WHEN WE GOT OUT MITTS on the Galaxy S10 and S10+ we were suitably impressed, and the smaller, cheaper Galaxy S10e also grabbed our attention as Samsung's first "affordable" iPhone XR rival.
However, while Samsung made a song-and-dance about its Galaxy Fold smartphone at last week's Unpacked event, it kept suspiciously schtum about the 5G version of its new Galaxy flagship.
We didn't get a chance to see the phone at a press briefing event held before the official reveal of the new Galaxy line up. But as we barged past the slew of tech execs and fans at this year's MWC and made our way to Samsung's immaculate stand, we finally caught a glimpse of the S10 5G.
Though we couldn't properly test the handset's 5G capabilities - the demo on the phone was a canned one - we did get a better impression of the phone.
A galaxy not very far away
As you'd expect for a phone bearing the Galaxy S10 name, the S10 5G doesn't exactly stand out from its siblings. It sports a lot of similar specs to its stablemates as well, with up to 12GB of RAM on offer and onboard storage that tops out at 1TB.
A pinhole display camera is also present and correct, and around the rear, you'll find the same trio of cameras as found on the S10 and S10+, with a fourth 3D-depth sensing lens thrown into the mix.
That camera has been designed to collect a load of data and fire it back to cloud and central system to allow for slick augmented reality experiences and the ability to say smartly adjust camera angles on the fly.
On Samsung's booth, the company showcased this with a canned demo of a baseball match that had been captured on the S10 5G.
The demo showed that the handset's depth-sensing tech, phone's smart capabilities and 5G connectivity would allow for such video viewing be adjusted on the fly. Want to see a pitcher's throw in more detail then select an angle that focuses more on the ball thrower not the batsman in real-time and lag-free.
How well this works in practice has yet to be properly seen, but the concept of being able to better adjust camera angles on the fly looks pretty slick so far.
We weren't able to test any of the extra camera's capabilities or how it, along with the 5G connectivity, could usher in improved augmented reality apps and experiences. But the cameras promise to be as good as the S10 and S10+ which both had smart, sharp and impressive camera arrays
The flagships' flagship
Speaking of impressive, the Galaxy S10 5G's display is the biggest on an S10 model, coming in the form of a 6.7in QHD Dynamic AMOLED display.
While it's only a smidge bigger than the S10+'s 6.4in panel, the extra screen real-estate makes the phone stand out a little more and offers a lot of space for multitasking. And with a WQHD+ resolution and support the HDR10+, the display looks very nice indeed.
It might not have the pixel density of the rest of its family, but everything still looks clear and sharp, as well as having plenty of healthy-looking colours and contrast. And though there's no 21:9 cinema-aping aspect ratio as seen in Sony's Xperia 1, the large Infinity Display O does offer curved edges that run edge-to-edge.
A bigger screen also means more chassis space for Samsung to squeeze in a larger battery pack, with the S10 5G sporting a hefty 4,500mAh offering. 5G connectivity is expected to gobble up more of a battery pack's electric juice, so the S10 5G's heftier cell might not see the handset last much more than a day's worth of use.
Limbering up for 5G
Things are open to conjecture when considering the chipset the Galaxy S10 5G run on; the only details Samsung has furnished us with is that it's an "octa-core SoC".
We suspect it'll be a Snapdragon 855 flagship chip from Qualcomm or Samsung's own Exynos 9820. But we're not sure about the modem chip and the 5G capabilities it'll need to handle.
Despite concerns that the power demand of 5G and the engineering needed fit in 5G capable antennas might have made the S10 5G heavier than it's siblings, we didn't think it felt overly clunky.
But with Qualcomm's work on the Snapdragon X55 modem and accompanying quad antenna system, 5G phones coming out in 2020 should be a slimmer and trimmer than the S10 5G.
That raises a difficult question as to whether the S10 5G will be worth it as it comes to market; first-gen phones or prototypes like the one OnePlus had at MWC run the risk of being 'first-generation tech', whereby they're big, expensive, and have the knowledge that phones with better chips might pop up later in the year. Yet, the S10 5G didn't really convey that impression; its size and weight actually gave it a nice heft and felt like a proper premium device.
With no firm word on exact specs or access to a working 5G network, it's difficult to judge the Galaxy S10 5G on its key feature. We'll just have to wait until the phone comes out in June and hope to be in range of a 5G roll out area.
5G aside, the S10 5G is the real top dog of the S10 family. The camera array, display, and design are expectedly very good, as has been the case with many Galaxy phones.
However, the only sticking point is price, which Sony has yet to reveal. As Samsung has been this early in the 5G phone bonanza now popping up at MWC, we don't expect it'll be cheap; we're thinking north of £1,000.
But then it's early-adopter tech and you're forced to pay the price for getting connectivity to what will be the next generation of mobile broadband and so much more, if you believe the hype. µ