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Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite review (hands on)

The Galaxy S10 Lite promises a longer-lasting flagship experience, but the price is puzzling

samsung galaxy s10 lite
(Image: © Future)

For

  • Huge, attractive design
  • Large 4,500mAh battery
  • Powerful Snapdragon 855 processor

Against

  • Plastic design
  • Limited to 128GB of storage
  • High price for a lite version of last year's flagship

Samsung's Galaxy S10 Lite is an absolutely gigantic phone that could rival last year's Galaxy S10 Plus when it comes to battery life and performance. Unfortunately, it also seems to match last year's S10 lineup for price.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite Specs

Price: $650
Screen (Resolution): 6.7-inch Super AMOLED (2400 × 1080)
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB
Rear Cameras: 48MP main (f/2.0), 12MP ultra wide (f/2.2), 5MP macro (f/2.4)
Front Camera: 32MP (f/2.2)
Battery Size: 4,500 mAh
Size: 6.4 x 3 x 0.32 inches
Weight: 6.7 ounces

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite: Price and availability

Samsung just announced a $650 price for the Galaxy S10 Lite. You'll be able to buy the phone directly from Samsung as well as from Amazon and Best Buy starting on April 17. At Samsung, you can take $250 off the price with an eligible trade-in. Best Buy is also taking $200 off with qualified activation of the phone. At Amazon, you can get a free pair of Galaxy Buds with purchase.

In an age where flagship phones approach $1,000, $650 may seem like a bargain. But there's more to the S10 Lite's price than there seems at first glance, especially given what's happened since we first saw the Galaxy S10 Lite during CES 2020 in January. At the time Samsung hadn't announced pricing or availability, but we had hoped to see a price cut from what the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus cost.

A lot's changed in the months since we had our hands-on time with the S10 Lite. For starters, Samsung introduced a new round of flagship phones, the Galaxy S20 family. And with built-in 5G plus big camera improvements, those new phones command a high-price — $999 for the S20 and eye-popping prices of $1,199 and $1,399 for the Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra, respectively.

galaxy s10 lite

(Image credit: Future)

In an unusual move for Samsung, the company kept the S10 lineup around and cut prices by $150 on those older models. The S10 now costs $749 while the S10 Plus has a starting price of $849. You can likely find more discounts on those phones depending on where you shop.

The S10 Lite's $650 price is $200 cheaper than the S10 Plus, but only a $100 savings off the S10. A budget-minded shopper could turn to the Galaxy S10e for $599, though the S10 Lite will likely appeal to users who prefer bigger screens and longer battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite: Design and display

The Galaxy S10 Lite is a massive 6.7-inch smartphone that is larger than even the 6.4-inch Galaxy S10 Plus. Samsung made some trade-offs for that big screen, though: The S10 Lite's display is lower-res (full-HD+) than the S10 Plus (wide quad HD+), it's Super AMOLED rather than Dynamic AMOLED and the materials are a little less premium (a glassy plastic rather than glass).

The S10 Lite comes in three shades: Prism White, Prism Black and an elegant Prism Blue. All three are incredibly fingerprint magnets, if that kind of thing is important to you.

galaxy s10 lite

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite: Cameras

The Galaxy S10 Lite sports a triple-lens array, like the Galaxy Note 10 Lite also announced this past January, but the two cameras are very, very different.

The S10 Lite sports a 48-megapixel wide-angle lens with Super Steady optical image stabilization, a 12-MP ultra-wide-angle shooter and, interestingly, a 5-MP macro lens for shooting subjects at close range.

The Note 10 Lite's cameras are a little more conventional (wide, ultra-wide and telephoto). We're curious to see how the S10 Lite's macro results fare against the incredible photos we've seen from the Google Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 Pro.

Good news if you're getting the S10 Lite: It will pick up some of the software features Samsung introduced during the Galaxy S20 launch. Thanks to a software update, you'll get the outstanding Single Take feature, which captures multiple shots at once using the phone's different cameras. Additional photo features include Pro Video, which gives you more control over settings, and Night Hyperlapse for time-lapse videos in the dark.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite: Battery

Like the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, the S10 Lite has an absolutely gigantic 4,500 mAh battery. The Galaxy S10 Plus sports a 4,100 mAh battery and lasted 12:35 on the Tom's Guide Battery Test. With a less battery-intensive display, we expect the S10 Lite so turn in an impressive performance — hopefully enough to include it on our list of best phone battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite: Performance

The Galaxy S10 Lite packs in Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset but lacks the Galaxy S10 Plus's productivity-oriented storage (256GB) and RAM (up to 12GB)  options. The S10 Lite announced in January offers 6GB or 8GB of RAM and just 128GB of storage — the version available to U.S. shoppers features 8GB of memory.

The 855 processor also powers the S10 Plus, and that phone was one of the top-performing Android flagships of 2019. Since then, of course, Qualcomm has come out with the Snapdragon 865, which is the chipset powering this year's Galaxy S20 family.

The S10 Plus starts with 8GB of RAM, which contributes to its blazing fast performance, but the S10 Lite shouldn't lag that far behind.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite: Outlook

The Galaxy S10 Lite's battery and processor could put it ahead of the Android competition. An ultra-low price would seal the deal.

We're curious to see how the S10 Lite's cameras, particularly the outlandish 48-MP wide-angle lens and the 5-MP macro lens, stack up against the device's pricier predecessors, especially with the promised software update introducing some of the features that impressed us when we reviewed the Galaxy S20.

Stay tuned for a full Galaxy S10 Lite review.