When Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S10 lineup back in February, it had a message for would-be customers who flinched at the rising price of flagship phones: Why not try a similar phone, but cheaper? That would be the Galaxy S10e, which skipped some of the flashier features of the other S10 models, like an in-display fingerprint sensor and third rear camera lens, but also cost $150 less than the regular Galaxy S10.
But now Samsung wants to show just how low it can go by rolling out a trio of midrange Android phones, starting with the Galaxy A50. Now available at Verizon and Sprint, the A50 makes a few more concessions on some features — a slower processor, no wireless charging — in exchange for an even lower price. At $349, the Galaxy A50 has a price tag that's less than half of what you'd pay for a Galaxy S10e — previously the phone to get if you were a budget-conscious Samsung shopper.
Just how much do you have to give up to come up with a phone that's $400 less than the Galaxy S10e?
Check out this Galaxy A50 vs. Galaxy S10e face-off to see how the two phones compare.
Galaxy A50 vs. Galaxy S10e: Specs
|6.4-inch Super AMOLED (2340 x 1080)
|5.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED (2160 x 1080)
|25-MP main (f/1.7), 8-MP wide (f/2.2), 5-MP depth (f/2.2)
|16-MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 12-MP dual-pixel wide (f/1.5, f/2.4)
|25 MP (f/2.0)
|10 MP (f/1.9)
|Battery Life (Hrs:Mins)
|Not yet tested
|6.2 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches
|5.6 x 2.75 x 0.3 inches
Design and display
The Galaxy S10e was among the first phones to feature Samsung's Infinity-O display, where the front camera is housed inside a punch-hole cutout — on the right side of the screen in the case of the S10e. The Galaxy A50 changes things up with an Infinity-U display — the camera is inside a teardrop-style notch in the center of the screen.
The Galaxy S10e bucks the trend of increasingly larger phones by offering a 5.8-inch screen, making it a good choice if you're interested in one of the best small phones. The A50 goes big, with a 6.4-inch display. Both phones used OLED panels — a pleasant surprise for the midrange A50 — and offer Full HD+ resolution. The S10e features a sturdier version of Corning's Gorilla Glass — Gorilla Glass 5 to Gorilla Glass 3 on the A50.
As you might imagine, the Galaxy A50's bigger screen requires a larger form factor. At 6.2 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches, it's taller and wider than the 5.6 x 2.75 x 0.3-inch S10e.
One of the Galaxy S10e's major selling points is the fact that, while it may be the least expensive Galaxy S10 model, it runs on the same top-of-the-line Snapdragon 855 processor. That means even though you're paying less for the S10e than you would for the Galaxy S10 or S10 Plus, you can expect comparable performance. The S10e recorded a 10,513 result on Geekbench 4, which measures general performance. That's not that far off from the S10 Plus' score of 10,732, putting the Galaxy S10e among the top-performing Android phones, despite its lower price tag.
You're not going to see that with the Galaxy A50, which runs on Samsung's in-house Exynos 9610 chipset. That's a midtier processor, roughly equivalent to the Snapdragon 670, which powers the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. For reference, those phones turned in respective Geekbench scores of 5,146 and 5,197. We'll need to test the Galaxy A50 to get a sense of what it can do, but it's safe to assume that speediness is one area where the A50 will fall short of the S10e.
The formula for smartphones that we've come to expect is a simple one — the cheaper the phone, the fewer the cameras. After all, the Galaxy S10e has just two rear lenses — a 12-megapixel, dual-pixel main camera and a 16-MP ultrawide shooter. The S10 and S10 Plus include a third camera, a telephoto lens.
But the Galaxy A50 flips the script on its head. It features three rear cameras, with a 25-MP main lens augmented by an 8-MP, wide-angle shooter and a 5-MP depth sensor. That latter lens will help with portrait shots.
In addition, the Galaxy A50 adopts a feature found on the Galaxy S10 series: a Scene Optimizer that turns to artificial intelligence to recognize what it is you're shooting and adjusts camera settings on the fly for the best possible shot. The Galaxy A50 can recognize 20 different scenes, and while the s10e can recognize more, it's still a nice photo-optimization feature to have in a less expensive phone.
Up front, the S10e and A50 both offer single selfie cameras — a 10-MP camera in the case of the S10e and a 25-MP lens on the A50.
Pitting these cameras head-to-head in a photo face-off will be the only way to see if the A50 can keep pace with the Galaxy S10e. (We found the S10e's cameras to be solid but inconsistent when we tested the phone this past spring.) But the presence of all those lenses on the A50 and the use of AI-powered software give us hope that the A50 will prove to be a pretty dependable mobile shooter.
One area where the Galaxy A50 could surpass its pricier counterpart involves battery life. Samsung stuck a 4,000-mAh power pack in its midrange phone, while the Galaxy S10e uses a 3,100-mAh battery. For context, the Galaxy S10 Plus — which starts at $650 more than the Galaxy A50 — features a slightly larger 4,100-mAH battery.
The Galaxy S10e doesn't exactly lag behind on battery life. In the Tom's Guide battery test, where we have phones surf the web over T-Mobile's LTE network until they run out of power, the S10e lasted 9 hours and 41 minutes, which is about average for smartphones. In theory, we'd expect that the bigger battery and less powerful processor in the Galaxy A50 will work in that phone's favor, but we'll need to test to find out.
The Galaxy A50 and S10e both offer fast-charging features. But there's no support for wireless charging on the A50 like there is on the Galaxy S10e. And the S10e supports Wireless PowerShare, where you can charge other Qi-enabled devices when you put them on the back of the Galaxy S10e.
Software and special features
The big difference between the two Samsung phones will be in how you unlock them. The Galaxy S10e relies on a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, but the Galaxy A50 follows the lead of the more expensive S10 models by offering an optical in-display sensor.
Otherwise, there's not much to separate the two phones. The Galaxy A50 features the same One UI interface Samsung introduced with the S10 lineup. The A50 includes the Bixby digital assistant, too, which may or may not be a mark in its favor, depending on your feelings toward Bixby.
Price and availability
The Galaxy A50 has the S10e beat on price, with a $349 asking price compared with the $749 starting price for Samsung's entry-level Galaxy S10 model. The S10e gives you more options, though — in addition to the 128GB model, you can pay an extra $100 to double the storage to 256GB, and you get 8GB of memory as part of the bargain. The Galaxy A50 comes in a lone 64GB version with 4GB of RAM.
The Galaxy S10e is available through more outlets, too. You'll find that phone at all the major carriers, as well as through many top discount carriers and retailers. The Galaxy A50 is available only at Verizon and Sprint; you can lease the phone at the latter carrier for $10 a month under an 18-month Sprint Flex plan.
We still need to put the Galaxy A50 through our battery of tests, but the specs and features Samsung has packed into this midtier phone are promising. You wouldn't expect an in-display fingerprint sensor, OLED panel and supersized battery on a sub-$400 phone, but here they are on the Galaxy A50. The triple-lens camera array on the back of the phone suggests you won't have to make too many compromises when shooting photos, though we'll know for sure only when we test out those cameras.
The Galaxy S10e has proven to be a great bargain for fans of Samsung phone fans who may not want to pay $900 or more for their handset. It's also appealing to people who like compact phones. But the A50's mix of features and price may give bargain hunters a new Samsung phone to consider.
We'll update this story with a definitive verdict once we've had more time with the Galaxy A50 and can compare its performance and camera features to the Galaxy S10e.
Credit: Tom's Guide
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.