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Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Huawei Nova 4 - Punch hole display showdown!

OPPO
Huawei
Punch hole display phones are out in the wild and we wanted to see which one has the better implementation? The Samsung Galaxy S10+ or the Huawei Nova 4?
Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Huawei Nova 4 - Punch hole display showdown!
The Nova 4 and the S10+

The Huawei Nova 4 and its punch hole display was announced ahead of the Samsung A8s which makes it the first smart phone with an LTPS punch hole display in the world while the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the first phone with a punch hole AMOLED display in the world.


Let's see which of the first punch hole display phones from Samsung and Huawei did it better!

At the end of this article, we wanted to see whether or not we should pay a premium for a punch hole experience.

Build Quality/Design

S10+ and Nova 4 back
S10+ and Nova 4 back

The Galaxy S10+ is mostly made using Metal and glass while the Nova 4 is made using a combination of Glass, Glass like material and polycarbonate.

At first glance, the glass like material at the back of the Nova 4 could fool anyone but upon closer inspection and when put side by side with the real glass back of the S10+, the Nova 4's build quality is noticeably lacking. This is understandable given that both phones are from drastically different price points.
Top side
Top side

On top of the S10+ is the SIM card tray, antenna lines and a microphone while on top of the Nova 4 is the headphone jack, IR blaster and a microphone.
Bottom side
Bottom side

At the bottom of the S10+ is the speaker, microphone, USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack and more antenna lines while at the bottom of the Nova 4 is the speaker, USB-C, microphone and more antenna lines!
Right side
Right side

On the right side of the S10+ is the power button while the Nova4's right side has the volume rocker and the power button.
The left side

On the left side of the S10+ is the Volume rocker and the Bixby button while on the left side of the Nova4 is the sim card tray. 

Build quality and design goes to the S10+ with its use of better materials and the curved glass at the back and in front allow for a better hand holding experience while keeping the display size bigger in a smaller sized phone form factor.

The display of the S10+ is also noticeably better than the Nova4's display in all aspects like resolution, color accuracy, contrast and brightness.

Punch hole design!

Right side
Punch holes up close

The punch hole is at the top right of the display that houses a single camera on the S10e and S10 and a dual camera with the S10+.

It is a few millimeters below the top bezel and is a aligned just before the display curves which makes it farther away from the right bezel.

This allows for a full display experience that we think is better than the notch of other phones. 

If you look closely, you will notice that the gap between the class and camera sensors is tighter with the S10+ compared to the Nova 4's cameras. The gap between the edge of the camera sensors to the edge of the punch hole is also tighter in the S10+ which gives it more real estate for the display itself.

Both phones have a software based method that hides the punch hole by actively turning the notification bar into black. We never turned it on because it just made it look like a super thick top bezel.

Samsung's OneUI and Huawei's EMUI are both able to properly adjust notification icons and indicators without problems. This is also true for third-party apps like Instagram and Facebook. What surprised us is that we have yet to encounter an app that doesn't adjust well with Samsung and Huawei's implementations.

Display Quality

Right side
S10+'s display

The S10+'s 6.4-inch 3D curved Gorilla Glass 6 protected Dynamic AMOLED screen, QHD+ 3040 x 1440 resolution at 522 ppi features an HDR10 compliant display and features an impressive wider native 113 percent of DCI-P3 and 142 percent of sRGB (according to Display Mate's testing) which makes it the most color accurate display on a smartphone yet! (with a rating of 0.4 JNCD) This is besides the peak brightness of 1,215 nits!
Right side
Nova 4 display

The Nova4's 6.4-inch 2.5D curved In-Cell LTPS IPS FHD+ 2310 x 1080 at 398ppi display is bright with good contrast, color and resolution.

Both phones offer 10-points of multi-touch which is great for apps that take advantage of multiple touch inputs simultaneously. Both are quick, responsive and accurate with touch inputs.


