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Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Review: The Affordable Galaxy Note You Always Wanted
Samsung Galaxy Note series is well-known for its focus on productivity on-the-go. The series has managed to sustain for as long as 10 years in the crowded smartphone market. It even survived the infamous Note 7 battery fiasco and returned stronger and better with more reliable products.
- Vibrant AMOLED Display
- S-Pen Mimics Almost All Features Of Premium Galaxy Note 10
- Long-Lasting Battery Life
- Swift Performer
- Supports MicroSD Card
- Capable Camera Setup
- Competition Offers Higher Refresh Displays, Dated Chipset At High-Price, No Official Water-Dust Protection
It goes without any saying that it is the 'S-Pen' that makes the Note series special. Samsung's stylus has continuously evolved over the years with every Note generation device. The most powerful Note- the Galaxy Note 10 Plus' stylus supports Bluetooth and comes equipped with a greater degree of precision.
There's one problem with the Galaxy Note product line-up though, i.e. the exorbitant price-point. The premium price-point has proved to be a deal breaker for potential buyers over the years. Samsung wants to change that with the affordable version of the Galaxy Note 10. The new Galaxy Note 10 Lite brings a well-packaged value-flagship smartphone with almost all the highlight features of the S-Pen. We used the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite to find out if the hype is real. Let's find out.
Design- Mix Of Glass And Plastic, But Feels Premium
As a long time Galaxy Note 10+ user, I can say that the Galaxy Note 10 Lite does not feel cheap by any means. Despite glass + plastic construction, the smartphone manages to feel premium in hands. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite weighs 199 grams and measures 8.7mm at its thickest spot. It is slightly hefty and feels less plasticky than the Galaxy S10 Lite which is also built using a combination of glass and plastic.
3.5mm Headphone Jack, MicroSD card Support, No Water-Dust Protection
The extra thickness of the Galaxy Note 10 Lite means you get the standard 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom. The smartphone also offers a hybrid SIM card tray with microSD card support to expand the 128GB internal storage to a good 1TB. These two features alone give the Galaxy Note 10 Lite a more practical option than the sub-40K OnePlus handsets.
Sadly, Samsung couldn't make the Note 10 Lite's body water-dust proof. Unlike its premium sibling, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite does not come equipped with any official IP rating, which means you have to be careful while using this handset. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite is available in Aura Glow, Aura Black and Aura Red colors.
Display- 6.7-inch Super AMOLED 20:9 Aspect Ratio Display
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite flaunts a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-O display. Like the premium sibling, the Note 10 Lite's display also has a tiny circular cutout in the centre that houses the massive 32MP selfie camera. The 20:9 aspect ratio display is surrounded by narrow bezels on all four sides that ensure an immersive multimedia viewing experience.
The screen is big enough to let you comfortably use the stylus for note-taking, sketching and doodling. It is an HDR-certified display and offers excellent video playback and gaming experience. The handset can play HDR videos on YouTube but the same cannot be said for the Netflix as the output seemed pretty dull.
The Super AMOLED display also houses an in-screen fingerprint scanner. Overall, the Galaxy Note 10's 1080 × 2400 pixels resolution display is an excellent screen but has just one letdown, i.e. the dated 60Hz refresh rate. The rival smartphones- Realme X2 Pro, OnePlus 7T-series and the Asus ROG Phone II offer higher refresh rate screens at similar and lower price-point. It's a compromise you have to make if you want the added functionality of the S-Pen at this pricing.
What Can You Do With the S-Pen On Note 10 Lite?
The S-Pen makes for a strong case for the Galaxy Note 10 Lite as there's no other smartphone in the sub-40K price segment that offers a stylus. Now I have been using the Galaxy Note 10+ for over three months and I know how useful the S-Pen can be in the everyday routine if you regularly take notes and doodle. I was delighted to see that the Bluetooth-enabled S-Pen on the Galaxy Note 10 Lite mimics almost all the key features and precession of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus's stylus. You can take notes with ease, convert handwritten notes to digital text with one click, doodle, and personalize photos and videos with dynamic drawings effects and animations in live messages.
S-Pen On Galaxy Note 10 Lite Also Supports Air-Command Features
Moreover, the S-Pen on the Galaxy Note 10 Lite also comes equipped with the ‘Air Command' feature that makes it possible to click pictures, navigate through presentations and media files even let you edit videos in supported apps. You cannot do such things with any other value flagship handset. The S-Pen makes the Galaxy Note 10 Lite a great device for millennials who couldn't buy the flagship Galaxy Note 10+ due to its steep pricing. Thanks to the S-Pen, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite proves to be a better option than the OnePlus and Realme devices for budding artists, college-goers and even professionals whose jobs revolve around creativity.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Camera Specifications
The camera configuration on the Galaxy Note 10 Lite reminds us of the old Galaxy flagships. There are no high-resolution 48MP or 64MP sensors but three 12MP sensors that can deliver great results if you have a knack for photography. The first lens in the camera setup is an optically stabilized 12MP sensor that works on a bright f/1.7 aperture.
