The Galaxy S10 promises to be the most important Samsung release in years, and not just because the Galaxy S9 has suffered from slow sales. This will mark the tenth anniversary of the South Korean tech giant's flagship smartphone.
Here are all the rumors we've heard surrounding the Galaxy S10 so far, including potential release dates, specs and other details.
A render of the Galaxy S10 based on all the information we have to date. (Credit: OnLeaks and 91Mobiles)
Latest Galaxy S10 Leaks and Rumors (Dec. 12)
- Samsung could unveil the Galaxy S10 as soon as Feb. 20 according to one report, which has also shed light on pricing.
- There's hope for the headphone jack yet, thanks to a case prototype discovered by Samsung leaker Ice Universe.
- Samsung has fully unveiled the Galaxy A8s, which features an Infinity-O display with a cutout for the front-facing camera in the top left corner.
- Qualcomm has unveiled its Snapdragon 855 chipset, giving us a sneak peek into the chip that is likely to power the Galaxy S10.
Galaxy S10 Cheat Sheet — Biggest Changes to Expect
- Samsung is reportedly planning up to four variants of the Galaxy S10 at 5.8-, 6.1-, 6.4- and 6.7-inch sizes. The cheapest could have a flat display, while the largest and most expensive may support 5G and carry a total of six cameras across the front and rear.
- Expect an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor. This would allow you to unlock the phone just by placing your finger on the display.
- Samsung has teased the Galaxy S10 will have a markedly different design from its predecessors, and rumors suggest it'll come in the form of a bezel-free Infinity-O screen with a cutout in the panel for the front-facing camera.
- The back of the Galaxy S10 may feature as many as four cameras, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. But other reports have said the phone will offer three cameras.
- The Galaxy S10 is expected to split power between Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset for North American models, and Samsung's own Exynos 9820 silicon for the rest of the world.
Galaxy S10 release date and price
It's too soon to predict the exact release date for the Galaxy S10, but if history is any guide, Samsung will likely stick to a similar timetable in 2019 as in other years. That means you should expect to see the new handset announced at next year's Mobile World Congress show, which gets underway Feb. 25. If Samsung follows a similar pattern for the S10 as did for the S9, the new phone would hit shelves by the middle of March 2019.
Then again, Samsung could preempt Mobile World Congress with an event of its own roughly a week before the festivities kick off. According to Gizmodo UK, that could be as soon as Feb. 20, with preorders going live instantly, before the device hits stores on March 8.
The entry-level 5.8-inch S10 Lite will reportedly start at £669 based on information Gizmodo UK says it received from a "source at a major tech retailer." It would then be followed by the 6.1-inch S10 at £799 and the range-topping, 6.4-inch S10 Plus at £899. All three models will come with at least 128GB of storage, the article reads, though the highest capacity S10 Plus will offer 1TB of storage for a whopping £1399.
The S10 and its larger sibling, the Galaxy Note 10, likely won't be the only premium phones Samsung introduces next year. At its developer conference in November, Samsung finally unveiled the foldable phone it's been working on for so long, nicknamed by insiders as the Galaxy F. While the Galaxy F was shown briefly, in a boxy case and under very protective lighting, many expect the final product to debut sometime in 2019.
True bezel-free design, lots more colors
While the Galaxy S9 mostly repeated the S8's design, fans should expect "very significant" changes to the S10's exterior. That quote comes courtesy of none other than Samsung mobile chief D.J. Koh, who related that information to Chinese media, before it was picked up by SamMobile.
A render of the Galaxy S10+ (Credit: Ice Universe)The most significant change will likely concern the front facing camera, as rumors suggest the Galaxy S10 will get an Infinity-O display — Samsung speak for a screen with a pill-shaped hole for either one or two lenses. Well-known Samsung leaker Ice Universe seems to think at least some of the S10 models will launch with this design; he tweeted a render of what is believed to be the S10+ on Dec. 4.
