Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite: the Snapdragon beats the Exynos enhancing the performance. The review

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.
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It arrived on the market just before the presentation of the new Samsung Galaxy S20 and is proposed as the most “lite” of the S10 family in terms of features but not in size. What is missing and what is really worth of this mid-range smartphone? We talk about it in the review.

When Samsung launched its Galaxy S10 range last year, the Galaxy S10e he immediately positioned himself as inexpensive alternative to the more expensive Galaxy S10 and S10 +. An immediate success because the Galaxy S10e was going to fill a niche overlooked by many brands as well as by Samsung itself. With the arrival of the new Galaxy S10 Lite, things could lead to confusion for users since the technical specifications of the smartphone have little to do with a less performing and above all compact device.

Looking at the data sheet, the new Galaxy S10 Lite is expected to work better than its S10 brothers both for performance and autonomy given the presence of a generous 4,500 mAh battery supporting the fast charging up to 45W. A feature that stands out compared to those of the Galaxy S10 range. Not just because S10 Lite is equipped with a 6.7-inch screen which makes it the largest S10 range device of all. The Galaxy S10 Lite adopts the 48 MP sensor with pixel-binning which practically all the other brands have been using for some time but which is being implemented here for the first time especially coupled with high-end hardware.

The fear is that of cannibalizing the other devices of the same S10 series for its technical specifications but also for the price at which it is sold. In fact, those who buy a Galaxy S10 Lite must deal with the materials: aluminum in the frame like S10 and S10 + but in fact a plastic back shell albeit shiny. Not only because the camera configuration sees theabsence of an important telephoto sensor. We have a capable ultra wide angle sensor and a promising 5 MP dedicated macro camera in addition to the main 48MP but those who are used to using sophisticated zoom here will have to do without it.

unboxing

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite it comes with the usual user manuals, a USB-C to USB-C cable for charging and data transfer. This supports the USB Power Delivery 3.0 charging standard with the 25 W power supply included in the package. There is no PC connector with USB-C or a USB-C to USB-A cable, so you will not be able to connect your phone to your computer unless you have an additional cable.

DESIGN: nice even if in polycarbonate

In terms of design, the Galaxy S10 Lite starts from how well Samsung did with the Galaxy S10 family. The back is easily distinguishable from the other devices given the presence of a square camera module and very large in the upper left part while the front is more similar to the Galaxy Note 10 series with the display design defined Infinity-O.

In this case we have the usual sandwich frame with a plastic body and not glass even if well made and polished. Perhaps not very oleophobic, especially in the black color. Samsung calls it Glasstic and defines it closer to glass than plastic. Tapping with your finger, the feeling is that of polycarbonate but certainly light weight is an advantage of the use of this material.

There are no sharp or protruding edges and this facilitates grip in the hand especially thanks to a curvature of the back cover and also to the slightly curved screen on the sides that allows you to pass your finger from the frame to the panel without discontinuity. It is impossible to deny how the phone is a bit slippery as any other glass phone and perhaps the fault lies in the important dimensions.

Important, as said the rear structure of the cameras. On the one hand, the three sensors are aligned vertically, while in a second column on the right, space is reserved for only the LED flash and the writing OIS Super Steady. In practice what we then saw, albeit in a slightly diversified way, with the new Galaxy S20 series from Samsung itself. The structure protrudes slightly, there is no oscillation of the smartphone once placed on a table and above all the step is not “sharp” as it could happen with other devices.

The side frame is metal with a glossy finish that blends perfectly with the rest of the phone. On the left there is the trolley of the nanoSIM, on the right side there is the on / off button with also the volume rocker, while the lower part sees the USB-C connector and the speaker grill with the absence of the 3.5mm jack .

As for the size, the new Galaxy S10 Lite is an important phone with a 6.7-inch diagonal screen it makes it difficult to use with one hand. Interestingly, the overall weight of the device is only 186 grams which actually surprises positively for a phone with such a large screen but also a huge 4,500 mAh battery. Galaxy Note 10+ or ​​even OnePlus 7T Pro have roughly the same diagonal as the screen, smaller batteries but weighing over 200 grams.

DISPLAY: excellent as always and with HDR10 +

THE display they have always been one of the main features of Samsung smartphones even for medium or low-end phones. Most of the latest generation devices see the presence of OLED screens and the Galaxy S10 Lite offers one of the best solutions in the category. It is not the so-called Dynamic AMOLED display of the high-end lineup on S10 and Note 10. Here Samsung calls it Super AMOLED Plus. We assume that the term “Plus” in this case is associated with the presence of the HDR10 + certification that in such a terminal is really an interesting feature. The Note 10 Lite, for example, has the same 6.7-inch panel but only has support for HDR10 and not the “Plus” version.

As for the specifications, the display is nothing more than a panel with a 20: 9 form factor precisely from the diagonal of 6.7 inches and with resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. There is a small hole in the upper central part of the screen for positioning the front camera. On a technical level, the tests revealed excellent readability in sunlight with a brightness that can reach 400 nits in manual mode but even up to over 700 nits in automatic mode.

