Samsung has given shape to the future narrative of smartphones with the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy S10 5G
A smartphone and a tablet rolled into one, the device delivers what it promises and, most importantly, it is an innovation which can be useful
- Published 21.02.19, 7:31 PM
- Updated 21.02.19, 7:39 PM
- 6 mins read
Picture a day in the life of a millennial (yes, you may well be one if you were born between 1982 and 2000!). Their days are spent in cars, at parties, playing with friends, playing video games, taking selfies and Netflix-ing. Experiences are all that matters in a life that’s Broadway sized.
Cut to New York of last week. At Times Square, ahead of its much-awaited smartphone launch, Samsung unveiled a teaser ad, the flickering digital images of which had all the charms of the Broadway. The world’s largest smartphone manufacturer is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its flagship Galaxy S series at a time when the global smartphone market is in the decline. What has the company done to keep the ship steady? Like a Broadway number, Samsung is offering experiences rather than handing out spec sheets.
The point got highlighted before the massive turnout at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Wednesday morning. The feel. That screen. Those features. Samsung’s new offerings are what a well-crafted piece of technology should be.
The foldable phone is here
“Occasionally a new device is introduced which overturns expectations and sets the industry on a new path... a device like the Galaxy Fold. The phone has reinvented the display from the ground up. It breaks new grounds because it has defied skeptics who thought such a device was not possible; they said the era of smartphone innovation is over. Today marks a new beginning; a shift in the way how we see smartphones as a central part of our lives,” said DJ Koh, president and CEO, head of IT & mobile communications division, Samsung Electronics. The message reverberated through the hall and was met with a deafening round of applause.
The Galaxy Fold is a work of art. A smartphone and a tablet rolled into one, the device delivers what it promises and, most importantly, it is an innovation which can be useful. The world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex display, which folds into a compact device with a cover display, will change the way videos are seen, games are played and complicated projects are tackled.
Let’s look at some of the interesting specifications. The main display is 7.3-inch QXGA + Dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3) while the cover display is 4.6-inch HD + Super AMOLED (21:9). There are six cameras — the cover camera is 10MP (f2.2), on the rear is a triple camera set-up (16MP ultra wide, f2.2; 12MP wide-angle, f1.5/f2.4, 12MP telephoto, f2.4, 2X optical zoom) and at the front is a dual camera set-up (10MP, f2.2; 8MP RGB depth camera, f1.9). On the memory front there is 12GB RAM (LPDDR4x) and 512GB (UFS3.0) storage.
A lot of thinking has gone into the device on which you can simultaneously work on three windows and app continuity allows seamless transitions between the cover and the main display.
“One of the biggest challenges was to build the backbone of the device, something that holds strong even after countless folds and unfolds. We came up with a sophisticated hinge system that allows you to open and close the device. And the beauty of it is that you don’t even see it. It is a luxury device with many uses. Closed, the device fits in the palm of your hand; you can send messages to friends and talk to them. Open, you get powerful multimedia experiences,” said Samsung executive Justin Denison. The device will be available in the second quarter of this year, the US price is $1,980.
What else are we looking at?
The Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e and Galaxy S10 5G. That may seem like an awful lot of phones but what Samsung has done here is offer variety across the price band and fits a variety of consumer preferences.
In brief, the Galaxy S10+ takes display, camera and performance to the next level with three cameras on the back, two cameras on the front and a big 6.4-inch Quad HD+ curved dynamic AMOLED display. The S10 has a triple-camera set-up on the back and single on the front. And the 10e has a dual-camera package at the back and a single front shooter.
And then comes the Galaxy S10 5G which is future ready but to use it one first needs, well, a 5G network and thus India has to wait.
A big win for Samsung is the technology that is being used in the in-screen fingerprint scanner on the new S series devices. To understand the ultrasonic reader, let’s have a quick understanding of the technology that is being used by the likes of OnePlus and Oppo. Optical readers shine a light on the finger and then the pattern is compared with the image that is stored on the phone. It is not the safest of methods.
