Coming in under the radar during the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show and a slew of fast-paced news, Samsung released two new devices. Better yet, they released two “new” versions of existing devices with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note 10 Lite. The release of these devices makes one question who these phones are for. Naming them after the company’s flagship smartphones all but begs the question of what market Samsung is going after. Let’s take a look at these devices and see if they are right for you.
Galaxy S10 Lite
Right away you’d expect the “Lite” name to mean this device is “light” on specs compared to its big brother, the Galaxy S10. That is absolutely true. This smartphone is decidedly midrange. Featuring a 6.7-inch, 2400 x 1800 AMOLED screen sounds large and impressive, but early reports peg it as just okay. The “edge-to-edge” display is still immersive.
For anyone who wants to watch multimedia content like Netflix or Disney Plus, it’s perfectly sized. A 4,500 mAh battery will give you ample battery life to enjoy that content. Samsung did include its new “Super Steady OIS” camera, which makes for “higher stability for action-focused photos and videos.”
Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Similarly, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite packs the same 6.7-inch screen with the same resolution and 394 pixels per inch. While the S10 runs the Snapdragon 855 processor, Samsung opted for the Exynos 8895 processor though the same 4,500 mAh battery. Each device will have either 6 or 8GB of RAM depending on your market.
The Note 10 Lite differentiates itself a little in the same way it does with the flagship models by unsurprisingly including the S Pen. Unlike the S10 which has the Super Steady OIS camera, Samsung peculiarly opted for its regular OIS. Both devices run Android 10 right out of the box.
According to Samsung Mobile President DJ Koh, these devices “introduce those distinct key premium features that make up a Galaxy S and Galaxy Note experience.” While Samsung seemingly already has enough smartphones to cover every market, it seems clear that these devices are something akin to a gateway drug. They want to give customers a taste of what is out there on the company’s flagship devices without the price tag.
It’s possible these phones may be an affordable alternative to the company’s upcoming flagship models as well. It’s possible that these devices are even slated to replace the current entry-level versions of its flagship models like the Galaxy S10e. Likewise, the Note 10 Lite could replace the entry-level Note 10, leaving both it and the Note 10+ as options. Hundreds of dollars will separate the two models, so there is a clear spec and price comparison. Ultimately, we don’t really know why Samsung is releasing these devices now, and they haven’t done a great job of telling that story.
Who Are They For?
So this is the real question. Who exactly are these devices for? It’s easy to say they are for anyone who wants premium features at a lower price; however, Samsung already has half a dozen models that fill that gap. They just aren’t named Galaxy S or Galaxy Note.
In the case of the Note 10 Lite, the “who” might be a little easier to decipher. This is a smartphone for anyone who wants an S Pen without the price tag of the premium Note models. Samsung has done an excellent job in recent years of making the S Pen feel like an extension of the Note series. If you’re someone who really wants to give the S Pen a try, then the Note 10 Lite is definitely for you.
The case of the Galaxy S10 Lite and who it is for is a little more questionable. There are absolutely customers who want the Galaxy S10 name without all the bells and whistles that drive up the price. Separately, it could be that this 4G-only model is a good way to differentiate between it and 2020 flagships. The flagships are definitely going to include 5G chipsets which drive up the price considerably.
This might allow Samsung to keep an entry-level Galaxy S series device without the 5G price bump. If 5G is unlikely to roll out in your area over the next few years, this device is well worth the look. The difference could be a few hundred dollars and, with that money, take yourself out to a couple of nice dinners.
It’s very likely that Samsung will have to make a strong case of “why” for these phones as they get closer to rolling out to markets around the world. For now, there is plenty of confusion as to why they are available and, as mentioned previously, Samsung did not give a detailed explanation. Still, the more “premium” features we can get in smartphones with affordable price tags is good news for everyone.