Samsung recently launched the Galaxy S10 series in Genting Highlands, a resort city located on a high mountain range just outside of Kuala Lumpur. I was at the launch event and from my observation, the S10 series is the best yet by the South Korean giant. And then I received a review unit for one of the S10 series soon after, to be specific – the Galaxy S10e.
I have always been a fan of compact smartphones. I know some other manufacturers have came up with a compact version of their flagship smartphones and I have always love them. And thankfully, Samsung have come up with their version of a compact edition.
While Samsung doesn’t portray the S10e as a compact flagship. However it is smaller than its bigger brothers – S10 and S10+. The screen size isn’t that small either. At 5.8″ in display size, it is bigger than some of the normal sized smartphones out there. But thanks to the ~83.3% screen-to-body ratio and having small bezel all around, the phone feels small.
All I can say is that I love the size. It is suitable for those with small hands but for me, it enables me to use the phone in one hand. Typing with one hand on the on-screen keyboard is also easy. I didn’t miss a key and I have no worries of dropping the phone at some point while typing. That is one big plus point for the S10e.
What you get in the box is pretty standard. You’ll get the AKG tuned earphones, the USB type-C cable and charger, a micro USB to Type-C adapter, SIM card slot pin, manuals and warranty card and a phone casing. I am really in between of liking the case and hating the case. I like it because the design is cool but I hate it because of the design. Confused? The holes traps dirt. So when I take the case off, I got dirt polka dots all over the back of the phone.
The unit that I received is based on Samsung Exynos 9820 Octa (8 nm) that runs Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M4 & 2×2.31 GHz Cortex-A75 & 4×1.95 GHz Cortex-A55) and supported by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. There’s another version that runs on the latest Snapdragon 855 as well but that is only available for the US and China market.
The design of the Galaxy S10e is very simple. The power button on the right side is also a fingerprint sensor to quickly unlock the phone. Setting up the fingerprint sensor is easy too. What I miss to have in the S10e is the on-screen fingerprint sensor, which is only available in the S10 and S10+. It doesn’t matter to me anyway, I can always opt to use facial recognition function too if I want.
The volume rocker button is located on the left side of the phone. The quick Bixby button is located below the volume rocker. At the top is where the SIM/Micro SD card slot is located and the USB Type-C is right at the bottom along with the headphone jack and a speaker grill.
Speaking of speakers, the S10e comes with a stereo surround speakers powered by Dolby Atmos. The ear piece at the top front of the phone also acts as a speaker to produce that pure surround type of sound. The sound that came out from the cute S10e is loud and clear. Play any music that has strong bass beat and you will love the quality it produces. I had hours and hours of YouTube time on the S10e, I can never get enough of the loud, clear sound.
User Interface and OS
Samsung’s new One UI based on Android 9 is also something worth to talk about. The new UI is very clean and more intuitive. It is organized much better in the settings and everything in the menu is well sorted. I feel that the One UI looks and feels much better than their previous launchers. Of course, I prefer to use the “dark mode” in my devices but I didn’t activate it for the screenshots below.
Performance is somewhat of a surprise for me. As usual, I always use gaming a way to gauge the performance of any devices that I review. And as usual, PUBG Mobile is my game of choice.
As we all know, PUBG Mobile needs a powerful smartphone to run smoothly when you play at the highest graphic settings. While it is still possible to play the game with a lower-end phones, gamers will have to sacrifice the graphic quality and deal with tons of lags.
But not with the Galaxy S10e…
The cute S10e doesn’t even break a sweat when handling the graphic heavy PUBG Mobile game. I witness zero lag, zero sluggishness and full high resolution detail gaming experience. Set the graphic to run at its maximum settings and you’re good to go. The cute wonder churns out graphics like Santa with Christmas presents. No sweat, at all.
But, it does feels a tad bit hotter in a long run. This also happened when I run Antutu 3D Benchmark on the Galaxy S10e. The device will get a little hotter especially around the lower back of the phone. But it’s not too hot that will cause you to be panic. Like I said, it doesn’t break a sweat to run at high graphic settings but it does use all its power to do so.
