The Future Unfolds: Samsung Announces Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Fold


Today, after weeks of speculation, Samsung unveiled the latest addition to its flagship Galaxy S series: The Galaxy S10. The announcement was made at Samsung's Unpacked event in San Francisco, which marked the 10-year anniversary of the original Galaxy S, and served as the launching pad for several new Samsung products—including a surprise reveal of the Samsung Fold.

The Future Unfolds

Samsung kicked things off with the surprise debut of the Galaxy Fold. Featuring a dynamic 7.3-inch AMOLED display that can be seamlessly folded to reveal a compact 4.6-inch cover display, the Fold functions as both a smartphone and tablet. Beyond its revolutionary design, Samsung also imbued the Fold with some serious specs and hardware, including six total cameras, 512GB of memory with 12GB of RAM, and a 4380mAh dual-battery system. Samsung intends for the Fold to be a new category of device, and it's hard to argue the point when you see everything it can do—more than any one tablet or smartphone alone.

A Decade in the Making

Apart from the Fold, the major headliner of the Unpacked event was the new S10 lineup. As with year's past, Samsung debuted both a standard and a plus-sized variant of the phone. However, this time around, the company has also introduced a new e model, which the presenter billed as "all of the essentials in a more compact form factor." We'll dive deeper into the S10e and the other big product announcements later on, but first let's take a deeper look at the S10 and S10 Plus.

The Infinity Display and Beyond

The most conspicuous difference between the S10 and the S10 Plus is the size. The standard model offers a 6.1-inch display, while the larger S10 Plus gives you 6.4 inches of real estate. Both displays are AMOLED Gorilla Glass 6 panels with QHD+ 3040 x 1440 resolution, which is quite the upgrade from the original Galaxy's modest 4-inch 480 x 800 beginnings. Apart from size, the other big notable is that both phones forgo the current design de riguer—i.e., the "notch"—and instead feature what Samsung is calling the Infinity-O display. In lieu of the notch, the new display features a front-facing camera that's been punched through the screen (in the case of the S10 Plus, it's actually two cameras). The cutout Is intended to be less obtrusive than the more obvious notch, which, since its inception, has had its fair share of detractors.

Cameras Galore

Unlike lineups from previous years, both the S10 and S10 Plus feature the same rear camera system—a nice move by Samsung that should prevent standard-model owners from experiencing any kind of buyer's remorse or FOMO. The setup is a triple-camera system that includes a 12MP telephoto lens (f/2.4), a 12MP wide lens (f/1.5), and a 16MP 123-degree ultra-wide lens (f/2.2). The selfie camera is a different story. As mentioned earlier, the Infinity-O cutout on the S10 Plus is slightly larger than the standard S10, and that's because the Plus has an additional front-facing lens. Both models feature a 10MP (f/1.9) camera, but the S10 Plus also comes with an 8MP (f/2.2) lens for additional shooting options.

More Than Meets the Eye

In addition to its more obvious highlights, the S10 packs a number of innovative features that are invisible to the naked eye. The first is the Ultrasonic Fingerprint, Samsung's inventive take on the fingerprint scanner. Instead of a physical button, the sensor is built directly into the display, so you can press directly on the screen to unlock. The S10's other hidden power is literally hidden power. Both the standard and Plus variants come with a reverse wireless charging feature that allows users to charge compatible accessories simply by placing them on the device. Need to charge up your new Galaxy Buds? Just set them on the back of your new S10 and let it do the rest.

Et Cetera

Although not as revolutionary as an invisible fingerprint scanner, built-in wireless charger, or notch-less screen, both the S10 and S10 Plus feature several other notable highlights. As expected, the chipset for each has been upgraded to either the Snapdragon 855 or Samsung's latest Exynos processor—depending on your region of purchase. Both phones come with a USB-C port, 3.5mm jack, and a dedicated Bixby button. Also, both are available in multiple configurations and colors. With the S10, you can choose between a 128GB/6GB RAM and 512GB/8GB version, while the S10 Plus offers those two variants and a third, beefier option that comes with 1TB of storage and 12GB of RAM. To put that into historical context: The original Galaxy smartphone came with 8GB of storage and 512MB of RAM, which means the maxed-out Galaxy S10 Plus offers 125x the memory and approximately 23x the RAM of its ancestor. It's a galaxy far, far away, indeed.

Power Without the Pomp

Now we come to the S10e, which Samsung designed as the cost-friendlier version of the S10. What's interesting is that, while on the surface the S10E isn't quite as flashy as its siblings, many of its internals are. The S10E uses the same chipset as the S10 and S10 Plus and it's available in similar storage/RAM configurations to the standard model. It also offers the same nifty wireless charging capability as the S10 and S10 Plus. Translation: You get a phone that doesn't look quite as glorious as its pricier counterparts, but it's just as powerful. Also, just because it's the least expensive member of the family, doesn't mean its specs aren't flagship-worthy in their own right. The S10e features a 5.8-inch AMOLED Infinity-O display with Gorilla Glass 5 and 2280 x 1080 resolution, a dual rear-camera system, and 3100mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy S10e
Samsung Galaxy S10e

Hey, Buds

Samsung didn't stop at unveiling new phones, either. The company also debuted its wireless earbuds, the aptly named Galaxy Buds. Featuring a true wireless form factor, sound from AKG, and simple, intuitive controls, the Galaxy Buds are designed to offer a premium audio experience. Enhanced Ambient Sound makes an appearance so you can stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Besides listening, a new Adaptive Dual Microphone system uses an inner and outer mic in each bud so your voice comes through loud and clear in all environments.

Standard is Bluetooth connectivity, giving you up to six hours of listening or five hours of phone calls. The case will then give you seven hours with its built-in battery, and can power up the Galaxy Buds to 1.7 hours in just 15 minutes. The case is wireless, as well, with wireless charging and device-to-device power sharing. Additionally, the Buds have Bixby integration when used with supported Galaxy devices.

Watch Out

Lastly, Samsung announced two brand-new wearables: the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit. The Watch Active is a sportier version of the popular Galaxy Watch, meaning it packs many of the same features but has a more minimalist design that will appeal to those who want to use it at the gym or in a meeting. It takes fitness and wellness more seriously, however, with blood-pressure monitoring, guided breathing exercises and stress tracking, and auto-detection of common activities.

The Galaxy Fit is for your everyday fitness enthusiast. It's small, light, and can automatically start tracking six different activities along with more than 90 others available for manual selection in the Samsung Health app. Its benefit is that it is super intuitive—though functions such as alarms, calendars, weather, and more are available. Both wearables are water resistant to 5ATM, so they will survive active lifestyles.

Samsung dropped a galaxy's worth of products at its Unpacked. I think that the most intriguing was easily the folding Fold. What of these items piqued your interest? And we would love to hear your take on the Fold. Be sure to drop a comment below!

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