Looking For A Very Powerful Compact Smartphone? The Galaxy S10e Is Excellent

Highs

  • Close to Galaxy S10+ camera performance
  • Very compact design
  • Speedy hardware

Lows

  • Display below S10/S10+ quality

Rating and Price

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Price: ~$649
  • Available on Amazon

The Samsung Galaxy S10e (“e” as in “Essentials”) is the common denominator of the Galaxy S10 line of products and represents the “base feature set” of the Galaxy S10 family. In our opinion, It exists for two purposes: having a compact high-end phone and an affordable 2019 Galaxy S.

Specifications highlights

ProductGalaxy S10e (2019), Price: 649 USD at Amazon
Display5.8″ 2280×1080 AMOLED
Rear Camera(s)
  • 27mm 12-MP f/1.5 wide (Primary) +OIS
  • 12mm 16-MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Selfie Camera(s)
  • 25mm 10-MP f/1.9 wide
Computing
  • Snapdragon 855 SoC
  • 6GB/8GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB Storage
  • MicroSDXC (1024GB max.)
Battery3100 mAh, Wireless Charging, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0
DesignIP68, 150g (5.3oz), 69.9×142.2×7.9 mm (2.75 x 5.60 x 0.31 inches)
Price (Market)$649

We have published an article dedicated to the differences between Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+, and S10 5G, so we recommend checking it out if you want to know more about the rest of the line-up. You can also check our specs comparators: Galaxy S10e vs. Galaxy S10, vs. Galaxy S10+.

Optional, but we suggest checking our Galaxy S10/S10+ in-depth review which mentions things such are the Samsung OneUI interface and updated Samsung Bixby assistant.

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Industrial Design (9.5/10)

The Galaxy S10e is built using most of the same materials and techniques as the other Galaxy S10 phones. As such, the build quality looks and feels very similar, with a few differences highlighted in this article. The S10e is also waterproof, with an IP68 rating.

First, the Galaxy S10e is designed to be compact. That’s a crucial point because there has long been a demand for compact but powerful phones that went mostly unfulfilled, until now. With the advent of bezel-less phones and in-screen selfie cameras, Samsung can provide an extraordinarily powerful and compact 5.8” Galaxy S10e.

"THE DEMAND FOR A POWERFUL COMPACT HIGH-END PHONE WAS MOSTLY UNFULFILLED, UNTIL NOW"

Galaxy S10e, it is more compact than the 5.5” Google Pixel 3, which was arguably one of the popular small phones options. The Galaxy S10e did severely undercut the $799 price of the Pixel 3, which recently dropped to $599, with a $200 discount at the Google Store.

The S10e capacitive fingerprint reader also acts as the Power button. It is on the upper-right side of the S10e and can use with the right-hand’s thumb or the left hand’s index or middle finger. It would have been better to place it 1cm lower, but because the phone is pretty small, it still somehow works.

Capacitive fingerprint readers are much faster than the in-display ones present in the other S10 phones. The same fingerprint reader also has gestures control and can be set up to reveal or hide the notifications panels during right-hand use. As you can imagine, this older fingerprint scanning technology is utilized to save on costs.

We’ll get back to the display, but from a design standpoint, the S10e’s flat-display is also catering to people who don’t like the curved-edge displays. We love the curved ones, but it’s also true that curved edges make it more likely to have accidental palm-induced false positive on the touch screen.

Depending on your region, the S10e might come in many colors. Our review unit is the Pink one, but there are white, black, green, blue and yellow ones as well. Samsung has colored the anodized aluminum, and even the camera bump trim. It’s a lovely touch unless you prefer the completely flush design like the LG G8’s.

Last, but not least, there’s a 3.5mm audio connector, despite the tight volume and relatively large battery.

Display quality (8.3/10)

As you can expect from Samsung, the Galaxy S10e has an excellent 2280×1080 OLED display. It doesn’t score as high as the S10/S10+ display because the resolution, pixel density (in PPI) and peak brightness are a bit less, but you would be hard pressed to find something much better in this 5.8” category.

The punch-hole “Infinity-O” in-screen camera design gives it an edgy look and is about as low-profile as you’ll see on a phone. Maybe the Honor View 20 has a smaller selfie hole, but it won’t make a huge difference.

"SAMSUNG CAN NOW PLEASE A PUBLIC THAT PREFERS FLAT-SCREENS"

The display brightness of 924 NITs is fantastic. In general, more intense light is needed to read the screen content on a sunny day (or bright environment). Higher brightness is responsible for better image quality in widespread situations.

Note that this brightness level cannot be achieved in manual mode, but only in auto-mode, and is controlled by the light sensor. That’s why many reviewers mention ~650 NITs as the maximum, but that’s not accurate.

Many people are excited about the flat glass because they think that it’s better for using with screen protectors films.

