Samsung has taken the wraps off the latest update to its best-selling Galaxy S smartphone range, which includes successors to the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, somewhat predictably called Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus, respectively. However, the Seoul-based company has also introduced an all-new addition to the line-up: the Galaxy S10e.
This all-new handset shares many of the same features and design characteristics as the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, but costs much less. It also ships in an eye-spanking Canary Yellow shade that invites comparisons with the iPhone Xr – a more affordable flagship introduced by rival Apple that differentiates itself from the pricier phones in the range with its brightly coloured finishes.
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The Galaxy S10e has the smallest AMOLED screen of the Galaxy S10 line-up, measuring 5.8-inches. It’s worth noting that it’s a flat screen – eschewing the dual-curved display that has been a mainstay of the series since the Galaxy S6 Edge in April 2015. But while it might not have the curvaceous looks of the S10 and S10 Plus, the more affordable S10e does keep the new Infinity-O display design, which lets the screen bleed to the very edge of the handset, with a small circular cut-out to let the Dual-Pixel 10-megapixel front-facing camera peep through.
The new Infinity-O display means that although the Galaxy S10e has the same size screen as the Galaxy S9 the handset is physically smaller, measuring 142.2mm tall compared to 147.7mm. It’s an admittedly small difference, but it is noticeable – and could mean the Galaxy S10e appeals to those who despise the thumb-gymnastics required on phones with screens upwards of 6-inches.
The entry-level Galaxy S10e ships with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage, which can be expanded by an additional 512GB via the MicroSD card slot, so don’t worry too much about the amount of storage.
As with previous smartphones in the Galaxy S series, those sold in the United States and China are powered by the flagship Qualcomm SnapDragon chipset, while those available on shop shelves in the UK, Europe and South Korea are powered by Samsung’s own Exynos silicon.
As such, the Galaxy S10e sold in the UK will be powered by the Exynos 9820. According to Samsung, single-core performance is 20% improved compared to the previous generation Exynos, which powered the Galaxy S9. Meanwhile, power efficiency is 40% improved, too.
There’s also a 3,100mAh battery squeezed into the Galaxy S10e. For comparison, that is bigger than the battery included in the Galaxy S9, despite the S10e’s smaller physical footprint.
That increase capacity will likely come in handy with the addition of the new Wireless PowerShare feature, which lets you charge any device compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard by placing it on the glass back of the Galaxy S10e. The feature not only lets you top-up the new Galaxy Buds – the successors to the Gear IconX announced alongside the S10 – by placing the charge case on your new phone, but it can also be used to top-up rival smartphone batteries. Huawei introduced a near identical feature with its Mate 20 Pro smartphone last year.
The Galaxy S10e supports fast wireless and wired charging, so it shouldn’t take long to top-up your battery in an act of self-sacrificing generosity recharging a friend’s device with yours.
Finally, the Galaxy S10e has a two rear-mounted cameras – 16-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide sensor paired with a 12-megapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and a variable aperture that moves between f/1.5 and f/2.4 based on the light conditions. This variable aperture system was one of the headline additions to the Galaxy S9 series last year.
Samsung has also introduced a new Super Steady Video feature that stabilises footage shot on the rear-mounted camera à la GoPro. In the short demo video, the AI-powered technology looked hugely impressive, but we’ll have to run our own tests. The Galaxy S10e also uses AI to detect what is in the frame to tweak and adjust its camera settings to get the best shot. The AI feature, dubbed Scene Optimiser, was introduced last year with the Galaxy S9, but now has 20 new possible scenes included – bringing the total to 30.
The camera on the Galaxy S10e looks to be a step-up from the Galaxy S9 Plus, which was the only model in the Galaxy S line to boast a dual-camera last year. That means it should be capable of capturing some seriously impressive shots, especially in low-light. However, we’ll need to spend more time with the device before we give it our official stamp of approval.
And while the S10e is an upgrade over the Galaxy S9 series, it misses out on a number of the stand-out features included in the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus, which get an additional 12-megapixel telephoto lens in the rear-mounted camera set-up for Live Focus shots.
Contrary to some of the whispers from inside the company, Samsung has kept the 3.5mm headphone port intact – so there’s no need to throw-out your wired cans or cough-up for dongle. The smartphone is also rated IP68 for water and dust resistance, which means it can withstand a swim in 1.5metres of water for half an hour.
The Galaxy S10e starts from £669. It ships in Prism Green, Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Blue, and Canary Yellow finishes.
Pre-orders are available today direct from Samsung, with the first handsets dropping through letterboxes on March 8, 2019. Unlike the S10 and S10 Plus, customers who pre-order the device will not get a free pair of Galaxy Buds thrown-in.
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