[First Cut] Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite: More Note inside than outside

Cutting some corners, cutting the price tag too

by: - Last updated on: February 6th, 2020

All things big come to mind when one hears the name “Samsung Galaxy Note.” The smartphone series is known to come with a big display. A big battery. A big processor. A big RAM and storage number. And last, but not the least a big price tag. In the history of Galaxy Note, the phone has only once come with a slightly affordable price tag, way back in 2014 when the brand launched the Galaxy Note Neo.

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That has now changed with the introduction of the “Lite” version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10. The brand has introduced a Note which brings a lot of Galaxy Note-ish features to the table like a big display, the mighty S Pen, big battery to the table but with a not-so-big price tag. But then it is called the Galaxy Note 10 Lite for a reason.

Lite on them Note feels…

Samsung has been pretty visible in the market of late, releasing a number of smartphones. But sadly, these smartphones are also dealing with a bit of identity crisis, a problem only its mid-budget segment smartphone faced earlier but something that has now moved to a slightly higher price segment. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite suffers from this. The Note series has been pretty distinctive looking all throughout. That has changed with the Note 10 Lite as the phone looks like a routine recent Samsung mid-segment device. Take the S Pen away (which anyway is not too-in-your-face visible) and this could be any of Samsung’s upper mid-segment devices.

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The front has a tall 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display with an Infinity-O cutout on the top of the display in the center. Because the display does not curve out on the edges as it does on the not-so-Lite variants of the phone, it loses that design edge (lame pun intended. That said, the bezels are extremely thin and almost non-existent but we do miss the charm of the edgy display and the absence of it makes the Note Lite look slightly more routine, even with that tall AMOLED display.

The back of the phone did not impress us too much either, simply because it did not really stand out as a Note. Samsung has chosen the less traveled plastic road than the glass one, especially in this segment. That said, it definitely looks as glass-y as the glass itself would. So, for those wondering whether that plastic back takes anything away from the phone, the answer is NO. Because it is glossy and shiny, just like glass, it even attracts fingerprints just like glass, which means you would want to keep a wiping cloth handy if you are a little finicky about smudges. Samsung does ship a transparent savior case for the phone in the box, which can keep the phone smudge-free. The smartphone comes with a square-shaped primary camera unit with rounded edges, call it “Squoval.”

…but Note-ably decent looking

We received the Aura Glow color variant of the phone which is very silver-ish white in color and imitates the shades of a rainbow in a random pattern when held on certain angles. The back also carries the Samsung branding on the lower side.

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The glass on the front and the plastic on the back merge with a metallic colored frame that goes hand in hand with the shiny back. The right side of the frame carries the volume rocker and the power/lock button while the left side carries the hybrid SIM card slot. While the top of the phone does not have much happening, it is the base which is a feature-fiesta. It carries the 3.5 mm audio jack, the USB Type C port, speaker grille, and the S Pen (yes, finally some Note feels.)

We know we have said that the smartphone does not stand out as much as a routine Note should but that does not take away from the fact that the phone still looks premium, if not very. It is just right there on the premium line. It has not taken a step ahead to look brilliantly premium and has not really taken a step back to look mediocre.

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At 163.7 x 76.1 x 8.7 mm and 199 grams, the Note 10 Lite is definitely notably Note-ish. It is big and bulky. Not in an inconvenient, but in an enabling way. The tall, 6.7-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display is typical of the brilliant displays which Samsung is known for. It is also home to an in-display fingerprint scanner.

A Lite-ish chip…

Along with some corners cut in the design, the Lite also runs on almost a two-year-old processor which we have earlier seen on the Samsung Galaxy S9. It is powered by Samsung’s in- house Exynos 9810 processor paired with 8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage. There is also a 6 GB RAM/ 128 GB storage variant available and the storage can be expanded up to a massive 1TB if you are willing to invest in one of them microSD cards and ready to give up the second SIM card slot. No, we have not written off the Exynos 9810 just because of its age but it will be interesting to see how it manages to handle today’s tasks.

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In the camera zone, the Note 10 Lite brings a triple camera setup on the back consisting of three 12 megapixel sensors. The first one is a wide sensor with f/1.7 aperture, the second one is a telephoto with f/2.4 aperture and the third one is an ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture. Sounds awfully similar to a certain (i)phone, doesn’t it? Samsung also has stepped into the big-megapixel-party for the front cameras with a 32-megapixel front sensor with f/2.2 aperture.

Another Note-able thing about the Note Lite is the not-so-Lite battery. It is powered by a 4,500 mAh battery which comes with support for 25W fast charging and the charger is bundled in the box (yay, Samsung!)It runs on Android 10 which is topped with Samsung’s One UI 2.

…but a Lite-ish price also!

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All this for the price of Rs. 39,990, which is a pretty affordable price tag for a Galaxy Note (you can get it at a lower price if you avail of some offers). Yes, the phone cuts some corners in terms of design, processor and display resolution but there are plenty of Note-ish features that it brings along. First and foremost, you get that super-smart stylus support. The big, brilliant display is another plus. The camera arrangement again is impressive. And the battery size and the fast charging support cannot be ignored. Will the Lite-er Note deliver a hefty performance? For that, you will have to wait for our detailed review but so far, we have quite a few Note-able expectations from the phone.

Ps. tell us if you are tired of that overused pun in the comments below. We promise we will still use it if we want to! But we will gladly take Note of your feelings.

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