Thursday 18 July 2019

Tech review: Samsung Galaxy S10E

From €679

Samsung Galaxy se10
Samsung Galaxy se10

If you're hankering after a new high-end Android smartphone and are wondering whether you can 'make do' with something that sits just below the flagship models, Samsung's new Galaxy S10e model is worth looking at.

Model brand names get confusing and you might ask: what's the difference between the S10e and the S10 or the S10 Plus?

The short answer is that the S10e is a slightly cheaper version of the S10 (€919).

In terms of where it's positioned, the S10e is a little like Apple's iPhone XR (€879) or the One Plus Pro (€699).

In other words, it's a phone that stands a tiny bit off the absolute flagship level of models such as the iPhone XS or the Huawei P30 Pro. But many people won't notice the compromises at all.

They're mostly in the choice of cameras and the display, with a slight difference to the fingerprint reader too.

The S10e goes with two rear cameras instead of three, like the S10 and the S10 Plus.

But it has chosen the same two good lenses as the pricier models - the normal and the ultra-wide version.

This is a great choice by Samsung: the advent of ultra-wide cameras is a real addition to smartphone photography. The fact that there's no drop-off in quality from the S10 is a huge thing.

Samsung saves a bit of money by putting the fingerprint reader on the side of the phone (on the power button), rather than under the glass, as is now the fashion.

Believe it or not, this may actually be an advantage; the technology used for this 'older' type of fingerprint reader is, in my testing, faster than ultrasonic readers beneath glass.

The S10e has a 5.8-inch display, which is a little smaller than the S10 but the same size as Apple's flagship iPhone XS.

In terms of picture quality, it's exactly the same as the S10 (which has a gorgeous super-Amoled picture).

The only difference is that this phone's screen doesn't curve over the edges. Instead, it's flat.

This doesn't make that much of a difference to anything, other than that the tiny black side 'bezels' seem a little more noticeable.

As for power and storage, you have no worries here. There is 6GB of Ram and 128GB of storage on the model I tested (an 8GB/256GB version is available for an extra €100), easily enough for all but the hungriest of power users.

The phone can also be expanded up to 512GB through a memory card.

Battery life was, I found, perfectly good. It has a slightly smaller battery than the S10 but the smaller display means that it doesn't need as big a battery for the same longevity.

There are other small things about the S10e that some people will appreciate. I always give a handset credit for including a 3.5mm headphone jack because some still like to use wired headphones with their devices. This phone has it.

I'll also say that the combination of aluminium banding at the side and more colourful glass casing materials on the rear make this one of the best-looking new smartphones on the market.

Aesthetically, it looks a lot like Apple's previous iPhone X. That's not a bad thing at all.

Those who want the absolute best available in camera flexibility or curved screen features might feel it's worth it to spend the extra €150 for the full S10.

But, honestly, there will be many for whom it doesn't warrant the financial stretch.

This is a good deal from Samsung.

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