The Samsung Galaxy S10 range, which has a really cool codename inside the company, is on track to see the light of day in February 2019. Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh has promised the Galaxy S10 will feature "very significant" design changes and “amazing” colours, so it looks as though we're looking at something special for Samsung's 10th anniversary Galaxy flagship.
That being said, don't expect the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus to ship with the same 7.3-inch folding OLED display tipped to launch on the so-called Galaxy X.
So apart from that bold claim from Samsung, what else do we know so far about the next instalment in Samsung's hugely-successful Galaxy S range? Read on to find out.
Samsung Galaxy S10 release date
We're expecting Samsung to follow tradition and announce the Galaxy S10 during the first quarter of 2019: most likely around the end of February or the start of March during the annual Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.
We know that MWC 2019 kicks off on 25 February, and with the press day usually a day earlier than that, it's a sensible bet that the Galaxy S10 is going to get its grand unveiling on Sunday 24 February.
That date would be in line with the release date of previous Galaxy S handsets. With the exception of the Galaxy S8, which was delayed due to the overheating battery issue that did for the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung has used Mobile World Congress tradeshow to unveil its latest flagship Galaxy S handset every year since the S5.
The new hardware is typically showcased on-stage during the MWC keynote in February, before hitting stores across the world the following month.
Samsung Galaxy S10 name
Ever since the first Samsung Galaxy S saw the light of day in 2010, Samsung has stuck to an easy-to-understand naming convention, increasing numerically each year from Galaxy S2 to the S9, where we are now.
So the natural step for the 2019 Galaxy S would be Galaxy S10 – but that may not be what happens. Speaking during a press conference on February 26, 2018 and reported by The Investor, DJ Koh said: "Although Samsung will stick to Galaxy, we have been thinking about whether we need to maintain the S moniker or the numbering system."
Best bets on the name should Samsung decide to drop the S10 from the brand name? Well, some sources claim an iPhone-alike Galaxy X name is on the cards, although that’s also the rumoured name for Samsung’s upcoming foldable phone.
One idea is that future phones will all be named the Galaxy X with the year of release afterwards, but that would get very confusing very fast. Samsung will probably wait until the last possible moment to let us know the new name, but if it's the end of the line for the Galaxy S moniker, it certainly had a good run.
Samsung Galaxy S10 range
Everything we've heard so far has indicated that the Samsung Galaxy S10 range will feature at least three models, codenamed "Beyond 0", "Beyond 1", and "Beyond 2".
Certification documents recently issued by the Chinese CMIIT government body confirms the administrative agency inspected three separate smartphones built by Samsung. These handsets appear to have all the hallmarks of the upcoming S10.
The model numbers are listed as SM-G9700, SM-G9730 and SM-G9750, which seem to the logical follow-up to the model numbers of the Galaxy S9 models, which were SM-G9600 and SM-G9650.
Based on the details included in the CMIIT reports, we're expecting the three versions of the Galaxy S10 to breakdown as follows –
• Entry-level S10 with 5.8-inch display, single rear-facing camera and LTE
• Galaxy S10 with 5.8-inch display, dual rear-facing camera system and LTE
• Flagship S10 with 6.44-inch display and all-new triple camera set-up
The latter will be available in LTE and 5G compatible versions, the documents reveal.
As well as screen size and type, how the different S10 phones are specced internally also varies, with some S10 features (see below for details) exclusive to the top tiers.
In order to make a handset with a pocket-busting display like that useable in day-to-day life, Samsung has engineered a new all-screen design. The company unveiled the new display technology amid a slew of new screen types – dubbed Infinity-U, Infinity-V, Infinity-O, and New Infinity – during its annual developer conference in San Francisco in November.
The first two sport small notches where the front-facing camera is still embedded in a solid bezel – much like the OnePlus 6T. The letters in the name refer to the shape of the bezel cut-out that holds the selfie camera and other sensors. For example, the Infinity V has flat sides and a sharp point in the notch, whereas the Infinity-U is all soft curves, like the shape of the letter "U".
Meanwhile, the Infinity–O has a small, floating pinhole at the top of the screen for the camera and the New Infinity has nothing at all. Previous rumours had hinted that Samsung had found a way to completely hide the sensors and camera lens behind the OLED display for a truly all-screen device.
As you can see this is very much a tease of what to expect but it's more solid and official than anything so far. We'd expect Samsung to use a few of these screen types on the Galaxy S10 range when it launches next year, with the cheaper smartphones likely to sport some type of notch, and the top-of-the-line flagships boasting the all-screen, invisible camera lens variant.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G connectivity
According to a reliable tipster, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will let you tear across the web and through your apps faster than ever, because it's set to be one if not the first super-fast 5G smartphones.
Weibo user 'Ice Universe', who has a good track record when it comes to leaking sensitive Samsung tidbits, has revealed that the Galaxy S10 will come with the next-gen 5G technology on board.
This makes complete sense, as Qualcomm and Samsung have recently announced a "strategic relationship" agreement, which specifically mentions the "transition to 5G". Galaxy S10 users should, then, be able to benefit from the faster internet speeds that 5G will provide. If the aforementioned CMIIT government agency certification documents are anything to go by, Samsung will sell a separate version of the Galaxy S10 Plus that boasts the superfast network technology.
Whether 5G technology will be up and running in your part of the world by next year is another matter. However, a select number of UK, US and Chinese cities are scheduled to have it by the start of 2019, but it won't be ubiquitous for a while.
Samsung Galaxy S10 specs
Ice Universe has also revealed the Samsung Galaxy S10 screen is rumoured to "exceed 600 ppi". That would be an improvement on the display in the Galaxy S9, which has a resolution of 570 pixels-per-inch.
