Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: ‘Note-ably’ light on pocket, not on offerings
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: Priced at Rs 38,999, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite primarily takes on the OnePlus 7T, OnePlus 7 Pro and Realme X2 Pro, among other offerings. But, does the smartphone really compromise on performance and specs? Is the S Pen enough to attract the customers? Let’s try to answer all these questions in our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: There was only one reason not to buy last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, which most people, including me, believed was the best Android smartphone to have launched in India, a tag it may lose to soon-to-be launched Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra -- its price, which would set you back by around Rs 80,000. The phone had a huge, almost bezel-less display; a powerful processor and a highly effective S Pen.
Now, Samsung has done something which it hasn’t before but was expected to do due to the fierce competition it is facing from Chinese smartphone makers in the country. The South Korean electronics giant has added an affordable model to its iconic Note series – the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite – bringing the S Pen experience to the sub-Rs 40,000 segment, giving a ‘light on pocket’ option to the smartphone users.
Priced at Rs 38,999, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite primarily takes on the OnePlus 7T, OnePlus 7 Pro and Realme X2 Pro, among other offerings. However, Samsung has also launched a Lite model of the S10, priced only Rs 1,000 more than the Note 10 Lite. And no matter how many times the company requests you not to compare the two smartphones, the similarity in prices will force you to have a closer look at specs before spending the money.
There is no rocket science that Samsung has ditched some features to bring the Note 10 Lite price down. But, does the smartphone really compromise on performance and specs? Is the S Pen enough to attract the customers? Let’s try to answer all these questions in our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: Design
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite looks very similar to the other two Note 10 series smartphones, albeit with a few compromises. The first big change is that the Note 10 Lite comes with a plastic back instead of the glass used on the Note 10+. It gave the latter a premium look but even the Lite model doesn’t feel cheap. It is solid, offers almost the same screen size and manages to draw instant attention.
The smartphone comes in Auro Glow, Aura Black and Aura Red colour options – the third we had for review purposes. I wasn’t really impressed with the Aura Glow option on the Galaxy Note 10+ but the Aura Red is a variant you would happily spend on. The colour has its own charm, doesn’t over-reflect light as the Aura Glow variant and strikes a balance between too flashy and too subtle.
The other change in terms of design, is at the back with a new camera module – which is similar to what you also get on the Galaxy S10 Lite. The Note 10 Lite replaces the vertically aligned camera module with a square-shaped camera setup on the top left corner, which is refreshing to say the least.
A welcome change is the presence of a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom along with the Type-C USB charging port and the signature S Pen.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: Display
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite features a 6.7-inch Full HD+ AMOLED Plus Infinity-O display with a 32-megapixel selfie shooter at the centre. The screen is marginally smaller than the 6.8-inch display that you get on the Note 10+ but the more significant downgrade is in terms of the output. The Note 10 Lite offers a 1080p display which is lower than the QHD+ display of the Note 10+.
While the pixels may not make much of a difference in your overall experience, remember that the Note 10 Lite still comes with a 60Hz refresh rate against the 90Hz display used on the OnePlus 7T, OnePlus 7 Pro and Realme X2 Pro.
The display is vibrant and produces rich colours. It has good viewing angles and is bright enough for outdoor usage. The Widewine L1 certification allows you to stream high quality content on the Note 10 Lite.
A constant problem remains to the relatively slower fingerprint sensor on almost all Samsung smartphones, including the Note 10 Lite. It is slow, not the smoothest and requires multiple attempts to unlock the device.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: Performance and Battery
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite is powered by the Exynos 9810 processor – the same chipset used by the company on flagship-level Samsung Galaxy S9 a few years ago. While this may not count as another compromise, given that the chip manages to deliver decent performance, you don’t get a major hardware upgrade.
This is combined with 6GB or 8GB of RAM depending on the variant of choice. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite price in India has been set at Rs 38,999 for the base model while the 8GB RAM variant would set you back by Rs 40,999. On both the models you get 128GB of internal storage which can be further expanded up to 1TB using a microSD card.
As I said, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite ensures a smooth day-to-day experience and can handle heavy gaming titles. But, there are times when the performance goes down on high graphical settings or when you are running too many apps at the same time.
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The smartphone does heat up during long hours of gaming and streaming. Even though the heating is not that significant, this is something that you must factor in before spending the money on Galaxy Note 10 Lite.
The Galaxy Note 10 Lite packs a 4500 mAh battery which has also been used on the Galaxy S10 Lite. The smartphone gives you a day’s worth of charge on moderate use with ease. It is supported by the 25W fast charger inside the box. The Galaxy Note 10+ also had a 27W fast charger inside the box. So, not much has changed here.
Samsung has, however, ditched the wireless charging feature present on the Note 10. This is because of the plastic rear panel.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: S Pen
Coming to the most important and my favourite part – the S Pen. This is by itself one reason too many as to why you should seriously consider the Galaxy Note 10 Lite over any other smartphone in this price segment. Now, you can continue to debate whether an S Pen is really needed or not. But, having one will not hurt. That’s for sure!
Once you actually start using the S Pen, you realise that it comes with several perks and benefits. There is an added comfort of taking notes without needing a paper or pen. In fact, you don’t even have to unlock the phone. You can start writing with the screen off.
The S Pen can also be used to create AR doodles, send live messages or to simply doodle, among other things.
The one feature I really find useful and use more frequently is the ability to click pictures by tapping the S Pen, using it like a remote control. This is particularly handy while taking selfies.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: Cameras
The Galaxy Note 10 Lite features a triple camera setup at the back which comprises of a 12-megapixel primary sensor, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. The additional macro lens on the Galaxy Note 10+ has been removed but it is one of the lenses used sparingly by a common smartphone user.
The 12-megapixel primary camera is probably not as premium as it used to sound 12 months back. This is why even Samsung has moved beyond it and is set to introduce a jaw-dropping 108-megapixel sensor on the S20 Ultra.
So, you can expect a decent performance from the Note 10 Lite at best when it comes to photography. It captures good quality images in day light but struggles under low light. The grains are visible and the shots are slightly noisy.
I have always found the wide angle lens handy to have and the one on Galaxy Note 10 Lite manages to prove that right. It allows you capture so much more from the same angles.
On the front, you get a 32-megapixel selfie camera which captures sharp images while maintaining relatively true skin tones.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite review: Final Verdict
The Note series has achieved its unparallel popularity because of the S Pen which gives it a unique identity globally, and not just in India. Samsung deserves a pat on its back for bringing the iconic S Pen for almost half the price you would pay for the other Note 10 devices. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite emerges as an option with its good display, increased productivity on offer and a niche user experience.
If you always desired to own a S Pen but couldn’t because of the price. Here is your chance. If you demand a high quality camera or gaming performance then there are better options in the segment, including the Galaxy S10 lite, which manages to click better images.
For now, it is just great to see more options available for consumers than the OnePlus smartphones in this segment.
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