|A Wall Street Journal reporter checks the temperature of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S10 5G smartphone with an infrared thermometer. Captured from Wall Street Journal
By Baek Byung-yeul
Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S10 5G smartphone, which supports fifth-generation (5G) network service, has become the subject of ridicule by a Wall Street Journal report as the smartphone overheats easily and sometimes switches to the 4G network.
WSJ reporter Joanna Stern reported on July 18 that the Galaxy S10 5G "isn't reliable in the summer ― unless, well, you summer in Iceland."
The reporter previously sparked controversy for putting a sausage inside the screen of Samsung's Galaxy Fold foldable smartphone in April and provoked anger from many over mocking the device.
Critics say her way of testing the 5G network environment with the 5G-enabled smartphone came close to mocking the Galaxy device, saying the reporter should have focused on giving a balanced review.
The reporter tested the quality of 5G mobile networks in the U.S. cities in Denver, Atlanta, Chicago and New York.
Though she also used LG Electronics' V50 ThinQ smartphone running on Sprint's network, the reporter mainly used the Galaxy phone because the device is "one of the first 5G phones and the only one available across all the carriers."
Her report points out the insufficient 5G mobile network coverage in the U.S. saying, "walking a few hundred feet up or around the block could cause the 5G indicator on my phone to drop to 4G."
However, she also criticized the Galaxy smartphone for easily overheating as the device switched between 5G and 4G too often due to a lack of 5G coverage.
As the device overheated to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), the reporter had to put the device in an ice pack for two to three minutes to reconnect to the 5G network.
Regarding the report, Samsung said that there is no malfunction on the devices and they are designed to switch back to LTE network when they reach a certain temperature.
"With 5G, data is transmitted at higher quantities and speeds, which causes the processor to consume more energy. While Samsung provides a variety of thermal management technologies, the phone will switch back to 4G when the device temperature reaches a certain threshold," a Samsung official said. "This is not new, and it is by design to minimize energy usage and optimize battery performance so consumers can stay connected."
The company added its 5G smartphone comes with "its latest vapor chamber cooling technology and AI software that continuously optimized battery, CPU, RAM and even device temperature based on how people use their phones."
An IT industry official here criticized the article saying it is inequitable only to blame the device.
"At a time when the 5G network coverage is still limited, the issues regarding overheating can happen, but the story is mainly focusing on making a fool of the device," said the official, who wanted to remain anonymous.
"The overheating issue happens because there is not enough network coverage for the 5G service. We saw the same issue when 4G service was launched. When there is not enough network coverage for the latest network service, these kinds of issues always happen."