Samsung Galaxy S10e first look

Posted 4 days ago

Samsung recently released their new Galaxy S10 range of phones into the market. This includes the S10e, S10 & S10+ with a 5G model coming later in the year.

I’ve had a look at the display model of the S10e in the local Samsung store to see what the cameras are like, how their One UI performs on top of Android 9 & even how annoying or not the front camera is.

Let’s first take a look at the phones design. The S10e has a side fingerprint reader as well as power, volume & bixby (Samsung’s assistant). It also features the new Infinity-O screen which goes all the way to the edge. The size of the screen is 5.8″.

Considering it’s a display model with a security device attached, it was light & fairly comfortable in my hand. The only thing I found annoying was accidentally activating Bixby due to the placement of this button.

One UI, Samsung’s user interface for Android, felt pretty polished & so far I think it’s the nicest UI experience Samsung has (although being Android, you can try other UI’s). I found it quite responsive & clear to use. My only complaint is the icons could look better.

The screen itself is quite nice, and naturally fits in the design of the phone. From what I saw, the colour reproduction looked accurate & the touchscreen was quite responsive. Compared to the S9 which has a screen that feels a bit constrained by its edges, the infinity-O display feels natural.

Galaxy S10e camera on ultra-wide angle

Camera quality, at least looking at it on the screen, looks quite good. I like the extra addition of a wide angle lens although I noticed at least on close up, you get a bit of the distortion from a wide angle lens. MKBHD mentions in his first look the wide angle photos are a bit soft.

The camera also has digital zoom which appeared sharp on screen. Manual photo controls are nice, although I’ve heard that on video you don’t get them (this could be overcome by using Flimic if it’s supported on this phone).

Full screen 16:9 video
16:9 video at native resolution

The most noteable part though is the camera dot on the front of the phone. Instead of a notch or larger bezel, Samsung has opted for a camera dot in the top right of the screen.

I did however notice that on anamorphic video, for example what you see when watching most movies, or even Linus Tech Tips, will always have a part of the camera dot visible. In the long run I’m not sure if I would find it annoying or get used to the dot being part of the screen.

The dot is fairly noticeable on lighter backgrounds & when you zoom in on videos. Depending on ambient light when there is a dark background or if you’re watching a 16:9 video not zoomed in, the camera does disappear.

Anamorphic video (not zoomed in)

The camera dot though can make for some cool wallpapers. MKBHD in his video used a Big Hero 6 wallpaper that fitted in nicely with the phones design.

Would I buy it though? It is a contender out of all the phones around. Although it’s designed to be a bit cheaper (lower resolution screen to the S10e but maybe in day to day use I wouldn’t notice it, as well as the side fingerprint reader which I’ve heard is faster than the new ultrasonic in screen fingerprint reader), it is still feature packed and a very nice phone.

Having never used Android for a mobile phone, and only iPhones for the past 9 or so years, I’m not sure how I’d find switching to an Android phone for day to day use though. I do like Android & think the current version of the OS looks the best around though. Ideally it would be nice to try it against using my iPhone but at $1199 it’s a bit hard to buy outright just to try.

This phone though helps me with a future blog post I’m writing around what to look for in a new phone. Keep an eye out for it coming soon.

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