Samsung Galaxy S10e review: The best things come in small packages

Mala Bharghava | Updated on: Apr 08, 2019
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Samsung’s Galaxy S10e may seem like the last of the litter but it’s a little powerhouse that will suit many people more than the others in the line-up

The S10e may cost less than its siblings, the S10+ and the S10, but that doesn’t mean anyone who opts for it is getting a compromised smartphone that overall offers less on every front. Far from it. In fact, the last thing the S10e deserves is to be overshadowed by the other two.

At 5.8-inches the S10e would never have been referred to as small a few years ago, but with phones being the same size as small tablets now, you’ll find it compact. To many, that’s something they’ve been hunting high and low for, but finding that they’ll only get a small phone if it comes cheap with bare basics. But it turns out the S10e is almost as good as the S10+ and on top of that it has some features the top flagship doesn’t.

The size of the S10e makes it so much easier to hold that you instantly love it. It’s specially nice for those who like to put their phones in a pocket and keep whipping them out to take lots of calls. It’s narrow and easily gripped though it will still need a case because it’s all glass — Gorilla Glass 5. Even with a case, it’s not a good phone to drop. Some builds survive it, but we’d be careful with this one. The diminutive size causes one bit of a problem — it makes the keyboard feel squeezed up and makes a suer concentrate a little more to not make typing mistakes, but one can easily use the swipe and trace method of typing on another keyboard including Google’s. But overall, the size of this phone is a big advantage.

A print on the side

One way the S10e is different from the other S10’s is that its fingerprint sensor is on the power button on the right edge. There are some grumbles that this is hard for left-handed people but they have to touch the power button anyway — unless they use facial recognition. The fingerprint sensor is really fast and if you register a lot of prints you barely notice the unlocking action any more. Since most people don’t really need 3D mapping of their fingerprints it makes one wonder why fuss with slower in-display sensors of all kinds because this is just easy, natural and fast. Swiping down on that power button also pulls down the notification tray, which is really somehow enjoyable.

The screen has a much lower resolution than the big S10+ but trust Samsung to still make it look gorgeous. It is a full-HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display with HDR-10+ support and stunning in its vividity and pixel density. Putting it side by side with the S10+, I don’t really see the need to spend money just to know one has a higher resolution — unless you specifically need it.

The screen has another distinguishing feature. There’s no notch, big or small, but only a tiny round punch hole to house the front camera. The S10+ actually has a dual front camera with the result that the hole is quite wide. But on the S10e it’s really easy to forget once you begin using it. There is no curved glass so the bezels are not exactly non-existent not his phone, sadly. On the other hand, the phone is flatter and that’s quite attractive plus there are no accidental touches as with curved glass.

Even the black version of this phone, called Prism Black is actually very attractive and very likely to appeal to those who opt for black which is apparently a big number of customers. Sadly, the only other colour available in India right now is Prism White but it’s the black that turned up for review. There are other unusual colours such as a Flamingo Pink and a Martian Green but it’s not clear whether these will show up in our country which is a bit of a pity.

No one should need to worry on the specs front for the S10e. It has the same processor as the others - the Exynos 9820 octa-core SoC and in India with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. Variants, like colour options, are not yet India-bound. It does have a memory card slot and the headphone jack is still there. It’s got good sound as well. Whether the 3,100mAh battery should have been bigger or not is debatable. The phone itself is after all smaller and the screen takes less power to run than with a big phone. The support for fast charging including wireless and for reverse charging is also present but one would quickly drain out the phone’s battery if it’s used to charge something else.

The camera setup on the S10e doesn’t include the telephoto lens the others have, but in every other way, including a nice wide-angle lens for photos and selfies, it’s as good as Samsung cameras have been. It doesn’t have special night shooting skills compared with a few others, but good light shots from the 12MP and 16MP rear cameras are detailed and come with a nice range of light-to-dark. Colours may be a bit strong but honestly most phones are doing just that with their so called AI photography. The front camera is better than on previous generations and also uses a wide angle lens. Video is nice and steady.

We’ve become accustomed to the smaller phone in a line up missing all all the nice things that come with the flagship. But in the case of the S10e, it wouldn’t be surprising if it eventually turned out to be the most popular of the lot.

Price: Rs 55,900

Pros: Relatively compact with comfy ergonomics, super-fast side fingerprint sensor, great performance, gets a little heated up sometimes, fully loaded with specs, great camera, fast performance

Cons: Power button and sensor placed a bit too high, colour and specs variants not available to India, very slippery without case, no special night photo smarts

Published on April 08, 2019

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