Samsung Galaxy S10e review: small, nice and much cheaper

Samsung Galaxy S10e review

The Galaxy S10e is a handy, affordable version of Samsung’s latest flagship. Do the limitations in camera and power outweigh the lower suggested retail price? You can read that in our Samsung Galaxy S10e review.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S10e review

Earlier this spring we already discussed the Samsung S10 and S10 Plus in an extensive review, but this year Samsung came out with no fewer than three variants. Although the differences between the S10 and S10 Plus are relatively small, the S10e does quite a few things differently. That is why we discuss this new variant in a separate review.

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the cheapest model in the S10 series. To limit costs, Samsung has made some adjustments. For example, the device does not have a fingerprint scanner in the screen and lacks the optical zoom lens on the back. The device is currently almost 400 euros cheaper than the Galaxy S10 Plus. Small in size and price: a successful combination?

Design: large screen, compact housing

Although the Galaxy S10e has a relatively large 5.8-inch screen, it is still one of the smallest smartphones from the Galaxy S series in years. This is due to the very narrow screen edges. Almost the entire front consists of an image. Below is a narrow black bar, at the top right a small hole for the selfie camera. This makes the Galaxy S10e even slightly smaller than the Galaxy S6and S7, while they have a much more compact 5.1-inch screen. The device can easily be used with one hand and fits a lot better in your pocket than the 6.4 inch Galaxy S10 Plus.

There is one significant difference in design between the S10e and its big brothers: the screen is not curved. Instead of it continuing into the side, it is just flat. That may look a little less stylish, but it is a lot more practical. On the S10 Plus, I regularly accidentally touched a corner of the screen with the palm of my hand. This does not occur on the S10e.

The screen has a slightly lower full HD resolution (2280 by 1080 pixels), but that is still good for 438 pixels per inch. The AMOLED display is also very colorful and clear. It is also easy to read in full sun. Independent tests indicate that it is one of the best screens at the moment. My own experiences absolutely confirm that.

Fingerprint scanner

On the Galaxy S10e, the fingerprint scanner is not on the screen but on the side. At the top right, where the on / off button would normally be, Samsung has placed the scanner. That is a place where your thumb will probably rest by itself if you hold the device with one hand.

Galaxy S10e review

Although the scanner on the screen undoubtedly looks futuristic, I prefer this solution. On the Galaxy S10, the scanner faltered regularly and my finger was often not recognized. Moreover, you had to place the finger quite accurately. As a result, it often went wrong or not. The scanner on the S10e is a lot easier to find by touch. It vibrates when your finger is seated correctly, and then the device is immediately unlocked in 95 percent of the cases.

If you take the device out of standby, it sometimes takes a little longer. It seems that the scanner itself first has to wake up before your finger is recognized. On other smartphones where the scanner is on the back, such as the Huawei P30 Lite, the scanner also seems to work directly from standby, although this can vary considerably.

Software: Android with smart interface

In terms of software, the Galaxy S10e is actually identical to its big brothers. We are therefore very pleased with it. The device runs on Android 9.0 (Pie), in combination with the manufacturer’s OneUI interface. It is optimized for use with one hand, which comes into its own on the handy S10e screen. The interface looks colorful, tidy and modern.

Samsung does provide a whole slew of pre-installed apps. Not only own services such as Samsung Health and the Galaxy Store, but also Microsoft apps such as LinkedIn and Office Mobile. None of them are unfortunately removable.

I can be brief about Bixby, the smart assistant that Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S8. The assistant adds very little and is in no way better or smarter than the Google Assistant. You can also use the latter in the United States since the end of last year and is by far the best voice assistant on Android. Fortunately, you can relatively easily link the  Bixby button on the side to the Google Assistant.

Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung’s update policy deserves compliments. A few years ago, the manufacturer was still blamed by the Consumers’ Association because of slow or missing updates, now they are almost the best boy in the class. If you have a device from the Galaxy S series, you can count on monthly security updates for at least three years after the release.

Sometimes those patches appear shortly after Google releases them. In addition, Samsung often goes beyond this minimum: the five-year-old Galaxy S5 was recently updated to close a critical leak.

Hardware: just as smooth as the rest

The entire Galaxy S10 family is equipped with an Exynos 9820 chipset. This is an 8-nanometer chip with eight cores: four 1.9 GHz, two 2.4 GHz, and two 2.7 GHz. You can put countless benchmarks on it and they will all agree: this is one of the most powerful chipsets of the moment. Only the iPhone and some Android devices with the Snapdragon 855 currently know that speed and computing power.

