Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ vs. Note 10 Lite: Which should you buy?

Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Galaxy Note 10 Lite (Image credit: Android Central)

Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

If you want a true flagship, the Galaxy Note 10+ is the way to go. The phone has a gorgeous design backed by powerful internal hardware, a stunning AMOLED display, all-day battery life with 45W wired charging and 15W wireless charging, and the S Pen stylus. There's also water resistance, stereo sound, four cameras at the back, and biometric authentication that works reliably.

Galaxy Note 10+

Ultimate flagship

Snapdragon 855 chipset
Incredible QHD+ AMOLED display
IP68 water resistance
Large battery with fast, wireless charging
S Pen
No headphone jack

Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Galaxy Note 10 Lite

The Galaxy Note 10 Lite is a particularly interesting device because it aims to bring the best features from the Note 10 series at a much more affordable price point. You get the S Pen and a large battery, along with a high-res 32-megapixel front camera, robust internal hardware, and there's even a 3.5mm jack. If you're looking to save some cash, the Note 10 Lite may just be the device for you.

Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Just the basics

Headphone jack
S Pen
4,500mAh battery
32-megapixel front camera
Android 10 out of the box
Outdated chipset
Not available officially in the U.S.
Plastic design
Missing key features like resistance, fast charging

Samsung rolled out two variants of the Note 10 at launch — a standard Note 10 and a Note 10+ — and the manufacturer is now adding to the series with the Note 10 Lite. As the name suggests, the Note 10 Lite is targeted at the mid-range segment, designed to deliver key features from the Note 10 and Note 10+ to a wider audience. Let's see what the phone has to offer and if it makes sense to get your hands on one.

Need Samsung's latest? Get the Galaxy S20

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

This article was originally published in January 2020. Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 series a month after that, so if you're looking for the latest that Samsung has to offer, go through our extensive Galaxy S20 coverage.

The Galaxy Note 10+ is still a great phone in 2020, but if you're in the market for the latest and greatest, you'll want to consider the Galaxy S20 or S20+.

The Note 10 Lite delivers the best features from the Note 10+ for less

Above all else, what you need to know about the Note 10 Lite is that you're not missing out on the core experience of a Note device. You get a large 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display; there's the S Pen; the phone is powered by the same chipset that was in the Galaxy S9, and you get generous memory, internal storage, and a large battery. Heck, there's even a 3.5mm jack here, and you won't find that on the Note 10+.

The Note 10 Lite costs half as much as the Note 10+, but you still get the S Pen, large battery, and decent internal hardware.

What you are missing out on is the extras. As the Note 10 Lite is aimed at the mid-range segment, Samsung went with a plastic chassis, and there's no IP68 dust and water resistance, 15W wireless charging, or a Wi-Fi ax modem. Samsung has done a fantastic job retaining the essence of the Note 10+, but by offering a more mainstream design without the added features, it can sell the Note 10 Lite for less than half the price of the Note 10+.

That's a huge deal because it opens up the userbase for the Note series. The Note 10+ is now selling for $900, and that's just over double the cost of the Note 10 Lite. That's one of the reasons why companies like OnePlus have gained so much momentum over the last three years. For instance, the OnePlus 8 has incredible hardware for under $700, and while it may not have wireless charging or water resistance, the value on offer makes it one of the best deals today.

Samsung is looking to tap into that segment with the Note 10 Lite. The phone won't be launching in the U.S. at all; instead, Samsung is focusing its attention on the likes of India, China, and other global markets. However, you can pick up the global variant of the Note 10 Lite on Amazon for $445.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategorySamsung Galaxy Note 10+Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Operating systemAndroid 10One UI 2.0Android 10One UI 2.0
Display6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED, 3040x1440 (19.5:9)HDR10+6.7-inch Super AMOLED2400x1080 (20:9)
ChipsetSnapdragon 8551 x 2.84GHz Kryo 4853 x 2.41GHz Kryo 4854 x 1.78GHz Kryo 485Exynos 98104 x 2.70GHz Mongoose M34 x 1.70GHz Cortex A55
GPUAdreno 640Mali-G72 MP18
Storage256GB/512GB UFS3.0128GB
MicroSD slotYes (Up to 1TB)Yes (Up to 1TB)
Rear camera 112MP f/1.5-2.4, OIS77° FoV12MP, f/1.727mm, OIS
Rear camera 212MP, f/2.1, OIStelephoto 45° FoV12MP, f/2.452mm telephoto, OIS
Rear camera 316MP, f/2.2Wide-angle 123° FoV12MP, f/2.213mm ultrawide
Rear camera 4VGA f/1.4, 72° FoVNo
Front camera10MP, f/2.2, 80° FoVauto focus32MP, f/2.225mm, HDR
ConnectivityWi-Fi ax MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LENFC, AptX HD, A-GPSWi-Fi ac MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS
AudioUSB-CStereo speakers3.5mm jackSingle speaker
ChargingUSB-C PD3.0Fast charge (45W)USB-CFast charge
Water resistanceIP68No
SecurityIn-display fingerprint sensorIn-display fingerprint sensor
ColorsAura Glow, Aura White, Aura Black, Aura BlueAura Black, Aura Glow, Aura Red
Dimensions162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm196g163.7 x 76.1 x 8.7mm199g

You still get 8GB of RAM as standard and 128GB of storage, and the Note 10 Lite has a microSD slot that can hold a 1TB card. Of course, the Note 10+ pulls ahead when you look at features like 45W wired charging and 15W wireless charging, but when it comes to differentiating hardware features, the Note 10 Lite can keep up.

The Note 10 Lite comes with Android 10 and One UI 2.0 out of the box.

Overall, Samsung has done a decent job when it comes to the hardware side of things, particularly when you consider that the Note 10 Lite could end up being a battery monster thanks to the 4,500mAh battery and a Full HD panel.

On the software side of things, the Note 10 Lite runs Android 10 with One UI 2.0 out of the box. That's a big deal because Samsung hasn't been as proactive when it comes to updating its mid-range handsets as frequently as its flagships. It's great to see the Note 10 Lite feature the latest version of Android out of the box, as that makes it a well-rounded package.

The Note 10 Lite is a real bargain, and the Note 10+ has all the extras

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda/Android Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda/Android Central)

The $1,000 price tag for "true" flagships like the Note 10+ is what led to an increase in value-driven models that deliver similar features at half the price. It took Samsung a while to understand that particular point, but the manufacturer is now on the right track with the Note 10 Lite.

Make no mistake here: it's great that Samsung can sell the Note 10 Lite for under $600 because it makes features like the S Pen much more accessible to a mainstream audience. That said, if you want a fully-featured device that you can take to the pool and charge wirelessly, you'll have to pick up the Note 10+.

What Samsung is doing here is offer a choice; you can save a lot of cash and get the Note 10 Lite if you just want the S Pen. But if you need the extras, there's always the Note 10+. Whatever device you end up choosing, it's a win-win for Samsung.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.