There is no notch on this mockup, at least conventionally speaking. But if you look closely, you also won't find an earpiece either. A recent report from SamMobile has shed light on this detail, saying that the new full-screen Infinity-O display in the Galaxy S10 has necessitated a relocation of the earpiece to the top edge, because these phones supposedly won't have much of a top bezel. It's unclear what affect this might have on sound quality in calls.
We can likely glean some insights about the Galaxy S10 from the upcoming Galaxy A8s, a new midrange device Samsung unveiled for the Chinese market on Dec. 10. The A8s is Samsung's first production handset with an Infinity-O display, with its selfie camera is situated in the top left corner. The phone also lacks a headphone jack, adding more fuel to the fire that the Galaxy S10 will lose out on the 3.5-millimeter connector as well.
The Galaxy A8s. (Credit: Samsung)Or will it? A day after Samsung unveiled the Galaxy A8s, Ice Universe tweeted a video of a clear TPU case purportedly designed for the Galaxy S10, with a hole carved out for the headphone jack on the bottom edge, adjacent to the USB Type-C port. The leaker doesn't explicitly say whether or not this is an official Samsung-produced case for the phone, although that seems to be the assumption.
While Koh was careful not to offer more details in his interview, he has stated on the record that the Galaxy S10 will offer "amazing" colors. This is according to Forbes, which noted a report from OnLeaks' Steve Hemmerstoffer that details the S10's possible design. Hemmerstoffer claims that Samsung will deliver "no less than nine" new gradient color schemes for its Galaxy S10.
Clues regarding the S10's design can also be seen in Samsung's latest Android software. An image shared by Ice Universe reportedly lifted from a beta version of Android Pie running on a Galaxy Note 9 displays the following graphic for a new Night Mode, which turns the interface black. The device sketch in the animation notably lacks a notch, but has an edge-to-edge design — just like the S10 is rumored to have.
A range of phones
We've heard multiple reports from various sources that Samsung will release at least three models of its upcoming flagship.
Bloomberg's report in late October seemingly confirmed that Samsung will be releasing three Galaxy S10 models, one of which is purported to be a more affordable model missing some new features.
Back in July, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the company was planning 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.4-inch handsets, via Business Insider. Those rumors were bolstered in October by Korean publication The Bell (by way of SamMobile), which also claimed the top S10 model would see a 6.44-inch display with a 19:9 aspect ratio.
The kicker is that Kuo has said two of those three devices will implement fingerprint on display technology, a goal many phone makers have been working toward for years. The Galaxy S9 and S9+, as well as the Galaxy Note 9, were all rumored to feature ultrasonic fingerprint sensors built into the screen at various points in their development, but never delivered the functionality. Since then, Chinese phone makers OnePlus and Huawei have brought in-display fingerprint reading to market with the OnePlus 6T and Mate 20 Pro, respectively — indicating the technology is finally mature enough to launch in Samsung's next flagships.
According to Kuo, the cheapest of the three Galaxy S10s will not use the same technology, opting instead for a more conventional scanner placed on the side of the phone. The Moto Z3 Play employed a similar design. Kuo's report adds that Samsung is expected to push the in-display fingerprint sensor feature heavily leading up to the phones' launch, presumably in late February or early March of 2019.
Additionally, while the more premium S10 models are expected to have curved displays, the entry-level variant may deviate from those with a flat screen. Interestingly, Samsung hasn't produced a Galaxy S phone with a fully-flat panel since the Galaxy S7 back in 2016. The company moved to the Infinity design for its entire flagship range beginning in 2017 with the Galaxy S8 and S8+.
CPU: Snapdragon 855 and Exynos 9820
In a move that could inform what happens with the Galaxy S10, Samsung in February announced that it had invested $5.6 billion in a new factory to build 7-nanometer chipsets. Not only would that allow for a smaller chip, but it would also pave the way for the company to make a variety of design changes with the extra room it'll have inside the handset.
