First look at the new Samsung Galaxy S10 range

A decade at the top of the Android world calls for serious celebration and Samsung has done it in style, unveiling three new Galaxy S phones ranging in price from NZ$1299 to $2599.

For those who want a more affordable phone, perhaps to rival Apple’s iPhone XR, there's the Galaxy S10e. It's compact yet capable and available in a rather cute canary yellow. At the other end there's the supercharged Galaxy S10+ which takes every specification - from display to camera - to performance to the next level.

As you can see from the video, we had a quick play with the three new phones (no Galaxy Fold coming to New Zealand yet).  Here's  what you need to know.

The notch is so last year 

Gone is the notched design for a front-facing camera punched directly through the screen. Samsung calls it its Infinity O display.

This means that when you're watching movies or playing games you’ll be able to see more of the action, with minimised bezels and more screen space around the top of the phone. Most people don't care about the cut-out but if you do, you'll be delighted.

Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor 

The S10 and S10+ have an embedded ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that reads the 3D contours of your physical thumbprint for improved security. The downside is screen protectors won't work but many people don't bother with those nowadays as screens are so tough.

The S10e also misses this particular feature, with the fingerprint scanner located on the power button instead.

Reverse wireless charging 

Grab a compatible gadget such as a smartwatch or earbuds and charge them on the back of the phone. How cool is that? Of course, 'reverse' wireless charging has been seen in other phones (such as Huawei's Mate 20 Pro) and is likely to become commonplace over the next year, but once Samsung does it the rest will follow.

Cameras galore 

A new flagship phone always means a new camera set-up. Five for the S10+ (two on the front), four for the Galaxy S10 and three for the S10e. Both the premium models have a wide, ultrawide and a telephoto lens on the back. The Galaxy S10e is just minus the telephoto lens.

The ultra wide is 123 degrees, which is more that you can see with the human eye. Perfect for landscape shots, big panoramas or just trying to squeeze everyone into shot.

Both front and rear cameras can shoot in up to UHD quality, and in an industry first, the rear camera gives you the flexibility to record in HDR10+.

Smart features are now even more accurate with the Neural Processing Unit. Scene Optimiser can now recognise and more accurately process additional scenes because of the NPU a while shot suggestion offers automatic composition recommendations for better photo framing.

Better performance 

With a new flagship phone better performance is guaranteed but it's still worth getting excited about. The new AI software automatically optimises battery, CPU, RAM and even device temperature based on how the person uses their phone and it learns and improves over time. It also does things like learn how we use our devices to launch the most frequently used apps faster.

Something else worth mentioning is Bixby Routines. On the Galaxy S10, Bixby automates your routines and provides personalised recommendations to make your life easier. With pre-set and personalised routines, such as Driving and Before Bed routines, which are customised based on your habits, it makes things simpler by automatically reducing device touches.

Stacks of storage

Base storage for all three models is a very generous 128GB. The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus have 512GB versions, with the latter is also available in 1TB and in a premium ceramic material.

Colourwise you've got a choice of Prism Black or Canary Yellow for the Galaxy S10e while the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ will be available in Prism White, Prism Black and Prism Green. Galaxy S10+ will also be available in Porcelain White, a rather lustworthy premium ceramic material only available in 1TB and 512GB memory variants.

The phones are available for pre-order tomorrow (22nd February) and in stores and online on March 8. If you pre-order, Samsung will chuck in a free pair of Galaxy Buds.

By the way, if you were hanging out for Samsung's foldable Galaxy phone, also announced today you'll be waiting some time - at least if you live in NZ. No plans yet for the Galaxy Fold come to here and although it goes on sale in the US on 26 April, the starting price tag is a wopping US$1980 That's nearly NZ$3,000.