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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review (hands on)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite is a more affordable phablet with a few trade-offs

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite could be a good low-cost alternative to the Galaxy Note 10, if you don't mind giving up wireless charging and some speed.

For

  • Big 6.7-inch display
  • Triple camera setup
  • 128GB of storage
  • Fun color options

Against

  • No wireless charing
  • Relatively slow Exynos CPU

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite is designed to deliver a big-screen phone without the big price tag of the Galaxy Note 10, giving Samsung a direct competitor to the likes of the Google Pixel 3a XL (and the eventual Google Pixel 4a XL). While we're not sure how much this 6.7-inch phone will cost, the Note 10 Lite offers plenty of features to love.

We'll need to spend more time with the phone to produce a definitive Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review and determine if this is one of the best phones for the money, but we did get some hands-on time with the phablet that allowed us to form some initial impressions. 

For a closer look at this phone differs from Samsung's regular phablet, check out our Galaxy Note 10 Lite vs. Galaxy Note 10 comparison.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite: Specs

PhoneSamsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
PriceTBA
Screen Size (Resolution)6.7-inch Super AMOLED (2400 x 1080)
CPUExynos 9810
RAM6GB/8GB
Storage128GB
Expandable?Yes
Rear Cameras12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2), 12MP wide angle (f/1.7), 12MP telephoto (f/2.4)
Front Camera32MP (f/2.2)
Battery Size4,500 mAh
Size6.4 x 3 x 0.34 inches
Weigh7 ounces
ColorsAura Glow, Aura Black, Aura Red

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite: Price and availability

While we know a lot about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite's design, cameras and specs, we don't know when it will go on sale or how much it will cost. We're actually not even sure this (presumably) more affordable flagship will be available in the U.S. Samsung put its own Exynos chip in the Note 10 Lite, which means it's likely the phone won't be available in North America.

Also, since previewing the Galaxy Note 10 Lite at CES earlier this year, Samsung has introduced the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra. Samsung seems much more focused on promoting those new phones, but since they are all 5G-capable devices, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite could be Samsung's less expensive alternative for people who still connect primarily via LTE.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite: Design and display

The 6.7-inch Galaxy Note 10 Lite sports a gigantic Super AMOLED, Infinity-O display with a camera cut-out directly in top center of the device. The screen is beautiful, as Samsung's displays always are, and it's larger than the 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 10.

The Lite comes in three shades: Aura Glow, Aura Black and Aura Red. The red hue I tested in person is particularly fetching; the black is a fingerprint magnet that you could probably skip.

The Note 10 Lite also has a headphone jack, if that's a thing that's still important to you, and an S Pen, in keeping with the Note lineup's reason for existing.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite: Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite's cameras are pretty standard for a flagship smartphone. The phone sports three lenses: an ultra-wide (12-MP), wide-angle (12-MP) and telephoto (12-MP). On the Note 10, the ultra-wide is 16-MP.

In an interesting twist, Samsung completely redesigned the rear camera array, which is now placed in a square patch to match the Google Pixel 4 and Apple's iPhone 11 Pro. There seems to be no rhyme or reason behind that decision, but, why not? (Insert shrug emoji here.)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite: Battery

The Galaxy Note 10 Lite sports a gigantic 4,500 mAh battery, far larger than the Galaxy Note 10's 3,500 mAh pack. The Note 10 lasted just 9:25 on the Tom's Guide Battery Test, so hopefully the Note 10 Lite easily surpasses that.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite: Performance

Samsung put its in-house Exynos processor in the Note 10 Lite, and it's unclear whether that means the newer, more affordable model will have any performance gains over the Note 10, which is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 chipset.

The Galaxy Note 10 Lite offers 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, well below the 12GB of RAM you can upgrade to in the higher-end Note. The Note 10 also offers 256GB of storage by default, so the Note 10 Lite isn't quite the productivity-focused powerhouse that its more expensive sibling is.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: Early verdict

There's a lot to love about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite. The Aura Red shade is something to behold, and the screen is massive (and beautiful). If the price is right, this phone might be worth buying. 

Samsung made a few curious decisions (the camera patch, Exynos processor) that have us scratching our heads.  Now it kind of looks like a gigantic Pixel that also happens to have a stylus.

Stay tuned to see if the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is worth buying.