Samsung's fear of another underwhelming year pushed the world's largest handset manufacturer to go all-in with its latest series of Android flagships. The newly debuted Galaxy S10 line consists of four devices available in around two dozen configurations in total, with the higher end of the family sporting some truly unique hardware.
This unprecedented degree of variety is understandably already causing some confusion among consumers; with models ranging from $750 to about double that sum, there's a lot of choice on offer this year, though the very top of the bracket that's coming in the form of the Galaxy S10 5G won't be sold globally. And yet one can't help but wonder whether its six cameras are a glimpse of what Samsung has in store for the future of ultra-premium Android experiences.
It's been less than a year since French imaging expecrts at DxOMark told Android Headlines triple-camera setups are just the beginning, predicting four-lens systems and solutions with even more sensors will be hitting the shelves in the near future. The assessment wasn't just proven correct with Samsung's limited edition handset but also the company's largest rival – Huawei. In about a month from now, Huawei will be releasing the new generation of its P series which will see another quadruple camera phone in the form of the P30 Pro.
Back to the matter at hand, the basic Galaxy S10e features what's essentially last year's camera used by the Galaxy S9 Plus. It pairs an ultra-wide (16-megapixel, f/2.2) camera with a variable-aperture one that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4. This is a binary choice and not a spectral one but should still help mobile photographers make the most of any scenario. On the front is a 10-megapixel sensor with an f/1.9 lens and autofocusing capabilites.
The Galaxy S10 takes that same system and ennobles it with a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, hence ending up with three cameras on the back which do a better job at portrait photography, i.e. generating a somewhat natural bokeh effect. The third camera is optically stabilized and has phase detection autofocus, as well as a 2x optical zoom as opposed to one that's essentially zero.
If four cameras aren't enough for you, the Galaxy S10+ takes things up a notch by telling "notches" no and embracing two display holes for its front facing cameras. The main selfie system used by the other devices is also on offer here, supported by another 8-megapixel unit relying on an f/2.2 lens for basic depth-mapping which helps with both photography and face unlock.
Then there's the S10 5G which is an exaggeration on virtually every level, cameras included. It takes the triple-camera system described above and pairs it with a three-dimensional camera from Samsung's own workshop. Oh, and there's another such module on the front, taking the place of the secondary 8-megapixel sensor used by the S10 and S10+. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, Samsung isn't planning on leveraging that tech to improve its face unlock services anytime soon and instead wants to explore new industry segments with it.
Whether that's still the plan once the Galaxy S10 line is released early next month remains to be seen but Samsung once again appears to be the name to beat in the mobile space, Android or otherwise.