Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus unveiled at Galaxy Unpacked: release date, price, features

Samsung's most expensive smartphone ever

TODO alt text

Samsung has unveiled its all-new Galaxy S10 range. The line-up includes a more affordable variant of the flagship phone, dubbed Galaxy S10e, as well as a triple-camera-toting Galaxy S9 successor called, naturally, Samsung Galaxy S10. The new flagship smartphone range, which marks the tenth anniversary of the Galaxy S series, also includes a follow-up to the S9 Plus.

The Galaxy S10 Plus boasts a whopping 6.4-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED display. That’s a sizeable step-up from the 6.2-inch panel included on its predecessor, matching inch for inch the Galaxy Note 9 – traditionally the smartphone with the biggest display available from Samsung.

Like the Galaxy S10 before it, Samsung has managed to increase the amount of screen real estate available on the handset whilst simultaneously shrinking the physical size of the handset. The key to this Derren Brown-esque feat is the new Infinity-O display design which lets the screen fill every corner on the front of the phone, with only a small hole-punch in the top right-hand corner to allow the front-facing cameras to peer out. Although Samsung debuted its Infinity-O design with the mid-range Galaxy A8s, the Galaxy S10 range marks the first time it has been used with a high-resolution AMOLED panel.

While all three models in the S10 range sport the same Infinity-O display, the Galaxy S10 Plus looks markedly different as it’s the only handset with dual front-facing cameras. As such, the O-shaped cut-out is more of an oblong – rendering the Infinity-O name a bit of a misnomer.

The dual-selfie camera uses the same 10-megapixel Dual Pixel sensor seen on the Galaxy S10e and Galaxy S10 paired with a 8-megapixel depth sensor with f/2.2. This enables the front-facing camera to capture Live Focus photographs, which adds an adjustable artificial bokeh-style blur to the background behind the subject. For the Galaxy S10 series, Samsung has added a number of playful new effects to the Live Focus feature, including the ability to strip all colour from the background to help your face stand-out against the greyscale. Another mode adds a swirling blur around the centre of the photo, while another adds a zoom-style blur around your face.

Unlike the Google Pixel 3, Samsung has not leveraged its dual front-facing camera to offer ultra-wide selfies to squeeze more people into an image without resorting to a selfie stick – and the (admittedly, justified) onslaught of abuse that accompanies its use in public.

Under the bonnet, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is a true powerhouse. The standard S10 Plus ships with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage, which can be increased by 512GB using the MicroSD card slot. However, Samsung has also built a no-holds-barred Ultimate Performance Edition of the handset which ships in two exclusive finishes: Ceramic White, and Ceramic Black.

Ceramic White is only available on the priciest configurations 

The Ultimate Performance Edition is available with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of built-in storage, or 12GB of RAM and an incredible 1TB of storage. Unbelievably, these models are still expandable via MicroSD card – meaning you can carry around a staggering 1.5TB of storage on the top-end Ultimate Performance Edition Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus if you plump for a MicroSD card.

That’s more than most laptops – and should mean you never see a low storage warning, no matter how many apps, photos, or Hollywood blockbusters you download to your device.

On the back of all of the Galaxy S10 Plus models you’ll find the same triple-camera system that appears on the 6.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S10. This comprises of a 12-megapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and variable aperture that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4, as well as a 16-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide sensor and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens with f/2.4.

One of the new camera modes lets users isolate the colour in certain parts of the photo, leaving the rest in greyscale 

The rear-mounted triple-camera allows Samsung to offer a number of different modes, including wide-angle shots at 0.5x zoom, as well as 2x optical zoom. Samsung has also improved Live Focus, which adds an adjustable artificial bokeh-style blur to the background behind the subject. This feature, first introduced with the Galaxy Note 8 in August 2017, can now be used to render the background in greyscale in real-time, leaving only the subject in vibrant colour. Another new mode adds a swirling blur effect around the centre of the image for impact.

The Galaxy S10 Plus also uses AI to automatically detect exactly what you’re hoping to take a photo of and tweak the camera settings accordingly to ensure you get the best shot. The optional feature, dubbed Scene Optimiser, was introduced last year with the Galaxy S9, but now includes an additional 20 new possible scenes – including cats and dogs – bringing the total to 30.

Unlike the S10e and S10, the S10 Plus has a dual front-facing camera embedded inside the edge-to-edge display

Samsung has also dropped the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner seen on previous Galaxy S phones in favour of an all-new ultrasonic sensor embedded beneath the edge-to-edge screen. According to Samsung, this new scanner is more reliable than previous capacitive solutions since it is able to record every single ridge in your print. To do this, the ultrasonic scanner creates a three-dimensional mould of the fingertip by bouncing soundwaves off the skin through the display. Samsung says this means the reader will continue to work in tough weather conditions, including heavy rain, which is nifty.

Speaking of downpours, the Galaxy S10 Plus is rated IP68 for water and dust resistance, which means it can withstand a swim in 1.5metres of water for half an hour. And contrary to some of the whispers from inside the company, Samsung has kept the 3.5mm headphone port intact – so there’s no need to throw-out your wired cans or cough-up for dongle.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus boasts an enormous 4,100mAh battery capacity. That’s even bigger than the Galaxy Note 9. However, that extra battery will come in handy with the addition of a new feature that allows Galaxy S10 Plus owners to top-up any device capable of wireless charging by simply resting it on the glass back of the handset. Dubbed Wireless PowerShare, the feature not only lets you top-up the new Galaxy Buds – the new AirPod rivals announced alongside the S10 – by placing the charging case on your new phone, but it can also be used to top-up rival smartphones, too. Huawei introduced a similar identical feature with its Mate 20 Pro last year.

Like the Galaxy S10e and S10, the Galaxy S10 Plus is also compatible with fast wireless and wired charging to speed-up recharging after you’ve deleted that massive battery topping up your Galaxy Buds and friend’s iPhone.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus starts from £899 for the 128GB model. This rises to £1,399 for the Ultimate Performance Edition with 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage – making it easily the most expensive smartphone that Samsung has ever launched. Pre-orders are available today direct from Samsung, with the first handsets dropping through letterboxes on March 8, 2019. Customers who pre-order the device will get a free pair of Galaxy Buds thrown-in, too.