The Samsung Galaxy S10 series this time around comes in not two but three different flavours with the Galaxy S10 and S10+ being the mainline and plus sized variants and the new Galaxy S10e which we had the pleasure to get a closer look at that acts as the most affordable and most compact variant of the lot.
Even though it’s the smallest and cheapest phone in the series you’re not compromising much if at all. The Galaxy S10e has the vast majority of the signature technologies in the series – a high-powered Exynos 9820 processor, their vaunted PowerShare tech for reverse wireless charging, a gloriously crisp Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED screen and most important of all, the same powerful primary 12-MP rear camera paired with the secondary 16-MP ultra wide angle camera along with a front-facing camera with both capable of 4K video capture too.
Brilliantly Up Front
Externally, the Galaxy S10e also has the widest variety of colour options out of all the Galaxy S10 series and is astonishingly compact while having the same display size as its predecessor the Galaxy S9.
What you get with the Galaxy S10e is a 5.8-inch Full HD+ Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display that has a brilliant 1,200 nits brightness, which tops the last generation of Galaxy phones, exquisitely nigh perfect colour accuracy and also the bonus of being notably the world’s first HDR10+ certified smartphone display which is an impressive feat indeed.
Unlike its larger siblings, the S10e’s Dynamic AMOLED display is flat rather than curved and caps the resolution at Full HD+ which is 2,280 x 1080 pixels and 438 ppi versus the Quad HD+ (3,040 x 1,440 pixels). It also lacks an Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor and instead has it on the side where it doubles as a power button. Even at Full HD+ the crispness and brilliance of the display is impressive and the minor difference in pixel count is imperceptible if at all.
Differences aside, the front of the Galaxy S10e is almost entirely made up of the Dynamic AMOLED display save for a tiny circular cutout for the front-facing selfie camera which can capture 4K video this time around.
At first blush, the standard home screen looks stunning even in broad daylight. In a marvel of precision engineering, the S10e still has a tiny grille up top for the phone receiver which also doubles as a part of a matching pair of Dolby Atmos enhanced stereo speakers when you’re gaming or playing content. The other speaker is plonked at the base of the phone.
The flat nature of the Galaxy S10e seems a bit strange for those used to the gentle curves of the Galaxy S series since the Galaxy S6 onwards but the phone still retains its Edge function where you can swipe in a menu bar of shortcuts on demand.
Mirrored Marvel – S10e Build and Design
The Galaxy S10e does not wander too far from the design and form factor of its siblings with gently rounded corners, subtle chamfering on the sides and a beautifully mirrored finish on the backplate.
The base of the phone comes with a pair of subtle antenna bands, a USB Type C port for charging duties and a downwards firing speaker, part of a matched pair of stereo speakers, along with a fan favourite – a 3.5mm audio jack.
Of particular note with the Galaxy S10 series and the S10e is that it inherits one of the most valued features that was previously exclusive to the Galaxy Note8 and Note9 – DeX mode. Plugging it via a HDMI cable to a monitor yields a desktop mode that allows for more screen real estate and which turns it into an ersatz desktop.
The right side of the phone comes with a side-mounted lozenge-shaped power button that also doubles as a fingerprint reader. In terms of placement it is somewhat ergonomically awkward as it is located somewhere higher than where your fingers would rest on the phone and it is flush with the casing which makes pressing it somewhat awkward under certain circumstances.
The left side of the phone is more conventionally designed and hosts a small Bixby button and a volume rocker. The top of the phone comes with a slot for the hybrid SIM card tray that lets you pack either two SIM cards or one SIM and a microSD card up to 512GB in size.
The backplate of the Galaxy S10e is mostly made up of a mirrored finish with a horizontally mounted dual camera array on the back. Unlike its larger siblings that have a triple camera array, the S10e ditches the optical zoom camera and retains the primary 12-MP Dual Aperture camera and the secondary 123-degree wide angle camera which, according to Samsung, has a visual angle akin to the normal human eye.
When held, the Galaxy S10e feels exceptionally premium indeed with excellent tactility on account of its cool to the touch glass facade and its wonderfully even heft. To wit, it’s even lighter and slimmer than its predecessor the Galaxy S9 while having an overall upgrade in almost every way bar the capping of the Dynamic AMOLED panel at Full HD+ resolution though it looks well worth it for the increase in aspect ratio.
What is really marvelous is the compact size of the S10e. After years of using large phablets, the Galaxy S10e feels like a breath of fresh air as its compact size makes it fast, nimble and agile.
Whereas many smaller phones also compromise on the hardware and software experience, the S10e is as powerful as its larger siblings, runs the refreshingly nimble One UI and it handled a host of the customary tasks asked of a phone in an able fashion. The large display combined with the compact phone also makes gaming a more pleasant affair too though we can’t say our K/D ratio in PUBG was improved by any means due to our horrific aim.
It fires up in seconds and the camera is quick on the draw with a subtle increase in important features all around with shots great under daylight conditions and even after dusk. Here’s a few quick test shots straight off the Galaxy S10e’s rear camera array.
Stay tuned as we put it through its paces and give it a thorough review soon! In the meantime, the Galaxy S10e and its siblings are still up for preorders on Samsung’s official page here and its partners as well till February 28 2019 with a ton of goodies thrown in for good measure.