In Depth

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. S10 Plus vs. S10e vs. S10 5G: what’s the difference?

Tech giant launches first 5G handset, plus cheaper model to rival Apple’s iPhone XR

A quartet of new flagship Galaxy S10 models spearheaded Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco.

Following months of rumours and leaked images, the South Korean tech giant finally unveiled its new iPhone XS-rivalling Galaxy S10 and its S10 Plus big brother - both of which will replace the company’s existing S9 range of smartphones. 

Samsung also announced a new, cheaper S10e model that will go toe-to-toe with budget flagship devices such as the iPhone XR and the upcoming OnePlus 7. 

Finally, buyers can get hold of an S10 that is capable of connecting to 5G, a faster mobile network than today’s 4G service.

Prospective buyers won’t have long to wait until the new S10 range goes on sale, as orders are expected to open on 9 March. 

For those wondering which model to choose, here’s what sets the new phones apart: 

Display

All four devices are fitted with Samsung’s new AMOLED Infinity-O displays, which cover most of each phone’s front panel except for a small cutout for the front-facing cameras. 

The smartphones that are likely to be the more popular picks of the bunch, the S10 and S10 Plus, are equipped with 6.1in and 6.4in displays respectively, says CNet. Both models have the same 3,040x1,440 screen resolution. 

Meanwhile, the S10e is slightly smaller at 5.8in and its 2,280x1,080 resolution isn’t as sharp as its siblings, the website adds. The S10e’s screen is also completely flat, unlike the curved displays found on the other S10 phones.

The S10 5G, on the other hand, has the largest screen of the quartet at 6.7in, though a resolution figure has yet to be announced. 

Specs and perfomance

Every device comes with Samsung’s Exynos 9820 processor, while devices sold in the US will be fitted Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, says Ars Technica

Baseline specs start with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but these can be upgraded to a maximum of 12GB of RAM and 1TB worth of storage, the tech site adds. If that “still isn’t enough”, users can expand their devices using a microSD card. 

Samsung has equipped the regular S10 with a 3,400mAh battery, which is slightly larger than the outgoing S9’s, while the cheaper S10e has a smaller 3,100mAh unit, says Stuff.

The S10 Plus raises the bar with its 4,100mAh pack, but it’s the S10 5G that sports the biggest battery at 4,500mAh, notes 9to5Google

And, of course, the S10 5G is the only model capable of attaching itself to a 5G connection, just in time for the speedy network’s rollout in the UK later this year.

Cameras

Both the S10 and S10 Plus come with a trio of rear-facing cameras. These include a 12-megapixel dual-aperture lens, a 12-megapixel zoom lens and an ultra-wide 16-megapixel camera, Ars Technica reports. At the front, the two flagship phones have 10-megapixel cameras, while the S10 Plus has an additional 8-megapixel lens.

Image stabilisation is included on all cameras, as is the ability to artificially blur the background of a picture while the subject remains in focus, the tech site adds. The technique is often referred to as the bokeh effect. The cameras can also record in 4K and HDR10+, which helps bolster contrast ratios for more realistic lighting. 

On the S10e, buyers get the same 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens and 12-megapixel dual-aperture camera as the S10 and S10 Plus, although it does away with the telephoto lens, says TechAdvisor. There’s also a 10-megapixel lens at the front of the device for taking selfies. 

The S10 5G is the only handset to boast four rear-facing cameras. These include the same three found on the regular S10 and S10 Plus, as well as an “hQVGA 3D depth-sensing camera”, says TechRadar.

The 3D camera is able to sense depth of field more accurately than the other lenses, which should deliver better augmented reality experiences - where computer graphics are layered over real-world images, the tech site adds. 

There’s another 3D camera on the front of the S10 5G, along with the standard 10-megapixel lens found on the other devices. 

Price and release

Samsung has upped the prices for its new devices. For example, the £899 S10 Plus costs £30 more than last year’s S9 Plus and the £799 S10 is £60 more expensive than the regular S9, says TechRadar. 

As expected, the S10e is the cheapest of the bunch at £669, but pricing for the S10 5G has yet to be announced. Given that it’s larger and more advanced than other models in the range, the tech site claims the high-tech phone “will almost certainly go for more” than the S10 Plus. 

Samsung hasn’t announced an official release date for the S10 5G yet, either, though TechRadar says the device will arrive “potentially sometime between June and September”.

The company has, however, confirmed a release for the rest of the range. Most networks in the UK have already opened pre-orders, with in-store sales due to kick-off on 8 March.

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