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Samsung's Galaxy S10 smartphones are here to take on the iPhone XS

Samsung debuted its first Galaxy S smartphone 10 years ago. And it, uh, wasn't great. There were multiple versions of the same phone depending on which carrier you purchased it for, which meant you might miss out on features like a front camera if you chose (Yahoo Finance parent company) Verizon (VZ) over Sprint (S).
But the company has come a long way since then. Not only is it among the best handset makers, but it's also the largest phone maker in the world. Which brings us to Samsung's newest offering: the highly anticipated Galaxy S10.
Available for pre-order Feb. 21 and hitting store shelves March 8, the Galaxy S10 will be available in three variants, the S10e, S10. and S10 Plus. Each phone packs a long list of impressive features, but as smartphone sales continue to flatten, it will be interesting to see if they will be enough to boost Samsung's sales numbers.
Galaxy S10e
  • Starts at $749
  • 5.8-inch, edge-to-edge screen
  • 2 rear cameras, 1 front camera
  • Fingerprint reader on power button
Galaxy S10
  • Starts at $899
  • 6.1-inch, edge-to-edge screen
  • 3 rear cameras, 1 front camera
  • In-display fingerprint reader
Galaxy S10 Plus
  • Starts at $999
  • 6.4-inch, edge-to-edge screen
  • 3 rear cameras, 2 front cameras
  • In-display fingerprint reader

Three for all

Like Apple, Samsung's new line of S10 devices are meant for three different kinds of shoppers. The S10e, like Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone XR, is for cost-conscious consumers. At $749, it has the lowest price tag, but is missing a handful features found on its pricier stablemates.
The $899 S10 is aligned with Apple's iPhone XS and is geared toward mainstream smartphone buyers looking for a lot of power without breaking the bank. And then there is the giant S10 Plus. Priced at $999, the S10 Plus falls in with the iPhone XS Max, and gets all of the best features Samsung cooked up for its latest generation of devices.
The S10e is also the smallest of Samsung's new handsets, packing a 5.8-inch, flat display. That means its panel doesn't have the same kind of curve as the S10 or S10+ on its left or right edges. And, aesthetically, it's better for it. The S10, meanwhile, gets a 6.1-inch screen, and the S10 Plus gets an enormous, 6.4-inch panel.
Size aside, the S10 series' most distinctive feature is the hole punch-style opening in the top right corner of the phones' screens that houses their front cameras. Samsung calls this its Infinity-O display, and it's rather eye-catching. The company has used the styling on other phones before, but this is the first time it’s showing up on a flagship smartphone.
The S10e, S10 and S10 Plus all have hole punch-style camera lenses on their front displays. (image: Daniel Howley)
The hole punch is Samsung's way of adding a front-facing camera to its smartphone without having to include a notch at the top of the handset like the one found on the iPhone. It's a quirky solution that's certain to get people's attention. The S10e and S10 only have single front-facing cameras, so their hole punch is just a small circle. But the S10 Plus gets a kind of oval-shaped hole thanks to its two cameras.
I was only able to demo the handsets for a brief period of time, so I can't say if the look interferes with things like full-screen videos. But I'll be sure to take note during my full review.
As far as general styling, the S10e, S10, and S10 Plus are all quite attractive smartphones. Their edge-to-edge screens and the glass in their rear panels combine to make the handsets every bit the flagships they are meant to be.
Unlike Apple, Samsung isn't ready to give up on the trusty fingerprint reader as a means to unlock your device. So where are the fingerprint readers if virtually all of the S10 lines' front panels are dedicated to screen space? Well, the S10e gets a reader built into the power button on its right side. The idea is that the reader is easy to reach with your thumb for quick unlocking.
The S10 and S10 Plus, however, get ultrasonic fingerprint readers embedded in their screens. The readers detect your digit quickly, but you have to make sure you tap your finger at their lower edges. I'll have to see how natural this motion feels when I spend more time with the S10.