Samsung claims that the new Galaxy S10 Lite offers flagship-grade camera and features at an affordable price. So, we decided to test the claim, and . . .
Samsung’s new offerings – the Galaxy S10 Lite and Note10 Lite – are supposed to be flagship devices or offer flagship smartphone experience. But Samsung already has two flagship series – the S series and the Note series. So, why the new products? Are they mere addition to the aforementioned flagship series? Or do they offer something different to customers? All these are pertinent questions – questions that can only be answered by understating and analysing these products and their place in Samsung’s product line-up. And that’s exactly what we try to do here.
For the last couple of years, Samsung has lacked a strong, potent device in the Rs 30k – 40k price segment. Something that seemed like a void between the company’s low-end series – the Galaxy A and the Galaxy M – and the above-mentioned flagship series, especially given the fact that this segment is now gaining some traction in the recent years. So, to fill this void, Samsung has now launched not one but two smartphones – the Galaxy S10 Lite and the Note 10Lite.
The idea is simple – to give users something that combines features and performance that the Galaxy S series and the Note series are known for at a relatively affordable price. Here, on these pages, we will focus on the Galaxy S10 Lite. You can read our extensive review of the Galaxy Note10 Lite here.
Now, the Galaxy S10 Lite carries on the legacy of the flagship S10 series, which means that it features all the core innovations of the S series – an interesting move by Samsung indeed! But is it also a smart move? Well, let’s find out.
In terms of build quality, there isn’t much to talk about. In short, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, but, at the same time, there is also nothing to be excited about. However, I must say that the S10 Lite is on a par, sometimes even better, with other smartphones in the price segment.
Unlike the glass design of the S10 and the Note10, both the S10 Lite and the Note10 Lite use a compound called Glasstic, which is created by fusing glass with plastic. I think it's a wise move, for a glass body would have definitely increased the price. Overall, it’s a phone that combines properties of both glass and plastic, making it lightweight and durable while still retaining the glass-like feel of the back. The S10 Lite doesn’t have a headphone jack, something that the Note10 Lite has.
The Galaxy S10 Lite has a 6.7-inch 2400 x 1800 AMOLED screen, which is flat and looks very good, however, it falls a bit short in terms of quality when compared with a Galaxy S or a Note device. Bezels are very thin, and there’s a cut-out at the front for the selfie camera.
To give you a bit of perspective, the OnePlus 7T, which is the segment leader, comes with a waterdrop notch, a tall screen, and glass back with a matte finish. It sports a 6.55-inch Super AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate – the smoothest display in this price range.
The Galaxy S10 Lite features a triple camera setup at the back, which consists of a 48MP primary sensor with Super Steady OIS, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor with 123-degrees field-of-view, and a 5MP macro camera.
Samsung already has something called Super Steady mode in select smartphones. So, what’s the difference between them.
Well, Super Steady OIS is a hardware feature, wherein the main lens is hosted on a gimbal. The advantage is that when the smartphone experiences jerks, shakiness, or movements, the main camera lens follows the movement of the camera and compensates for the shakiness. Another advantage is that the Super Steady OIS moves in both X and Y direction to compensate for the overall shake, whereas OIS works only in one direction. The correction range of Super Steady OIS is also higher than OIS. While OIS works on ± 1 degree, the Super Steady works on ± 3 degrees.
Super Steady Mode differs from Super Steady OIS in that the former is a software algorithm that uses the ultra-wide camera of a device and then crops up the video image to give an output, which is far more stable. Also, the Super Steady Mode doesn’t allow you to record in a high resolution – the maximum it allows you to achieve is a full-HD resolution, while Super Steady OIS allows you to record in a UHD resolution. What’s interesting is that Super Steady OIS also applies to photos.
So, in that sense, the S10 Lite is definitely a step forward in the right direction. The 48MP primary sensor also worked fine, during my time with the phone, in most lighting conditions and captured images full of vibrant colours.
Same Image shot with an ultra-wide-angle (below) offered a wider perspective. This mode is particularly useful when you want to put in more of the landscape into a frame.
When shooting in the night (below), the S10 Lite's camera didn't disappoint us. The images captured are sharp and full of colours.
The phone also offers other camera modes, including Live Focus, Panorama, Pro, Hyperlapse, Night and Food. The S10 Lite also comes with a zoom-in mic and AI Scene Optimiser that recognises 30 types of subjects and adjust their details automatically. At the front, the phone has a 32MP camera, which is great for selfies and video calling.
Talking, about the camera, I really enjoyed the macro mode of the Galaxy S10 Lite. A macro lens is well suited for capturing small subjects at extremely close distances. It can focus much closer than a normal lens, allowing you to fill the frame with the subject and capture more details.
The detail with which the S10 Lite's macro lens captured the black olive is just brilliant.
A macro shot of 'OFF' written on the instrument captured above.
The macro shot of the wings of the same aeroplane shot above.
A great display and a versatile camera setup can’t do much if the smartphone is not powerful enough to allow them to be used to their full potential. But thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, which also powers the OnePlus 7T, the S10 Lite does give you any reason to complain.
The presence of the Snapdragon 855 is a huge deal for Samsung, for it’s the first time that the South Korean giant is using a Qualcomm chip for the Indian market – a sufficient reason for us to get excited about the phone. Samsung usually uses Exynos processors in its devices. While the Exynos processors aren’t slow by any means, they aren’t at the same level as flagship Snapdragon chips in terms of power and energy efficiency. To add further to its performance, the S10 Lite comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage.
The S10 Lite runs on OneUI 2.0, which is based on Android 10. While visually, it’s not much different from OneUI 1.5, it does include all new features of Android 10 into its skin. For instance, the system-wide dark theme now works on third-party apps like Chrome and Instagram as well. Overall, the One UI 2.0 feels more modern and refined.
The display of the S10 Lite offers great colours and contrast levels. Sunlight visibility is excellent too, and the fact that it supports HDR10+ makes streaming on Netflix and other HDR10+ ready apps, including YouTube, more pleasant and engaging.
The Galaxy S10 Lite runs on a 4,500mAh battery, which also gives it an advantage over the OnePlus 7T that comes with a 3,800mAh battery.
The S10 Lite would last 5 – 6 hours more than the OnePlus 7T on a single charge, but that also depends on the usage. And to quickly recharge the battery, the Galaxy S10 Lite comes with a 25W fast charger.
The Galaxy S10 Lite does a wonderful job of filling the void in Samsung’s product line-up. The S10 Lite simply nails the basics and features a camera setup that’s is one of the best you will find in this price segment. While its display doesn’t have the 90Hz refresh rate of the OnePlus 7T, it nonetheless is a brilliant display. And with the addition of the Snapdragon 855 processor, Samsung has, in a way, solidified its claim of offering flagship smartphone experience. And given its relatively affordable price, it definitely is the best value for money device in its segment.
Macro lens, price, great display
No 3.5mm jack