Nova 4's screen is impressive for a mid-ranger, but the display found on S10+ is a beast

Side by side, the S10+'s display is close to unbeatable. As Display Mate pointed out, it has record breaking color accuracy, contrast and brightness that is clearly visible when using the two phones side by side.

We used to believe that at the same normal reading distance, the 1080p and 1440p are nearly identical, but Samsung's new Dynamic AMOLED display has changed the game.

Samsung wins in terms of display.

Audio Quality

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ features an AKG tuned stereo speakers found at the bottom and at the earpiece. It is one of the loudest speakers we've ever encountered but it maintains outstanding clarity and directionality. There is some minimal distortion at maximum volume. We wouldn't be surprised if high impedance headphones would not struggle with the S10+'s audio hardware.

The Huawei Nova 4 on the other hand has a single bottom firing speaker that gets loud enough to fill a room. The clarity is decent but when compared to the stereo speakers of the S10+, it is sorely lacking.

Both phones offer great wired earphones experience where there is ample power, decent sound stage, outstanding clarity and high volume. 

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ supports Bluetooth 5.0 which allows it to connect to two audio speakers/earphones/headphones at the same time seamlessly without a hit in the audio experience. This is on top of the already great experience when connecting to only one audio device that the S10+ offers.

The Huawei Nova4 is no slouch either with its Bluetooth 4.2. It can connect to only one device at a time but the Bluetooth audio experience is near to what the S10+ offers. 

The multiple microphone set-up of both phones are very good. We've never had a caller have problems with our voice and when using the voice recording the result is clean with high volume audio. The noise-cancellation for the microphone is excellent.

Battery

Inside the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is a 4,100mAh battery with Samsung's Adaptive Fast charging that also supports fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging while the Nova 4's 3,750mAh battery supports 18W Fast charging.

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ takes 90 to 100 minutes to charge while the Nova 4 takes 70 minutes to charge which is consistent with the capacity of each phone.

In our day to day use of our smartphones with constant LTE and Wi-Fi connection while calling, texting, web browsing, e-mailing, YouTube and Spotify streaming, and social media, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ was able to reach 5 hours and 48 minutes of on screen time with 29% battery left. This was 15 hours and 15 minutes after being unplugged from the charger. This was at the maximum 1440p resolution. It is safe to say that the Samsung Galaxy S10+'s battery can last for more than a day! 

The Huawei Nova 4 on the other hand wand gave us at least 5 hours and 30 minutes of on-screen time with 35 percent battery left after a long 12 hour work day. This was with the same daily routine as with the S10+ but with a 1080p display.

Camera

Samsung camera app interface
Samsung camera app interface

The Samsung Galaxy S10+'s camera UI allows quick access to the settings, flash, timer, aspect ratio, AI beauty modes, camera modes, shutter release, front/rear camera toggle, and the wide, ultra-wide and tele cameras toggle.

The front/rear camera toggle allows access to 6 cameras. There are three rear facing cameras and there are two front facing cameras. 

The three rear facing cameras are a 12MP (f/1.5/f/2.4) with Dual Pixel and OIS, a 16MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra wide-angle lens, and a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with OIS, AF, and dual tone LED flash while the two front facing cameras are a 10MP f/1.9 and a 8MP f/2.2 RGB with Dual Pixel autofocus.
Nova 4 camera app interface
Nova 4 camera app interface

The Nova 4 also allows for easy access AI, flash, moving picture mode, settings, camera modes, shutter release, front/rear camera toggle, and standard and wide camera toggle.

The rear facing camera on the Nova 4 are made up of a 20MP f/1.8, a 16MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle and a 2MP f/2.4 with autofocus, EIS, and LED flash while the front facing camera is a single 25MP f/2.0 Sony IMX576 with EIS.

Below are our camera samples from both cameras. Enjoy!

