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The biggest news from Samsung's Galaxy S10 event

Four new Galaxy S10 phones -- and that's not even including the Fold.
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Chris Velazco / Engadget

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Samsung's 2019 Galaxy Unpacked event was... well, packed. Excuse the cheeky wordplay, but the company introduced four variants of the Galaxy S10 smartphone today. And that's not to mention the wild, aspirational and incredibly expensive Galaxy Fold, plus some new wearable products to boot. There's a lot to break down among the bevy of announcements, so join us as we tackle the most important news from Samsung's big day.

Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung's new flagships: the Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10 5G

  • To no one's surprise, the Galaxy S10's centerpiece is an Infinity-O AMOLED display that covers virtually the entire front of the device, using a cutout to include the front selfie camera. However, the displays you'll get vary widely. The standard S10 and the S10+ carry 6.1- and 6.4-inch curved Quad HD+ screens with an in-screen fingerprint reader while the S10 5G packs a gargantuan 6.7-inch panel.

  • Your camera selection varies as well. The S10 and S10+ tout a 12-megapixel variable-aperture (f/1.5 and f/2.4) main rear camera, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide f/2.2 camera, a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto cam and a 10-megapixel front shooter. Spring for the larger S10+ and S10 5G and you'll get a front depth camera for better portrait shots.

  • All S10 models carry either a Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 processor, so you won't be hurting for performance regardless of the model you choose. You can likewise count on reverse wireless charging and speedy WiFi 6 networking.

  • Samsung isn't skimping on memory or storage for these devices, although there's still a wide range of options. The S10 and S10+ sport a minimum 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, although you can splurge on a whopping 12GB of RAM and 1TB of space on the S10+. Oddly, the S10 5G only comes in a single 8GB RAM/256GB storage trim with no expansion.

  • Oh, and about that 5G model? As you might have gathered from the specs mentioned so far, it's ultimately an S10+ with a bulkier design to accommodate the demands of first-gen 5G hardware. In addition to the larger display, you'll find a bigger 4,500mAh battery and a 25W fast charger to keep the device humming.

  • More choices mean a wider range of prices. The S10 and S10+ will arrive on March 8th at starting up-front prices of $900 and $1,000, respectively, with a pair of Galaxy Buds thrown in for free if you pre-order from February 21st onward. With the S10 5G, it's more... complicated. Verizon will have a short-term exclusive on that device in the US when it ships in the first half of 2019, but other big carriers (AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) will have it by the summer. Price is an unknown, but you can assume the 5G version will carry a premium, given its next-gen cellular technology.

Galaxy S10e

The "cheaper" Galaxy S10e

  • The S10e is ultimately a scaled-back S10, but you're still getting plenty of power. That means the same brawny Snapdragon and Exynos chips, at least 128GB of expandable storage and WiFi 6. It starts off with 6GB of RAM rather than 8GB (though 8GB is an option), and you can't get more than 256GB of built-in storage. It's a good thing there's a microSD slot.

  • The most conspicuous difference is, as you might imagine, the screen. The S10e is the smallest of the bunch with a 5.8-inch, flat Full HD+ AMOLED display. It's not what you'd call dowdy, but it's not as exotic-looking as the other S10 editions. You might miss the in-screen fingerprint reader, mind you -- you'll have to tap a sensor on the side to unlock your handset.

  • You'll also have fewer photographic options. The S10e carries the same primary and ultra-wide rear cameras as other S10 phones, but you won't find that telephoto cam for long-distance shooting. And like the regular S10, you'll have to forego a depth sensor on the front.

  • The lower price will be the main draw. The S10e debuts on March 8th starting at $750, or a good $150 below the standard version. If you don't care for the full S10's luxuries, you can save quite a bit of cash.

Galaxy Fold

Star of the show: The Galaxy Fold

  • Samsung nearly upstaged the S10 with its first announcement: its first phone with a foldable display, the Galaxy Fold. You'll only see a 4.6-inch secondary AMOLED screen when it's closed, but it unfolds to reveal a massive 7.3-inch Infinity Flex AMOLED display. Effectively, you're getting a small tablet that can still fit in your pocket.

  • The company takes advantage of that extra visual real estate through software. Multitaskers can run up to three apps at the same time, and a continuity feature can move apps from the small screen to its larger counterpart. You can take a quick peek at Google Maps on the secondary display and plan your route in earnest once you've unfolded the phone.

  • It won't shock you to hear that the Galaxy Fold has the high-end specs to match its wild hardware. You can expect a Snapdragon 855 chip, 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and a clever 4,380mAh battery capacity split between both sides. It's also loaded with cameras. On top of the triple rear cameras and dual front cameras you'd find on the highest-end S10 models, there's a 10-megapixel sensor on the cover to ensure you always have a selfie shooter available.

  • Unfortunately, all that technology will cost you dearly: The Galaxy Fold will sell for $1,980 (€2,000) on April 26th. That's expensive even as far as premium phones go, so you're clearly paying an early adopter tax.

Galaxy Buds

New wearables: The Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Buds

  • Samsung showed off a few new accessories to pair with its phones as well. The Galaxy Watch Active is a fitness-first smartwatch that includes blood-pressure-monitoring features, a stress tracker that gives users breathing exercises and other ways to relax when they're feeling overwhelmed, and automatic workout detection. It's also a little smaller and thinner than the existing Galaxy Watch, to make it more comfortable to wear during workouts. It'll sell for $199 and launch on March 8th alongside the Galaxy S10 series.

  • Samsung's latest wireless earbuds are the Galaxy Buds, and as the rumors predicted, they can be charged by placing the case on the back of the Galaxy S10. They otherwise look pretty similar to the older IconX earbuds, although they are 30 percent smaller. The Galaxy Buds cost $130 and go on sale March 8th -- but if you pre-order a Galaxy S10, you'll get a pair for free.

Nathan Ingraham contributed to this report.

Catch up on all of the news from Samsung’s Galaxy S10 event right here!

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Jon has been hooked on tech ever since he tried a Compaq PC clone when he was five. He's big on mobile and is one of those precious few people who wears his smartwatch with pride. He's also an unapologetic Canadian: Don't be surprised if you get an earful about poutine or the headaches with Canadian carriers.

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