Best answer: No, you shouldn't buy the Galaxy S10 in 2021. While it's still a decent smartphone, it's outdated and still costs quite a lot. For the same price, you can get newer and much better smartphones like the Galaxy S20FE and the Galaxy S21.
Samsung Galaxy S10 in 2021: Pricing and availability
Since it's more than two years old at this point, Samsung Galaxy S10 isn't exactly widely available. That said, you can buy refurbished models from Samsung's own online store for around $450. You can also find refurbished devices available on Amazon at much lower prices. Interestingly, Best Buy still has new and unlocked Samsung Galaxy S10 units in stock, with the baseline model carrying a price tag of about $700.
If you're willing to go the refurbished route, Samsung Galaxy S10 is still a decent flagship smartphone. However, spending $700 to get it new makes no sense, as you can buy one of Samsung's more recent devices for about the same price.
Is the hardware of Galaxy S10 still powerful enough in 2021? What about its cameras?
Samsung Galaxy S10 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, with 8GB of RAM and 128/512GB of internal storage. Thanks to this hardware combo, the smartphone is more than capable of handling everything from multitasking to graphic-intensive games with little to no effort. The 3,400mAh battery should also hold up well for everyday use, and there's fast-charging support (for both wired and wireless modes) too.
Other key hardware elements, such as the 6.1-inch curved AMOLED display and the all-glass construction, lend the phone a premium look and feel, even if they're not the latest and greatest. Then there are features like IP68 water/dust resistance and a microSD card slot for expandable storage. The S10 even has something that the newer S20FE and S21 don't - a 3.5 mm headphone port - so you can hook up some of the best wired headphones to it and enjoy your music.
That being said, one of the biggest areas where the Galaxy S10 shows its age is in the camera department. Samsung has taken big strides in this category in the recent years. The Galaxy S10's camera system isn't very good when it comes to low-light performance. The telephoto lens, while good, is also nowhere near as capable as that of the one found on the Galaxy S21. The ultra-wide and front-facing modules are comparable but still trail the newer Galaxy smartphones in terms of overall imaging performance.
In summation, you're still going to get a great camera setup in Samsung Galaxy S10. But don't expect it to compare with the photography hardware of the best Android camera phones out there.
Does it make sense to go for the Galaxy S20 FE instead of the Galaxy S10?
Bursting at the seams with top-tier features, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE offers insane value for money. It's available brand-new and unlocked for $700 on Samsung's online store. That price comes down even further if you choose to buy through major retailers like Amazon.
Despite having the same price as the Galaxy S10, the Galaxy S20 FE is a better smartphone in almost every way. Some of its key features include a 6.5-inch 120Hz AMOLED display, faster Snapdragon 865 chipset coupled with 6/8GB of RAM and 128/256GB of onboard storage, a powerful triple-lens camera setup with up to 30x digital zoom, and a 4,500mAh battery that can go all day without needing to be charged. It's also much more future-proof since there's 5G connectivity included in the mix as well.
Impressive as all that is, the Galaxy S20 FE isn't without its flaws. Its plastic rear panel doesn't feel as premium as the glass backs of some other flagship smartphones. There's no 3.5mm audio port either, so you're stuck with wireless earphones. However, these minor shortcomings don't change that the Galaxy S20 FE is a better buy than the Galaxy S10 any day.
What if I choose Samsung Galaxy S21?
There's no denying the fact that Samsung's newest Galaxy S21 is one of the best (if not, the best) Android smartphones money can buy in 2021. Its biggest highlight is the Snapdragon 888 chipset, Qualcomm's latest top-of-the-line SoC, allowing for even faster performance, better battery efficiency, and new camera capabilities. Speaking of cameras, the Galaxy S21 features a better 64MP telephoto sensor, a massive upgrade over the 12MP unit found on older models like the Galaxy S20 FE. The triple-lens primary camera setup is also fantastic as an overall package, supporting up to 8K video recording. You also get a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED display that makes the phone a bit easier to handle with one hand.
Having said that, Samsung Galaxy S21 comes with a back panel that'll probably give pause to those who want nothing but the finest in terms of design and build materials. The top-tier smartphone also does away with useful additions like the microSD expansion slot and the 3.5mm audio port.
Talking about price, the base model of Galaxy S21 is available unlocked from Best Buy for $800. However, both Amazon and Samsung's own online store currently have it available for a much lower price. If you can snag one for the same amount (or even a bit more) as the Galaxy S10, it's pointless to even think about getting a Galaxy S10 in 2021.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Modern Samsung for less
The Galaxy S20 FE is one of the most compelling phones Samsung's launched in a long time. It offers about 90% of the regular S20 experience for hundreds of dollars less, making it one of the best values of the entire year. If you haven't checked it out yet, you really should.
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