7nm process node and paired with the Snapdragon X60 5G modem. For the rest of the world, it’s likely Samsung will use its Exynos 9820 chipset for the Galaxy S10. Samsung claims its new chip provides a 20-percent performance boost over its predecessor and is 40 percent more efficient.

The new Exynos 9820 chipset also has a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) to support artificial intelligence (A.I.) tasks, and support 8K video at 30 frames per second. While there’s a 2.0 Gbps LTE modem on the Exynos 9820 SoC, there’s no 5G modem — but we anticipate Samsung will create a special 5G version of the Galaxy S10 using either the Snapdragon 855 SoC, or a custom chipset.

In November 2018, Samsung tipster extraordinaire Ice Universe provided more details regarding specs for the Galaxy S10 Plus. An AnTuTu benchmark shows at least one version of the phone (likely one not available in the U.S.) will have 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. We believe this may be a lower-end model of the S10 Plus since the Samsung Note 9, released in August 2018, shipped in 128GB and 512GB variants.

Release date, name, and price

Techieride

Are we fools for expecting Samsung to stick to its previous release schedule? Perhaps, but we’d still take that wager. However, not everyone agrees: The Bell says Samsung is aiming for a January 2019 release for the Galaxy S10 at the annual CES trade show in Las Vegas.

It’s possible, but unlikely. While Samsung launched the Galaxy S9 at MWC 2018, the Galaxy S8 was launched at its own “Unpacked” event in 2017 — and while the Galaxy S10 may not be as big a redesign as the S8 was, it’s possible that Samsung will again choose to reveal its newest phone at its own special event and not jostle for headlines during CES. However, the reasoning behind a CES launch, is because Samsung may plan to announce its foldable Galaxy X at MWC.

In December 2018, Gizmodo UK ran a story stating the upcoming Samsung Flagship would be announced on February 20, almost a week before MWC. It goes on to say the phone would be available for pre-order immediately after the announcement and would be in stores on March 8. At this point, we wouldn’t put too much stock into this rumor until there’s further verification from another source.

While we don’t know exactly when the next Samsung flagship will be announced, it’s definitely going to be soon. In late November, Techride announced that several models of the Samsung Galaxy S10 had received Rosaccredit certification in Russia. Soon after, the same site published the certification information for two handsets believed to be the Galaxy S10 Plus. One of the phones (SM-G975F) will have a single SIM, while the other (SM-G975F/DS) will sport a dual-sim slot.

As for pricing, Gizmodo UK claims it received a credible leak from a retail source in December that divulged pricing details. The leaker claims the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite will sell for 669 British pounds (around $850). The 128GB version of the S10 will come in at 799 pounds (around $1,000), while the 512GB variant will sell for 999 pounds (around $1,250).

The Galaxy S10 Plus will reportedly come in three different storage configurations. The 128GB S10 Plus will sell for 899 pounds (around $1,150), and the 512GB version will go for 1,099 pounds (around $1,400). If you need a terabyte of onboard storage, be prepared to pay a jaw-dropping 1,399 pounds (around $1,750).

Screen

Samsung’s Galaxy S range of smartphones are known for their trend-setting looks, so how will the Galaxy S10 move things along? There is a constant question mark over whether Samsung will adopt a screen notch, and latest rumors suggest that it will not. Instead, however, it will include a “punch hole” style cutout for the front-facing camera, which will likely be called the “Infinity-O” display. On top of that, according to serial leaker Evan Blass, the phone will feature an in-display fingerprint sensor.

The Infinity-O screen type has been seen in a Samsung presentation, alongside versions with notches and an entirely edge-to-edge screen type, but this is not evidence that it will arrive on the Galaxy S10. Leaked screen protectors have not included a cutout for the camera lens.

How will the Infinity-O screen look, if it’s used? A report from LetsGoDigital uses data from patents to create mockups, giving us an indication.

Samsung itself has shown a selection of exciting new technologies that could mean a future Galaxy phone has a true edge-to-edge display that sets the fingerprint sensor, a speaker, and the front-facing camera behind it.

However, this radical tech may not be ready for the Galaxy S10. If it’s not, a Samsung patent has shown what the company may do instead — and it involves a notch. The small notch, similar to the Huawei Mate 20, would contain the front-facing camera, while other sensors would be placed behind a series of small holes above it. These may vary in size depending on the sensor behind them, which sounds like an unusual design choice. However, while the patent comes from Samsung, it’s not certain the design shown will ever be used on a smartphone.