In terms of color accuracy, the display is really good. Samsung places it by default in its mode “Natural” but the user can change the parameters to his liking by setting the mode “Lively” which enhances the colors and makes everything much more amplified. Here, moreover, it will also be possible to white balance between cold and warm colors.

HARDWARE: the Snapdragon for not having strange consumption

The “Lite” part in the name would lead to believe that Samsung has cut somewhere to offer a device more compatible with its selling price. Performance may be the first to suffer from this. With Galaxy S10 Lite all this is not true because the performances have not been diminished rather the presence of Qualcomm processor could ” exalt ” someone who does not like perfect optimization of the Exynos.

 

SAMSUNG Galaxy S10 Lite
OS (at launch) Android 10 with One UI 2.0
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Octa-Core at 2.84GHz
RAM 8 GB
Display Super AMOLED Plus 6.7 “Full HD +
Resolution 1080×2400 px
Storage (at launch) 128 GB + MicroSD up to 1TB
Rear camera Triple room:
Main
48MP (f / 2.0) OIS +
Wide-angle 12MP (f / 2.2) Zoom 2X +
Macro 5MP (f / 2.4)4K UHD @ 60fps video
Front camera 32MP (f / 2.2)
Extra 4G LTE
NFC
Fingerprint sensor
Ports USB Type-C
Battery 4,500 mAh + Quick charge
dimensions 162.5 x 75.6 x 8.1 mm
Weight 186 g

 

The smartphone has the current Snapdragon 855 anchor. A processor that offers superior graphics performance compared to the owner Exynos 9820 which has been placed by Samsung within the rest of the Galaxy S10 smartphones. What to expect from the Snapdragon 855? Excellent pure performance. Actually in the tests that we have carried out the CPU, which on a technical level is nothing but an octa-core with 1 Kryo 485 core operating at 2.84 GHz, 3 Kryo 485 cores at 2.42 GHz and 4 Kryo 485 cores with clock at 1.78 GHz, they only reiterate how mature and even more exploitable this processor is. The Adreno 640 deals with graphically intense activities and there are also the backdrop to these potentials 8 GB of RAM and i 128 GB of internal memory expandable via microSD.

Below are the benchmarks that we have run with the terminal.

Numbers aside the smartphone works very well in all its activities. Never an obstacle that can make it “laggy” or slow in opening or recalling even the heaviest applications. The One UI 2.0 with Android 10 makes a lot in terms of productivity and the potential we have on this S10 Lite is second to none.

GRAPHIC INTERFACE: everything in the right place

On Galaxy S10 Lite there is the second version of One UI. The interface that sees the entrance of Android 10 does not change its connotations in an incredible way, at least from a graphic point of view. Most of the changes that come with Android 10 are under the hood. The system is now looking a lot at privacy and apps are now asking for permission or not to use the location in the background.

With the arrival of Android 10 the dark mode system-wide. The latter was also available in the previous version of One UI but was limited to Samsung’s proprietary apps and menus. Now it also extends to third-party applications that support it by making everything darker and saving something in terms of battery for long use.

Gesture navigation also changes. With One UI (1.0) Samsung offered the configuration of standard software buttons and customized scrolling gestures. Now you also have a third choice: the default gestures of Android 10. Swipe from the bottom to return to the Home screen, swipe and hold to recall the menu of recent apps and finally also swipe from the left or right frame to go back.

On a biometric level Samsung has decided to use a optical fingerprint reader for the Lite version at the expense of the more expensive ultrasound fingerprint reader used so far on previous models. A positive downside that does not penalize the user because here the sensor is precise in recognizing the owner and also quick in unlocking. What could perhaps make the user less happy are the animations wanted by Samsung with the One UI that seem to slow down the entire experience of use but which are absolutely not the fault of the processor or optimization.

Indeed, we also found this type of choice with the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10 when we tried them a few months ago. Once the reader has recognized the fingerprint due to the animation, a few fractions of a second will pass before the home of the device appears ready to be used.

Apart from the fingerprint reader, there are many options that we have available to be able to better customize the new Galaxy S10 Lite. from the always-on display to the useful Bixby that can assist the user in many situations, passing through the various proprietary applications that help in productivity. Everything works smoothly, without slowing down or freezing. To be honest we didn’t expect less: we have one of the most powerful chipsets of last year combined with an even more refined version of Samsung’s One UI.

CAMERA: shame about the absence of the telephoto lens

The 48MP (f / 2.0) main camera is presumably the “ Star ” of this S10 Lite thanks to the presence of the Super Steady OIS technology from Samsung which promises an extraordinary combination of software and hardware stabilization. We have seen the Super Steady video mode in action already in Samsung devices previously reviewed and its operation is really excellent managing to play stable videos in every situation. This is the first time that we have seen this technology making its way onto a large sensor with Pixel Binning technology.