As for the ultrasonic technology, it bounces sound waves off the skin to create a 3D mould of the fingertip. These moulds are highly detailed and difficult to fool. This also means there is now more space for a bigger battery. At the same time, Samsung has ensured one feature which neither the iPhone or the Pixel now offer —the 3.5mm headphone jack.
The ‘hole’ picture
Drum roll for Samsung for playing around with its design. The Infinity-O display stretches almost to the edge of the phone, allowing one to enjoy Netflix or gaming more than before. There is no notch but a small punch hole is present to house the camera(s). Usually punch-holes appear on LED displays but with Samsung making it work on an OLED panel is a technological win. Who knows, it may inspire Apple to take a cue.
Taking the fight to Apple
The set-up of Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10e may look a familiar strategy, reminding one of the iPhone. The 10e can be a dark knight because this model adds an entry-level to the range. For Apple, the so-called inexpensive iPhone XR comes with many of the features of the XS and XS Max but at Rs 76,900 for the 64GB model (the price has been discounted to 67,999 earlier this week) is not exactly cheap. And even though the battery on this model is just 3,100 mAh, the AMOLED display combined with dark UI modes can reduce power consumption.
Remember the tagline “Neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride”? A similar situation is here. Though Huawei Mate 20 Pro already has it, the S10+ allows users to wirelessly reverse charge other devices. Say another device or accessory — like the new lemon-drop or white colour wireless Galaxy Buds — is running out of power, simply place the other device on the back of the phone to get the much required power.
Wi-Fi runs like a breeze
Among the first devices to use Wi-Fi 6 standard, it will provide sturdy and fast Internet connectivity, especially if you have many connected devices at home and at the same time, put less strain on the battery. The difference in terms of raw speed will be noticed if you have an incredibly fast Internet connection. You will also get faster speeds on the Galaxy S10 even at big distances.
The Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy S10e will be available in stores and online beginning March 8. US pricing starts at $899.99 for Galaxy S10, $999.99 for Galaxy S10+ and $749.99 for Galaxy S10e. India prices were not available when this edition went to print.
Say hello to new Galaxy wearables —Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit/Galaxy Fit e and Galaxy Buds. The Galaxy Watch Active is thin, sporty and versatile, which has exercise, sleep, stress and health tracking features. In select markets it will even monitor blood pressure.
The Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e are for all types of fitness enthusiasts, from casual runners to athletes.
And Galaxy Buds are cord-free earbuds for those who want a seamlessly connected experience on the go.
AT A GLANCE
Display: 6.1-inch Quad HD+ curved dynamic AMOLED, 19:9
Camera: Rear triple camera (telefoto — 12MP AF, F2.4; wide-angle — 12MP 2PD AF, f1.5/2.4; ultra-wide — 16MP, f2.2) and front (10MP 2PD AF, f1.9)
Memory: 8GB RAM, 128GB/512GB (MicroSD for up to 512GB)
Display: 6.4-inch Quad HD+ curved dynamic AMOLED, 19:9 (550ppi)
Camera: Rear triple camera (telefoto — 12MP AF, F2.4; wide-angle — 12MP 2PD AF, f1.5/2.4; ultra-wide — 16MP, f2.2) and front dual camera (selfie — 10MP 2PD AF, f1.9; RGB depth— 8MP FF, f2.2)
Memory: 8GB/12GB RAM, 128GB/512GB/1TB (MicroSD for up to 512GB)
Display: 5.8-inch Full HD+ flat dynamic AMOLED, 19:9 (550ppi)
Camera: Rear dual camera (wide-angle — 12MP 2PD AF, f1.5/2.4; ultra-wide — 16MP, f2.2) and front (10MP 2PD AF, f1.9)
Memory: 6GB/8GB RAM, 128GB/256GB (MicroSD for up to 512GB)
IN FAVOUR OF THE S10 SERIES
Notch vs Punch: The punch hole on the new Samsung phones makes the notch look so yesterday!
Camera: The wide-angle lens allows a field of vision similar to the eye, which is great. Also, Samsung’s AI Scene Optimiser technology will recognise pictures better and thus optimise better.
Headphone jack: The 3.5mm jack is here and that’s a big relief.
Fingerprint scanner: The ultrasound in-screen scanner is very secure which adds a feather in Samsung’s cap.