Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite review

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Samsung Holepunch

Samsung is still widely considered the king of the hills when it comes to Android flagship smartphones, and its diverse portfolio of current budget offerings seems to have helped its mobile business grow steadily. While the company currently seems to have a grip on the budget and high-end segments of the smartphone market, India is still trying to figure out the mid-range segment.

OnePlus has dominated here for several years, so that according to a current report in 2019, it was possible to lead the market for premium smartphones. This is a segment of the smartphone market that Samsung hasn't paid too much attention to. However, this will change with the Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note 10 Lite smartphones, both of which were recently launched in India.

Today, our focus is on the Galaxy S10 Lite, and as the name suggests, it's a watered down version of the Galaxy S10 series. To hit the Rs. 40,000 price points, Samsung has jettisoned a number of premium features such as the IP protection class for water resistance, wireless charging, stereo speakers, its distinctive dual aperture camera and a glass-metal housing. What the company has retained are a flagship processor, an Infinity-O display, and a huge battery.

On paper, the new Galaxy S10 Lite looks like a decent offer for the price, but does it have the right performance? More importantly, does it have what it takes to knock the OnePlus 7T (Review) off its socket? Let's find out.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite design

Everyone likes a large, crisp display, and the Galaxy S10 Lite does just that. It's a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED + panel with a Full HD + resolution (1080 x 2400) and HDR10 + Support. It is protected by Gorilla Glass, although Samsung has not specified which version. The centered hole cutout at the top of the screen is not as small as the Galaxy A51 (review), but we didn't find it intrusive. Samsung has kept the bezels around the screen pretty narrow, including the chin underneath, which makes the front pretty eye-catching. The colors are punchy and the brightness is very good.

The Galaxy S10 Lite uses something called "Glastic" for the back. This is the vernacular of Samsung for a glossy plastic plate that is reminiscent of glass. The entire body is made of plastic, but feels robust and well joined. The back is lightly worn, especially the lower part, and it's also a huge fingerprint and stain magnet. We recommend buyers to use the supplied protective cover. The rectangular camera module protrudes slightly, but is not too noticeable.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Samsung HolepunchThe display of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite has a hole for the selfie camera

The placement of the buttons feels ergonomic, and there is a hybrid dual SIM compartment on the left, in which either two nano SIM cards or a single SIM and a microSD card can be inserted. The Galaxy S10 Lite does not have a headphone jack, so you either have to use the included Type-C headset or work wirelessly. Below we have a USB Type-C port and a single speaker.

Samsung has made a few cuts with the building materials, but despite the absence of aluminum and glass, the Galaxy S10 Lite still feels quite good. It is also quite slim at 8.1 mm and does not weigh much for a phone with a large display and battery (186 g).

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite specifications and software

The Galaxy S10 Lite is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, which remains one of Qualcomm's flagship chips and is still relevant, despite being almost a year old. It would have been nice to have the Snapdragon 855+ variant that other phones like the OnePlus 7T and Asus ROG Phone 2 (review) use, but this is still better than a 700 series processor.

In India, Samsung only launched the Galaxy S10 Lite in a configuration with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. Other technical data include dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5, support for four satellite navigation systems, FM radio and NFC. With the latter, you can use your phone for contactless payments via Samsung Pay. All the sensors you'd normally expect are there, and the phone also has Widevine L1 DRM certification. The Galaxy S10 Lite also has a 4,500 mAh battery, which according to Samsung should last about two days.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Ports SamsungThe Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite has only one speaker and no headphone jack

The Galaxy S10 Lite runs on One UI 2.0, which is based on Android 10. It even includes the security patch for January 2020. The latest version of Samsung's skin looks more refined and polished, and we recently saw it running on the Galaxy A51. With the "Link to Windows" function, you can view your messages and notifications on a Windows 10 computer, similar to Galaxy Note 10+ (Review). You also get other features like a built-in screen recorder, multiple gestures, a one-handed mode and game launcher to organize all your games in one place.

One thing we noticed is that the Galaxy S10 Lite does not have the India-specific features that we saw on the Galaxy A51, such as: For example, sorting by map style in the Messages app and multilingual predictions for the keyboard. Samsung announced Gadgets 360 that this will initially only apply to the Galaxy A51.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite performance and battery life

The Snapdragon 855 has proven to be a very efficient and powerful processor. It is therefore not surprising that the Galaxy S10 Lite does an excellent job in everyday tasks. Multitasking works smoothly, and even though we don't have the UFS 3.0 flash memory variant, we haven't noticed any slowdowns or delays when running heavy apps or games.

The Galaxy S10 Lite got quite warm after about 20 minutes of PUBG Mobile, but never too hot. We found the frame rate in PUBG Mobile and even other taxing third-person shooters like LifeAfter to be solid. However, the phone can be a bit cumbersome due to its size, both in your hand and in your pocket.

You get a built-in fingerprint sensor that you can use to quickly unlock the phone. The single camera in the hole cutout can also be used for facial recognition. This method works well, even in low light conditions, but the "wake up" gesture was a bit slow.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite camera SamsungThe Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite has three rear cameras, one of which is optically stabilized

The lower speaker doesn't get very loud, but you can enable Dolby Atmos enhancement if you're using wired headphones. Unfortunately, there is no software-based audio boost for the speaker. The included headset sounds decent and offers good passive insulation against outside noise. Videos look very good on the display. The default & # 39; Natural & # 39; color profile makes everything look a bit subdued, but switching to & # 39; Vivid & # 39; gives the colors the much needed intensity. HDR videos in streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube also look good.

