Here’s what the top Apple and Samsung smart(ish) phones looked like 10 years ago

Business Insider SA
2010 phones
  • Samsung started selling its first Android phone a decade ago, and has maintained a rivalry with Apple – then on the third generation of its iPhone, ever since.
  • But with 8 and 9 generations of phones since then respectively, both Apple and Samsung have come a long way in the last decade.
  • Here's how the original Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone 3GS of 2010 compare with their modern decedents going into 2020.
  • For more stories go to

Going into 2010 there were two hot smartphones on offer: the brand new Galaxy from Samsung, and the iPhone 3GS, the much faster successor to the third generation of Apple's range.

Both companies have stuck to those ranges since, with Apple moving up to the 11th generation of its smartphone, and Samsung now selling the 10th generation of the Galaxy.

But while those modern phones are direct descendants of the smartphones on offer a decade ago, they look a bit ridiculous when compared side by side. In the intervening generations screens have stretched (and come to offer much higher resolution), cameras have multiplied, storage has swelled, and speed has jumped ahead in a fashion that would have been hard to imagine in 2010.

Here's how the smartphones of 2010 stack up against their decedents going into 2020.

See also: An 'old' phone was the most popular smartphone this year - further evidence that people are fed up with high prices

The 2010 Samsung Galaxy (original), vs the Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung's first Android phone, which it designated "Galaxy" (no "S" yet), was released in mid 2009 and became one of the more popular Android phones going into 2010, despite some serious limitations leading to a not universally enthusiastic reception.

What users and reviewers did approve of was the "vivid OLED" screen of 3.2 inches – at a resolution of 320x480 pixels.

Samsung Galaxy
Samsung Galaxy original (Samsung)

Other notable specifications for the original Galaxy were:

  • a 5 megapixel camera (with LED flash).
  • 8GB of storage for photos and videos.
  • 128MB of RAM.
  • a single-core CPU running at 528MHz.
  • 11.9 mm thick.
  • with a weight of 116g.
  • a 1500mAh battery, with an estimated talk time of 6 hours.
  • HSDPA, offering a theoretical maximum download speed of 7.2Mbit/s.

The current Samsung Galaxy S10 available into 2020 is a little different.

The standard-sized Galaxy S10 comes with what the company styles a "Infinity-O Display" of 6.1 inches with a resolution of 3040x1440. 

Samsung S10
Samsung S10 (Samsung)

Here's how it compares to the original Galaxy in other respects:

  • the rear cameras (because of course there is a front camera too) has a minimum 12 megapixel sensor for each of its three separate assemblies to offer telephoto, wide angle, and ultra wide angle shots.
  • internal storage starts at 128GB – 16 times that of the original.
  • RAM now starts at 6GB, with double that on "performance editions".
  • a octa-core processor running at 2.73GHz.
  • squeezed into a frame now 7.8 mm thick.
  • at a weight of 157 grams, about 35% heavier than the original.
  • a 3400mAh battery, with an estimated 19 hours talk time.
  • multi-gigabit LTE, with a theoretical download speed of 2Gb/s.

The 2010 Apple iPhone 3GS, vs the iPhone 11 Pro

Towards the end of 2009 Apple added an "S" – as Samsung would later do – to its phone description, releasing the iPhone 3GS as a successor to the 3G, with the "S" denoting "speed". Apple marketed it is "the fastest smartphone", mainly by showing how much faster apps launched on the 3GS than on the 3G.

While those demonstrations were impressive for a model-on-model improvement, Apple has come rather a long way in the decade since.

Reviewers were generally not impressed enough by the improvements to recommend that existing iPhone 3 users upgrade, but the 3GS remained on offer, and popular, for years before it was eclipsed by the fourth-generation iPhone.

iPhone 3GS
iPhone 3GS (Apple)

Here are the headline specs for what was Apple's top phone in 2010:

  • a 3.5 inch display at a resolution of 480×320 pixels. 
  • a 3 megapixel camera, with auto-focus for the first time.
  • 16GB for photo and video storage at the entry level.
  • 256MB of RAM.
  • a 600MHz CPU.
  • 12.3mm thick.
  • at a weight of 135g.
  • a 1,220mAh battery, with an estimated 5 hours of talk time.
  • HSDPA, offering a theoretical maximum download speed of 7.2Mbit/s.

Here's how the iPhone 11 Pro that takes Apple into 2020 compares.

iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro (Apple)
  • a 5.8 inch "super retina XDR display" at 2436x1125 pixels.
  • three rear cameras – ultra wide, wide, and telephoto – at 12MP.
  • a minimum of four times the internal storage, at 64GB.
  • 4GB of RAM.
  • a hexa-core CPU, with two 2.66GHz Lightning cores and four 1.82GHz Thunder cores.
  • 8.1mm thick – making it just about a third thinner than the 3GS.
  • at 188 grams, around 40% heavier. 
  • a 3,046mAh battery, with an estimated 16 hours of talk time.
  • "gigabit class LTE" that can hit 2Gb/s.

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