‘Beyond’ is a fitting codename for the Galaxy S10, the upcoming Samsung flagship Android phone that commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the S series (sort of). The new Samsung S10 will by all accounts be revolutionary.
(Technically it's not the 10th anniversary of the S series, with the original model announced in March 2010. But it will be the 10th model, following the Galaxy S, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, S8 and S9.)
Following recent news from Korea that all three Galaxy S10 models will get an in-display fingerprint scanner (though only the top two will get an ultrasonic version), Samsung is said to have settled on Qualcomm's third-generation design. Taiwanese companies General Interface Solutions (GIS) and O-Film, which have previously collaborated with Qualcomm or Vivo on ultrasonic fingerprint-scanning tech, have been brought in to help produce the modules at the mass scale required by Samsung.
Samsung's August launch of the Note 9 gave us a few extra clues to what we can expect from the S10. For starters there's a new 128GB default storage option, with 512GB optional and microSD support up to 512GB, and second an 8GB RAM option that has not been available on the S series before.
Also exciting is the redesigned camera that the company claims is its most intelligent ever. It's still a 12Mp dual-camera, but with some new features. A Scene Optimiser uses AI to identify what you're shooting and automatically apply a preset for stunning results, while Flaw Detection points out when there's a problem with your shot, nudging you to take another before the moment passes.
The Galaxy S10 is not going to get that camera - the two larger models are tipped to feature five cameras in total - though the software will likely be the same. New details emerging about the S10's cameras suggest it will feature a 16Mp (standard) + 13Mp (telephoto) + 12Mp (wide-angle) setup at the rear.
When is the Galaxy S10 coming out?
Samsung is not expected to deviate from its traditional MWC Unpacked event in 2019. The S10 will likely be announced the day before the show begins, putting its release date at Sunday 24 February 2019. Expect it to go up for preorder immediately, and on sale in mid-March 2019.
(There is some talk of a January CES launch, but we believe this will instead be the launch of the Galaxy X foldable phone.)
How much will the Galaxy S10 cost?
Expect the price to rise from the S9’s £739 (US$719)/£869 ($839) RRP for the standard and Plus models respectively. We could see prices as high as £799 and £899.
Of course, there is actually tipped to be three new models arriving in February, sized at 5.8in, 6.2in and 6.44in, so the largest model will be priced a little higher still.
Are there any design changes in the Galaxy S10?
A concept video from DBS Designing (shown at the top of this page) appears to confuse the Samsung Galaxy X with the Galaxy S10, but judging from the lack of a foldable design it certainly seems to have had the S10 in mind. Although it’s just a concept the video shows a truly striking bezel-less design, with an all-screen front, in-display fingerprint scanner and triple cameras on the rear. These are all rumoured features for the eventual device, so let’s hope this concept is something close to the finished design.
That confusion in the name may have arisen from a Samsung press conference held in February 2018 in which Samsung Mobile President Koh Dong-jin said it will keep the Galaxy name but isn’t entirely sure about the S moniker. Of course, releasing both a Galaxy X and a Galaxy 10 within a month of each other is likely to cause a lot of confusion, especially given that in the case of Apple’s iPhone X the ‘X’ is pronounced ‘ten’.
What are the key new features in the Galaxy S10?
Bezel-less Infinity Display
Well known leakster Ice Universe published an image that allegedly shows the Galaxy S10’s bezel-less display. It’s something we’ve been getting increasingly closer to over the past couple of years, and in Samsung’s new flagship we could finally see a truly bezel-less design.
The only question that remains is where Samsung intends to put the selfie camera, earpiece and sensors. There’s a chance we could see a pop-up unit that houses all these things, as on the Vivo Apex, and Samsung has also been working on ‘Sound on Display’ tech that allows the screen glass to emit audio.
This is almost certainly a Super AMOLED panel, with the standard S10 expected to measure 5.8in and the Plus model 6.2in. A third model is rumoured at 6.44in. For the 5.8in version at least, we could also see a shorter body thanks to the removal of the top and bottom bezels.
