How Do Samsung's Galaxy S10 Lite And Note 10 Lite Compare To The 'Full' Versions?

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite (Photo: Samsung)

As expected, Samsung is planning to launch budget-friendly versions of its flagship Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 smartphones. The “Lite” versions of these phones have no price or release date yet, but we already know quite a bit about their specs—and are sure to hear more as we head into CES. Until then, I’d hold off purchasing a big Samsung Android, because there’s a good chance that Samsung’s Lite versions could be an even better fit for you than the originals.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s how both Lite smartphones stack up against their pricier predecessors. We’ll start with the Galaxy S10 Lite; scroll down a bit if you’re more interested in the Galaxy Note 10 Lite.

Galaxy S10 Lite / Galaxy S10+ / Galaxy S10

Display

Galaxy S10 Lite: 6.7-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED Plus Infinity-O Display (2400-by-1080)

Galaxy S10+: 6.4-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display (3040-by-1440)

Galaxy S10: 6.1-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display (3040-by-1440)

Lifehacker’s take: You’re getting a slightly bigger screen at a slightly lower resolution (and 394 pixels per- inch instead of 520+), but I suspect you wouldn’t really notice a difference—especially since the Galaxy S10s run a default resolution of 2280 by-1080 pixels anyway.


Cameras

Galaxy S10 Lite: 

  • 5MP rear macro

  • 48MP rear wide-angle

  • 12MP rear ultra-wide

  • 32MP front camera

Galaxy S10+:

  • 12MP rear telephoto

  • 12MP rear wide-angle

  • 16MP rear ultra-wide

  • 10MP front camera

  • 8MP front depth camera

Galaxy S10:

  • 12MP rear telephoto

  • 12MP rear wide-angle

  • 16MP rear ultra-wide

  • 10MP front camera

Lifehacker’s take: If you just look at the megapixel counts, it appears like the Galaxy S10 Lite is killing it. However, you have to dig deeper into what kinds of cameras are on these phones to really get a sense of the differences. While the Galaxy S10 Lite’s macro lens is certainly interesting, since cameras usually don’t come with those, its 48-megapixel wide-angle camera on the rear has a slower F/2.0 aperture compared to the Galaxy S10s F/1.5 and F/2.4 dual aperture setup. The same is true for the Galaxy S10 Lite’s front-facing camera: Lots of megapixels, but an F/2.2 aperture compared to the Galaxy S10s’ F/1.9 apertures. Generally speaking, a lower aperture means more light can enter the camera, which can improve your nighttime photography considerably.


Size

Galaxy S10 Lite: 162.5mm by 75.6mm by 8.1mm

Galaxy S10+: 157.6mm by 74.1mm by 7.8mm

Galaxy S10: 149.9mm by 70.4mm by 7.8mm

Lifehacker’s take: The Galaxy S10 light is slightly thicker than its predecessors, but you probably won’t notice. Generally speaking, it’s a big device—bigger screen and slightly bigger dimensions that put it more on par with the Galaxy S10+ than the Galaxy S10, size-wise.


Processor / Memory / Storage

Galaxy S10 Lite: Snapdragon 855 “7nm 64-bit Octa-core Processor,” supporting 6 or 8GB of memory and 128GB of internal storage

Galaxy S10+:

  • Exynos 9820 8nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor or

  • Snapdragon 855 7nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor

  • 8-12GB of memory with anywhere from 128GB to 1TB of internal storage

Galaxy S10:

  • Exynos 9820 8nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor or

  • Snapdragon 855 7nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor

  • 8GB of memory with anywhere from 128-512GB of internal storage

Lifehacker’s take: You don’t get a lot of customising for storage on the Galaxy S10 Lite, and the processor is the same as what you’ll find in the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+. As always, we’ll wait for actual benchmark scores to see how the devices really stack up, but I doubt you’ll see a tremendous difference in performance for everyday tasks, even with 6GB of memory instead of 8GB. If you’re big into Samsung’s DeX software, however, you might wish you had more.