In practice, you mainly notice how quickly everything appears on the screen. Fast switching between tabs and numerous websites in Chrome is without problems, and a graphically intensive game such as Fortnite is no problem for the Galaxy S10e. The device has ‘only’ 6GB instead of the 8GB in the larger models, but that does not cause any problems. You can still quickly switch between many apps in the background. Only if you try to keep a lot of tabs, apps, and games open, it will be a bit trickier.

Google Huawei problems

The Galaxy S10e is equipped with 128 GB of storage space, of which more than 100 GB is available for the user. That should be more than enough to cram the device full of apps, games, photos, videos, and music. If it is not enough, the Galaxy S10e has room for a micro-SD memory card with a maximum of 1 terabyte.

Battery: not exceptional

The Galaxy S10 has a battery with a capacity of 3100 mAh. That was usually enough for just a full day without recharging. I probably use my smartphone more intensively than most people. I often have Bluetooth devices paired and I switch between all kinds of apps all day long. On a somewhat busier day, the battery had to be connected to the charger around 7 p.m. That is in line with other smartphones: not impressive, but also far from bad.

What Samsung is starting to lag behind: the charging speed. The device is supplied with a 15 Watt charger. That has been the maximum charging speed of high-end Samsung smartphones since the Galaxy S7 in 2016. That still falls under ‘fast charging’ and it is a lot more powerful than the 5 Watt charger that comes standard with an iPhone. But the competition is now doing better. After half an hour the S10e battery is almost 50 percent full. The Huawei P30 Pro, with a larger battery but a 40 Watt charger, has more than 70 percent full in half an hour.

Camera: one of the best in 2019

On the back, you will find a primary camera of 12 megapixels, together with a wide-angle lens of 16 megapixels with a viewing angle of 123 degrees. The 2x optical zoom lens of the two larger models is missing. That is a pity, but not a huge loss: the zoom function of Samsung was already quite limited with the 5x optical and 50x digital zoom that the Huawei P30 Pro achieves.

The primary camera has a variable aperture from f / 1.5 to f / 2.4. This ensures that the camera automatically adjusts to the light situation. When it is dark around you, the sensor tries to collect more light faster to still make clear, sharp images. This camera shoots beautiful photos in just about all circumstances.

Galaxy S10 ultrasonic fingerprint scanner

If you take a photo with the wide-angle lens, the photo will look good on a small screen, but it will soon be out of focus when you zoom in a bit. Nevertheless, it is a nice gimmick. Landscape photos or buildings suddenly look a lot more impressive with the wider lens.

The Samsung Galaxy S10e review has one of the best cameras of the moment, certainly in its price range. After all, it is almost identical to the camera in the regular Galaxy S10. Is a zoom lens unnecessary for you, then there is no reason to spend more money: in colors, detail and sharpness hardly anyone comes close to this Android.

Samsung has also crammed the camera app with all sorts of other features, often known from previous years. Think of super slow motion videos, AR Emoji and Bixby Vision. They work at most slightly more stable and better than in previous years, but they are still gimmicks that you will rarely or never use in practice. The image is sharp, colorfast and full of details. The Galaxy S10e shoots quickly and sharp even at dusk or in the dark.

Price: secretly becoming more affordable

This e-variant has a suggested retail price of 750 euros. That’s on the high side if you ask me. Not so very long ago it had been one of the most expensive smartphones, and even now you can buy smartphones with more striking features for less money. For example, the Huawei P30 has a better camera for a lower suggested retail price, and the Xiaomi Mi 9 has the same raw power for hundreds of euros less.

The good news is that the price of the Galaxy S10e is falling rapidly. At the time of writing, about a month and a half after the release, you can find the loose Galaxy S10e for less than 600 euros. Samsung Galaxy S10e review. That is only a hundred euros more expensive than the Galaxy S9, which you can now find for 490 euros. The Galaxy S10e has better cameras, more storage space, and longer support than its predecessor. With this price drop, the S10e suddenly finds itself in a class where it is much better able to compete with the competition.

Conclusion Samsung Galaxy S10e review

Samsung Galaxy S10e review. With the ever-rising prices of top devices, the call for an affordable flagship is increasing. Samsung puts the Galaxy S10e a good answer to that swelling question. The suggested retail price of 749 euros was a bit too expensive, but the device is now priced more attractively. Suddenly the S10e has managed to acquire a great place in the wide range of Android smartphones.

Are you looking for a more convenient top device? A flagship without a fingerprint scanner in the screen? A powerful Android smartphone without a curved screen or excessive gimmicks? A high-end smartphone for which you do not pay the grand prize? Then the Galaxy S10e is the smartphone for you. This compact powerhouse is fully equipped, takes excellent photos and can count on regular (security) updates for at least three more years.

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