Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite vs. Galaxy Note 10 Lite: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite vs. Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite vs. Galaxy Note 10 Lite (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Galaxy S10 Lite

Galaxy S10 Lite

The Galaxy S10 Lite eschews the metal-and-glass design for a plastic chassis, but it retains the high-end internals. The phone is powered by the same Snapdragon 855 chipset as the full-fledged S10 and S10+, and comes with a 48-megapixel camera, FHD+ AMOLED panel, as well as a 4,500mAh battery. The fundamentals are solid here, and with the phone now on sale, it is a fantastic value.

Galaxy S10 Lite

More for less

Snapdragon 855 chipset
Vibrant display
48MP camera/32MP selfie camera
4500mAh battery
Android 10 with One UI 2.0
Plastic design
No headphone jack

Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Galaxy Note 10 Lite

The Note 10 Lite is an interesting device — on the outset, there's plenty to like here. You get the same S Pen that's found in the Note 10/10+, and there's even a 3.5mm jack. There's also a 4,500mAh battery, Android 10 out of the box, and a vibrant AMOLED panel. But Samsung decided to throw in a two-year-old Exynos 9810 chipset, marring what is an otherwise a stellar option.

Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Do everything

Headphone jack
S Pen
Vibrant display
Same 4500mAh battery
Android 10 with One UI 2.0
Not available officially in the U.S.
Older Exynos 9810 chipset

Earlier this year, Samsung went back to the drawing board and came up with the S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite, two phones that leverage flagship branding and marquee features from Samsung's premium lineup. Here's what you need to know about the Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite.

Before we get started ...

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

This article was originally published in February 2020. After that, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S20 series, so if you're looking for the latest that Samsung has to offer, take a look at our Galaxy S20 coverage.

If you don't want to pay flagship prices, the Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite are great options in the mid-range segment. But if you want the latest and greatest, you'll want to consider the Galaxy S20 or S20+.

The Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite have a lot in common, with a few key differences

Even with a single glance, it's easy to make out that the Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite share a lot of similarities. Both phones feature plastic backs and large batteries, and offer Samsung's latest UI out of the box. However, there are a few differences that make them stand out.

There are minor differences when it comes to hardware, but you're getting great value regardless of whatever phone you pick up.

Although both devices sport 6.7-inch Super AMOLED panels with a centered front camera cutout, the display on the Note 10 Lite is Super AMOLED while the S10 Lite gets a Super AMOLED Plus panel. We'll have to use both devices next to each other to get a better sense of just how much the displays differ, but for now what you need to know is that you're getting a vibrant FHD+ panel on either device.

Coming to the internal hardware, the Galaxy S10 Lite is powered by the Snapdragon 855 — just like last year's Galaxy S10 and S10+ — whereas the Note 10 Lite features the two-year-old Exynos 9810. That particular chipset was notable for causing thermal management and battery life issues on the Galaxy S9 two years ago, so it's unclear why Samsung is opting to use it on its latest mid-ranger when there are better alternatives available, like the Exynos 9820.

It is possible Samsung was looking to save on manufacturing costs by choosing to go with an older chipset. After all, the Note 10 Lite is aimed at Asian markets and isn't available officially in the U.S., so it makes sense for Samsung to go with an in-house solution, much like what it does on global variants of the Galaxy S20 series.

Elsewhere, both the S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite share the same 6GB/8GB memory configurations and 128GB of internal storage, and you'll find a microSD slot on either device. Both phones also feature 4,500mAh batteries with fast charging, and the FHD+ resolution combined with a large battery should deliver outstanding battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite vs. Galaxy Note 10 Lite

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

It's all identical on the software front as well: both phones are running Android 10 with Samsung's latest One UI 2.0 out of the box. One UI 2.0 comes with a host of new features and refreshed visuals, and Samsung in general has come a long way in this area over the last 12 months.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategorySamsung Galaxy S10 LiteSamsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Operating systemAndroid 10One UI 2.0Android 10One UI 2.0
Display6.7-inch Super AMOLED2400x1080 (20:9)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
MicroSD slotYes (Up to 1TB)Yes (Up to 1TB)
Rear camera 148MP f/2.026mm, OIS12MP, f/1.727mm, OIS
Rear camera 212MP, f/2.212mm ultrawide12MP, f/2.452mm telephoto, OIS
Rear camera 35MP, f/2.4Macro12MP, f/2.213mm ultrawide
Front camera32MP, f/2.225mm, HDR32MP, f/2.225mm, HDR
ConnectivityWi-Fi ac MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPSWi-Fi ac MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS
AudioUSB-CSingle speaker3.5mm jackSingle speaker
ChargingUSB-CFast chargeUSB-CFast charge
Water resistanceNoNo
SecurityIn-display fingerprint sensorIn-display fingerprint sensor
ColorsPrism Black, Prism White, Prism BlueAura Black, Aura Glow, Aura Red
Dimensions162.5 x 75.6 x 8.1mm186g163.7 x 76.1 x 8.7mm199g

Like the standard Note 10 series, the main differentiator for the Note 10 Lite is the S Pen. You get the same stylus with remote gestures and a shutter button that works over Bluetooth, and it's great to see Samsung offering the feature on the Lite model. What's even more interesting is that the Note 10 Lite also has a 3.5mm jack, a feature that's missing from the Note 10/10+. Even the S10 Lite doesn't have the analog port, which makes its inclusion on the Note 10 Lite all the more puzzling (but welcome).

The Note 10 Lite comes with the S Pen, and the S10 Lite has a higher-res shooter.

The standout with the S10 Lite, meanwhile, is a 48-megapixel primary camera that's joined by a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel macro shooter. Samsung is heavily promoting the camera prowess of the S10 Lite in marketing materials, and it will be interesting to see how the phone holds up in real-world usage.

The Note 10 Lite has just a 12-megapixel primary camera, but you get more versatile auxiliary sensors: there's a 12-megapixel wide-angle shooter and a 12-megapixel zoom lens that goes up to 2x optical zoom. The primary and zoom lenses feature optical stabilization as well. Both phones have 32-megapixel front cameras, further indication that Samsung is pitting the devices as an alternative to the BBK-owned OPPO and Vivo.

Choosing between the two is a matter of preference

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite vs. Galaxy Note 10 Lite

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

Ultimately, choosing between the Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite comes down to what you're looking for from a mid-range phone. If you end up taking a lot of photos and videos, the Galaxy S10 Lite is a better option because of the gigantic sensor.

Get the S10 Lite if you take a lot of photos. If you want the S Pen and a 3.5mm jack, pick up the Note 10 Lite.

The Note 10 Lite is aimed more at productivity, so if you're interested in trying out the S Pen and need a 3.5mm jack, it is the default choice. It's great to see that there aren't any major differences between either device when it comes to the hardware side of things. Sure, the Exynos 9810 could turn out to be an issue, but any undue battery drain is negated by the large 4,500mAh battery.

At the end of the day, both phones offer a decent set of features, but they also have their set of issues. With the Note 10 Lite, it's the fact that it it using an old Exynos chipset. The S10 Lite is a fantastic value now that the phone is available for under $500 in the U.S.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.