Samsung Unveils The Expensive Galaxy Note 10 Plus, But it’s Still Cheaper Than Last Years iPhone XS Max.

 
It’s no secret, flagship smartphone prices are on the rise and climbing to extraordinary heights. Apple started this trend with its first thousand-dollar iPhone back when the iPhone X released. Apple pressed its customers, even more, then Apple announced the follow up to the iPhone X, the Xs Max and Xs. The top of the line iPhone XS Max with Max storage of 512 GB will cost potential buyers about $1500 after taxes and fees. Samsung has been trying to increase its prices as well, most likely trying to improve its profit margins. Samsung, however, has taken a different approach to their pricing. Their prices continue to climb with Apple, but they seem to undercut them by about $100-$200 consistently. For comparison, Samsung’s new Galaxy Note Plus with 512GB and 5G compatible is 1399.99 concerning Apples iPhone XS Max with 512 GB and no 5G option priced at $1449. Contrary to Apple’s Pricing Strategy, Samsung feels compelled to assure you that your money is well spent. Let’s go over what all Samsung is offering this fall.

Galaxy Note 10 (Not Plus)
This year Samsung decided it would try offering two different models of its Note phones. The first and more affordable option is the Base Galaxy Note 10. The note 10 features a 6.3″ 1080p AMOLED display with very minimal bezels. The Note 10 uses the infinity “O” variant of its display meaning it has a single small circular cutout placed directly centered near the top pf the phone. This camera layout is in contrast to the Galaxy S 10 (Plus) which has a dual camera cutout in the shape of a pill in the right-hand corner of the phone. Speaking of Cameras both the Galaxy S 10 and the Note 10 have triple-lens cameras on the rear of the device. The Note 10 has two 12MP ( Mega Pixel) cameras one has a wide-angle lens, and the other utilizes a telephoto lens. The final lens has a 16MP sensor that is used to take ultra-wide photos. The handsets will also come in a variety of colors with an iridescent gloss continuing their psychedelic phone aesthetic. Instead of facial recognition, the Note 10 will continue to use an ultrasonic fingerprint reader that is embedded in the bottom of the display. The base model of the Note 10 ships with an impressive 256 GB of storage, it, however, does not feature a Micro SD card slot. Pricing for the Note 10 Starts at $949.

Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 1.59.54 PM
Photo Credit: Samsung

Galaxy Note 10 Plus
The Note 10 Plus is nearly the same with its smaller counterpart, but this version of the phone does have a few key differences. First is the screen size. The Note 10 Plus features a 6.8″ display and a Quad HD resolution. Also different from its smaller brother is the option to utilize a Micro SD card for expandable storage. Samsung is finally making its user base pay a premium for that feature. Another feature that is exclusive to the Note 10 Plus is the depth sensing camera on the back, a 512 GB storage option, and the option to have a 5G modem in the phone. The Smaller Note 10 won’t have a 5G option. Pricing for the Note 10 Plus is as follows. $1099 256 GB, $1199 512 GB, and $1399 512GB and 5G. Again I have to reiterate even the fully specked Note 10 Plus with 5G capabilities is cheaper than the maxed out iPhone XS Max nearly a year after its release. Hopefully, this years’ iPhone 11 will have killer features that will justify its sticker price. Otherwise, I fear many looking to upgrade will jump to Samsung’s more affordable offering.

Are We Really Surprised the Galaxy Fold’s Plastic Screen Didn’t Hold Up? I’m Not.

As the release date for the Samsung Galaxy Fold loomed, review units were being shipped to various media outlets for testing. Journalist, YouTubers, and other reviewers were anxious to get their hands on Samsung’s new and nearly $2000 phone. Though many were excited about the Fold’s impending release, others had their suspicions that the hardware had its vulnerabilities.