We found the battery life to be pretty solid. The Galaxy S10 Lite still lasted about a day and a half when it was used heavily, and when used less we could extend it to about two days before we had to charge the phone. The included power supply is quite bulky, but supports a maximum power of 25W.

We were able to charge the Galaxy S10 Lite to 98 percent in one hour, which is impressive. Remember that the adapter has a Type-C connector. You will therefore need the supplied Type-C to Type-C cable to use it. In our HD video battery loop test, the Galaxy S10 Lite ran 18 hours and 55 minutes, which is very good.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite cameras

The Galaxy S10 Lite has three rear cameras and a front camera. On the back we have a primary 48 megapixel sensor with an aperture of 1: 2.0 and optical image stabilization (OIS); a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with an aperture of 1: 2.2; and a 5 megapixel macro camera with an aperture of 1: 2.4. The selfie camera has a 32 megapixel sensor and an aperture of 1: 2.2.

The camera app offers a good selection of recording modes such as Live Focus Video, Super Slow-Mo and Pro. The scene optimizer automatically adjusts the parameters to the available light and the type of objects or scenes to be recorded. Videos can be recorded at up to 4K 30fps, but strangely, there is no 60fps option, although this processor can handle it. You can enable features such as palm recognition and voice control to take pictures.

The primary camera uses the Sony IMX586 sensor, which by default takes oversampled 12-megapixel pictures. We have seen this sensor in countless cell phones and the performance is more than sufficient for occasional use. In daylight, landscapes are captured, the sensor detects good details, the colors are saturated, and HDR works well. Close-ups are sharp, but the colors sometimes appear a little more pronounced.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite landscape photo example (tap to see the full size image)

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite wide angle photo sample (tap the image to view full size)

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite close-up photo (tap to see the full size image)

Example of a macro photo of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite (tap the image to view full size)

The wide-angle camera takes good pictures, but we would not recommend using these pictures because the details are not as sharp or clear as those taken with the main camera. We also tried the macro camera, which captures pretty good details when focusing on smaller objects.

Portrait mode or live focus work well with good edge detection, details and colors. You can change the background bokeh effect for some interesting results. The amount of background blur can also be adjusted.

In poor lighting conditions, the Galaxy S10 Lite can keep up with good details and colors. Here, too, the scene optimizer does a good job, which can slow down the recording speed depending on the available light. You can also turn on night mode, which brightens shots but slightly influences textures and details in a native way. The wide-angle camera takes much darker pictures at night due to the narrower aperture, but night mode can help a little.

Selfie with bokeh effect, taken with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite (tap to get a full size image)

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, close-up example in low light (tap the image to view full size)

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite indoor light photo example (tap the image to view full size)

The 32 megapixel front camera also takes oversampled photos that look good. The selfies we shot had expressive colors and lots of details. Live Focus is also available here, so you can play around with different bokeh effects. The front camera is quite powerful even under artificial light, but can hold its own in very poor lighting conditions. In the latter case, the screen flash helps.

The video quality at 4K resolution is good for daylight shots. There is a slight jiggle when you walk around, but the footage isn't too shaky. You can switch to the wide-angle camera while recording, which is nice, but the video quality deteriorates. For stabilization, it is best to use the Super Steady switch, with which the wide-angle camera records videos. In very poor lighting conditions, the footage is a bit grainy and the details are softer, but we didn't notice much chroma noise. The wide-angle camera records very dark film material and is therefore practically unusable at night.


The Galaxy S10 Lite is a good package, but at almost Rs. 40,000, we think the price is a bit higher. We mainly say this because you could instead buy the top-end variant of the OnePlus 7T (Review) for less money and this phone has additional functions such as a high refresh rate, a higher quality glass and metal housing, stereo speakers, a telephoto camera and a more recent processor. The basic version of the Asus ROG Phone 2 (review) is also available for under Rs. 40,000 and offers much better gaming functions. Then there is the Oppo Reno 2 (review), which has a very good hybrid zoom camera system.

Before the Galaxy S10 Lite came on the market, Samsung only had the Galaxy A80 in this segment, which is still a very interesting cell phone with its rotating triple camera module. Unfortunately, it hasn't had much press since it started last year and has just flown under the radar. Samsung also has the new Galaxy Note 10 Lite, which is selling at the same price, and we'll be reviewing it very soon. On paper, it offers better rear cameras and the S Pen stylus, but it also has a processor from 2018, which is a strange choice. We'll see how these two models compare.

We think that if Samsung shaves around Rs. 5,000 compared to the current price of the Galaxy S10 Lite, it would be a better deal. This could happen relatively soon, as the Galaxy S20 series is just around the corner. Samsung's new flagships could further lower prices for the S10 series, which could negatively impact prices for the Galaxy S10 Lite.

The positioning of the Galaxy S10 Lite seems to be an attempt to capture part of OnePlus' market share, and although we are not entirely convinced that this will be possible, it is nice for the current price to be a good option from Samsung too have this segment after a long time.