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Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. S9: what's the difference?

In recent years, the Galaxy S series has been home to some of the most popular smartphones on the market, and the S9 and S10, released in 2018 and 2019 respectively, are perfect examples.

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The difference between the S9 and S10

While the Samsung Galaxy S10 is the newer and more advanced release, it’s also the pricier option. Considering the S9 is still a strong option and cheaper than its successor, it might be better for those who aren’t necessarily looking to splash out on all the latest tech. 

Key S9 and S10 specs

Updated 17 July 2020
Display5.8-inch Wide Quad HD+ AMOLED6.1-inch Wide Quad HD+, Dynamic AMOLED
ChipsetSamsung Exynos 9810Samsung Exynos 9820
Rear cameraDual Pixel 12MP OISDual Pixel 12MP OIS, 16MP ultra-wide, 12MP telephoto OIS
Front camera8MP front cameraDual Pixel 10MP front camera
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB, 512GB
UnlockingRear fingerprint sensor, 2D facial recognition, iris unlockIn-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, 2D facial recognition
ColoursMidnight black, coral blue, titanium gray, lilac purple, burgundy red, sunrise gold, ice bluePrism white, prism black, prism green, prism blue, canary yellow, flamingo pink, cardinal red, smoke blue

Hardware and design: S9 vs. S10

The Galaxy S10, at 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm, is a slightly bigger but slimmer and lighter handset than the Galaxy S9 (147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5mm). The S10 screen comes in at 6.1 inches while the S9 measures 5.8 inches. This isn’t a huge difference, and if it’s a giant screen you’re looking for, you may be better off upgrading to the Galaxy S10 Plus or Galaxy S10 5G. 

Internal hardware

Both the S9 and S10 feature quad HD+ Super AMOLED displays, so either way you’ll be able to enjoy one of the most vivid, sharp and eye-catching screens on the market. 

The Galaxy S10 uses the Exynos 9820 chipset with 8GB of RAM, while the S9 uses the Exynos 9810 chipset with 4GB of RAM. This means that the Galaxy S10 be faster and smoother, more durable, and can handle more work than the S9. 

External hardware

While both phones feature fingerprint sensors, the S9 places its sensor on the rear of the phone, while the S10’s is built into the screen, which many would say is the far more convenient and attractive option. Both phones also offer facial recognition unlocking. 

With its front camera tucked in the corner at the top right as opposed to on an obstructive centred notch, the front of the Galaxy S10 is pretty much all screen, unlike the S9 which features a more prominent bezel. While both phones are modern and appealing, the S10 is a cut above design-wise, offering a sleeker, more sophisticated aesthetic than its predecessor. 

Battery: S9 vs. S10

With its 3000mAh battery, the Samsung Galaxy S9 would allow about 14 hours of browsing on Wi-Fi. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S10 boasts a 3400mAh battery, so you can expect a decent improvement on battery life with the newer model. 

Both the S9 and S10 support wireless charging, while the S10 also supports Wireless Powershare, allowing you to transfer battery power from your S10 to another device by placing the device on top of the S10. This works with other smartphones as well as accessories like Samsung’s smartwatch. 

Storage: S9 vs. S10

There are three storage options for the Samsung Galaxy S9:

  • 64GB

  • 128GB

  • 256GB

If you’re looking to up the ante, you’ll need to direct your attention to the S10, which has two storage options:

  • 128GB

  • 512GB

Both phones allow microSD cards for additional storage, with the S9 supporting microSD cards up to 400GB, and the S10 supporting microSD cards up to 512GB. It’s important to note that the 5G model of the S10 cannot support microSD cards. 

Camera: S9 vs. S10

The most significant advancement between the S9 and the S10 is the phone’s cameras. While the S9 has just one 12MP rear camera, the S10 ups its game with 16MP wide angle lens, a 12MP ultrawide angle lens, and a 12MP telephoto lens, so you can capture wider angle shots, panoramas and close-ups (with a 10x digital zoom) without losing quality. 

Meanwhile, the selfie camera on the S10 features a 10MP lens and is capable of shooting 4K Ultra HD video, an improvement from the S9’s 8MP front camera. All in all, the Galaxy S10 takes better quality, more professional photos than its predecessor. 

Samsung S9 and S10 deals 

While you can find both phones as part of pay monthly deals from major network providers, the S9’s availability is steadily decreasing. As providers shift their focus towards pushing the S11, the S9 might soon be only available as a handset-only purchase as opposed to being part of a pay monthly plan. 

At the moment, some of the cheapest monthly plans for the Galaxy S10 from each of these network providers are as follows (for the 128GB model as of June 2020):

Updated 17 July 2020
Three£29£33UnlimitedUnlimited100GB24 months
O2£9.99£33UnlimitedUnlimited30GB24 months
EE£0£35UnlimitedUnlimited50GB24 months
Vodafone£29.99£42UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited24 months

As of June 2020, deals for the Galaxy S9 are limited, but there are still great offers from EE and Vodafone for the 64GB model:

Updated 17 July 2020
EE£0£35UnlimitedUnlimited50GB24 months
Vodafone£9.99£38UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited24 months

The cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best option, as each network provider and each plan will offer its own extras and perks. 

Should I get the Samsung Galaxy S9 or S10?

It’s safe to say that the Samsung Galaxy S10 is a better phone overall than the Galaxy S9. It has a stronger battery and more robust hardware, a better camera, more modern design, and more space. Having said that, while these are certainly improvements, they’re not necessarily game-changing, and the two models are actually very similar.  

The Galaxy S9 is a fantastic phone that does everything a smartphone needs to do and does it well, so despite being overtaken by a newer, more advanced model, you shouldn’t write off the S9 entirely. The S10 is by no means cheap, and you don’t want to be paying more for storage that you don’t need, or a telephoto lens you’ll never use, so it’s important to think about what you need from your phone and decide if the S10 is worth its hefty price tag. If not, the S9 remains an excellent option.