Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, review: high-end heart in a more modest bottle

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, review: high-end heart in a more modest bottle

Just a few weeks after the launch of the Galaxy S20, Samsung surprised us with the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite. This is a trimmed-down version of its (now old) flagship at a more moderate price. But Despite its last name, the S10 Lite doesn’t give up ‘top’ features like the processor, a Snapdragon 855 in this case.

If in 2019 Samsung brought us a Galaxy S10e as the cheapest (and compact) option, for 2020 the strategy changes and they bring us a flagship with the brand ‘lite’, new to Samsung’s high-end. Let’s see if the Galaxy S10 Lite lives up to the range to which it belongs.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, video review

Datasheet of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite
SAMSUNG GALAXY S10 LITE
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT 162.5 x 75.6 x 8.1mm
186 grams
SCREEN 6.7-inch Super AMOLED
FullHD + resolution (2,400 x 1,080 pixels)
394 dpi
Infinity-O Display
PROCESSOR 7nm 64bit octa-core
RAM 6/8 GB
INTERNAL STORAGE 128 GB
REAR CAMERA 5 MP f / 2.4 macro
Wide angle 48 MP Super Steady OIS f / 2.0
Ultra wide angle 12 MP f / 2.2
FRONT CAMERA 32 MP f / 2.2
DRUMS 4,500 mAh
OPERATING SYSTEM Android 10
CONNECTIVITY Determined
PRICE 659 euros

It’s called S10, but it looks like an S20

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

It is somewhat strange that Samsung has decided to keep the S10 brand already in 2020. Seeing the design of this Galaxy S10 Lite, the feeling that we are actually facing a terminal closer to the S20 than the previous generation is increasing. The first resemblance to the S20 is in the front, where we find the front camera hole aligned to the centre. The second (and most obvious) in the back with that so large rectangular camera module. The good thing is that it barely stands out, although it is just enough for the mobile to ‘dance’ when putting it on the table and we miss a case.

Seeing the design of this Galaxy S10 Lite, the feeling that we are actually facing a terminal closer to the S20 than the previous generation increases.

The feeling in hand is good. It is a large mobile but the¬†rounded edges make the grip comfortable, although it would be even more so if it weren’t so slippery. The construction is solid, with metal frames and the back in plastic (yes, it looks like glass and is a magnet for fingerprints). Thanks to this, the weight is somewhat more contained than would be expected in a terminal of its size. Regarding the front, the use is excellent, with very thin frames (slightly wider at the bottom) and the front camera in the hole is not intrusive.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

On the screen, here we find one of the cuts suffered by this S10 for having the last name ‘Lite’ and it is that, despite having Super AMOLED technology, the resolution remains at FullHD +. However, the experience with the screen at the level of sharpness is more than satisfactory despite not reaching the density of its older brothers. The panel offers good contrast and plenty of brightness so that we can see the content well even in full sun. Also good is the automatic brightness and calibration, which by the way is set as a standard in the natural mode that offers a fairly neutral hue.

The experience with the screen at the level of sharpness is more than satisfactory, despite not reaching the density of its older brothers.
And to complete the multimedia experience, it’s time to talk about sound. Here the Galaxy S10 Lite reveals another cut and is that we have only one speaker at the bottom; no stereo sound. It has a fairly high volume, but the quality is quite fair and if we go to the maximum it is canned and shrill. By the way, the location of the speaker makes us sometimes cover it when holding the mobile, for example, if we are playing, making the sound almost disappear. We don’t have a minijack either, but Samsung does include a USB-C headset in the box.

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Flagship power and mid-range autonomy

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

We said at the beginning that Samsung does not make concessions in a section as important as performance. The Galaxy S10 Lite does not live up to its name here and brings us a Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm’s top processor in 2019, and 8 GB of RAM, not bad for a ‘lite’, right? As expected, in practice, we have a level performance even in demanding tasks such as heavy graphics games, although here we have detected a slight overheating, nothing serious but there it is. So it is in the benchmarks against some terminals of the competition.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite LG G8X ThinQ Nubia Z20 OnePlus 7 Pro Huawei P30 Pro iPhone 11 Pro
Processor Snapdragon 855 Snapdragon 855 Snapdragon 855+ Snapdragon 855 Kirin 980 Apple A13 Bionic
RAM 8 6 GB 8 GB 12 GB 8 GB 4GB
AnTuTu 462,174 422,812 361,365 376,968 261,115 409,070
Geekbench 4.4 / 5.0 (single / multi) 745 / 2,541 (5.0) 746 / 2,669 753 / 2,539 (5.0) 720 / 2,698 (5.0) 3,251 / 9,670 (4.4) 5,475 / 13,232 (4.4)
PCMark Work 9,918 9,374 8,948 9,991 7,644
Galaxy s10 lite battery

Autonomy is one of the strengths of this wins, Lite. We have a 4,500 mAh battery, a generous figure although not excessive, that seems to benefit a lot from that cut in resolution. On days of moderate use, reaching the end of the day is not only possible, but we managed to stretch the load until the day and a half without problems. In the capture on these lines, you can see the consumption in a day of much more intensive use. In total, we reached 6 hours of the screen with a total duration of about 15 hours.

We have a 4,500 mAh battery, a generous figure although not excessive, that seems to benefit a lot from that cut in resolution.

In the software, we have Android 10 with the latest version of OneUI, 2.0. Samsung continues betting on the known structure of previous versions in which the switches and elements with which we interact are grouped in the lower half so that they are more accessible with the thumb. It is a comfortable layer, well structured and full of its own functions such as the Always-On screen, maintenance mode, Bixby, Samsung Health and many others. An interesting detail is that, although it comes with bloatware, at the beginning we can choose not to install most applications (although with 128 GB it is not a problem of space).

