The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is undoubtedly one of the best smartphones to launch this year. It did face some tough competition from the likes of the Huawei P30, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom, and OnePlus 7 Pro. But each phone has its own USP and aimed at a different audience. With Samsung all set to launch its second flagship of the year – the Galaxy Note 10, we took a step back to look at the Galaxy S10+ review in long-term.
I’ve been using the Galaxy S10+ from day one since it launched in February this year. And in the past two years, I’ve regularly switched between the Galaxy flagship device – Galaxy S8 to Note 8 to S9 to Note 9 and now finally S10+. A couple of years back, I had a lot of issues to talk about with the long-term performance. No regular software updates, degrading performance and battery life, and so on. But have things changed over the years? Well, there are 4 important aspects I will talk about in this review. Without wasting any further time, let’s dive right in.
Samsung Galaxy S10+ Review: Software updates
Google announced Project Treble around the launch of the Galaxy S9. The whole idea was to ensure faster software updates, and yes, it had helped a lot. The flagship Galaxy S and Note series have been getting monthly security patches along with bug fixes and other improvements.
During the days of Galaxy S6, S7 and so on, it would take a whole one year to roll out the major update. But that’s changed recently. The Galaxy Note 9 and S9 devices, along with S8 and Note 8 were updated to Android 9 Pie within 5 months. It’s not record-breaking, especially when Nokia and OnePlus can manage. But then again, these have close to stock Android OS, whereas the One UI skin development does take time. Especially when you have to port features like DeX, AI additions, Bixby. So, you have to give a little benefit of the doubt to Samsung.
The one thing that I’m disappointed about is that being flagship phones across the globe with a much wider audience, the Galaxy S and Note series aren’t a part of Android Q beta program. In fact, none of the Samsung phones are a part of the program. Being a top smartphone vendor for years, you do expect something better from Samsung.
In my Note 9 long term review, I had mentioned this, and I would like to reiterate the same. Huawei has done a commendable job in keeping the Huawei and Honor smartphones. Despite problems with the Trump administration and the US-China Trade War, the Huawei P30 Pro has an Android Q Beta port, which is impressive. Huawei has definitely set the bar up high. And I don’t see a reason why Samsung can’t do it. I do hope things turn around going forward.
Samsung Galaxy S10+ Review: Camera improvements
Now let’s talk competition first. I’ve used the Pixel 3, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom and Huawei P30 Pro, just to see what the camera hype is all about. And well, I wasn’t disappointed. The Galaxy S10+ camera is not bad, but it lacks the oomph factor. What Google does with the single-camera lens on Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a is commendable.
Oppo and Huawei took a step further to go with a periscope style zoom lens, and it’s really impressive. In fact, the low-light mode on Huawei even surpasses the quality offered by the Pixel. That being said, Samsung has improved the camera performance with software updates. The portrait mode is much improved now, and also works with a wide-angle lens. Samsung is using the telephoto lens for depth and adding background blur. A night mode is also added, which isn’t the best around, but just decent with room for improvement.
Samsung Galaxy S10+ Review: Battery life
Until Galaxy Note 9, battery life degrading was a thing. But I did not face the same with Note 9. And now with the Galaxy S10+, the battery life is steadily maintained. Every day, I leave my house around 8:00AM with 100 percent charge.
There is music listening for an hour using Bluetooth (Galaxy Buds), usual social networking, slack and emails. I also play PUBG or Asphalt 9: Legends for about 30-40 minutes daily. Other times, my phone is used as a Hotspot when at home for internet surfing. With all this mixed usage, I get a working day worth battery life. If I remove hotspot and gaming out of the picture, I have got above 5 hours-worth screen time. Charging is fast. Not as compared to Huawei and OnePlus, but an hour and 30 minutes is what it takes to top up to full.
Now, there’s been a lot of debate around Samsung using an 8nm Exynos 9820 over 7nm Snapdragon 855 SoC. There are talks about Snapdragon chipset offering better battery life and graphics performance over Exynos. And while it may be true, the company only sells Exynos based variant in India, we can’t change that. All said and done, Samsung has ensured that the software-hardware combination is good enough to offer smooth performance.
During my usage, I hardly recall a moment when the phone stuttered or froze. The performance is smooth, be it playing graphics intense games, or day-to-day usage. My only problem is with the Face Unlock and the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. The face unlock isn’t as fast as we have seen on the Oppo and OnePlus devices. Even the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is a hit and miss at times. I really hope the next Samsung phone does come with a larger surface area.
Verdict: Is the Samsung Galaxy S10+ still a better option?
There are some advantages that the Galaxy S10+ offers, including a 3.5mm headphone jack, water resistance, wireless and reverse wireless charging and solid performance. The camera is good too, if not excellent. The QHD+ Super AMOLED screen, form factor, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos are clearly things that differentiate it among the competition. With a starting price of Rs 71,900, the Galaxy S10+ is a good option if you are not a Note fan.
However, if you want something fancy like a pop-up camera, high-res display with a better refresh rate, and Snapdragon 855 SoC, the OnePlus 7 Pro makes more sense. Even the top model with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage at Rs 57,999 will help you save some good amount of money compared to Galaxy S10+.
In case you’re looking for something even fancier, such as a pop-up camera and triple cameras with 10X optical zoom, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom is not a bad choice. And when, if you want a phone with better low-light capabilities, 10X Zoom and 50X digital zoom, the Huawei P30 Pro is the hands-down winner. Last but not least, the Pixel 3 XL is for those who want stock Android and a fantastic still camera.