Samsung executives took the stage to announce the company’s latest premium products at an event in San Francisco on February 20th.
The devices announced at the event include the headlining Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+, successors to last year’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ and which keep what is now a long-running tradition by the Korean company to release two versions of its flagship smartphones to accommodate user preferences for larger displays on devices.
What is different this time is that the duo are accompanied by two new introductions. Heck, the Galaxy S10+ even comes in two variants, taking care of the early adopters who wish to jump to the 5G bandwagon and access those crazy-fast network speeds on their mobile devices or just staying future-proof.
The two new introductions, Galaxy S10e and Galaxy Fold, long known to be in the works, take care of interesting and shifting market dynamics.
The former is Samsung’s answer to Apple’s “budget” iPhone XR that debuted towards the end of last year while the latter is Samsung pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation for what many will agree is something that is not yet ready for mainstream use across the board.
It is perhaps with that in mind and given the Kenyan market’s unique status that the Galaxy Fold, just like the 5G variant of the Galaxy S10, are not making it to the country.
At a press briefing on the night of its announcement, Samsung’s Kenyan office confirmed that it is the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy S10e that will be available for purchase in the country.
According to Samsung, this is how the pricing looks like:
– Samsung Galaxy S10 – Kshs 95,999
– Samsung Galaxy S10+ (base model, 128GB) – Kshs 105,999
– Samsung Galaxy S10+ (512GB) – Kshs 127,999
– Samsung Galaxy S10e – Kshs 78,999
[of course, you would be having all that information by now if you were subscribed to our Telegram channel]
The Kshs 95,999 and 105,999 price tag for the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ is higher than that of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ when they debuted last year (Kshs 85,000 and 95,000 respectively).
The 3 devices are available for pre-order starting February 21st at Samsung’s own brand stores countrywide. Safaricom shops and FoneXpress outlets are also set to accept pre-orders for the same.
What is worth noting is that while the iPhone XR comparisons will follow the Galaxy S10e everywhere it goes, the two are only similar when it comes to how they are positioned by their respective companies and the price. Otherwise, S10e buyers are getting almost everything that their counterparts who opt for other models are getting, something that cannot be said of the XR.
For instance, it gets a dual-camera arrangement in place of the triple-camera setup on the S10 and S10+. It packs a Full HD+ panel instead of the QHD+ ones on its siblings and it has a capacitive fingerprint sensor mounted on the side instead of the fancy ultrasonic sensor that’s embedded on the screen of the Galaxy S10 and S10+.
The new Samsung smartphones come at a time when Samsung is celebrating 10 years of its flagship Galaxy S series. For those of us who’ve had the privilege of using or at least interacting with all the 10 generations, it is interesting to see the progress to the point where are now with the Galaxy S10.
As many would expect, there’s no shortage of features that will make anyone getting a Galaxy S10 device not to savour their purchase.
The most noticeable change from last year’s Galaxy S9 is the further shrinking of any bezels that hadn’t already been edged out by the famous “Infinity display”. Now, they’re gone and, instead of going with a notch like everyone else has been doing for over a year now, Samsung has opted to go with a “punch-hole”. That is a cut-out for the camera right inside the main display area.
The devices pack an ultra-wide lens with a 123-degree field of view (like the human eye) so that what one sees is what is captured in the frame. They are also said to have better performance (“intelligent performance” is the word Samsung’s marketing team is throwing around) – battery, processor and memory – thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI). The latter also kicks in to help gamers by providing on-device gaming performance optimization while taking advantage of the S10’s features like Dolby Atmos for gaming mode and a vapour chamber cooling system.
According to Samsung, the Galaxy S10 is “the first mobile device to be optimized for games created on the Unity platform. Gamers would know.
Also benefiting from the S10’s AI smarts is its camera which makes use of the Neural Processing Unit to get “pro-grade shots worth sharing without having to manually select any advanced camera settings”.
There are a couple of other firsts for Samsung’s 2019 flagship. It has “the world’s first Dynamic AMOLED display” and it is also the first HDR10+-certified smartphone in the world.
No, we’re not done, yet. “The Galaxy S10’s Dynamic AMOLED display also includes the first-ever in-display Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner that reads the 3D contours of your physical thumbprint – not a 2D image of it – for improved anti-spoofing. With the world’s first FIDO Alliance Biometric Component certification, this next generation biometrics authentication offers vault-like security to keep your device safe.”
Samsung has also included a tonne of software features under its One UI that users can look forward to. Of greater importance to many like yours truly is the fact that the Bixby button can finally be customized to launch whatever one maps it to. What took them so long?
There’s also an “Instagram mode” in the camera app for all the #nofilter fans to fully harness the power of those cameras.
There are a couple of other features that have it to the Galaxy S10 but which have been available on rival Huawei’s devices for between a few months and a few years. The “Intelligent Wi-Fi” feature which “allows for an uninterrupted and safe connection by seamlessly switching between Wi-Fi and LTE, as well as alerting you of potentially risky Wi-Fi connections” is something that the Chinese device maker has implemented very well on its devices. As is the reverse wireless charging that Samsung is calling “Wireless PowerShare”.
The first 1,000 people to pre-order/buy any of the Galaxy S10 devices in Kenya get a free pair of the Galaxy Buds (truly wireless Bluetooth headsets also announced at the Galaxy S10 event).
It is worth noting that the Ceramic White, Prism Blue, Canary Yellow and Flamingo Pink colour options are not available in Kenya (unless otherwise) at launch. Neither is the 1 terabyte Galaxy S10+. Those might come at a later date.