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Samsung Galaxy S10 review: All the S10 Plus power in a smaller package

The Good Like all of Samsung's Galaxy S10 phones, the standard S10 is built from the best parts, has a wonderfully sharp screen and long battery life. Camera quality is great, and it comes with all the extras, like the ability to wirelessly charge another device.

The Bad As with the Galaxy S10 Plus, the S10's in-screen fingerprint reader is hit or miss, and its camera lacks a standalone night mode that other rivals have.

The Bottom Line The excellent Galaxy S10 shares the Galaxy S10 Plus and Galaxy S10E's best traits, albeit with less distinction.

8.9 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8.5
  • Performance 9
  • Camera 8.5
  • Battery 10

 The Galaxy S10 is Samsung's middle child flagship phone, caught between the larger, more lavishly appointed Galaxy S10 Plus and the smaller, pluckier Galaxy S10E ($750 at Amazon), which is also the best value of all three Galaxy S10 phones. The S10's price feels the squeeze, too. Starting at $900 (£799 and AU$1,349), the "regular" S10 is only $100 cheaper than the Plus ($1,000, £899, AU$1,499) and $150 more than the S10E ($750, £669, AU$1,199).

Without much meaningful difference in price, size, camera, speed or battery life, I've asked myself over and over why this phone exists and who it's really for. I even asked Samsung, too. The company says that there would be no S10E or S10 Plus without the S10 -- it sets that standard. It's also a bit smaller, so more ideal for people who want all the power of the S10 Plus in a slightly smaller package. Be that as it may, I keep coming back to the fact that the S10 Plus and S10E have very clear audiences and value propositions, while the S10's identity is lost in the haze.

Read more: Best Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10E cases

Yet it'd be a mistake to overlook the Galaxy S10. It's absolutely a terrific phone. That's unsurprising when you consider that it's just a pared-down version of the excellent Galaxy S10 Plus, which is all but guaranteed to be one of the top phones in a talent-stacked year.

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The Galaxy S10 racks up the features, including three rear cameras and the ability to wirelessly charge other devices.

Angela Lang/CNET

Really, with the Galaxy S10 5G, foldable Galaxy Fold and (unconfirmed) Galaxy Note 10 all out by the end of 2019, investing the effort to make a very good flagship that's almost as good as your other flagship frankly confuses me. The only explanation that does make sense is that Samsung craved a 6.1-inch screen device that it could hold up to Apple's iPhone XS ($999 at Amazon), XS Max ($1,099 at Amazon) and iPhone XR ($576 at Amazon) series.

Again, Samsung's middle Galaxy S10 shares identical core features with the S10 Plus, including the design, screen quality, triple rear cameras, ability to charge another device wirelessly -- the list goes on and you can compare for yourself in the specs chart at the end.

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