The camera Ultra Wide Angle registers a classic sensor 12 MP f / 2.2 aperture with an ultra-wide viewing angle of 123 degrees. Perhaps the only lack could be that of adding a telephoto sensor with 2x zoom which in our opinion could have been decidedly more useful than 5MP macro type sensor than Samsung has precisely decided to put in place on S10 Lite. This does not mean that the Macro lens is bad indeed it is a 5MP and we know that the other brands dare a macro at most with 2MP sensors and moreover it is able to take some very sharp close-up photos. The front camera is 32MP instead with f / 2.2 aperture capable of also exploiting the Pixel Binning to produce 8MP photos.

The default camera UI is the same as always: you can swipe left or right to switch between modes and by touching in the top right corner of the viewfinder you can adjust some additional settings. The “Other” submenu contains the Macro, Pro, Super slow-motion, Hyperlapse, Night and Food modes. You can add and rearrange them to your liking for faster access. Unfortunately, Pro mode offers control of only three settings such as exposure, white balance and ISO. Manual autofocus and shutter speed setting are not available. Instead, the Live Focus since the Snapdragon 855 processor is perfectly capable of handling background processing in real time.

With the new Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite you get shots with punchy colors and a good dynamic range during the day. In some situations it is possible to have some noise in uniform areas of the scene but nothing so worrying as the presence in extreme situations of a few halo of light too. In most cases, however, the shot is done well and on sight the device can only be promoted for what it does.

The Ultra Wide Angle camera was a surprise, as it offers a similar rendering to the main camera with punchy colors and an impressive dynamic range. It is slightly weaker than the main one but this is a recurring theme with ultra wide angle sensors, even in the upper level segment. Lens correction does a great job considering the wide field of view of 123 degrees.


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Low light performance looks pretty good with some exceptions. Color saturation seems to vary from one scene to another and overall it may be a little too soft. We noticed that HDR is used in almost all night scenarios, doing an excellent job and improving the final shot. The light sources are also managed well.

Dedicated night mode, on the other hand, doesn’t work that much better than normal. It perhaps restores a little more detail in the shadows but doesn’t seem to help with the lights as one might expect. Moreover, it adds a little too much noise in some situations, mainly in dark areas. Things are maintained even when you switch to the Ultra Wide Angle camera where the photos in Night mode are excellent for sharpness. The photos are still a little soft and there are halos on the neon lights but once again their work is well done.


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The macro camera on S10 Lite it is definitely a good implementation dedicated to close-ups especially in comparison to the other brands that use a 2MP sensor and not a 5MP sensor like here. The images are crisp and incisive and the details are high. Too bad perhaps for the lack of autofocus that engages the user in shooting in more difficult situations.


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Overall selfie quality is good: beautiful colors and good dynamic range. Sharpness is on par with most front cameras of this type. On videos nothing to say given that thanks to the Snapdragon 855 processor, the Galaxy S10 Lite, allows you to record 4K videos up to 60 fps and slow motion videos up to 720p at 960 fps. Super Steady OIS helps to capture well stabilized 4K and Full HD videos.

AUTONOMY: the Snapdragon works very well in this

Battery life is probably one of the best features which could make you choose this Lite version instead of the other Samsung S10. Thanks to its size, Galaxy S10 Lite can contain a significantly larger battery than its brothers: let’s talk about a unit from 4,500 mAh which combined with the Snapdragon 855 7nm chipset, allows incredible results. Galaxy S10 Lite has performed very well in our tests managing to reach evening with intense use with yet another 40% residual charge. Noteworthy is the topic of standby consumption, an Achilles heel that has always been from Samsung. Here, once put on standby, the Galaxy S10 Lite does not consume its battery abnormally but rather maintains its charge.

Samsung does not neglect fast charging. The device supports fast charging up to 45 W via USB Power Delivery 3.0 provided that the charger supports the PPS standard. The same applies to the 25 W speeds that are delivered with the power supply unit supplied with the sales package. Data in hand is possible to reload entirely ie from 0 to 100% S10 Lite in just 62 minutes with an initial step from 0 to 63% reachable in just 30 minutes.

CONCLUSIONS

We started this review with the idea that the Galaxy S10 Lite was a flagship device more than a mid-range though the price of 679 € list would make you think otherwise. In fact the suffix “Lite” denotes some shortcomings like the processor of the latest generation even if the Snapdragon 855 rewards any performance. The absence of a Dynamic AMOLED display even though there is still a panel with support for HDR10 + and always Super AMOLED. A photographic sector that lacks a telephoto sensor even if the work of the Ultra Wide Angle is impressive. However, there is the One UI 2.0 that derives from Android 10 and above all there is a weight of only 180 grams and a wonderful 4,500 mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite is a recommendable phone. It has a flagship processor, a capable camera setup, a great display, long battery life and an impressive fast charge. Too bad for the price certainly not low which places him in an uneasy position in a market segment where there are many contenders and where Galaxy S10 Lite perhaps remains a little too anonymous although capable of achieving excellent performance. The street price will certainly make it more than attractive in the coming weeks.

PRO

  • 6.7-inch wide AMOLED with HDR10 + support
  • High battery autonomy
  • Surprisingly light albeit large in size
  • Excellent quick charge
  • Good camera

VERSUS

  • Lack of telephoto lens
  • No 3.5mm audio jack
  • Absence of a stereo speaker
  • Absence of waterproofing
  • High price
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