The Folding Screen
First, let’s discuss the display of the Galaxy Fold. As its name implies, the display on this phone can fold in various orientations. To accomplish this Samsung couldn’t use a traditional glass display especially the extremely hard and scratch resistant forms of Gorilla glass. Instead, the Fold uses a very flexible plastic display. Plastic is a highly versatile material, it is highly shock absorbent, can flex considerably without breaking, and it doesn’t shatter when dropped. Plastic is however incredibly soft. Its softness makes the material naturally prone to scratches and dings on its surface. As you can imagine this is not an ideal material for displays intended for constant and everyday use, but Samsung did so anyway.

The Hinge
The hinge of the Galaxy Fold sort-of functions like the spine of a book. However, unlike a book, there are gaps on both sides of that “spine.” These gaps can allow dirt and debris in and wedge themselves between the fragile display. While testing and an official response from Samsung is needed to understand why displays were failing adequately, it is widely believed debris was the cause.

Due to the number of review units failing and undeniable need to conduct further stress testing, Samsung has indefinitely delayed the release of the Galaxy Fold. Samsung said in a statement that they were going to investigate what exactly was breaking their units and are going to reinforce the screens. When the Galaxy Fold is eventually released, it will likely have undergone some hardware revisions and might mechanically function differently. Samsung needs to be commended on taking the appropriate action and not selling a defective product. However, Samsung also needs to be condemned for attempting to rush a product to market. Make no mistake, though the Galaxy fold has been in development for years, the “finished product” was still a prototype, and Samsung knew it would fail at some point.

Samsung Announces Four Versions of Galaxy S10

 

During Samsung’s “Unpacked” event this morning, the company officially announced 5 new phones. This first to be announced was the radically designed Galaxy Fold (https://iphonetennismatch.com/2019/02/20/samsung-unveils-insanely-expensive-galaxy-fold/).

Samsung then announced their newest model or should I say, models of their flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S10. Due to numerous leaks and pure speculation most people expected the Galaxy S10 to be announced today. Most people, however, didn’t expect so many variations of the Galaxy S10 to be available.

The Galaxy S10 & S10 Plus

Though its design isn’t as radical as the Galaxy Fold, the S10 boasts a new design as well. The Galaxy S10 is the first of Samsungs phones to feature its “Infinity-O” display. The Infinity-O display is Samsungs answer to having a full display on the front of the phone. Instead of Apple’s “notch” the Galaxy S10 will have a cutout in the display that has been precisely cut by a laser to accommodate the front-facing camera. 

S10 Screen size: 6.1 inches

S10 Plus Screen Size 6.4 inches

The Base version of the Galaxy S10 will have a perfectly circular cutout for its front-facing camera. This is because there will only be one camera on the front of the device. This is in contrast to the Galaxy S10 Plus, which will have a more pill-pill-shaped cutout to accommodate two front-facing cameras. The two cameras on the front of the S10 Plus should make it possible for users to take portrait photos that exaggerate the depth of field.

On the rear of the Galaxy S10 & 10 Plus, both phones are identical in the camera department. Both phones are equipped with a triple lens camera set up. Each phone has a 16 MP wide-angle lens, a basic 12MP lens, and a telephoto lens with an optical zoom of x2.

What you will no longer find on the rear of the S10 & S10 Plus is a fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner has finally found its way onto the front of the device. Only this time it isn’t a physical button, but it is seamlessly embedded into the display itself. Samsung uses ultrasonic technology to map a 3-D model of your fingerprint while it rests on the screen. 

The Galaxy S10 & 10 Plus can be configured with up to 12 GB of RAM and a TB of onboard storage with a micro SD slot for even more storage. 

One of the most innovative additions to the Galaxy line up is the addition of the “Wireless Power Share” feature. This feature functionally turns the back of the Galaxy S10 into a wireless charger. The charger uses the QI standard which means in theory this feature could be used to wirelessly charge an iPhone that supports wireless charging. Though that would probably be jarring, Samsung probably expects its users to use this feature to charge the various branded accessories they also announced today. Some of these accessories include the Galaxy Buds which have a charging case that supports wireless charging, and Samsung’s pair of new smart and fitness watches, the Galaxy Watch Active, and the Galaxy Fit.

