Not worth the hefty price

Galaxy S10 Plus had such long battery life that by bedtime after a busy day, it had about 25% of juice remaining

  • Published 5.05.19, 3:47 PM
  • Updated 5.05.19, 3:47 PM
  • 2 mins read
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Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Picture by iStock

After I set up Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 Plus phone, I showed it to my partner and said with atypical enthusiasm, “Check it out — this phone has the fingerprint sensor built directly into the screen.”

I pressed my thumb down on the screen, where the fingerprint sensor was embedded. “No match,” a message on the phone read. After five failed attempts, it asked for a passcode.

“Great demo,” my partner said as she turned back to browsing on her phone.

My bumpy experience with the print sensor firmed up one conclusion: Face recognition is a more convenient method for unlocking phones, and Samsung is behind Apple in this area.

The Galaxy S10 Plus is no modest gadget, with a starting price of $1,000 (Rs 69,330). If you’re shelling out this much cash for a phone, you expect to get the best of the best, not a compromise.

Despite the hiccups, I enjoyed using Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus, an upgrade from Samsung’s Galaxy S9 phones, which were also excellent Android devices. Notable new features include a 6.4-inch high-definition screen, an ultra wide-angle lens, the ability to use the phone to wirelessly charge another device’s battery and an improved battery that lasts all day.

Wide-angle shots

The back of the device has a triple-lens system, meaning it has one more lens than some of last year’s Galaxy phones that had dual-lens cameras. The new camera has a so-called ultra wide-angle lens for taking shots with a wider field of view than traditional phone cameras, which makes it handy for shooting landscapes or large group gatherings. To take an ultra wide-angle shot, you pinch inward to zoom all the way out.

Initially, I was skeptical about needing yet another camera lens on a smartphone, but ultrawide photography was delightful. I look forward to this feature coming to other phones this year.

Robust battery

The device’s 6.4-inch screen is on par with the 6.5-inch screen on Apple’s iPhone XS Max and the 6.3-inch display on Google’s Pixel 3 XL. All produce sharp, rich images with accurate colours and excellent shadow detail. (If you asked me which screen was best, I would call it a draw.)

As for the battery, the Galaxy S10 Plus had such long battery life that by bedtime after a busy day, the device still had about 25 per cent of juice remaining. Samsung said it expanded the size of the battery while also improving the software to manage energy use.

Samsung is so confident in the new Galaxy phone’s battery that it designed the device to wirelessly charge other gadgets, like smartwatches and other phones. The feature, Wireless PowerShare, uses induction, which involves tapping an electrical current to generate a magnetic field that powers other devices.

Fingerprint sensor

I found the fingerprint reader on Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus an improvement over past models. But the device’s biometrics overall were still weaker than the features on Apple’s iPhone.

Samsung is behind Apple in face recognition. While Apple uses infrared scanning to create a precise 3D map of a person’s face, Samsung’s face scanner uses the camera to take your photo and then compares it with an image stored on the device.

Because a person’s head shape is unique, the likelihood of bypassing infrared-based facial recognition with an incorrect face is one in a million, according to Qualcomm. In contrast, the false-acceptance rate of older face-scanning techniques like Samsung’s is 1 in 100, and the false-acceptance rate of fingerprint scanning (including the new ultrasonic technology) is 1 in 50,000.