Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10E hands on: A first look at the iPhone XS challengers

Matthew Field

Samsung has revealed the Galaxy S10 smartphone, the latest model that the Korean company hopes will challenge the iPhone Xs for a spot in consumers hearts.

The new device brings with it some new leaps of innovation in screen technology that sets the Samsung apart from its rivals.

It is too soon for a full review, but I had a chance to use the new phone hands-on ahead of the release.

A new design

The first thing you notice is the new display design. Apple gave us the controversial notch, now we have the "punch hole". It is the first Samsung phone to feature a punch-hole display - that is a display that covers the entire front of the phone except for a hole cut out for the selfie camera.

This does look a little unusual at first, but Samsung promises that apps will be optimised for this new kind of screen technology.

And, while the new screen does change the look of the front of the phone, the fact is this all-screen design is now so ubiquitous that it might still struggle to stand out from the crowd.

As expected, you get a bright and punchy Full HD display that is full of colour. And on the back is a dual pixel 12MP camera.

The Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10E Credit: Samsung

Three new phones

The other main development is that Samsung is bringing out a triple bill of smartphones in this release (before we even get to the 5G model and Samsung Galaxy Fold that it teased).

The new models coming out and available for pre-order include a cheaper model that it hopes will compete with the iPhone Xr. The new phones include the Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S10E.

The S10 Plus will give users an incredible amount of power and storage, with up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of space. The thing is, will most people actually need that? I think not.

Probably the most interesting of these for ordinary consumers looking for a better deal is the Galaxy S10E. It is slightly smaller with an almost all-screen 5.8-inch front display. But thanks to the extreme screen to body ratio, it actually doesn't feel overly large in the palm of your hand.

However, the larger S10 Plus, with its 6.4-inch screen, still feels large and real stretch when using with one hand.

Ultrasonic fingerprint scanning

All three phones come with a fingerprint scanners. The S10E's is a little less sophisticated, featuring its scanner in the side power button of the phone, but this means it is out of the way of the screen (at our briefing I did not get a chance to test this out as we were sadly banned from adding out fingerprints and locking down the demo phones.

But the S10 and S10 Plus both have high-tech ultrasonic scanners. These Qualcomm-made scanners shoot out a tiny, imperceptible wave of pressure over the finger, which maps the ridges of your fingerprint and beams them back to the phone. It is seriously fast.

The larger S10 Plus Credit: Samsung

First thoughts

In engineering terms there is a lot to love about Samsung's new line up. The problem is, there is not a lot to separate these designs from the latest and greatest innovations from the likes of Apple and Huawei.

And, the launches have arguably been overshadowed by Samsung teasing what is still to come. Real tech lovers may fancy a chance to be one of the first to a folding Samsung Galaxy phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold. If that is the case, what is really on offer for them here?

Check back to the Telegraph to read a full review of the Samsung Galaxy S10 in the coming days.