The new Galaxy phone is expected to have a screen-to-body ratio of 93%, which is significantly higher that the S9’s 83.6%.
Ice Universe has suggested it will have a greater than 600ppi pixel density. Given that the Quad-HD+ Galaxy S9 is 570ppi, we may see a move to Ultra-HD/4K.
In-display fingerprint sensor
It’ll be in the Galaxy S10 Plus that we see for the first time the highly-anticipated ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor, a third-gen model made by Qualcomm. Taiwanese companies General Interface Solutions (GIS) and O-Film, which have previously collaborated with Qualcomm or Vivo on ultrasonic fingerprint-scanning tech, have been brought in to help produce the modules at the mass scale required by Samsung.
Originally thought to be a feature reserved for the two premium models, news from Korea suggests the standard Galaxy S10 will also get the feature but it will be a cheaper optical version to keep down costs (still fancy, but not as accurate when your fingers are wet or dirty).
Chosun Biz reports that technical difficulties have meant Samsung has tried and failed to implement FOD (fingerprint on display) tech for the past two years, and has decided not to add it to the Note 9 in favour of the S10 and S10 Plus.
However, TF Securities’ Ming Chi Kuo says that going forward the Note 10 and most of the A series will get the feature. Indeed, Chosun Biz reports that 2019 will be the year the FOD becomes commonplace, with 100 million units shipped, and a further 210 million in 2020.
A patent has been unearthed by Patently Mobile that reveals exactly how this in-display fingerprint scanning tech might work, showing a biometric area in the bottom half of the display. One might assume this will work better than existing designs that require you to place your finger in a specific spot.
Triple rear cameras
Following the success of the triple rear camera arrangement on the Huawei P20 Pro, Samsung is expected to follow a similar format with its S10 - a theory backed by KBI Securities analyst Kim Dong-won, who says the company hopes it will help it to “reinvigorate” its business. Extra depth-sensing abilities, optical zoom and increased light sensitivity are expected to headline.
Triple rear cameras are expected to feature in the two larger Galaxy S10 models, with a 16Mp (standard) + 13Mp (telephoto) + 12Mp (wide-angle) setup (source).
The triple rear camera is also a feature rumoured to arrive on the OnePlus 6T.
The largest of the three Galaxy S10 models is expected to arrive with two selfie cameras. The spec of these cameras is not known, though we suspect they may be 8Mp and 16Mp in line with the Galaxy A8.
Face ID-style 3D sensing camera
Rumours hailing from Korea suggest Samsung will ditch the iris scanner in favour of a 3D sensing camera in the Galaxy S10. It says with the in-display fingerprint sensor at the front there’s really no need for this kind of tech.
Expect a processor bump in the S10, so we’ll see either Samsung’s latest Exynos chip or the Snapdragon 855 depending where in the world you buy your handset.
In line with this will be faster UFS 3.0 storage, which is twice as fast as UFS 2.0.
Sadly not. Although we had expected the S10 to be Samsung's first 5G phone, it turns out that the tech won't quite be ready to implement in the Galaxy S10 across the globe. Instead, Samsung will work on a dedicated 5G phone.
Ice Universe claims: "Samsung will launch 5G in March next year, but only 5G will be opened in few regions of the world. It is reasonable for Samsung not to carry 5G on S10. 5G baseband may bring instability and heat. Samsung will release a 5G dedicated mobile phone."
What is the difference between Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus?
Primarily size, with the Galaxy S10 tipped to retain its 5.8in screen and the S10 Plus a 6.2in. Now there may also be a third model at 6.44in. This also translates to battery capacity, and in the past we’ve seen a 500mAh difference between the two.
Samsung often provides better camera tech on the Plus model too, so it is probable that the rumoured triple rear camera is reserved for the Plus models while the Galaxy S9 keeps its dual-camera. The dual-selfie camera is also expected to feature on only the 6.44in-screen S10. All three should get ISOCELL Plus tech, which we’ll see first in the Note 9. It allows for increased light sensitivity.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2018 and beyond