The Snapdragon 855. (Credit: Qualcomm)It's important to note that Samsung employs both its own Exynos and Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors in its phones, and uses one or the other depending on the requirements of each region's carriers. Snapdragon-powered Galaxy devices typically only launch in North America — so it should come as little surprise that the Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm's upcoming flagship chipset that will reach most premium Android devices in 2019, should be featured in at least U.S.-bound versions of the S10. Meanwhile, the Exynos 9820 will be featured in the international variants.
Unveiled at Qualcomm's annual Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, the Snapdragon 855 brings ultrasonic fingerprint recognition (for under display applications) and multi-gigabit 5G to Android's premier chipset. The new Spectra 380 image signal processor delivers hardware-accelerated computational photography, taking what many phones already do in software and baking it into the silicon for faster image recognition and algorithmic processing. And the new AI engine will reportedly make local machine learning three times faster than on the Snapdragon 845.
However, neither of these chips may be powerful enough to outpace Apple's lightning-fast A12 Bionic. A recent AnTuTu benchmark, leaked by Ice Universe, shows the iPhone XS defeating a Exynos-powered Galaxy S10+ handily. Of course, the S10+ could feature much more RAM than the iPhone XS — some reports point to as much as 10GB — which would make the phone more capable in other ways. Regardless, it's going to be tough for either Qualcomm or Samsung to mitigate Apple's advantage.
5G inside (in one model)
Insiders say Samsung is pulling out all the stops for the Galaxy S series' 10th anniversary with a range-topping model that will feature 5G connectivity, a total of six cameras (two on the front and four on the back), up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, as well as a 6.7-inch display — purportedly the largest of all the S10 models in development. It's currently going by the code name "Beyond X."
However, if this edition of the S10 does become available, it will likely be after the initial launch. Samsung has previously said that the Galaxy S10 would not be the company's first 5G phone. Meanwhile, Verizon has announced its first 5G phone will come from Samsung, while AT&T has confirmed it will offer two separate Samsung 5G handsets — one in the first half of 2019, and the other in the second half. It is currently unclear if one of these devices is the 10th anniversary Galaxy S10, or another product entirely.
In-display fingerprint sensor
According to ETNews, the Galaxy S10's in-display fingerprint sensor will be provided by Qualcomm, and represents the third generation of the company's ultrasonic technology. That last detail is critical, because D.J. Koh reportedly has expressed that optical sensors offer a "bad user experience" compared to their ultrasonic counterparts.
The OnePlus 6T has an in-screen fingerprint sensor — something the Galaxy S10 is expected to get. (Credit: Tom's Guide)However, the entry-level variant of the S10 that's been rumored thus far probably won't see that new fingerprint-sensing tech. SamMobile suggests that model will instead sport a conventional sensor located on the side of the phone.
The in-display scanner could be accompanied by a bold new technology that transmits audio through vibrations in the phone's glass panel. This report also comes by way of ETNews, which claims Samsung may rely on this system to replace the Galaxy S10's front-facing speaker if the company incorporates a truly all-screen design. However, the phone could still feature a conventional second speaker along the bottom of the frame.
Front camera behind display?
While it probably won't happen in time for the Galaxy S10's launch, in the future Samsung may combine fingerprint-on-display and sound-on-display technologies with another design breakthrough that allows the device's front-facing camera and ambient light sensors to live behind the screen. Samsung is calling this "under panel sensor" technology, and it was previewed at a private event the phone maker ran for its closest industry partners in Shenzhen, China in mid-October, according to Forbes and Ice Universe.
An assortment of initiatives Samsung is working on for future phones, including Under Panel Sensor technology, presented at an industry conference in China. (Credit: Ice Universe)While Samsung's breakthroughs are certainly exciting in that they could potentially spell death for the notch, it is highly unlikely all of these technologies will debut in the Galaxy S10, given how many renders we've seen with the Infinity-O hole-in-screen design for the cameras. Rather, they're much more likely to appear in the 2020 Galaxy flagship — something Ice Universe also noted.