The Galaxy S10e

Samsung also revealed the Galaxy S10e, which is an entry-level version of their latest flagship phones. These phones are meant to compete directly with Apple’s iPhone XR. Unlike the XR and the S10, the S10e has a dual camera set up on the rear which is a step up from Apple’s offering but a camera shy of its bigger brothers. The S10e also losses support for the new Wireless Power Share feature. The Galaxy S10e will, fortunately, come at a more affordable price than its bigger brothers as well.

Pricing for the S10(s)

 S10e will cost you $749 *Starting 

S10 will cost you $899 *Starting 

S10 Plus will cost you $999 *Starting 

These prices are $100 cheaper than what Apple is asking for its starting prices, except for the 10e. Samsung is clearly trying to undercut Apple by offering cheaper flagship phones. This pricing quickly changes as buying a full loaded 1TB 12GB RAM S10 Plus will cost you $1600, more than Apple’s fully loaded iPhone XS MAX.

5G is Here 

As for the fourth version of the Galaxy S10, Samsung gave us a taste of the Galaxy S10 5G. 

The 5G as the name implies will support the upcoming 5G cellular connectivity, which is rumored to be a significant improvement over 4G LTE. Also, the S10 5G would be even bigger than the S10 Plus. It is going to feature a screen size of 6.7 inches, and a 3D sensing camera on the rear for advanced AR capabilities. No release date was given for this phone.

Release dates were however given for the other S10 models. Pre-orders will go live on February 21st, and devices will ship on March 8th. 

Samsung clearly wants to lead the pack in the smartphone market and with its current lineup, it seems to certainly have the momentum. 

Samsung Plans to Kill the Notch With the Galaxy S10

In 2019 Samsung (SSNLF) plans to take its Infinity Display technology to the next level by achieving a very coveted higher screen to body ratio.  Samsung plans to do this by reducing its top and bottom bezels on their flagship phones. When reducing or removing bezels, phone manufacturers have been plagued with the task of figuring out what to do with the largely essential front facing camera. 

As Selfies are still very much in vogue, phone users still demand that their devices are equipped with a high-quality camera to take selfies with. Those photos are taken the easiest when there is a camera on the front of the device. 

The solution up to this point has primarily been the “notch”. The notch is a blacked out segment of the display. This segment houses the front-facing camera, earpiece, and other sensors depending on the phone. Phones, like the iPhone and Google Pixel 3XL, weren’t first to feature the notch, but they have brought this design choice into the mainstream. For the iPhone specifically, its notch houses its front-facing camera and Face ID sensors.

Smartphone companies like Apple and Google have gone all in on the notch hoping their design choice will appease the majority of users. Customers can enjoy more screen than ever before while still keeping their front-facing camera. The only problem is that notches aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing to the eye. In fact, some people are so repulsed by the notch they have vowed to not upgrade to a newer phone until technology eliminates the need for it.

Public perception of the notch divides people into two camps. The first group is those who tolerate the notch and eventually get used to it, and then there are those who abhor the notch, and the design choices phone manufacturers are making in pursuit of nearly all-screen displays on phones. 

Samsung’s approach is to forgo the notch all together. Their next line of Galaxy phones is set to offer various cut-outs or “hole-punches” in their displays for their front-facing cameras to be placed. This approach is vastly different from Apple and Google’s notches which are rather large and obtrusive. While Samsung’s solution is by no means perfect, these hole-punches are going to be much smaller than most notches and probably easier to forgive by users.

Even with these new designs that are admittedly intriguing, the smartphone market has plateaued across the board. Phone manufactures feel that adopting radical designs needs to be considered to stay relevant and help rekindle demand. 

Samsung Galaxy S10 is set to be revealed next month on February 20th and only then will we see if this new hole-punch design will be embraced by the masses. Unfortunately for Samsung, the company Honor has beat Samsung to the punch by releasing their own hole-punch display phone the “View 20” giving us a taste of what Samsung has in store for its user base.