Which new Samsung Galaxy phone is right for you?

Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored
Mon March 11, 2019

Samsung is celebrating 10 years of the Galaxy line with three new phones, the Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+. That makes the buying decision more complicated for anyone interested in upgrading or switching to a Galaxy, since you have three choices.

We've already reviewed the Galaxy S10e and Galaxy S10+, but now it's time to help make your choice a bit easier. Let's start with pricing across the three devices.

Samsung's Galaxy S10e starts at $749.99, the S10 at $899.99 and the S10+ at $999.99. It's a pretty level playing field across the devices. Core differences are found with screen size, RAM (aka processing power), type of fingerprint sensor and cameras. You'll find the same software experience and usability out of all three.

Three screen sizes

The most significant difference is screen size. The Galaxy S10e is the smallest, at 5.8 inches, and has a Full HD+ Flat Dynamic AMOLED. On the S10 and S10+, you'll find a curved AMOLED display that measures 6.1 and 6.4 inches respectively. Since they are all AMOLEDs, you can expect vibrant colors, deep black and clear contrast throughout.

All three displays impressed me, which is not surprising since Samsung pretty much set the standards for OLED mobile panels and on the TV side. The S10+ is a big phone, but if you're someone who wants the latest tech and futuristic features, it's likely the one for you. Still, since the displays across the board are bezel-less, the S10e also seems pretty substantial.

Let's talk cameras

The Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ all have 12-megapixel wide-angle and 16-megapixel ultra-wide lenses. These two lenses allow for several photography modes and provide clear shots with excellent color accuracy. Samsung added a 12-megapixel telephoto lens on the S10 and S10+, which allows for 2x optical zoom. This will enable you to get up close without actually moving closer. You can also quickly switch between all three lenses on the fly or slide between the different zoom levels for the perfect shot.

On the front of the Galaxy S10e and S10 there is a single 10-megapixel lens for selfies. This is the hole punch design, so it resides in the righthand corner. It will still let you take selfies with the portrait effect (aka Samsung's answer to Apple's Portrait Mode), but that will be through some software magic. The S10+ adds an RGB depth camera next to it for enhanced photos. It doesn't add in any cool unlocking face tech.

In-display or on the side

Speaking of cool unlocking face tech, you really won't find much or any of it on the S10e, S10 or S10+. Each of them can do a simple and not very secure 2D face scan, which is really just a photo. Samsung is going all in on the trusted and true unlocking method of using fingerprints.

On the S10 and S10+, there's an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, located about an inch up from the bottom of the display and in the center. It's the first time Samsung has used these sensors. It's the cool in-display fingerprint sensor tech that tech enthusiasts have been craving. It performs pretty well but isn't the fastest method out there.

The S10e has a more traditional capacitive fingerprint sensor built into the power button. It works well and unlocks almost immediately.

Same processor, different levels of RAM

Other differences among the three phones this year are hard to spot. That's a good thing for the consumer, since flagship features are found in all three. The S10e, S10 and S10+ are all powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, a blazing fast chip. The experience using Android 9 with a Samsung One user interface is an impressive, sleek and smooth one.

The last difference is the amount of RAM inside. The base S10e model has 6GB of RAM, while 8GB of RAM is the base in the S10 and S10+. For most everyday uses and productivity tasks, with some high-end ones thrown in, you likely won't notice a difference on the S10e.

So which Galaxy is right for you?

If you're a pro user and an avid photographer, I'd go for the S10 or S10+ to get the additional telephoto lens. Plus the extra 2GB of RAM will be beneficial for long days and high-performance tasks. The Galaxy S10e is the most affordable and still provides a flagship experience that should be plenty for most consumers. You also get the same processor and two camera lenses.

Ultimately, the decision rests with you, the consumer. From my perspective, all three are 2019 flagships and set the bar for other companies this year.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.