New OneUI software experience
Samsung is introducing a new user interface called OneUI that replaces the existing Samsung Experience Android skin. While it's currently in beta for the Galaxy S9, OneUI is also expected to be a big part of the Galaxy S10, because Samsung is pitching OneUI as a solution for devices with larger screens.
MORE: Hands-On With OneUI
Certain versions of the S10 will likely carry some of the biggest smartphone displays we've ever seen. Current rumors point to 6.4- and 6.7-inch models, so it follows that Samsung would tweak its Android skin to make those handsets less cumbersome to use. OneUI moves many of the main controls within system apps to the bottom of the display, where they're within reach of the user's thumbs. It also frequently puts large text and rich graphics up top, to capitalize on the extra space that these panels provide.
OneUI is expected to roll out to existing Galaxy S8, S9, Note 8 and Note 9 devices in January — roughly a month or so before we expect Samsung to formally introduce the Galaxy S10.
Faster RAM and UFS 3.0 storage
Outside of the requisite improvements to the phone's processor, the Galaxy S10 has been rumored to support faster RAM and storage modules than what is available in most handsets today.
The story once again comes from Ice Universe, who says Samsung will begin producing LPDDR5 and UFS 3.0 chips this year. In the same breath, Ice Universe says they're "looking forward" to the Galaxy S10, suggesting that the company's next flagship will feature these components.
While we may have to wait another year for LPDDR5 RAM to arrive in Samsung's smartphones, it seems almost certain at this point that the Galaxy S10 will support UFS 3.0. The news was reported by Android Central, which shared that Samsung has confirmed its first UFS 3.0 products will ship in the first half of 2019 at 128GB, 256GB and 512GB sizes. That's square in terms of timing with the S10's expected launch in early-to-mid Spring.
The upshot of these additions is a phone that's snappier and more efficient. UFS 3.0 in particular helps storage consume less power, accommodate a wider bandwidth and work at hotter temperatures. As for the LPDDR5 RAM, faster read and write speeds will enable new content, like the recording of 8K and even slower-motion videos.
A multitude of cameras
Huawei's P20 Pro introduced us to the concept of three rear cameras this year, with the extra lens helping produce better shots in low-light. Samsung reportedly is eyeing a triple-lens setup for its next Galaxy phone, with KB Securities analyst Kim Dong-Won publishing a research note that says the S10 will have three cameras on the rear.
A report in early October seems to confirm that Samsung will be offering triple rear cameras on the Galaxy S10. A leak from SamMobile says the primary camera will implement a 12-megapixel sensor, f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture, and a 78-degree field-of-view. The second will be a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/1.9 aperture and a 123-degree field-of-view. And the last camera will reportedly come with a 13-megapixel sensor and an f/2.4 aperture — potentially a telephoto, for shallow depth-of-field portraits.
Samsung could go even bigger, though, based on a rumor from Ice Universe that claims one of the sensors will collect 48 megapixels of data. Huawei famously introduced a 40-megapixel main camera in its P20 Pro, though in auto mode it never actually collected images at full resolution. Rather, it used computational photography to optimize lower-resolution shots with the excess data gathered from that high-res sensor.
Additionally, The Bell states Samsung is eyeing a second front lens to the Galaxy S10, all the better for supporting Portrait Mode effects on selfies. The latest renders of the handset seem to bear this out.
A 3D face scanner
Samsung has been criticized for not developing a 3D face scanner to compete with Face ID in Apple's iPhone X. But a report from The Investor says that Samsung has partnered with 3D camera firm Mantis Vision to finally get a 3D scanner into the Galaxy S10.
Not much is known about the feature yet, but it's believed that the Mantis Vision technology will be able to compete on the same level as the Face ID feature on the iPhone X.