At an exclusive corporate event in China, and subsequently reported on by Ice Universe on Twitter, Samsung showed concepts of “Sensor Integrated Technology” — which is an AMOLED display with four functions embedded inside it. An “Under Panel Sensor” would allow the front-facing camera to see through the display when needed, eliminating the need for a notch. It’s unclear how Samsung will achieve this.

It also appears that Samsung has perfected its in-display fingerprint sensor after years of attempts. Bloomberg is reporting the upcoming Galaxy S10 will ship with an embedded fingerprint sensor. While it doesn’t provide any specific details, an earlier rumor may provide some clues. The sensor may read fingerprints through ultrasonic pulses rather than rely on the optical technology used on some other smartphones. Using what it calls Sound on Display technology, the display will also have a front-facing speaker built into it. Similar to the Xiaomi Mi Mix, this is likely to use vibrations to emit sound, allowing you to easily hear music without a traditional front-facing speaker.

The bezels around the screen may shrink due to the introduction of a sound-emitting OLED display, says ET News. Instead of using a traditional speaker, bone conduction and vibration will transmit sound directly through the display.

Last but not least is Haptics on Display, technology which will trick your fingers into thinking that they’re pressing buttons, when in reality there are no buttons being pressed. We’ve seen something similar on Apple’s Touch ID sensor. It’s entirely possible none of this technology will be used on the Galaxy S10.

Security

How will you unlock and secure the Galaxy S10? While the S9 has Intelligent Scan tech to take a hybrid image of your face, as well as iris data, it’s not secure enough for purchase verification and a far cry from the highly advanced and secure Face ID introduced on the Apple iPhone X. Samsung may change this for the S10 by introducing a new fingerprint sensor.

In September, Korean tech site ETNews reported that Samsung will use Qualcomm’s third-generation ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensors in its upcoming Galaxy S10 handsets. Qualcomm’s technology can capture 3D fingerprint data, allowing for higher accuracy and better security.

Earlier this year, a patent by Patently Mobile showed Samsung was actively working on an in-display fingerprint sensor. This new sensor would reportedly use ultrasound instead of images to map out one’s fingerprints. While Samsung may be planning to use this secure technology in all of its upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 models, it may also be honing its sensors for a future handset.

These alterations may push Samsung to drop iris scanning from the Galaxy S10, but only if it can master the in-display sensor to accompany a new secure face-recognition system. According to South Korean publication The Bell, prototype samples of the S10 have not been ordered with iris scanners, a decision that may also help offset costs if the two new security systems are being included.

Earlier rumors said Samsung had teamed up with 3D-camera startup Mantis Vision to provide 3D-sensing camera tech for Samsung’s upcoming smartphones, and those rumors have seemingly been confirmed by a report that the Galaxy S10 will include a full 3D camera, potentially equaling the iPhone X experience. This could also help Samsung’s underpowered AR Emoji,  which isn’t anywhere near as accurate as Apple’s Animoji. Tests from across the Digital Trends office led to some — er — fairly disturbing uncanny valley creations.

AR Emoji
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

The discontinuation of iris scanning may only happen if Samsung can include an in-display fingerprint sensor on the S10. Reportedly dropped from the Galaxy Note 9 because of technical issues, it may be ready for the S10. The Bell states Samsung is working hard to create a fingerprint-on-display (FOD) scanner, with some apparent success.

Software and special features

Let's Go Digital

While it’s still too early to know exactly what Samsung plans to bring to the Samsung Galaxy S10, we do have a few ideas. First off, it’s almost certain Samsung’s 2019 flagship will ship with Android P. We’re also expecting to see a major update to Bixby since Samsung purchased Viv, a startup created by the founders of Siri, and has reportedly been working with them on Bixby for a few years.

There’s also the possibility that the Galaxy S10 will feature improved health apps. According to a patent recently unearthed by Let’s Go Digital, Samsung is working on an app that determines your skin type and can suggest recommendations to limit sun exposure.  The app will apparently use photos of different parts of your body to determine skin type. Once your skin type is registered it can constantly provide tips and measure your UV exposure.

Last year for the Plus model

Let’s be honest: There’s not a huge difference between Samsung Galaxy Plus handsets and their Note siblings. And in an overly saturated smartphone market, it becomes difficult to justify releasing two similar handsets each year.

According to The Bell, Samsung is planning to retire its Plus line of Galaxy handsets after the release of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus in 2019. The company plans to merge the Plus model handsets with its Note line to increase profitability. The rumor comes on the heels of news that sales of the Galaxy S9 smartphones have been sluggish, with second quarter shipments falling behind the pace for the first quarter.

Updated on December 12, 2018: Possible launch date, in-store date, and pricing leaked.

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