Galaxy S10 5G: Everything you need to know

Samsung’s first 5G smartphone is coming soon.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
4 min read

Samsung has taken the wraps off its first superfast 5G phone. The new Galaxy S10 5G will be Samsung's top-of-the-line phone when it goes on sale later this year. Unveiled Wednesday at Samsung's Unpacked event in San Francisco, it's one of several devices Samsung announced at the event, including the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and cheaper S10E.

In short, the Galaxy S10 5G is a supercharged version of the Galaxy S10 Plus. It has an extra camera lens on the back, bigger battery and other features that set it apart from Samsung's other devices in the Galaxy S10 family.  Here's a breakdown to help you help you keep it straight.

The Galaxy S10 5G on screen at Samsung's Unpacked event on February 20, 2019.

Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G makes its debut. 


When's it available?

Samsung hasn't set a specific date for the launch of the Galaxy S10 5G. But the company did say it'll be available first on Verizon's network in the second quarter of this year.

When will other carriers get it?

In the US, AT&T , Sprint and T-Mobile will offer it starting this summer.  

Why do I have to wait for the 5G version of this phone?

For one thing, carriers are only just now beginning to roll out their 5G networks.  And chipmakers like Qualcomm have been working to catch up and get their products out the door.  For instance, Qualcomm just showcased the first 5G prototype phone using its chip in December. Devices need to be tested and then put into production, which takes time.

Even though it seems like a long wait, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told investors on the company's earnings call last month that the 5G market is almost two years ahead of schedule. He said the company is now waiting for hardware partners to deliver their products to fully launch its 5G service.

What's so special about 5G?

5G technology is expected to significantly boost the speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks. It can can deliver download speeds that are between 10 and 100 times faster than your 4G LTE connection today. And the latency -- or the time in which it takes for the network to respond to a request -- can be even quicker on 5G than anything you can get with a physical fiber-optic cable going into your house. This means devices can connect to the network in as quick as a millisecond to start your download or upload.
All this speed and low latency means that 5G phones will be better able to handle complex computing tasks in a fraction of the time they currently take.

What's that mean for me and my new phone?

5G will likely open up your phone to a slew of new applications with advanced photography tools, like streaming 3D and holographic renderings. You'll be able to use your phone for all kinds of artificial intelligence actions and augmented reality apps, all of which would take far too long to process with today's phones. 5G technology will also allow driverless cars and buses to talk to each other, as well as surrounding objects, such as smart streetlights.

How much will it cost?

Samsung isn't saying yet how much the Galaxy S10 5G will cost, but it's likely to be pricier than the fancy Galaxy S10 Plus. That phone starts at $1,000 for 128GB of storage.

Drew Blackard, Samsung's senior director of product marketing, told CNET after Unpacked that he expects the price bump to be an "incremental step up" from the S10 Plus, not a huge jump like the $1,980 Galaxy Fold. He noted it will be at least $100 more expensive than the S10 Plus, but declined to reveal more.

What colors will be available?

Samsung also hasn't finalized the colors, but the model viewed by CNET ahead of the launch was a shiny, silver metallic finish. It also has a 5G logo on the back.

Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, S10E: Every camera lens and curve

See all photos

How big is it?

The Galaxy S10 5G has a 6.7-inch display packed into a device about the same size as the Note 9. The older device is 6.37 inches long by 3.01 inches wide and has a 6.4-inch display. The Galaxy S10 Plus also has a 6.4-inch display.

Why is the Galaxy S10 5G bigger than these other phones?

The Galaxy S10 5G has a bigger battery, and that's why it's slightly bigger than the S10 Plus and older models. It has a 4,500-milliamp battery, which is larger than the 4,100-milliamp battery packed into the Galaxy S10 Plus. 5G phones will consume more power than 4G LTE phones, which means they need bigger batteries to get through the day.

What kind of processor is it using?

The new phone will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor, paired with the chipmaker's X50 5G modem.

Anything else cool I should know about this phone?

The Galaxy S10 5G has an additional camera lens. So while the camera setup of the S10 5G is generally similar to that of the Galaxy S10 Plus, it has a fourth lens on the back of the device to give 3D-depth information for augmented reality and other tasks. But it's not capable of 3D mapping for secure biometrics to unlock the phone, like what Apple has done with Face ID.