Powering everything could be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, if leaker Roland Quandt is to be believed. This will bring the expected improved performance and better efficiency over Qualcomm's current chipset, the same sort of upgrade we get every year from Qualcomm's latest chip.
Samsung Galaxy S10 will include the company's own Exynos chip in certain markets, as it did for the S9 in Europe with the Exynos 9810 this year.
Samsung is rumoured to include a next-generation NPU (Neural Processing Unit) inside its forthcoming Exynos 9820 chipset to enable more powerful artificial intelligence and machine learning processes.
This designated portion of the processor will handle all of the AI-related tasks, leaving the main processor unburdened. This separation should speed-up a whole slew of common smartphone tasks, like opening applications, playing resource-intensive video games, and taking photographs and videos.
The latest leak comes from LinkedIn, of all places. According to the profile of an ex-Samsung Senior Hardware Design Engineer, his work at the company included building a second-generation NPU for the Exynos processor.
It's worth noting the authenticity of this profile has not been independently verified and it would be relatively easy to fabricate this information on LinkedIn. Quite why someone would bother is another matter entirely.
Samsung Galaxy S10 features
While we didn't see an in-screen fingerprint reader on the Galaxy S9, there were rumours that the technology was being tested for inclusion on the Note 9, although those whispers turned out to be false.
Where things got interesting was that the in-screen fingerprint reader tech, despite being close to completion, was reportedly being held back for the Galaxy S10, meaning that the numerous revealing hints we had been hearing about like how the in-screen fingerprint sensor will work and where it will be positioned, were actually of merit.
According to recent patents, Samsung is working on technology that allows phone owners to place their fingertip anywhere on the screen to verify their identity. This is a dramatically different approach from rival devices, like the OnePlus 6T and Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which use a small portion of the screen to scan fingerprints, typically the same size as the physical sensors found on other smartphone models.
According to the patent, the fullscreen in-display fingerprint scanner would use a secondary, low-power processor to work.
The new independent silicon ramps up the brightness of the screen as soon as it detects contact and scans the print pressed against the glass three times for security. This would make the sensor more accurate than current in-display sensors – not to mention easier to use. However, it's unclear whether the technology described in the latest Samsung patent will be ready in time for the Galaxy S10 launch.
Samsung Galaxy S10 cameras
Samsung always likes to focus on cameras, and with Huawei upping the ante with a triple-lens camera on the back on the Huawei P20 Pro, Samsung will want to respond. More lenses? More aperture settings? Better low light performance?
It all looks like it could be on the cards for 2019.
While the new Samsung Galaxy A7 has the company's first triple lens camera, Samsung looks set to enhance the specs for the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus.
According to the latest leaked S10 camera specs, the shooter on the flagship Galaxy range will include the same 12MP f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture lens that debuted on the Galaxy S9 paired with a super-wide angle 123-degree lens with 16MP sensor and f/1.9 aperture. Finally, Samsung will also purportedly include a 13MP f/2.4 aperture sensor.
These rumours of extra cameras are also seemingly backed up by phone industry analysts, with KBI Securities is claiming. Kim Dong-won says that Samsung plans to "reinvigorate" its business by adding a triple lens camera to the Galaxy S10.
As for other features, it's tricky to know what else Samsung could add to the existing S9 formula. We know that a foldable Samsung phone is in the works, but this is likely to be separate to the main Galaxy S line, with the foldable securely lodged in the top 5 foldable phones to expect in 2019.
Samsung Galaxy S10 price
At this stage it's far too early to make any kind of accurate prediction on the Samsung Galaxy S10 price. What, you want us to try, anyway? We couldn’t possibly.
Oh, go on, then.
In the US, the Samsung Galaxy S8 launch price was $725 while the Samsung Galaxy S9 launch price was a slightly cheaper $720.
In the UK, however, there was a price increase of £100 between the two models: the S8 launched at £639 while the S9 launched at £739.
Given the addition of a third rear-mounted camera lens, embedded fingerprint sensor, and new all-screen design – we wouldn't expect to see a dramatic price drop with the launch of the Galaxy S10 in March.
In fact, rumoured pricing for the 5G-compatible Galaxy S10 Plus suggest it will be extremely pricey. According to South Korean news site The Bell, which has a solid track record of reporting on Samsung, "in order to realise 5G communication" in the Galaxy S10 "4 ~ 5 more antennas are needed than 4G".
It concludes: "the price of the series can be the most expensive."
Considering that Samsung's current Galaxy Note handset, the 4G-only 512GB Samsung Galaxy Note 9 retailed at launch for £1,099, a Galaxy S10 device that is equipped similarly but comes packing a powerful 5G connection that is reliant on "4 ~ 5 more antennas" being tucked inside, leads to the inevitable conclusion that it's going to carry a truly wallet-busting price point.
A lot can change between now and then in terms of supply costs and global markets. We'll see whether we were right next year.
Samsung Galaxy S10 concepts
While we wait to see what the final Galaxy S10 design looks like, graphic designers have been creating their own renders based on the various S10 leaks.
Recently, this rather tasty depiction of the Samsung Galaxy S10 was released by DBSDesinging, which shows a luxe all-screen smartphone with a triple rear camera.
The above render by freelance designer Jonas Daehnert shows the S10 with a transparent backplate, triple lens camera and in-screen fingerprint reader.
And this video by Concept Creator shows the Galaxy S10 with a series of next-generation hardware and features, including a 2K SuperAMOLED screen, DeX 3.0 wireless sharing and a frosted glass casing. Check it out below.
We'll bring you more S10 leaks and rumours as we get them. Until then, why not check out our rundown of the best 5G phones to expect next year?