Earlier in the year , Samsung did something very strange — it revealed two “lite” versions of its 2019 flagship phones – the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 that too a month before the launch of their first 2020 flagship which we now know to be the Galaxy S20. But the launch of the Galaxy S20 revealed that Samsung was hedging those phones for the ultra-premium market. In a way, these phones are Samsung’s iPhone X moment. With that context, the S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite are now primed to compete against the likes of flagship killers like the OnePlus 7T and Xiaomi’s Redmi K20 Pro.
Do Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite have the specs to compete with phones like the OnePlus 7T and Xiaomi K20 Pro?
The answer is nuanced and can be broken down in a yes and no. In the case of the S10 Lite, you’re getting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor which is flagship grade even by 2020 standards so yes it can go toe-to-toe in performance with the OnePlus 7T and Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro. The Note 10 Lite is different. It has an older processor which is from circa 2018, but it’s main claim to fame is the S-Pen and the customised software that Samsung has fostered for almost a decade. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is an expensive phone and for people who want a slice of this stylus this is a more affordable gateway drug.
Let’s talk cameras? Which phone south of Rs 40,000 has the best camera?
Both these new Samsung phones have an edge in imaging over offerings from Xiaomi, OnePlus and even Apple’s iPhone XR which is selling like hotcakes in India. While the Galaxy Note 10 lite basically gives you the same camera system as the Galaxy Note 10 sans the variable aperture which anyway was quite useless. The Galaxy S10 Lite is even better with a triple camera system which comes with a new age stabilization system which enables great imaging and superb video with an additional macro lens. The OnePlus 7T, Xiaomi K20 Pro and Apple iPhone XR all lag these two phones in the camera department.
If battery life is the most important criterion?
Again the two Samsung phones have an edge in this department. Both get 4,500mAh batteries with 15 watt fast charging in the package. Up against the OnePlus 7T or Xiaomi K20 Pro, these may not be the fastest charging phones, but they remain vastly better with battery management. Both these phones last easily with medium to heavy usage for more than a day. You’d find the OnePlus 7T probably burns out the fastest because of its high refresh rate screen while the Xiaomi and iPhone XR follow it.
Which phone has the nicest display?
Samsung’s phones are known for their screens and indeed the Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note 10 Lite get OLED screens with a full HD+ resolution and infinity O notch. These are very nice screens but you have to say the screen on the OnePlus 7T is the nicest because it is inky and it has that high refresh rate which makes the interface very smooth. The Redmi K20 Pro also has a nice screen which I’d say is better than the one on the two Samsung phones. The iPhone XR has the lowest resolution screen out here – it also has a more inferior LCD technology at play. If you’re going to be watching movies, playing games and reading text, probably the OnePlus 7T will provide the most joy.
Which phone has the best software?
Again, this is a more nuanced question. If you are the type of person who likes to tinker around a lot and download everything and specifically set up your phone — then the OnePlus 7T and Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro are going to be the phones to get. However, if you are going to be banking on the software that’s already there then Samsung’s phones offer a lot. They even come preloaded with Microsoft’s fantastic Office apps and have Samsung Knox security baked apart from the MST enabled Samsung Pay. In terms of responsiveness I have to say that the OnePlus and Xiaomi interfaces take the cake, but then in the case of the Xiaomi, you run the chance of getting advertisements in the user interface which is intrusive.
All I care about is gaming?
For gamers, the OnePlus 7T is perhaps the best phone while there will be a tie between the Galaxy S10 Lite and Xiaomi K20 Pro are pretty equal. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite because of its older Exynos processor will be the weakest gaming phone. The iPhone XR actually is even superior to the OnePlus 7T in gaming because of Apple’s custom GPU and software.
All things considered, the new Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite provide a bevy of unique features that are exclusive to Samsung and marry these features with specs that consumers have been demanding at a more affordable price which makes these two a compelling counter to flagship killer phones like the OnePlus 7T.
Sahil Mohan Gupta is a senior technology writer based out of New Delhi