The iPhone X is a device launched in Autumn 2017, finally moving into OLED screens, something quite hard for Apple to do, as there’s not many companies capable of providing so many quantity and quality needed – only Samsung can do it, and still, it was difficult at the beginning. It’s easy for other brands to use OLED screens when they sell a tiny proportion of devices when compared with the iPhone.
The S10 is a device launched in March 2019, almost 18 months later than the iPhone X, thus at least a generation ahead of the Apple device.
The S10 uses about the same OLED screen as the iPhone X, one generation further, and thus why it also supports HDR and colour temperature based on ambient light (Apple’s “True Tone”, whatever Samsung calls it). This is good news because the more devices use the same base technology, the better it will get, and the cheaper it will be to made, giving hopes that the upcoming 2019 iPhone may finally get a screen that doesn’t cost Apple $150, instead of the $50 a LCD costs.
Samsung has copied a lot of the tweaks Apple did on the ARM SoC (as well as Huawei), which is a good thing. GoPro also did the same at the same time as the iPhone X. By having a separate bus between the camera sensors and their own image processing engine, Samsung (and Huawei) can now process a lot more camera information, without burning the device down. 18 months later, those devices should now be able to do stuff like 4K video at 60fps without time limits, or without overheating. The S9 from Europe kind of already did it, so there’s no excuse for the S10 to not do it properly.
There are S10 models that have ridiculous amounts of RAM and Storage, but that’s simply a game in between the brands, as Samsung provides Storage for Macs, but not yet for iPhones (Apple uses Micron and SanDisk), so by putting 1TB on a smartphone, and by having increased their production and lowered the prices, it’s a clear message to Apple (and anyone else) “please buy from us”. Samsung already makes more money out of the iPhone than on their whole Galaxy line, so it’s much more important for them to sell more components to Apple, than selling smartphones.
That explains why the S10 is the best of the best when the technology is provided by their sister silicon division – the best screen, best ram, best storage – but anything not “owned” by Samsung, it’s just average. The attempt to put the fingerprint and sensors behind the screen were just that, a failed attempt. It’s nice to try it and improve in the future, but it just doesn’t work. And obviously they would not waste efforts on proper face identification, like Huawei and Xiaomi did, as that would mean giving money to someone else. I mean, they didn’t even bother keep the Iris scanner, something indeed more reliable than simple “selfie 2D mode”, but potentially harmful to the user.
So, overall, the Samsung is, as expected, not as good of a full end-to-end product as the iPhone, but it’s a show case of the best Samsung technology, which is great for everybody because it simply shows what will be coming from Apple.
Price wise, I’m not gonna say much about it, as Samsung prices are, officially, quite similar to Apple, but after a couple of months, when the devices don’t sell, the prices will fall down to ridiculous levels, explaining the poor profits from the smartphone division. That’s also great because people that really want a Samsung device just need to wait some months, and then pay attention to some additional discount (stuff like “Black Friday” or whatever equivalent on your country). That’s how I buy my Samsung televisions, for half the price of what Samsung reports online. And from time to time I also get my Apple gear with discounts, albeit they’ll never be as high as 50%.