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Affordable S10 Lite packs in most of the good bits from the flagship S10 series
SAMSUNG MAKES GREAT FLAGSHIP PHONES LIKE the S10 and more recently the S20 and S20 Ultra, they also make great affordable phones like their A-series lineup. So what tempted them to make a mid-range phone like the S10 Lite and give it the Galaxy ‘S’ moniker usually reserved for flagships? Well to put it simply, it’s a clever marketing strategy, a flagship name on a mid-range device. Think of it like what BMW’s M Sport models are compared to their M cars — exciting, yes, but not quite extraordinary. However, the S10 Lite is still a great phone. It has a huge display, slim bezels, a great processor and good build quality, minus the frills of the flagships, and what’s left is actually pretty damn good.
Let’s start with the display, Samsung knows how to make a good display and this one is no exception. It might not be as high resolution as their flagships, but it is still great. The colours are vibrant, blacks are deep, whites are bright, it supports HDR10+ and thanks to the real estate on offer, it makes the S10 Lite a very enjoyable device to watch content on. The small bezels only add to the experience. The big screen means it needs a big battery too and the 4500mAh battery pack in the S10 Lite doesn’t disappoint. You can easily get through a full day without having to hunt for a charger and when you do, the fast charging means you’re not hanging around too long. The S10 Lite also gets an in-display fingerprint sensor. It works fairly well most of the time, although it is sensitive to the angle of your finger. It also takes slightly longer to unlock than a regular fingerprint sensor but that is the case with most in-display sensors and it is a trade-off I’m willing to take.
In terms of performance, to put it simply — the S10 Lite is fast. Gaming, browsing, switching between apps, nothing makes the S10 Lite stutter even slightly. This performance is due to the snappy Snapdragon 855 sitting inside the S10 Lite. Yup, a Snapdragon, in a Samsung, in India. It takes everyday tasks and eats them for breakfast, fancy some long hours of PUBG? That’s easy too. RAM management is good too, I can have a bunch of apps running and if I decide to hop between any one, it will start exactly where I left off.
Now let’s talk about the camera, or cameras rather. There’s three lenses in the back — 48 megapixel main sensor, five megapixel macro lens and a 12 megapixel wide-angle lens. At this price point a triple camera set up is great and if you get the lighting right then these cameras are actually fairly good. The wide-angle lens is especially fun to play around with. On the front is a 32 megapixel selfie camera which has a fairly wide angle too. The camera on the front is nothing great, it can take decent selfies, but the pictures do look slightly washed out. These aren’t flagship cameras. Details get lost, some pictures turn out soft or grainy and low light performance isn’t great either. Basically this isn’t a phone to flaunt your photography with. That aside, the new OIS technology works very well, the videos come out very smooth and even if you record while walking, it does not pick up any jittering.
Overall, the S10 Lite is a great phone — the screen is big, bright and vibrant, the battery life is fantastic, it will handle CPU intensive tasks with ease and it’s got decent speakers too. However, it does miss out on stuff like IP68 (or even IP67) water resistance, wireless charging and dual speakers but with that price tag, I’m not complaining.