It is accompanied by a 12MP wide-angle lens which supports ‘Dual-Pixel OIS'. The wide-angle lens has a pretty good 123-degree field of view. The third lens in the configuration is also a 12MP lens but of telephoto nature with 2x optical zoom. This lens is also optically stabilized. Like the Galaxy S10 Lite, the Note 10 Lite's camera system also comes with a Super Steady mode that enables you to record hi-motion videos without the motion blur.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Picture Quality
The Galaxy Note 10 Lite's camera performance matches up to the Galaxy Note 10 to some extent. The images show similar color reproduction but have less artificial saturation which ensures realistic color output. The camera sensors capture good contrast levels and wide dynamic range in daylight. The wide-angle shots also show a wide dynamic range and realistic colors. The telephoto lens is a good addition here and captures good close up images in daylight; however, once again, sharpness and resolved details seem to be an issue. The 10x zoom shots are mostly unusable.
Low-Light Shots And Portraits
The low-light shots captured from the Galaxy Note 10 Lite are only good when the sensors are subjected to decent artificial light, otherwise, you will end up clicking blurred images which will be mostly unusable. As far as portraits are concerned, you can either use the telephoto lens or the main lens to capture bokeh.
The telephoto lens yields better bokeh but demands a good amount of light. For better details, capture portraits from the main camera. For selfies, the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Lite features a 32 MP front-facing camera. The selfies show vibrant colors and wide dynamic range but the artificial softness spoils the images. You can also capture portraits with selfie camera but the edge detection is not effective. Software optimization can resolve the issues.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Video Quality
The Galaxy Note 10 Lite is a pretty good video recording handset. It can record videos up to 2160p@60fps; however, the stabilization is only available up to 2160p/30fps and is quite effective. We have shot the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip on the Note 10 Lite and it came out pretty good. You can check the video for a better understanding of the Galaxy Note 10 Lite's video recording capabilities.
Hardware And Software Performance
This is where things get interesting. Samsung decided to ship the Galaxy Note 10 Lite with a two-year-old chipset, i.e. the Exynos 9810. The 10nm chipset supplied power to the company's Galaxy S9 flagship smartphone. If you talk about numbers, the Exynos 9810 cannot stand against the mighty Snapdragon 855. The latter is based on the 7nm fabrication process and offers higher RAM speeds, more memory bandwidth and faster download speeds. However, the real-life performance of the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is satisfactory.
Galaxy Note 10 Lite vs SD855 Powered Smartphones
We tested the 8GB RAM variant of the Note 10 Lite and it sailed through everyday tasks with ease. The smartphone was able to handle multiple applications and more than 15 tabs in Google Chrome without any glitches. You can also play the most demanding games without any noticeable drops in performance. But if you compare the overall performance, the Note 10 Lite does not feel as snappy as the OnePlus 7T or the Realme X2 Pro. These devices are powered by SD855 and come equipped with 90Hz refresh rate panels. The combination makes these value flagships much responsive and fluid in general operations than the Galaxy Note 10 Lite.
Samsung UI 2.0 Based On Android 10
As far as software is concerned, the smartphone runs on Samsung UI 2.0 based on Android 10. The One UI 2.0 offers plenty of useful features and runs smoothly. You will find all the required customization options and the custom skin also integrates the most used Android 10 features effectively. I did notice a slight lag in the functionality of the in-screen fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy Note 10 Lite.
It is a bit inconsistent and takes its sweet time to unlock the phone. A software update might resolve the speed and consistency issues. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite comes in 6/8GB RAM variants coupled with 128GB internal storage. You can expand the internal memory to up to 1 TB via microSD card.
Battery Life, Audio And Connectivity
The Galaxy Note 10 Lite is packed with a large 4,500 mAh battery that delivers a solid battery life. The smartphone can easily last for an entire day with moderate to heavy usage. If you push it to its limits, you would need to refuel the battery twice a day. The bundled 25W fast-charger can fully charge the battery from zero to 100% in about 1 hr 25 minutes.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite is for consumers who were eagerly waiting for an affordable Galaxy Note device. It is the only sub-40K smartphone with a stylus. If the S-Pen holds more importance for you than a higher refresh rate display, flagship chipset, and stereo speakers, the Note 10 Lite is a good deal. If all you want from a device is speed and performance, the market offers several options such as the Realme X2 Pro, OnePlus 7T, iQOO 3, Realme X50 Pro 5G, Redmi K20 Pro and the Samsung's Galaxy S10 Lite.