The Galaxy S10 5G is one of four different variants of the latest flagship device released by Samsung this year.
As well as being the only 5G-enabled smartphone of the series, it packs a bigger battery and slightly larger screen than the one found on the S10+.
It's also the most expensive of the four but the best option if you can’t wait to experience super-fast 5G speeds.
First impressions and design
- Large but excellent design makes it easy to handle
- Big, beautiful screen cut out at the front
- Limited number of colours
Unlike the standard S10 line-up, the S10 5G comes in a more limited choice of colours. Silver, Black or Gold. The “Crown Silver” translucent-like surface changes its hue from pale pink to light sky blue depending on the angle at which it catches the light.
Bigger even than the S10+, the S10 5G still benefits from the same build quality and good design that makes it easy to handle, despite the dimensions.
The latest version of the incredibly tough Gorilla Glass is used for both the front and back of the device, which both curve around the metal frame, making the device feel thinner.
The S10 5G and the Standard S10 (in Black). Apart from the additional camera lenses, a first look reveals identical design.
||Gorilla Glass 6 and Metal frame
||162.6 x 77.1 x 7.9 mm
||Water and dust resistant to IP68 Standard
Screen and Sound
- Only slightly bigger than the S10+
- HDR+ enhances light balance for supported videos
- The black cut-out at the front of the screen gets in the way of full screen videos
As with the rest of the S10 series, the 5G comes with an audio jack at the bottom. Given that this has been dropped in the updated Note series, the is likely to be the last Galaxy S generation to be equipped with a 3.5mm audio output. Audio reproduction with the internal speaker is the same as the rest of the S10 line - a cut above its competitors.
When it comes to displays, Samsung has very little to fear from its rivals. The Dynamic AMOLED seen on the S10 5G has the same resolution and pixel density on the S10+.
The front cameras can get in the way when watching full screen videos and games.
There is plenty of brightness from the AMOLED display and you’ll be able to use it without squinting even in full sunshine
As with the S10 and S10+, Samsung offer a “Video enhancer feature”. It adjusts the colour reproduction so that details are not lost in darker areas of a video. It makes a huge difference if you use your device for TV watching while travelling and in conditions of changing light.
Watching videos full screen on the S10 5G (below) compared to the standard S10. There is very little different in brightness and detail as they both use the same technology but the larger 5G is a better option if you tend to use your device for videos.
The blacked-out area at the top pushes the system icons, such as battery life, to the centre of the screen. This may look a little strange at first, but you’ll soon get used to it.
||1440 x 3040 pixels
The additional 3D sensor is what makes the front cut-out bigger than the one seen on the S10+ and the smaller S10.
The purpose of the sensor is to provide the camera with depth data so that it can simulate the blurred background selfie, giving you striking portraits.
S10 5G selfie sample 2
S10 5G selfie sample 1
All the background blur tricks available on the main cameras are available for selfies. Select "Live Focus" when taking the picture and then select and adjust your best effects.
The same happens at the back, where you’ll find the 12MP main camera flanked by the 12MP telephoto with 2x optical zoom and an ultra-wide 16MP that can help you squeeze more of a scene into your frame.
Galaxy S10 5G samples garden zoom
Galaxy S10 5G samples garden standard
Galaxy S10 5G samples garden wide
Galaxy S10 5G samples 4
Galaxy S10 5G samples 5
Galaxy S10 5G samples 6
||12MP f/2.1 2x zoom, 52mm equivalent
|Optical Image stabilisation
||Yes, except on the Wide-angle
Performance and battery life
- Bigger battery makes up for 5G and bigger screen
- No additional memory card slot
- Supports wireless charging
The Galaxy S10 5G runs on the same hardware platform seen on the S10+ and 8GB of RAM, which is plenty for frustration-free use even when the inevitable upgrade to Android 10 arrives next year.
The smaller S10, next to the S10 5G (right). The only storage option available for
the 5G is 256GB which should be enough for most people but unlike the standard S10, there is no SD card slot so no possibility to upgrade it if more storage is needed.
The fingerprint reader is on-screen. A solution aimed at saving space but is still behind the traditional dedicated pad when it comes to speed and reliability.
Samsung has adopted an ultra-song technology for its fingerprint recognition. It does require you to press on the screen with the right force and may require some getting used to. Luckily, face recognition works well every time and it is a more convenient way to unlock your phone.
The Battery is one of the main differences between the S10+ and the S10 5G. The latter comes with a bigger 4500mAh that supports fast charging and should deliver almost two days of light use.
Things can be very different when using the 5G connection, however. Online gaming or streaming at high speeds does affect the battery and we can see why Samsung has decided to bulk up the one on this model. On average, however, rest assured this is a device that will take you comfortably to the end of the day.
Connecting to 5G should be the single most important reason to purchase this device. It may not be a necessary upgrade for everyone, but if you are frustrated by slow speeds when streaming media and accessing services such as map and navigation, this will make a huge difference to your daily mobile use. Furthermore, only a tiny fraction of the potential 5G traffic is currently in use so even in situations where 4G is over-subscribed and slower as a consequence, you’ll be breezing through your online services like you were living in the future.
The 5G network is still being deployed across the country. London and other major urban areas are already well covered and will give you the opportunity to make the most of the S10 5G.
For everyone else, especially in rural areas, it may be some time before coverage is widespread so if that is the case for you than both the S10+ or the Note 10 are better options which will also be considerably cheaper.
|OS and Version
||Android 9 (Pie), Samsung One UI
Value and verdict
It would be easy to just pick the S10 5G as the best 5G smartphone money can buy. It is essentially the same brilliant Samsung flagship we're familiar with but slightly stretched and with 5G capability.
It has, however a worthy competitor: the Note 10+ 5G. The Note is a bit smaller and lighter, with a screen comparable in size (6.3" vs the 6.7 of the S10 5G) but lower resolution and with a pinhole size front camera instead of the unsightly cut-out. It has also almost identical processing power and what's more, you get the stylus and double the storage.
It is more expensive though but worth considering if you're in the market for a top of the line smartphone.