Unfortunately, Samsung’s unpacked event lacked a lot of the ‘wow’ factor you’d expect from such a big launch, mainly because everyone in the industry already knew almost everything about the devices thanks to thousands of leaks prior to February 20th. By no means was this event a failure however. We believe it was a huge success from the South Korean tech giants as their efforts are probably helping to shape the market over the next few years, and posing a lot of questions to consumers.
The Galaxy Fold – do we really need a foldable phone?
This was the device Samsung were clearly most excited to announce. We all knew they were going to reveal their first foldable phone (thank you leaks) but there was still much speculation over how it would operate, final designs etc.
Following a really impressive video, we found our excitement for the device continually slump throughout the remainder of the presentation. Its usefulness when folded is extremely limited due to the size it compacts the usable area to. If you have previously been using a (now standard) 5.8” screen or larger, it’s difficult to see how you’d adjust to that teeny tiny sub-4” skinny screen. Texting would be a huge challenge and they were clever in the demonstration to display only a few functions on the mini-screen. Not to mention when folded, the device looks thick.
The device does look a whole lot more useful when un-folded, but on a more personal note, fairly ugly. It’s certainly not the best looking device, however, you’ve still got an AMOLED display there with an impressive multi-app functionality and 6 cameras. Although, on another negative note, Samsung describe the Fold as a “luxury” item and, starting at $1,980, you certainly aren’t getting your money’s worth. That’s before you add 5G into the equation. A more expensive 5G model will follow after the initial launch on April 26th.
In the face of audience laughter and an awkward thud as the head of mobile DJ Koh dropped the device into his suit pocket, Samsung shouldn’t be disappointed. They always knew this wasn’t going to be the most popular device, the price alone suggests that. What Koh reiterated time and time again is the company’s ethos; ‘Always innovators’ came up a few time, often backed up by examples from the Galaxy range’s 10 year heritage. Their innovation and early models will certainly sprout new, more advanced tech in the years to come.
The Galaxy S10/S10+/S10e – you might have seen these before, probably on the internet.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. The announcement for these devices was nothing more than a formality. There was literally no feature announced that wasn’t already known prior to the event. So we’re not going to bore you with every detail again, we’ve simply explained the key features that set the S10 range apart from the previous S9 models.
In-display fingerprint sensor – on the face of it, fingerprint unlock sounds like a step back from facial recognition. However, we’ve been assured that both forms of recognition will be featured. The S10 and S10+ will have that in-display fingerprint sensor AND facial recognition, whilst the S10e has the facial recognition and a fingerprint sensor on the side of the device. This is an excellent example of the company listening to what their customers want, so how you unlock your device is entirely up to you!
In-display front facing camera – Samsung are notoriously anti-notch. For some background, many mobile anufacturers (Apple, Huawei etc.) use a ‘notch’ to house the front facing camera and front facing speaker, resulting in a screen that is broken up by this feature. Samsung has decided to get around this by housing the front facing camera(s) in the top right hand corner of the display. As someone that doesn’t mind the notch, I look at this as an extreme and somewhat irritating solution. To explain the ‘annoying bit’, demos of the device in-use, viewing videos have shown the bezels becoming thicker and the picture being cut-off where the camera is, so in one of the few instances you really would like a bigger screen, you aren’t granted one, so you might as well have the notch, instead of having the added camera cutting off more viewable screen. The S10 and S10e have a single front facing camera whilst the S10+ features a dual system.
The triple camera – is more better? The most exciting battle in the smartphone market at the moment, who can take the best pictures and videos! Honestly, it’s great, the people who hail the iPhone as best vs. the people who hail Samsung as the superior, each side taking tactical comparison photos to back themselves up. The Google Pixel is the best overall, enough said about that. However, this year Samsung has seemingly gone for quantity over quality when it comes to cameras. On top of a 45-degree telephoto lens, you’ve got the 77-degree wide angle and now a 123-degree ultra-wide lens. Apart from the lens selection, users won’t actually see a drastic improvement on actual image quality. Obviously the faster processing unit and improved AI function will certainly make some impact, but the cameras themselves aren’t that different.
The most impressive feature on the S10 and S10+ cameras is the ability to record video in HDR10+ in an age when HDR isn’t readily available in the majority of phones. Video buffs will appreciate this as it impacts the brightness levels on your recordings but essentially it makes vast improvements on quality. The triple camera is not available on the S10e model.
Wireless charging – you can now charge your mates phone using your new Galaxy S10 wirelessly. This has been seen before by Huawei, but Samsung did try to claim they were there first with this. It will be nice to charge your new Galaxy Pods with your phone though. For this to work, your device will need at least 30% charge prior to the exchange.
The Galaxy S10 5G – The start of next-gen mobile devices.
We knew a 5G variant would be sold separately, however, we weren’t quite prepared for this. The S10 5G looks absolutely incredible. 5G wireless connectivity (we’ll take more about this later), a bigger battery, faster processor, all of the features of the Galaxy S10+ whilst having a bigger display, another camera, increased quality 3D depth-sensing cameras and faster wireless charging.
We have a few concerns: a 6.7” screen may be too big to hold and use effectively, 5G won’t have broad coverage until 2020/2021 and why is it called the S10 5G if it is even bigger than the S10+? A notable point from the presentation was when the junior marketer suggested than when you ‘change to next-gen devices (2G to 3G, 3G to 4G), the initial devices are usually bigger, chunkier etc. but this new device simply isn’t… Well it literally is both bigger and chunkier.
All jokes aside, this 5G model stole the show for me, it looks astounding. Given the choice between the 5G model and the Fold, I would choose the S10 5G every single time. Not only is the screen nearly as big as the Fold unfolded, 5G is 20x faster than 4G at peak performance (at peak performance), and allows for 1 million devices per square km, which means no more slow data at football matches!
Wearables – nothing too exciting here.
We were treated to a new range of Samsung smartwatches as well as the Galaxy Buds, a neat alternative to the AirPods. Although the buds can charge wirelessly, it’s really not that interesting, there’s another set of wireless earphone on the market. The same goes for the new watches, the Galaxy watch and Gearfit 2 Pro. As stylish as they might be, even with the inclusion of sleep tracking, neither of these are ground-breaking news. It is nice for the market to have more of a choice, and a serious challenger to Fitbit in the Gearfit 2 Pro.
If you are planning on getting either the Galaxy S10, S10+ or the S10e, make sure you check out our range of screen protectors and cases, the perfect accessories to make sure your brand new device stays safe whilst still looking fantastic.