5G has come to to the UK already thanks to EE, and alongside Vodafone and O2, the network operator will be offering the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Pre-orders kicked off a couple of weeks ago, but the phone finally goes on sale today - though you'll have to wait for your chosen network to roll out its 5G network to make the most of it. At this point you may be saying something like "Samsung already has a Galaxy S10 - isn't that just the same thing?" You poor, sweet fool. No, is the short answer. Here comes the longer one.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Specs vs Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Straight off the bat, you can see that the Galaxy S10 5G has a much more generous screen size compared to its 4G counterpart - a whole 0.6 inches difference. Both screens are plagued with the hole punch camera that is Samsung's answer to the notch, but it needn't be the bane of your display; you can hide it by tweaking your settings. Though it will knock off some of your display area. The good news is that there's no difference in the display quality so you won't have to compromise on the Quad HD resolution and HDR 10+ support. It's a shame that the S10 5G doesn't include the same superfast 90Hz refresh rate as the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, but you can't have everything. Or so they tell me.
Both phones have the same amount of RAM, but there are different storage options available. The Samsung Galaxy S10 offers a choice of 128GB and 512GB, while the Galaxy S10 5G is only available with 256GB in the UK. So the 5G model has more storage in its base model, but the standard Galaxy S10 makes up for it thanks to the inclusion of a microSD slot. Sadly this much-loved hardware feature is absent on the 5G model, so what you've got is what you've got.
The S10 5G is no slouch when it comes to the camera though - although the S10's hardware is still very good. The S10 5G's HQVGA time-of-flight camera is the first ever to receive a DxOMark benchmark score of over 100 for both photos and videos. That sounds pretty impressive on paper, but what the heck does this camera actually do, and what makes 'Time of Flight' so special? To beat someone firing off that question in the comments, the answer is that it's a fancy schmancy extra camera that's for use with AR and other 3D applications. It also works as a depth sensor to give you better bokeh effects in photography, should you like adding the blur and making your photos look out of focus. There are two ToF sensors on the S10 5G, one on the front and another on the back. Obviously the regular S10 is missing this feature, and only has boring regular photo cameras.
When it comes to the boring regular cameras, there's no difference between the two handsets. Both devices offer triple cameras on the rear featuring a dual aperture (f/1.5 and f/2.4) 12MP rear camera, with autofocus and optical image stabilisation. With the exception of the front camera, and the addition of the of the ToF sensor on the S10 5G's third camera, the specs for the three lenses are identical
There's no deviation on the processor front either. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset is nestled inside the S10 and S10 5G US models, while the rest of the world will get Samsung's own Exynos 9820 processor. The company has scrapped the standard fingerprint sensor for its S10 series (apart from the S10e), and replaced it with an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor located in the display.
Don't expect to see any differences in the operating system, aside from any ToF-centric features for the S10 5G's camera, and if you were thinking about getting on the Android Q beta, neither of these handsets are currently listed amongst the compatible devices, so you'll have to wait for the full release.
When it comes to battery life and charging, the S10 5G comes out on top again, with 1100mAh more capacity than the regular S10, and 25W super fast charging. The other S10 devices only have a paltry 15W fast charging capability, which isn't hugely impressive. Not in the days of 40W fast charging anyway. 5G does, admittedly, suck up more power, and there's a bigger screen to contend with. In other words there's a good chance the S10 5G will need to take full advantage of the better battery. We'll have to see how well it holds up once network providers start going live with 5G over the coming months.
Now let's get down to brass tacks - the cost. The Galaxy S10 128GB/8GB RAM will set you back £799 if you opt to buy it outright, while the 512GB/8GB RAM model comes in at £999. Both options are available in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Blue, and Prism Green. If you're ready to embrace 5G, then the Galaxy S10 5G - available in Majestic Black and Crown Silver - is the one for you, but the rather hefty £1,099 price tag may not be. The 5G model will only be available on EE and Vodafone at launch, given that they're the first UK networks to get the ball rolling with 5G, and O2 is still getting its shit together on that front. And if you'd prefer to get either phone on a contract, bear in mind that you'll be paying more in the long run.
When it comes down to it, there's not a great deal of differences between the Galaxy S10 and S10 5G. Sure, the fancy camera on the 5G model sounds appealing, and the slightly bigger screen is a boon, but that can't really justify the extra £300 if you could happily make do with the 128GB/8GB RAM S10. If you're thinking of springing for the 512GB model, or are on the fence about 5G, then you may want to just spend the extra £100 at that point and get yourself 5G ready while making the most of those extra features.