Rear Camera Samples

Samsung Galaxy S10+ standard wide daylight
Samsung Galaxy S10+ standard wide daylight
Samsung Galaxy S10+ telephoto daylight
Samsung Galaxy S10+ telephoto daylight
Samsung Galaxy S10+ ultrawide daylight
Samsung Galaxy S10+ ultrawide daylight
Huawei Nova 4 standard wide daylight
Huawei Nova 4 standard wide daylight


Huawei Nova 4 ultra wide daylight
Huawei Nova 4 ultra wide daylight
Samsung Galaxy S10+ standard wide indoors
Samsung Galaxy S10+ standard wide indoors
Samsung Galaxy S10+ telephoto indoors
Samsung Galaxy S10+ telephoto indoors
Samsung Galaxy S10+ ultra wide indoors
Samsung Galaxy S10+ ultra wide indoors
Huawei Nova 4 standard wide indoors
Huawei Nova 4 standard wide indoors
Huawei Nova 4 ultra wide indoors
Huawei Nova 4 ultra wide indoors



The results of the main camera images are surprising! The Samsung Galaxy S10+ images are more vibrant in color, deeper in contrast and sharper with details compared to the Nova 4's images. The S10+ is also able to produce consistently the same exposure across its three lenses unlike the Nova 4 where the ultra wide is almost always darker than the standard wide mode.

BUT what surprised us is that the Nova 4 is able to keep-up against the S10+ but not by a huge margin when not pixel peeping. The prowess of the S10+ is in the consistent great image quality even when pixel peeping. Otherwise, the Nova 4 deserves a shout-out.

Selfie Camera Samples

Samsung Galaxy S10+ daylight selfie
Samsung Galaxy S10+ daylight selfie
Nova 4 daylight selfie
Nova 4 daylight selfie
Nova 4 daylight selfie
Samsung Galaxy S10+ indoor selfie
Nova 4 indoor selfie
Nova 4 indoor selfie
Samsung Galaxy S10+ low light selfie
Samsung Galaxy S10+ low light selfie
Nova 4 low light selfie
Nova 4 low light selfie

Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy S10+'s selfie images are warmer and more accurate in reproducing the exposure of the scene while the Nova 4 is able to produce sharper images because of the 25MP sensor. In the low light situations both do exceptionally well in retaining details while minimizing noise though the Nova 4's images are noticeably brighter.

This is a surprise, the Nova 4 is better at selfies than the S10+!

Performance

AnTuTu scores of the Nova 4 and S10+
AnTuTu scores of the Nova 4 and S10+

The AnTuTu score of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is at 330,878 while the Nova 4 is at 210,823. There is a difference of about 120,000 points but when considering the price per point ratio, the Nova4 offers better value per Philippine peso.

The reason for the S10+'s high score is the new 8nm 2.7GHz 64-bit Exynos 9820 octa-core processor with dedicated NPU and the Mali-G76 MP12 GPU, while inside the Nova 4 is the 2.4GHz 64-bit Kirin 970 octa-core processor with NPU and the Mali-G76 MP10 w/ GPU Turbo 2. The GPU of both phones is near each other except for the increased number of cores found in the S10+'s GPU.

The difference can only be noticed when running processor and graphic intensive apps like video editors or games. In most cases like navigating through the OS, launching and using an app, the speed of both phones are not that far from each other.

The UI

AnTuTu scores of the Nova 4 and S10+
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ One UI

The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is running on the latest Android 9.0 Pie based OneUI which is a major change from the previous Samsung Experience UI. The OneUI is now lighter and faster with more focus on functionality. It even improved the multitasking and battery life of our aging Note9. 

The new One UI also has simplified their menus which has made it easier to navigate through all the features.

We wrote more about this on our review of the OneUI linked here.

