Samsung’s lite version hits the right notes and is the perfect thing for business users. OnePlus, though, is still better in performance
There’s a 6.7-inch screen, a stylus and the name Note and that is where the comparison with Galaxy Note series ends. The Note 10 lite is aimed at the lower end of the market, and Samsung seems to have got everything right save the price. While brand value will give Samsung a lot of push, in comparison to the OnePlus series there are still some issues that the Korean consumer electronics giant will need to address. Being the first lite version in years—Neo was a cheaper series introduced with Note 3—Samsung has plans to eat into OnePlus’ share. And, it may even be successful, not in the first attempt though.
Galaxy Note 10 lite is a freakishly large phone. It won’t seem so in the ads, but once you handle the phone, it seems apparent that this one is more a phablet. But that said, it does go well for people who crave for the Note series. The design though is simple—three buttons on the right (volume and power/Bixby) and an iPhone style camera layout at the back. Samsung still has that dreamy rainbow at the back, which looks excellent. But the problem is the weight, at 199 gms it is 17 gms heavier than OnePlus 7T, and three gms heavier than the 10 plus version. More than this, the weight distribution is a bit off. While the Note 10 plus has an evenly distributed weight, the lite version has an uneven balance, which makes it a problem for one-handed operations.
Display and cameras
It’s a Samsung, so there are no complaints as far as the display is concerned. Although the pixel density is not as high as a OnePlus, the super AMOLED screen makes up for it. Refresh rates are a problem for games, but it’s not constricting enough to take away the beautiful big screen. Cameras, on the other hand, are a disappointment. While the triple camera setup at the back was supposed to be redeeming for the company, unfortunately the wide-angle lens is the issue. The pictures get pixelated. The quality isn’t as good as a OnePlus but given that most people will use it for close shots it is not bad either. The highlight though is the 32MP selfie cam. Samsung has really upped the game with this one; had it not been for the smoothening—Samsung seems to have overdone it—it really would have been the best in class.
Battery and performance
Battery is not an issue with the lite version, optimisation allows for more than a day with light use. But if you are playing games or watching movies be prepared to charge in 8-10 hours. With moderate use the phone survives a good 16 hours, which is not bad given the Amoled screen and UI functions. The pen was not as smooth as a Note 10, but it was still very functional and worked well with most apps. But the one big issue was the Exynos processor. The phone, despite the 6GB RAM, is not as fast as you would wish it to be. It would hang at times and was slow in some operations. Multiple tabs were an issue.
Samsung’s sole aim for launching a lite series was to sway OnePlus users and with the stylus (S-Pen) it may be just be able to do that. While this is just the first iteration, and is expensive by about `4,000, expect Samsung to catch up fast by the time there is a Note 20 lite. Samsung is ready to breach the mid-segment target and it has got the right offering for business users and artists.