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Samsung unveils Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus with triple-camera; budget-friendlier S10e with dual cam

Samsung unveils Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus with triple-camera; budget-friendlier S10e with dual cam


Samsung unveils Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus with triple-camera; budget-friendlier S10e with dual cam 1

At its Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S10 and S10+, both offering a rear triple-camera array, alongside a budget-oriented S10e ‘essential’ model with a dual camera unit. Also announced is the S10 5G, the largest of the bunch, featuring the unique ability to apply background blur and filters in real-time to video. All four devices offer a stabilized standard wide and a fixed-focus ultra-wide camera, as well as a front-facing selfie camera, while the S10e omits the optically stabilized tele-camera available in the other three. As expected, the S10 series’ display is the center of attention with a hole-punch style front-facing camera embedded in the screen in favor of the much-maligned notch.

The rear triple camera array comprises a standard 12MP ‘main’ wide-angle, 12MP telephoto camera, and a 16MP ultra-wide unit with a 123-degree field-of-view. The F1.5/F2.4 dual aperture feature introduced in the S9 is offered on the main rear camera on all models. The S10+ offers a secondary front-facing RGB depth sensor to allow for blurred background selfies – the S10 and S10e offer a single front-facing camera.

The S10 5G also offers additional depth sensing cameras on both the front and the rear, but these are specialized low resolution (240×160) time-of-flight cameras that can sense distances of nearby objects for real-time effects like background blur. The table below summarizes all camera features for all models.

Models Location Full-frame equiv. FOV Aperture Autofocus Optical Image Stabilization
12MP ‘main’ camera S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G Rear 27mm F1.5 / F2.4 Dual-Pixel Yes
12MP telephoto S10, S10+, S10 5G Rear 52mm F2.4 Phase-Detect Yes

16MP wide-angle
(fixed-focus)

S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G Rear 12mm F2.2 No No
10MP selfie camera S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G Front 26mm F1.9 Dual-Pixel No

8MP RGB depth-sensing camera

S10, S10+, S10e Front 22mm F2.2 Autofocus (unspecified) No
Time of Flight depth-sensing camera S10 5G Front/Rear N/A N/A N/A N/A

The S10 cameras are equipped with added intelligent features, including a Scene Optimizer capable of recognizing 30 unique scenes, as well as suggestions for optimal compositions. A new ‘Bright Night’ mode attempts to improve image quality in low light, presumably using long exposure image stacking techniques like Google’s Night Sight or Huawei’s Night Mode. New bokeh effects have been added to the traditional bokeh effect: spin, zoom and color fade. We’d hoped to see improved image-stacking techniques similar to what the Google Pixel 3 offers for improved noise performance, and super resolution – particularly for improved resolution in zoom ratios in between the 1x and 2x lenses – but there’s no mention of such improvements.

The S10 cameras are capable of shooting 4K UHD video using the HDR10+ format, meaning that high contrast scenes can be displayed on HDR displays (and the phone itself) with saturated colors and punch, as opposed to the flat look of traditional HDR capture. This assumes the S10 cameras are capable of capturing high dynamic range in video, which would require multi-exposure read-out like the iPhone XS – something we haven’t yet verified. The front-facing cameras can also record at UHD resolution. The time-of-flight depth sensors on both the front and rear of the S10 5G allow it to apply background blur in real time to your videos – the first time we’ve seen this ability in a consumer device.

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Display sizes vary across the series: the S10e offers a 5.8″ screen, the S10’s measures 6.1″ and the S10+ offers a 6.4″ display. Each is an AMOLED display supporting HDR10+ video playback (Samsung’s version of Dolby Vision), and uses dynamic tone mapping to optimize brightness levels on the fly based on your viewing environment (a clever way of ensuring images appear similar in both dim and bright viewing environments, as we explain here).

Samsung has improved what was already a very color accurate display – these phones cover the full DCI-P3 color gamut, and offer up to a whopping 1200 nits peak brightness. A measured 2 million:1 contrast ratio means incredibly deep blacks, important for HDR viewing. Unfortunately, like all Android phones to date, most (if not all) applications don’t ‘opt-in’ to the wide-gamut mode with proper color management, so images may appear over-saturated relative to color managed devices or what most web viewers would experience.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 will start at $900; the S10+ at $1000 and the S10e at $750. The S10 5G is likely to be priced above $1000.



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