Huawei Nova 4 UI
Huawei Nova 4 UI

The Nova 4 on the other hand is running on the latest Android 9.0 Pie based EMUI that brings focus to better ergonomics for one handed use and promises minimal change in performance over time. This means that you will get nearly the same performance of the phone from when you got it new from the box until the day you decide to replace it. From our experience with the P10 even after nearly 2 years of use.

Another unique feature of EMUI is the GPU turbo which uses AI to improve the performance with specific games/apps which has allowed Huawei devices to game with better experiences from previous or current hardware.

You can read more about the EMUI here.

Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Huawei Nova 4 Specs Comparison

DeviceSamsung Galaxy S10+Huawei Nova 4
Display6.4-inch 3D curved Gorilla Glass 6 protected Dynamic AMOLED screen w/ QHD+ 3040 x 1440 resolution at 522 ppi6.4-inch 2.5D curved In-Cell LTPS IPS screen w/ FHD+ 2310 x 1080 resolution at 398 ppi
CPU
2.7GHz 64-bit Exynos 9820 octa-core processor w/ NPU
2.4GHz 64-bit Kirin 970 octa-core processor w/ NPU GPU: Mali-G72 MP12 w/ GPU Turbo
GPUMali-G76 MP12Mali-G76 MP10 w/ GPU Turbo 2.0
RAM8GB/12GB LPDDR4x8GB LPDDR4x
ROM128GB/512GB/1TB expandable via microSD card up to 1TB128GB expandable via NM card slot up to 256GB 
Back Camera12MP (f/1.5/f/2.4) w/ Dual Pixel, OIS + 16MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra wide-angle lens + 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens w/ OIS, AF, and dual tone LED flash20MP f/1.8 + 16MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 w/ PDAF, CAF, EIS, and LED flash 
Selfie Camera10MP f/1.9 + 8MP f/2.2 RGB w/ Dual Pixel 25MP f/2.0 Sony IMX576 w/ EIS 
Battery
4,100mAh w/ Adaptive fast charging, fast wireless charging w/ reverse wireless charging
3,750mAh w/ 18W fast charging
OSAndroid 9.0 Pie w/ One UI
Android 9.0 Pie w/ EMUI 9.0
Connectivity
WiFi 6, 4G LTE Cat 20, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), 4G LTE Cat 18, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
SensorsAccelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure, heart rate
Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure 
Others
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlock, IP68 water and dust resistance, USB-C, UHQ 32-bit/DSD audio support, AKG stereo speakers, Colors: prism white, prism green, prism black, luxurious ceramic black, luxurious ceramic white

Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, IR blaster, USB Type-C, Colors: honey red, blue, black, white
Dimensions157.7 x 75 x 7.8 mm157 x 75.1 x 7.77 mm
Weight
175 g
172 g
PricePHP 55,990 (8GB RAM/128GB ROM), PHP 89,990 (12GB RAM/1TB ROM)
TBC

Verdict

The main purpose of this comparison was to see whether or not the experience of a punch hole display differs between a flagship and a mid-range phone.

Even though the Nova 4 was the first to release a punch hole phone in the market, we were surprised at the level of polish Huawei was able to make it.

The S10+ however brings the punch hole design in a more polished manner with a tighter gap in between the edge of the camera sensor the end of the punch hole which means more objects can be displayed. The gap between the glass and the camera is also closer in the S10+ than in the Nova 4.

In terms of performance, the S10+ is ahead of the Nova 4 in benchmarks. GPU Turbo helped the Nova 4 in specific games which is good enough for some people. But, it won't still reach the performance of the S10+.

S10+ is currently the top scoring selfie camera at DxOMark, but from our comparison, we preferred the images taken with Nova 4's selfie.

EMUI and One UI have made significant improvements over the years and we think both are good enough that it is now down to personal preference though, from experience EMUI is able to maintain performance consistency for a longer period than One UI.

Overall, the S10+ is ahead over the Nova 4. But, it doesn't mean that the Nova 4 doesn't offer good value for money.


What do you guys think? Do you agree with us?
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