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

On biometrics, Samsung equates this ‘lite’ with its older brothers and incorporates a fingerprint reader under the screen, although it is not ultrasonic but optical. It also has facial recognition through the front camera, a system that also allows us to adjust some additional options such as that the eyes have to be open or that the screen brightness increases to be able to recognize us in the dark. In practice, I have ended up using the two systems in combination, but I would say that the face unlock is more comfortable since sometimes when trying to press the reader it is difficult to get it right. What penalizes the experience is that we can only register three tracks And, in a front sensor, you miss being able to have four (two thumbs and two index fingers).

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Macro and angular, but no zoom

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

The camera module is one of the most notable changes at the design level in the Galaxy S20 and, as we said, this S10 Lite inherits much of that style. In the rectangle that dominates the back, we have three lenses. The main one has an f / 2.0 aperture, 48-megapixel sensor, and optical stabilizer. The secondary one, an ultra-angular one, has f / 2.2 aperture and 12-megapixel resolution. The third sensor has 5 megapixels, f / 2.4 aperture lens and is used to take macro photos. No, there is no zoom in this case, so the versatility of the camera is considerably less than that of the original S10, not to mention the S20 with zooms of up to 30x magnification. Somewhere you have to notice the price cuts.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

The camera app has a classic structure that we know from OneUI. We have several tools at the top and the camera modes located on a carousel above the shutter button, modes that by the way, we can rearrange to our liking. That it is so customizable is one of the key features of this app. The weak point is that, while the rest of the settings are placed in logical positions, the HDR is still buried in the Settings menu, making modifying it a hassle. The most practical thing is to leave it in automatic and the camera activates it whenever you want, but it is not the best since sometimes it does not activate in scenes where it is necessary or vice versa.

Day

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Wide angle
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite 10 Ultra angular.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite 11 Without HDR vs with HDR

By day the result is quite good when we pull the main lens. In the first image, you get a good dynamic range, faithful tones and good detail. On the other hand, with the wide-angle lens, things change a lot. It tends to underexposure, chromatic aberrations often appear, the poorest dynamic range and loss of detail, especially when light falls.

With respect to HDR, as I said, the most practical thing is to keep it automatic, but there are cases like the third photo in which it is not activated and we have to navigate through the menus to do it. The result is good and usually manages to lift the shadows quite well., the downside is how intuitive it is to adjust it.

Night

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite 12 Night mode, main lens.
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Automatic mode, main lens.

Samsung includes a specific mode for night scenes among the camera options. In the general plan, we see that the first image has more lighting and it seems that the detail is more marked. By expanding, we see that processing to remove noise is greatly exaggerated, although it does not mean that it does not look very good in scenes like this. In the second photo we see a duller scene, but the detail when enlarged is not so “broken”.

Selective focus

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

It’s time to speak in portrait mode or, as Samsung calls it, selective focus. and the¬†performance is very good in terms of fluidity and effectiveness and blur distance. The app tells us when the blur has been applied and, at least in my experience, it has always been applied correctly. The cut is usually successful and in scenes with very marked vanishing points like the first one, it applies a gradual blur that is very natural.

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Macro

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite 18
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

As we said, the third lens of the Galaxy S10 Lite is a macro lens. In order to take advantage of it, you have to access the specific mode and focus on objects very closely, specifically between 3 and 5 centimetres. The level of detail surprises and gets quite spectacular photos, although with a somewhat more limited dynamic range.

Selfie camera

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite 16 Normal vs angular mode
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite 19 Blur selfie-and night selfie

And we finish with the selfie camera, which incidentally has a 32-megapixel sensor. We only have one lens, but Samsung includes a normal mode in addition to the wide-angle that cuts a part of the image to have a more closed frame. The quality of the snapshots is good when the light accompanies, but at nightfall, it loses quite a bit as expected. We also have a portrait mode, although it usually gives us erratic cuts and a rather artificial result.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, the opinion and note of EuroXliveAndroid

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

Half mid-range and half high-end, so we could define this Galaxy S10 Lite, the first of its kind and that arrives just when the S20 was on the verge of the official presentation. Samsung could have chosen to call it S20e and thus follow the strategy started last year, but they have preferred to debut with the surname ‘Lite’ not only here, but also in the Note series.

The Galaxy S10 Lite stands out in fluidity and autonomy, but it cuts in resolution and a set of cameras with somewhat unpredictable results.

As it happens with terminals that want approach the high end but containing the price, the Galaxy S10 Lite mixes ‘top’ elements such as the Snapdragon 855 processor – all a success that gives us a fluid experience at the level of much higher terminals – and others somewhat more restrained such as the FullHD + screen or a set of cameras that, although for not mediocre at all, they offer somewhat unpredictable results. The strong point of the experience with the Galaxy S10 Lite, in addition to its fluidity, is a more than comfortable autonomy to forget about the plug. Or at least not be so outstanding.

8.8

Design 8.75
screen 8.75
performance 9.25
Camera 8
software8.75
Autonomy9

In favor

  • Design with good finishes and good compaction.
  • Fluency at the level of the high range that you want to look like.
  • Great autonomy.

Against

  • The screen complies, but lags behind in density.
  • The sound is very improvable and we don’t have a minijack.
  • The cameras are not very versatile and the results unpredictable.

 

The terminal has been loaned for testing by Samsung. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises.