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Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite is on sale today for $650 — and we wouldn't buy it

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite
(Image credit: Samsung)

Just a day after Apple launched the new iPhone SE, Samsung has finally announced pricing and release information for the Galaxy S10 Lite — and unfortunately, it's not going to be quite as easy on your wallet.

The Galaxy S10 Lite is on sale today (April 17) for $650 unlocked, and it's be sold at Best Buy, Amazon and of course, on Samsung's own website. At $250 more than Apple's latest budget iPhone and $50 less than the also-fresh OnePlus 8, the S10 Lite doesn't seem as enticing a proposition as it might have been way back in January when Samsung first unveiled it.

Yes, the 6.7-inch S10 Lite is much bigger than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE, and even slightly overshadows the 6.55-inch OnePlus 8. And yes, it does have an AMOLED display compared to the iPhone's rather low-resolution LCD panel, and two more camera lenses on the back as well. But at $650, the S10 Lite is a strange proposition, because for just $50 more, you could have that OnePlus 8 or — and here's where things get really confusing — you could just buy a regular Galaxy S10.

That's right: Now that the Galaxy S20 is out, Samsung has slashed prices for its outgoing flagships across the board, meaning you can get a 6.4-inch Galaxy S10 Plus — sans Lite — for just $689 right now from the company's own online store. And the S10 Plus cost $849 when it was originally launched this time last year.

With that in mind, we have to wonder why anyone would pick up an S10 Lite today. The S10 Lite has the same Snapdragon 855 processor as last year's Galaxy S10 series, but it features a plastic design and swaps the regular S10's optically-zooming telephoto lens for a macro, which is less useful. Additionally, the Super AMOLED panel in the S10 Lite sports a full-HD resolution, rather than quad-HD pixels of the more premium devices that inspired it.

If the Galaxy S10 Lite were priced at $500 or even $550, you could make a case for it. But as of this moment, with Apple having launched a device that is smaller but considerably more powerful, OnePlus delivering a phone with a significantly better screen and performance for $50 more, and Google on the verge of rolling out its bargain Pixel 4a which is almost certain to have a better camera for far less, the S10 Lite just doesn't feel like a great deal.

Plus, it's called the S10 Lite, which is really confusing given that it bears more obvious similarities to the Galaxy S20 family, and is releasing on the heels of those models. Samsung also announced a Galaxy Note 10 Lite around the same time the S10 Lite made its first appearance, though that phablet still doesn't have an ETA from the company. Perhaps Samsung is reconsidering its strategy — I would.

You can look forward to a review of the Galaxy S10 Lite in the coming weeks.