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Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, Note 10 Lite hands-on: Powerful specs in low-end bodies

The two phones differ in several key ways, but they also share some crowd-pleasing features.

Published onJanuary 6, 2020

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite were first made official a few days ago, and the Korean manufacturer had both devices on-hand in Las Vegas for CES 2020.

Both phones share design similarities to the rumored Galaxy S11 series. More specifically, we’ve got a camera housing that bears a resemblance to the leaked Galaxy S11 renders. If you’re in the market for a cheaper high-end phone but don’t like the Galaxy S11 design, well, you might have to just get used to it.

Otherwise, the Galaxy Lite devices both feel a little cheap due to the plastic design. But this an understandable tweak given that compromises likely had to be made to reach a better price point. The presence of center-mounted punch-hole displays (complete with a 32MP sensor) and the welcome return of flat screens are appreciated though.

Samsung’s latest phones also share a similar 6.7-inch FHD+ OLED screen (2,400 x 1,080), although the S10 Lite packs a Super AMOLED Plus display compared to the Galaxy Note 10 Lite’s standard Super AMOLED panel.

Another major shared feature is the 4,500mAh battery, and the fact that the capacity surpasses both the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 series is really welcome news.

What makes them different?

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite backs
Left to right: Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

The Galaxy S10 Lite differs from the Note 10 Lite in the power stakes though, offering 2019’s beefy Snapdragon 855 chipset as opposed to the Note 10 Lite’s 2018-era Exynos 9810 SoC. The Samsung chipset was previously seen in the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 series, but it theoretically lags behind the Snapdragon 855 (let alone the Snapdragon 865). In any case, both phones felt as snappy as their premium siblings in our brief time with them. Hopefully performance holds up when we get review units.

Another major difference between the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite is that the latter phone packs an S Pen, as you’d expect from a Note device. In fact, the Note 10 Lite S Pen experience felt just as good as the vanilla Note 10 S Pen experience, owing to the Bluetooth LE support. The Note also has a headphone jack, which is quite literally the opposite of what happened with the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus.

Samsung S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite: Who are they actually for?
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite back in hand

Let’s talk cameras. While the Note 10 Lite is less impressive in terms of sheer power, it might be the more flexible camera platform. The Note device packs three 12MP cameras on the rear, namely a standard sensor, 2x telephoto snapper, and an ultra-wide shooter.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite back camera array 2

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S10 Lite delivers a 48MP primary sensor, 12MP ultra-wide snapper, and 5MP macro sensor (no telephoto camera here). It’s also worth noting that the S10 Lite packs so-called Super Steady OIS on the primary camera, combining the previous Super Steady tech with OIS.

There’s no word on pricing for the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note 10 Lite just yet, and Samsung has confirmed that the Note 10 Lite won’t be coming to the US. Nevertheless, the former phone will be available in Prism White, Prism Black, and Prism Blue. Meanwhile, the Note 10 Lite will be available in Aura Glow, Aura Black, and Aura Red.

Which phone would you pick? Let us know in the comments section!