Battery

Galaxy S10 Lite: ~4,500mAH

Galaxy S10+: ~4,100mAH

Galaxy S10: ~3,400mAH

Lifehacker’s take: Bigger phone; bigger battery. It makes sense to us, and we suspect the Galaxy S10 Lite will have great uptime compared to its predecessors. (It all depends on the efficiency of the rest of the phone’s hardware, but 4,500mAH is a pretty solid improvement over the Galaxy S10's smaller 3,400mAH battery.)


Photo: Samsung

Galaxy Note 10 Lite / Galaxy Note 10+ / Galaxy Note 10

Display 

Galaxy Note 10 Lite: 6.7-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED Plus Infinity-O Display (2400-by-1080)

Galaxy Note 10+: 6.8" Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display (3040-by-1440)

Galaxy Note 10: 6.3" FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display (2280-by-1080)

Lifehacker’s take: The Galaxy Note 10 Lite is a mere 0.4 inches bigger than the Galaxy Note 10, but you’re getting the same resolution. In other words, I doubt you’d notice that much of a quality difference, if any. I’m not sure the Galaxy Note 10 Lite will have HDR10 support, however, and that’s something you might notice if you view a lot of high dynamic range content (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, et cetera).


Cameras

Galaxy Note 10 Lite: 

  • 12MP rear wide-angle

  • 12MP rear ultra-wide

  • 12MP rear telephoto

  • 32MP front camera

Galaxy Note 10+:

  • 12MP rear wide-angle

  • 16MP rear ultra-wide

  • 12MP rear telephoto

  • Rear DepthVision Camera

  • 10MP front camera

Galaxy Note 10:

  • 12MP rear wide-angle

  • 16MP rear ultra-wide

  • 12MP rear telephoto

  • 10MP front camera

Lifehacker’s take: It’s a closer race this time. You lose some megapixels on the Galaxy Note 10 Lite, but the camera apertures are much closer to what you’d find on the Galaxy Note 10+ and Galaxy Note 10—slightly worse, but not horrible. The rear telephoto camera bumps down to f/2.4 from f/2.1, and the wide-angle camera appears to have a single-aperture mode (f/1.7) instead of the other smartphones’ dual-aperture mode (f/1.5 and f/2.4).


Size

Galaxy Note 10 Lite: 76.1mm by 163.7mm by 8.7mm

Galaxy Note 10+: 77.2mm by 162.3mm by 7.9mm

Galaxy Note 10: 71.8mm by 151.0mm by 7.9mm

Lifehacker’s take: No big surprises here, save for the increased thickness you’ll find on the Galaxy Note 10 Lite compared to the Galaxy Note 10+. That’ll be quite a pocket bulge.


Processor / Memory / Storage

Galaxy Note 10 Lite: Exynos 8895 10nm 64-bit Octa-core processor supporting 6/8GB of memory and 128GB of internal storage

Galaxy Note 10+:

  • Exynos 9825 7nm 64-bit Octa-core processor

  • 12GB of memory with 256 or 512GB of internal storage

Galaxy Note 10:

  • Exynos 9825 7nm 64-bit Octa-core processor

  • 8-12GB of memory with 256GB of internal storage

Lifehacker’s take: Now we’re curious. At 10nm, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite appears to be running a lesser octa-core processor (at first glance), and you’re getting the minimum amount of storage Samsung can stuff into the smartphone. While the Galaxy Note 10 Lite’s brains should be more than enough for all the basic tasks you do on your device, we’ll be very curious to see how it shakes out on actual benchmarks. Our guess? It won’t perform as well as its predecessors, which makes its pricing all the more interesting—whenever we find that out.


Battery

Galaxy Note 10 Lite: ~4,500mAH

Galaxy Note 10+: ~4,300mAH

Galaxy Note 10: ~3,500mAH

Lifehacker’s take: If uptime is critical to you, and you don’t mind the Galaxy Note 10 Lite’s larger dimensions, it’s the clear winner—at least, on paper. We’ll be curious to see how that presumably older processor affects battery life; perhaps it’ll be a wash between it and the Galaxy Note 10+.


What we still don’t know

Aside from the “Lite” smartphones’ price and availability, and how the devices perform on the usual laundry list of benchmarks, there are still a few more details we’d love to hear more about. We’re assuming that Samsung has dropped wireless charging for the two models, given their cheaper price points. It’s also unclear what water resistance these two phones might have, if any—a more minor detail.


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