Galaxy S10e Camera Test (9.8/10)

175Image Quality score UBER-G SCOREScoring/ranking system name IQImage-Quality based scoring system CAMERA Mobile High EndCategory based on price 2019-02Device launch date Samsung Galaxy S10eDevice brand and name

We spent much time benchmarking the Galaxy S10e camera (read this full camera review!), and we found it to be the best (rear) dual-camera system on a smartphone today. Samsung has essentially got rid of the 52mm 2X optical zoom camera module which was arguably the one that added the least to the overall photo quality.

The Galaxy S10e captures great HDR photos

Ultrawide performance is identical between S10 and S10e

The night photo performance is also the same for S10e/S10/S10+

comparison image Acomparison image B

Above (cropped photo): the zoom quality of the Galaxy S10e is noticeably lower than Galaxy S10/S10+ that has a 2X (52mm) optical zoom. However, if zooming is your thing, check the Huawei P30 Pro 135mm optical zoom.

Now you have a wide and ultrawide combo of high-quality cameras that perform exceptionally well in all lighting conditions and provide the largest real-world usage coverage. For a time, the Galaxy S10e had the best Ultrawide camera on the market, until the LG G8 came along.

Ultrawide is massively useful when compared against 2X zoom (or even zoom in general). We’ve been saying so for many years, and the industry is finally recognizing it in product designs.

"THE BEST DUAL-LENS CAMERA WE'VE TESTED"

The LG G8 camera is also another exciting dual-camera wide+ultrawide design that we recommend considering.

The G8 ThinQ is a 6.3” phone, so it doesn’t compete in the same design or experience category as S10e, but the pricing is very close. Overall, the Galaxy S10e has the best dual-lens camera we’ve tested.

Galaxy S10e Battery life (7.9/10)

The Galaxy S10e has a very decent 3100 mAh capacity (for a 5.8” phone). For example, the 5.8” iPhone Xs has 2658 mAh, and it’s even hard to find other 5.8” Android high-end phones to compare it with anyway!

With such a battery capacity, the Galaxy S10e scores 9 hours in the standard PCMark battery test, which we think an excellent approximation of continuous usage, but keep in mind that no benchmark can reproduce or predict YOUR usage, including network conditions, so the battery capacity remains the best universal battery life proxy.

The S10e also features wireless charging (12 Watts) along with the new reverse-charging feature of the S10 family. It’s great to charge accessories such as wireless earbuds, smartwatches or smartbands without lugging around another charger.

The charge speed of 35 mAh/mn of the Galaxy S10e is significantly lower than the Galaxy S10+ (54 mAh/mn) – that’s a 54% advantage for the Galaxy S10+ and something that wasn’t visible from the specs sheet.

Performance and speed (9.6/10)

The Galaxy S10 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, the most powerful processing platform available on Android today. As such and in synthetic benchmarking conditions, it scores very high. In fact, it’s just as fast as the Galaxy S10+.

The S10e does not feature the vapor-cooling that the S10/S10+ has, so the question over sustained performance is open. In our tests, we haven’t felt any effect of that, although it could probably be demonstrated if specific tests. Unless you’re going to use the S10e for Virtual Reality (VR) purposes, it should not be a problem for regular gaming.

Benchmarks indicate that the Galaxy S10e is among the fastest Android phones right now, but it’s fair to recognize that the iOS platform also has powerful hardware at its disposal.

With 6GB as a base and up to 8GB of RAM, the Galaxy S10e can satisfy a vast array of users. The vast majority of users don’t “need” that much RAM, but the more apps and data you have, and the more likely you’ll reach a performance cliff at some point and the extra RAM can help when that happens. The Galaxy S10 and S10+ have 8GB, and the 1TB S10+ even has 12GB.

Conclusion (9/10)

It’s been only two months, and the Galaxy S10e has already gone through two sets of price cuts, which puts it at ~$650 today (from ~$799). At that price, the Galaxy S10e achieves a high value score of 7.1/10 which is very good for a phone that is designed to compete above $600.

It is one of today’s most powerful 5.8” smartphones you can get, whether you’re looking at the technical design, the display and camera quality or battery capacity. It’s just difficult to put so much tech in such a small phone!

If you were considering a Pixel 3, then the Galaxy S10e would be a more robust alternative, with a more versatile camera and a faster processor. For potential iPhone switchers, the Galaxy S10e is cheaper, smaller and scores better than the iPhone Xr in many areas, including the camera.

Samsung has successfully extended the footprint of its most prestigious smartphone line-up, reaching into the “compact” market, but also into a $650 price segment that has higher volume. With the S10e design, users truly get the “essentials” of the Galaxy S10 features.

Overall product rating: 9/10

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about , , and .

5.8"
  • 2280x1080
  • AMOLED
  • 435 PPI
12 MP
  • f/1.5 Aperture
  • OIS
3100 mAh
  • Non-Removable
  • Wireless Charging
6-8GB RAM
  • Snapdragon 855
  • MicroSDXC
Price
~$649 - Amazon
Weight
150 g
Launched in
2019-02-01
Storage (GB)
  • 128
  • 256
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