Originally announced in late February and intended for a late March release in South Korea, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G now has a new official Korean street date: April 5. The device will be the first commercial 5G smartphone in the country and share similar bragging rights with Motorola in the United States.
According to Korea’s Yonhap, Samsung will launch the Galaxy S10 5G without a preorder program, and unusually the company has not yet specified a price for the phone — never a good sign for new technology. Industry sources cited in the report expect a 1.5 million won price tag, which would be $1,330 at current U.S. exchange rates, a premium of roughly $300 over the otherwise similar Galaxy S10+.
Like the rest of the Galaxy S10 family, there will be a modest reward for early adopters. Samsung is offering free Galaxy Buds wireless earphones to users who register their device purchases between April 5 and April 16, as well as an unspecified wireless charging package and an ominous “50 percent discount on replacing displays, valid for a year.”
The S10 5G’s U.S. release date has remained ambiguous from the start, but it is expected to launch either with or shortly after Verizon’s mobile 5G network. Verizon has set an April 11 date for 5G networks to reach parts of Chicago and Minneapolis and said that Motorola’s Moto Z3 smartphone will be able to use 5G when connected to a 5G Moto Mod accessory.
By comparison, the Galaxy S10 5G will have all the new millimeter wave antenna and modem hardware inside to connect to Verizon’s network, with a decidedly thinner but larger body as a result. Verizon and Samsung have suggested that the carrier’s U.S. release date will be close behind the South Korean launch, with other U.S. 5G carriers receiving the device thereafter.
The S10 5G includes a 6.7-inch screen, front and back 3D depth-sensing cameras, and a 4,500mAh battery with support for 25-watt fast recharging. In South Korea, it will be able to hit peak download speeds in the 2.6-2.7Gbps range using midrange 5G spectrum, but it will use a different chipset and higher millimeter wave frequencies in the U.S., so its performance outside Korea remains unknown.
Given the nascent state of 5G networks, as well as higher prices, adoption of the S10 5G is expected to be limited. But to promote and incentivize use of its new 5G network, one carrier is offering the S10 5G as a no-cost swap for the Galaxy S10+ to users on two-year service contracts.