Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Galaxy S10: Samsung's new flagship versus its existing flagship

How does the 2018 Samsung Galaxy stack up against the 2019 Samsung Galaxy?

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Samsung Galaxy S10

For the past 12 months the Samsung Galaxy S9 has been one of our very favourite smartphones, but it's about to be succeeded by the Samsung Galaxy S10Samsung has a media event scheduled for Wednesday the 20th of February to unveil its new phones.

Header image: Samsung/Evan Blass

Thanks to a succession of unofficial leaks and official teasers though, we know pretty much everything there is to know about the Galaxy S10 already. Here we'll compare what we think is in store against the 2018 powerhouse that was the Samsung Galaxy S9.

For the purposes of this guide we're going to concentrate on the smaller S9 and S10 models, but if you're thinking about upgrading your phone in the near future, don't forget the larger Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus handsets as well.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Galaxy S10: design

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a fine glass slab of a phone and it looks as though Samsung is going to stick to pretty much the same template for the Galaxy S10 – it's actually difficult to imagine how it could improve on the S9, with its super-thin bezels and stylish curves.

One change we are expecting on the Galaxy S10 is a small hole punch notch in the top right corner of the phone's 6.2-inch display (the S9 rocked a 5.8-inch screen): as the front-facing camera will be sitting behind it, that should mean the display bezels get even thinner. We're also expecting an in-screen fingerprint sensor, so it won't be on the back of the phone, as it was with the Galaxy S9.

According to the rumour mill, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will be available in (at least) black, pearl-ish white, blue and green. You'll remember the Galaxy S9 offered midnight black, coral blue, titanium grey, lilac purple, burgundy red, sunrise gold, and ice blue.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Galaxy S10: specs

Samsung Exynos 9820

Samsung Exynos 9820

Every year we see a bump in the specs and the power of the Galaxy flagship phone series and 2019 should be no different when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S9 vs the Samsung Galaxy S9. The Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810 options should be replaced by the Snapdragon 855/Exynos 9820 processors, depending on region.

So how much faster will the Galaxy S10 be? It's hard to be precise, but benchmarks and Qualcomm's own assessments suggest a 45 percent boost should be feasible – at least for some tasks in some situations. The fact that the Galaxy S10 is being tipped to carry at least 6GB of RAM (up from 4GB on the Galaxy S9) should help boost speed and responsiveness even further.

As far as storage goes, the Galaxy S10 is being tipped to carry 128GB or 256GB of on-board storage, with a memory card slot available if you want to expand on that. The storage choices on the Galaxy S9 were 64GB, 128GB and 256GB, so the lowest option has been cut out this year.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Galaxy S10: features

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung loves its mobile cameras, and with that in mind we're expecting the Galaxy S10 to carry a triple-lens, 12MP + 16MP + 13MP rear camera – that's quite a bit more camera tech than the single-lens 12MP snapper on the Galaxy S9, though the 2018 flagship phone did take some decent pictures, to be fair.

Besides the camera improvements, and the in-screen fingerprint sensor that we've already talked about, we're not expecting too many additional features on the Galaxy S10 that weren't available on the Galaxy S9. The 2018 phone had IP68 waterproofing, integrated NFC and wireless charging, all of which we're expecting will make it over to the Galaxy S10. There's also been talk the S10 will support reverse wireless charging, so you can use it to charge up accessories (like wireless earbuds, perhaps).

Most rumours are pointing to a larger 3,500mAh battery for the Galaxy S10, compared with the 3,00mAh one packed into the Galaxy S9 – though it will of course have that slightly larger screen to contend with too. We're hoping there's at least some battery life boost in the new model.

Samsung Galaxy S9 vs Galaxy S10: verdict

Samsung Galaxy S10 teaser

Samsung Galaxy S10 teaser

Bear in mind that most of what we've told you about the Galaxy S10 is based on rumour and speculation – albeit well-informed rumour and speculation – so you might want to wait until the S10 is officially unveiled before deciding whether it's the next flagship phone for you.

What seems certain is that it's going to be a pretty major jump over the Samsung Galaxy S9 – the specs will be faster, the camera will have not one but two extra lenses, and you'll have the fingerprint sensor in an arguably more convenient position on the front of the handset. That all adds up to a pretty major upgrade, even though the Galaxy S9 will have plenty more life in it yet.

Price is also a factor, of course: we think the Samsung Galaxy S10 is going to retail for around £799/$779, which is £60 or $50 more than the Galaxy S9 debuted at (though you can now get it for much cheaper). That's a lot of money to pay for the new features – so you might be better off waiting for the Galaxy S11.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.