Samsung is one of the biggest phone manufacturers in the world, and with good reason — it makes some pretty incredible phones, combining outstanding hardware design with long lists of handy features that differentiate its phones from the competition. The Galaxy S10+ is the company’s top phone, but there’s also a range of other devices that hit different sizes, price points and value propositions.
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Galaxy S10+ is the culmination of years of iteration and improvement. Samsung has been sticking with this general design language since the Galaxy S6, but it feels like it might have finally perfected it; the S10+ is sleek and thin, yet manages to squeeze in top-of-the-line specs and a massive 4100mAh battery.
It has the best display we’ve ever seen on a phone. Of course, it has plenty of other great hardware features, too, including microSD expansion, water resistance, and wireless charging. It runs Samsung’s most mature software yet, and it’s buttery smooth thanks to the Snapdragon 855 chipset.
And we can’t talk about a Samsung phone without mentioning the cameras. This is the first time Samsung has included three rear cameras in a flagship phone, fitting the S10+ with standard, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses. This makes for an incredibly versatile shooting experience, and the combination of OIS and EIS produces incredibly smooth 4K video.
- Best-ever smartphone display
- Top-end specs
- Fun triple camera array
- Headphone jack
- Smaller, cheaper Galaxy S10 available
- In-display fingerprint sensor isn’t great
- Too large for some
Samsung Galaxy S10+
This phone can do it all for just about anyone.
The GS10+ has an incredible display, great camera, beautiful design, and top-of-the-line specs. And it’s filled with useful hardware and software features.
Best Compact: Samsung Galaxy S10e
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 lineup starts with the high-end S10+, but scales down in size and price for the S10e as well. You get a full core Galaxy S10 experience, but one that fits in just about anyone’s hands (and pockets).
The screen is smaller, but still wonderful. Battery life takes a hit, but it’s likely worth it if you are drawn to the compact size. You miss out on a secondary selfie camera and telephoto rear camera, but that doesn’t impact the overall photography experience. This really is a Galaxy S10 experience throughout, but you don’t have to pay much to get it.
- Core GS10 experience for less
- Compact size fits most hands
- Great price for all it offers
- Weaker battery life
- Missing secondary cameras
- Screen may actually be too small for some
Samsung Galaxy S10e
The surprisingly great, pocketable addition to the S10 family.
The S10e doesn’t have the stellar endurance of the S10+, but this is essentially the same phone in a smaller size that’s much easier to use in one hand.
Best for Productivity: Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Galaxy Note 9 is nearly a year old, but many of its specs and features are directly comparable to the Galaxy S10+. There are a few shortcomings here and there, but overall this is still a big, powerful and capable phone with the same software and core hardware features as the newer model. That makes it a relative bargain, even before you factor in its exclusive S Pen capabilities.
The Note 9 is going to be replaced by the Note 10 and Note 10+ in mid-August, and that’s reflected in its price: you can get a Note 9 for hundreds less than it launched for. You can either take advantage of that price drop and get this amazing phone for a solid discount, or use the knowledge to wait and see what its successor brings.
- Software and hardware nearly match GS10+
- Big, brilliant display
- Unique S Pen features
- Year old at this point
- About to be replaced by Note 10
- Shortened software update future
Best for Productivity
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
There’s just no substitute for the S Pen.
It may be a year old, but is remarkably similar to the S10+. You still get an incredible display, a packed spec sheet and the unique S Pen.
Best for Less: Samsung Galaxy A50
The goal of the Galaxy A50 is to bring some of the great Galaxy S10 DNA down to a dramatically more affordable price point, shedding superfluous features but keeping some of the core of what makes Samsung flagships great.
The A50 has a solid build, a typically great Samsung AMOLED display, three cameras on the back, the latest One UI software, and a 4000mAh battery that’s robust even for heavy use. As a mid-range phone it of course has missing hardware features, but for this price you can’t have any complaints.
- Gorgeous design
- Vivid AMOLED display
- Powerful specs
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- Monstrous battery life
- Bloatware apps
- Samsung Pay is missing
- Basic camera quality
Best for Less
Samsung Galaxy A50
Gorgeous design meets outstanding hardware
With a gorgeous display, robust specs and three cameras, the A50 has a lot. It runs the latest One UI software, and the battery offers over a day’s use.
Best With 5G: Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The biggest thing the Galaxy S10 5G has going for it is that it’s built on the exact same platform as the best Samsung phone available, the Galaxy S10+. The S10 5G is basically identical, just a slightly larger, meaning it has the same amazing screen quality, high-end specs, consistently great cameras, and Samsung software filled with features.
But for $400 more than the Galaxy S10+, it’s incredibly tough to justify the extra experience just to get 5G. If you’re on Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile and those carriers offer 5G where you live and spend most of your time, it may be worth looking at, but chances are you’re going to find the value just isn’t there.
- 5G connectivity for upcoming networks
- Huge, high-quality screen
- Complete Galaxy S10+ experience
- Extremely expensive for what you get
- Limited to specific carriers
- 5G networks will be limited for some time to come
Best with 5G
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The future is now … for some people on some carriers.
The S10 5G uses the future of networks, but you spend extra to get it. The rest is effectively the same as a GS10+, which makes this a tough sell.
Best on a Budget: Samsung Galaxy A10e
As the naming scheme would suggest, the Galaxy A10e is the bottom end model of the recently refreshed Galaxy A series. The 10e designation. There’s far less flagship to be found in the A10, however. You’re getting the same design cues, but that’s about it. This is a low-end phone befitting of the price, though it has a large (for the segment) 5.8-inch display and a good loadout of features. You won’t be wowed by anything the A10 does, unless you’re comparing it to other similarly priced phones.
The one big downside of the A10e is availability — Samsung is currently only offering it via AT&T and Sprint. You can get the Galaxy A10e unlocked for less than the usual MSRP, but you won’t get a warranty along with it — but that may be worth it if you’re on a very tight budget.
- Solid build
- Large Infinity Display for the price
- Consistent Samsung software
- Only available officially from AT&T and Sprint
- Basic specs and simple camera
- 3000mAh battery on the small side
Best on a Budget
Samsung Galaxy A10e
It won’t blow you away, but it’s a great value.
It gets the job done with typical Samsung consistency in hardware and software, at a great price. If you’re tied to the Samsung brand it’s worth a look.
The Galaxy S10+ is Samsung’s best phone, and the default choice for people who want to have a single device that can do it all. It has so many hardware and software features that it’s capable of appealing to just about anyone, which is how it justifies its high price. You’d be hard-pressed to find something you need to do that the GS10+ can’t accommodate.
The smaller and less expensive Galaxy S10e is an interesting alternative choice for those who have different size or budget needs, because it offers the same core Galaxy S10 experience regardless. Last year’s Note 9 is much the same in the budget department, with many things that are directly comparable to the Galaxy S10+ for a couple hundred dollars less.
On the lower end, Samsung offers the Galaxy A series, with hints of the flagship Galaxy S models at mid-range prices that are incredibly appealing if you can’t push your budget even as high as the Galaxy S10e.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S., for Android Central. Keeping you up to date with mobile news and analysis since 1989. You can follow him on Twitter at @andrewmartonik .
Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and Video Editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman.
Daniel Bader (@journeydan on Twitter) is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he’s writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there’s a correlation.