The Samsung Galaxy S10 is coming.
There are a lot of rumors out there. I’m collecting them but also adding some of my own confidential sources here. That said, I can’t say I’m right; I’m as right as I feel I can be at the moment. With more than two months to go before these phones launch, details—especially the launch date and price—are still subject to change.
How Many Galaxy S10 Models Will There Be?
My sources tell me there are three main models, with region-specific versions of each. The US, Canada, and China will get versions with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor; the rest of the world will get Exynos 9820-powered models.
Evan Blass goes further to say the three models will have 5.8-, 6.1-, and 6.4-inch screens. The renders he shows have front-facing cameras towards the top-center of the phone, though, when I’m pretty sure they’ll be at the top right.
The three models are being referred to as Lite, regular, and Plus for now.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Design
We got hands-on time with a prototype of what we believe to be the 5G Galaxy S10 model at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit. It was big, but at least it wasn’t very thick. Leakers on Twitter have been churning out projections of what the phone will look like, so I’ll just give you their perspectives rather than paraphrasing.
This feed claims that “the S10 is as small as an S8,” and that it has a 19:9 screen ratio.
The phone will be one of the first with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, and we expect it to use many of the 855’s flagship features. It will probably have an under-display, ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, various advanced camera features and use the Snapdragon X24 modem, which promises speeds of up to 2Gbps on 4G (although only Telstra in Australia has a network fast enough to handle that.) As you can see in the above tweets, the “Lite” model may not have all the features the others do, such as the fingerprint scanner.
Blass also says the phone will have the ability to wirelessly charge other devices.
Will the Galaxy S10 Have 5G?
The 5G unit appears to be a fourth model, which may be available slightly later than the others. It will likely only be available in the US and Korea, and will come out on Verizon first, followed by AT&T and then Sprint and T-Mobile.
This Twitter feed claims that the 5G model, which is codenamed “Beyond X” (but probably won’t be sold under that name) has a 6.7-inch screen. It certainly felt big when I was handling it in Hawaii.
The 5G model will likely support Sprint’s 2.5GHz, Verizon and T-Mobile’s 28GHz and AT&T’s 39GHz 5G systems, but not T-Mobile’s 600MHz or AT&T’s 850/1900MHz. That means it will support high-speed 5G, but not long-range systems. You’ll have to wait for the second half of the year for phones that support long-range 5G.
How Much Will the Galaxy S10 Cost?
The Galaxy S9 started at $720, and we expect the main model of the S10—the 6.1-inch model—to hold that line. The 6.4-inch model would come at a “plus” price, perhaps $899, and the 5.8-inch “Lite” model will be in the $600-$700 range.
The 5G model will cost a lot. On stage at the Snapdragon Technology Summit, Samsung exec Justin Denison wouldn’t commit to a price, but seemed to confirm that it will be very expensive. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said at the same event that 5G phones would cost $200-$300 more than 4G phones. Netgear’s new 5G hotspot for AT&T costs $200 more than its 4G hotspot. So I’m targeting $1,200 for the 5G model, which lets Samsung say that it’s at least no more expensive than variants of the iPhone XS Max.
US carriers will by and large offer the new phones with 3-year installment payment plans, so they won’t look more expensive per month than previous models of the phones.
When Will the S10 Be Announced?
Currently, the most reliable rumor for the S10 announcement date is Feb. 20. If that’s the case, it will most likely go on sale on Friday, March 8. In between, the entire mobile industry is going to Mobile World Congress, the biggest mobile trade show of the year. People will start to set out for the show on Feb. 21; if Samsung doesn’t launch on the 20th, it will have to do it at the show on the night of Sunday the 24th. That would still result in a March 8 sale date.