Speaking of Antutu 3D Benchmark, the Galaxy S10e surprised me with the result. Would you believe that the little beast scored a whopping 330168 in the benchmarking test? And then I checked the ranking result to compare the S10e with some other devices in the global benchmark result. Guess what?…the little bugger sits at number 2, just one notch below its big brother – the Galaxy S10+. Just note that the result is based on my own Antutu test on the Galaxy S10e that I received and may differ from others.
To be able to run that kind of power, it needs a strong battery to keep it running the whole day. The Galaxy S10e comes with a Li-Ion 3100 mAh battery that is kinda small (maybe due to the overall phone size). The juice on the battery can last me around 8 hours of full usage like taking photos, videos, live streaming, Facebook, Instagram and a little bit of gaming.
I had an event in Sepang for the AsiaGT x Celeb Bazaar recently and I handled the social media account that runs the campaign. The Galaxy S10e was in my hand the whole time in all three days from morning until evening. It never failed me when I run full throttle with the live updates and live streaming. And the battery did last me the whole day after full extremely heavy usage. So yeah, the battery runs well enough.
Photo and video quality from the Galaxy S10e is something that I would like to share here. The S10e comes with only two cameras as opposed to three cameras on the S10 and S10+. And those two cameras are 12 MP, f/1.5-2.4, 26mm (wide), Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS and 16 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide) camera. I don’t know why but I prefer to shoot using the ultrawide camera instead of the normal wide one.
As for the front selfie camera, it is a 10 MP, f/1.9, 26mm (wide), Dual Pixel PDAF kind. What I like about the front selfie camera is that it is able to go wider at a tap of a button, something similar to the main rear camera. But instead of having a second camera on the front, the “wide” angle is more like a software adjustment rather than the optical function. But the picture that comes out is still good.
I am unable to compare the photo quality with the S10+ yet so I wouldn’t know the exact differences. But I’m hoping that the S10e produces the same or at least similar photo quality as its big bro.
Now lets dive into some of the photos that I’ve taken with the Galaxy S10e.
Using the ultra wide angle will show a slight warping in the photos especially around the edges. It is only best to use outdoors when you need to get more of the scenery in a single photo. But if you’re photos of people especially when they are nearer to you, their features will not turn out natural because of the warping effect.
Indoor photos came out good. No obvious noise can be seen when taking photos in low light but it’s not that clean either. Photos that were taken outdoors turns out beautifully and crispy clear. Close-up shots are good too. Details are great and I don’t see any out-of-focus areas in the shots.
Taking photos of food is really good and Instagram worthy. I love taking close-up shots of food because it is very appetizing to look at. Everything turns out good on my side. So based on my testing, the Galaxy S10e camera performance doesn’t disappoint.
Below are some of the short videos that I have taken with the Galaxy S10e.
The Image Stabilization feature in the Galaxy S10e works really well and it doesn’t shake as much when I held it in my free hand to take the videos. If it can be this stable, imagine how will it be if I use a gimbal stabilizer. Videography just became much better with the little beast.
While its bigger brothers, S10 and S10+ gets the limelight from Samsung fans, the S10e is more of an underrated beast in this context. Fans will turn their heads towards the bigger ones, overlooking this small(er) wonder.
So do I prefer the Galaxy S10e? Yes.
I don’t need the extra telephoto camera, I don’t need the bigger screen, I don’t need the on-display fingerprint scanner, I don’t need all those fancy stuffs. It still runs the same OS and also using the same AMOLED display. It is able to run PUBG Mobile without any hiccups. The battery can last me the whole day. Photo and video quality is great. It sounded great with its stereo speakers. And due to its size, it fits in my hand comfortably.
In the end, all the internal hardwares are the same except for the RAM amount. That’s okay by me because there is an 8GB of RAM version if you need it. The Galaxy S10e has all the same hardwares but only in a more compact and cute size.
And I love it that way.
Related article: https://ohsem.me/2019/03/samsung-galaxy-s10e-preview/