Samsung Galaxy S10e Review: The mid-range challenger from Samsung’s flagship S-series
The cheapest of the flagship trio, the Samsung Galaxy S10e is a direct competitor to the iPhone XR but smaller with a 5.8-inch display compared to 6.2-inch on the iPhone XR. The size of the device is more like the small iPhone XS. But why choose this over the other flagships, here’s our take.
This is the affordable S-series device from Samsung’s flagship trio. The Samsung S10e is more affordable than the Galaxy S and Galaxy S Plus. It is priced to compete with iPhone XR and similar phones in its price bracket.
In reality, with its 5.8-inch display, it is also taking an aim at iPhone XS with similar sized display. Even when it is the most affordable device in the new series 10, it is no slouch. It comes with the latest processor, generous amount of memory and plenty of storage to boot.
Differences Between the Samsung Galaxy S10e and S10
The differences between this and the Samsung Galaxy S10 are as below:
- 5.8-inch instead of 6.1-inch
- Dynamic AMOLED panel but lower 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution instead of 3040 x 1440 pixel
- No in-display fingerprint sensor but side mounted fingerprint sensor instead
- Flat instead of curved display
- Dual camera instead of triple camera for the main rear shooter
- Starting memory 6GB instead of 8GB
The phone feels premium and while it is the cheapest version, Samsung did not skim on its quality, design and built. The phone still features the same aluminium frame sandwiched between two sheets of Gorilla glass. But unlike the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, the front glass is flat for the flat display while the rear glass is curved. The same curved back found on the other Galaxy S phones which helps with grip.
Given its small display and how tight the bezels around the display is all around it, the 5.8-inch phone has a very small footprint. So tight in fact that you bezels in fact that it feels like a slab of glass. This is thanks to the Infinity ‘O’ design where the camera is moved from the top bezel to the display, housed in an O-shaped cut-out. Whether it is a right move, is a matter of contention. Not everyone likes the move, some would rather live with a notch.
The phone is available in a range of colours: Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, Prism Blue, Canary Yellow, Flamingo Pink
The phone is powered by the same processor found on the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, enough said. The current flagship processor of choice, the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 system-on-chip is found at the heart of the phone putting it on par with its own siblings and other flagship smartphones. It only falls behind Apple’s A12 Bionic processor currently powered the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max. With that kind of power it will cut through all manner of tasks including demanding 3D intensive games.
The Dynamic AMOLED display has a lower resolution, mainly due to its smaller dimension but also because this is suppose to be the entry edition. Still, there are plenty of pixels, all 2160 x 1080 of them which makes it Full HD+. For a screen this size, it is more than sufficient, drawing mighty sharp and crisp images with plenty of brightness.
The display is also HDR10+ certified meaning you won’t miss a thing when streaming video especially darker scenes as the higher contrast will bring out the shadows and highlights.
Back to the Infinity-O display where the camera is sited in the O-cut out of the display on the top right corner, this does not get in the way much as it is quite small. You will see when viewing bright coloured content, a small price to pay for a phone that is essentially all screen.
To keep cost down, you won’t find the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor that you see on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. Instead, the Galaxy S10e uses a side mounted fingerprint sensor. We actually prefer this to the in-display sensor. The conventional fingerprint sensor is found on the power button.
It takes a while to get used to the location and how to get a successful scan, once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. Besides, with facial recognition you don’t really need the fingerprint sensor be it in-display or on the side.
On the rear of the Samsung Galaxy S10e you will find a dual-lens shooter as its main camera. This is made up of a 12-megapixel primary sensor with a variable aperture of either ƒ/1.5 or ƒ/2.4, and another 16-megapixel sensor mated to an ultra-wide angle lens with a 123-degree field of view.
For the front facing selfie camera, it uses a single 10-megapixel, ƒ/1.9 lens. Both the front and rear facing cameras are also present on the bigger siblings but the Galaxy S10e makes do with the lack fo the third lens on the rear. That is, it does not have the telephoto lens for the 2x optical zoom. It also does not have a secondary depth sensor like that found on the S10 Plus but neither does the S10.
For a small phone, the Galaxy S10e comes with generous 3100mAh capacity battery. The phone also supports wireless charging, but you will need Samsung’s Wireless Charger Duo Pad to take advantage of Samsung’s new 12W charging system. This allows the phone to charge at a faster rate.
Another surprise is the Wireless PowerShare feature. This is left in and is available just like its bigger siblings. Enable PowerShare and turn the phone into a wireless charger to charge other phone, Samsung’s Galaxy Bud or another Galaxy phone wirelessly.
Back to the battery, with the same processor and power demand, you can expect the phone to last you through the day but no where near as long as the bigger S10+ or the S10 as they both come with higher capacity batteries; 4100mAh and 3400mAh respectively.
Unlike OnePlus, it doesn’t skim on features. The device gets the full waterproofing treatment and wireless charging. It also has the Dynamic AMOLED display minus the curved edges which to me is not a big deal. Apart from the camera, it is packed with the same high specs as its bigger siblings. With all the goodies and running the latest Android with Samsung’s user friendly skin, the new One UI, this is one phone you don’t want to miss. What’s more, it is compact and Samsung has retained the headphone jack at the bottom.
Key Features and Details
- 5.8in FHD+ AMOLED (438ppi)
- Samsung Exynos 9820 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- 6GB of RAM memory and 128GB ROM storage
- One UI based on Android 9 Pie
- dual rear camera, front 10MP selfie-camera
- Dual sim, LTE, wifi, NFC, Bluetooth 5, wireless charging and GPS
- Dimensions: 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9mm and Weight: 150g