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Galaxy S10 vs. S10 Plus vs. S10e vs. S10 5G: What should you buy?

If you're looking to upgrade your Galaxy phone, but perhaps you want to save some money rather than spending top dollar on a new Galaxy S20, there's some good news. Not only are there many Galaxy S10 models to choose from, but they're all cheaper than ever before.

The Galaxy S10e is the most affordable and compact of the bunch; the Galaxy S10 is the standard flagship; and the Galaxy S10 Plus is the biggest and most premium version, save for the 6.7-inch Galaxy S10 5G.

These handsets share much in common, including Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor, but there are some pretty big differences across the board, too. And with the Galaxy S20 now out, there are some enticing discounts to be had for the Galaxy S10 series — so you'll definitely want to check out our list of the best Galaxy S10 deals available right now. 

On the fence between Samsung and Apple? See our Galaxy S10 vs. iPhone 11 Pro face-off.

Here's how to choose the right Galaxy S10 for you.

Galaxy S10e vs. Galaxy S10 vs. Galaxy S10 Plus vs. Galaxy S10 5G: Specs compared

Galaxy S10eGalaxy S10Galaxy S10 Plus
Galaxy S10 5G
Price$749 at launch, now $599$899 at launch, now $749$999 at launch, now $849$1,299
Display (Resolution)5.8 inches (full HD+)6.1 inches (quad HD+)6.4 inches (quad HD+)6.7 inches (quad HD+)
Rear Camera(s)16-MP ultrawide (f/2.2); 12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4)16-MP ultrawide (f/2.2); 12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4); 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4)16-MP ultrawide (f/2.2); 12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4); 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4)16-MP ultrawide (f/2.2);12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4); 12-MP telephoto (f/2.4); hQVGA 3D depth sensor
Front Camera(s)10-MP dual-pixel (f/1.9)10-MP dual-pixel (f/1.9)10-MP dual-pixel (f/1.9); 8-MP depth-sensing (f/2.2)10-MP dual-pixel (f/1.9); hQVGA 3D depth sensor
CPUSnapdragon 855 (North America); Exynos 9820 (International)Snapdragon 855 (North America); Exynos 9820 (International)
Snapdragon 855 (North America); Exynos 9820 (International)Snapdragon 855 (North America); Exynos 9820 (International)
RAM6GB, 8GB8GB8GB, 12GB8GB
Storage128GB, 256GB128GB, 512GB128GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB
microSDYes, up to 512GBYes, up to 512GBYes, up to 512GBYes, up to 512GB
Battery3,100 mAh3,400mAh4,100mAh4,500mAh
Battery Life (hrs:mins)
9:41
10:19
12:35
Not yet tested
ColorsPrism Black, Prism White, Prism Blue, Prism Green (except U.S.), Canary Yellow (except U.S.), Flamingo Pink (except U.K.)Prism Black, Prism White, Prism Blue, Prism Green (except U.S.), Flamingo Pink (except U.K.)Prism Black, Prism White, Prism Blue, Ceramic White, Ceramic Black, Prism Green (except U.S.), Flamingo Pink (except U.K.)Majestic Black (Verizon exclusive), Crown Silver
Size5.6 x 2.75 x 0.3 inches5.9 x 2.77 x 0.3 inches6.2 x 2.91 x 0.3 inches6.4 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches
Weight5.29 ounces5.5 ounces6.17 ounces6.98 ounces

Galaxy S10 price and availability

Following the launch of the S20 series, the 5.8-inch Galaxy S10e now starts at $599 for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The 6.1-inch Galaxy S10 will run you $749 to $849 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage to start. And the 6.4-inch Galaxy S10 Plus is priced at $849 for its bigger display with the same 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

The Galaxy S10 5G still costs $1,299. Unlike the other flavors of the Galaxy S10, the 5G variant only comes with 8GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. Unfortunately, we'd recommend against buying the S10 5G at this stage; not only is the device difficult to track down these days, but as a first-generation 5G device, it doesn't support all deployments of 5G that carriers are using, meaning it's not very future-proof. Besides, the new Galaxy S20 Plus offers better 5G connectivity and all-around superior performance for $100 less than the S10 5G cost when it came out last summer.

Be sure to check out our updated page of the Galaxy S10 deals page for the latest discounts and sales.

Galaxy S10 design, size and display

The entire Galaxy S10 family sports Samsung's Infinity-O design language. Instead of featuring a notch that hangs from the top of the screen, there's a hole punch on the top right side. It's fairly unobtrusive, but the S10 Plus and S10 5G have a wider hole punch to accommodate their dual front cameras, while the other phones have a smaller hole for a single front camera.

The Galaxy S10 Plus has dual cameras up front, and some don't like the hole-punch look.

The Galaxy S10 Plus has dual cameras up front, and some don't like the hole-punch look.

The key difference between the four models is size. The Galaxy S10e has a 5.8-inch, full-HD display, which is the same size screen as the iPhone 11 Pro. The Galaxy S10 steps up to a 6.1-inch, quad-HD panel, and the Galaxy S10 Plus packs a 6.4-inch, quad-HD panel. At 6.17 ounces, the Galaxy S10 Plus is on the hefty side but still more than an ounce and a half lighter than the iPhone 11 Pro Max (7.97 ounces), which has a slightly bigger 6.5-inch screen. And the S10 Plus isn't even the largest Galaxy S10 handset of them all — that designation is reserved for the 6.7-inch, 6.98-ounce S10 5G.

The Galaxy S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch screen, while the S10 has a 6.1-inch display.

The Galaxy S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch screen, while the S10 has a 6.1-inch display.

The screens on all four models benefit from Samsung's Dynamic AMOLED technology, which includes dynamic tone mapping for a wider range of a color and a reduction in blue light, though they lack the 120Hz refresh rate of the newer S20 series. While the displays on the S10, S10 Plus and S10 5G are curved, the panel on the S10e is flat.

The Galaxy S10e has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button.

The Galaxy S10e has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button.

The Galaxy S10 weighs a manageable 5.5 ounces, while the S10e is a remarkably light 5.3 ounces.

Galaxy S10 color options

The Galaxy S10, S10e and S10 Plus all come in multiple colors, including Prism Black, Prism White and Prism Blue, as well as Flamingo Pink (except in the U.K.) and Prism Green (except in the U.S.).

The Galaxy S10e comes in yellow and green. The Galaxy S10 Plus has pink and white options.

The Galaxy S10e comes in yellow and green. The Galaxy S10 Plus has pink and white options.

The Galaxy S10e comes in Canary Yellow, but not in the U.S. And the 5G model offers less exciting choices — Majestic Black, which is exclusive to Verizon, and Crown Silver.

For those willing to splurge, the S10 Plus comes in Ceramic Black and Ceramic White, but those special editions will be available only if you opt for the top-end 512GB or 1TB models.

MORE: The best Android phones

Galaxy S10 fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10 5G feature an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor embedded in the display, which makes it fairly easy to unlock these phones. Unlike optical sensors, such as that found on the OnePlus 8, this ultrasonic reader provides slightly better accuracy and security by creating a 3D contour of your finger.

However, the sensor can occasionally register a false negative, forcing you to touch the sensor again. You have to be careful not to tap too quickly. One hacker has claimed to have fooled the scanner using a 3D printed fingerprint, but for most users this sensor should be fine for unlocking the device.

The in-screen fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10 is pretty fast, but it's not always accurate.

The in-screen fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10 is pretty fast, but it's not always accurate.

One of the trade-offs for the cheaper Galaxy S10e is that it lacks an in-screen fingerprint reader; instead, Samsung embedded the sensor into the power button on the side of phone. Based on our testing, this sensor works quite well.

Galaxy S10 cameras

As you might expect, the S10e has the fewest cameras, but it's no slouch. It offers the same 12-megapixel sensor as the other models, plus an ultrawide 16-MP camera. And you get Samsung's improved Scene Optimizer feature for automatically recognizing up to 30 different scenes.

The Galaxy S10e comes with dual rear cameras, including an ultrawide shooter.

The Galaxy S10e comes with dual rear cameras, including an ultrawide shooter.

The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus add a third camera to the back, a 12-MP, ƒ/2.4 lens that enables 2x optical zoom. (The S10e has to make do with digital zoom.) Then the S10 5G goes a step further, with a total of four lenses on the rear, thanks to the addition of a time-of-flight sensor for advanced spatial recognition.

On the front, the S10e, S10, S10 Plus and S10 5G all share the same 10-MP, ƒ/1.9 lens for selfies, but only the Galaxy S10 Plus plus packs a secondary depth sensor up front, which enables bokeh in selfies and the ability to colorize a subject while keeping the background black and white. The S10 5G also has a secondary front-facing sensor, but it's another time-of-flight camera, rather than a conventional one as in the S10 Plus.

Overall, the Galaxy S10 is a good shooting partner, but it's not quite the best camera phone. If you're curious how the Galaxy S10's camera stacks up to the competition, check out our Galaxy S10 vs Pixel 3 camera face-off.

Galaxy S10 specs and performance (and 5G)

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor powers all four of Samsung's S10 flagships in the U.S, while Samsung's own Exynos 9820 is the CPU elsewhere. Samsung says the 855's built-in AI helps predict and prepare for app launches, which should speed up performance, while improved support for the Unity graphics engine boosts gaming performance over previous Galaxy S generations.

Based on our Galaxy S10 benchmark testing, this phone does indeed live up to the hype. It scored 10,732 on Geekbench 4, which was the highest score we had ever seen from an Android phone at the time of the S10's release. The iPhone XS is a bit faster in this test, but the S10 Plus pulled ahead on the 3DMark graphics test.

The Galaxy S10 Plus (left) comes with a max of 12GB of RAM.

The Galaxy S10 Plus (left) comes with a max of 12GB of RAM.

On the Galaxy S10e, you start with 6GB of RAM but can opt for 8GB, and you can choose from 128GB or 256GB of storage. The Galaxy S10 comes with 8GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. The S10 Plus tops out at 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage — a first for smartphones. And the S10 5G sits somewhere between all of those, with 8GB of RAM and the option of either 256GB or 512GB of storage.

The one area where the Galaxy S10 5G pulls ahead is its data performance. We've speed tested the phone in Chicago, which was one of the first launch cities for Verizon's 5G network, and we have seen speeds exceed 1Gbps. And we were amazed as the S10 5G downloaded a 33-minute, 158MB episode of Netflix’s Nailed It in an astonishing 5.6 seconds.

However, Verizon's network is far from widespread, and at least for now it doesn't work very well indoors based on our early testing. You'll definitely want to wait until 5G comes to your city before you invest in one of the best 5G phones.

Galaxy S10 battery life and PowerShare

No surprise here. The Galaxy S10e has the smallest battery of the bunch at 3,100 mAh but that doesn't mean it offers the least battery life; that's because it also has the smallest screen at 5.8 inches. This capacity is actually slightly better than the 3,000-mAh pack in the Galaxy S9.

The Galaxy S10e features a headphone jack and can wirelessly charge other devices.

The Galaxy S10e features a headphone jack and can wirelessly charge other devices.

The Galaxy S10 features a generous 3,400 mAh battery, while the Galaxy S10 Plus boasts a huge 4,100 mAh battery. By comparison, the Galaxy S9 Plus had a 3,500 mAh battery. In our battery tests, the Galaxy S10 Plus lasted a whopping 12 hours and 35 minutes, which is one of the best times we've seen from a flagship within the last year and makes our list of the best phone battery life.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S20 vs. Galaxy S10: What's different?

The regular Galaxy S10 endured for a very good 10:19, while the Galaxy S10e lasted a solid but unspectacular 9:41 on our battery test. For a comparison against the newer S20 devices, the standard Galaxy S20 fared just 9 hours and 31 minutes, while the Galaxy S20 Plus lasted a much better 10 hours and 31 minutes and the Galaxy S20 Ultra hit an epic 12:03. (All S20 tests were performed with each phone set to 60Hz mode.)

Each of the four Galaxy S10 phones offer Samsung's PowerShare feature, which allows users to charge other phones or Samsung's new Galaxy Buds wirelessly. You just place the other handset or buds on the back of the phone.

Bottom line

Given all the differences between the four models, which version of the S10 should you consider? Here's how we break it down after testing the four phones.

Get the Galaxy S10e if you want a compact phone that's easy to use with one hand but you don't want to sacrifice performance or pay a high price. The regular Galaxy S10 is the phone to get if you want a fairly big screen, a fingerprint reader in the display and a third rear camera for ultra-wide shots.

The Galaxy S10 Plus is the flagship to buy if you're willing to splurge on the biggest display and battery possible and a second front camera, plus the option for a crazy amount of RAM and storage. And as for the Galaxy S10 5G, although it offered impressive performance at the time, newer 5G phones have it beaten in terms of connectivity and affordability.