- Among other announcements, Samsung last week introduced the Galaxy S10e, a $US750 smartphone with many of the same features as the larger and more expensive Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus.
- Having tried the Galaxy S10e in person, I can say it’s going to be the best new Galaxy phone for most people.
- Apple’s iPhone XR, released last October, also costs $US750 – but the Galaxy S10e is superior in many ways.
- If Apple is reexamining the iPhone XR’s placement in its 2019 iPhone lineup, it should consider what Samsung has done with the Galaxy S10e.
Samsung last week introduced five (!) new phones, including the Galaxy S10e.
At $US750, the Galaxy S10e might seem like Samsung’s challenger to the iPhone XR, which has an identical starting price. But the Galaxy S10e is a better phone than the iPhone XR – and more important, it has a more logical place in Samsung’s smartphone lineup.
It’s unclear whether Apple will release a successor to the iPhone XR in 2019. But if it does, it should take a page from Samsung’s Galaxy S10e.
Many people will compare the Galaxy S10e with Apple’s iPhone XR, as the two phones have the same starting price. But in many ways, the Galaxy S10e feels more like Samsung’s version of Apple’s iPhone XS — but $US250 cheaper, of course.
The Galaxy S10e looks almost identical to the $US1,000 iPhone XS. Both phones have a flat 5.8-inch OLED screen, which produces bright and crisp images.
Apple’s $US750 iPhone XR has an LCD screen, which isn’t as good.
The Galaxy S10e and the iPhone XS also have two cameras on the back, while the iPhone XR has a single rear lens.
The Galaxy S10e doesn’t have anything like Face ID, Apple’s facial-recognition system for unlocking the phone or making purchases. Instead, it has a traditional fingerprint sensor on the power button. But that’s not a deal-breaker.
The Galaxy S10e feels like the best possible phone Samsung could have made at its size. It makes sense in the lineup as well: Since it lacks the triple-camera system, curved display, and in-screen fingerprint reader of the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, it’s cheaper than both of those phones.
Apple’s Galaxy S10e counterpart, the iPhone XR, is awkward. It’s bigger than the iPhone XS and smaller than the iPhone XS Max, but it isn’t superior to either phone.
Given the sacrifices Apple made to its display quality and rear camera system, the iPhone XR does not feel like the best possible phone Apple could have made at its size.
Apple’s phones still have plenty of advantages over the Galaxy phones, in general. The Apple ecosystem, the stability of iOS, and the frequent software updates straight from Apple still make any iPhone a very appealing choice. But Samsung is closing the gap, thanks to its hardware prowess.
The Galaxy S10e is what Apple’s iPhone XR should have been all along: the smallest and most affordable “new” phone in the lineup.
The iPhone XR would have made more sense as a smaller alternative to the iPhone XS. But it’s very hard to choose the XR over the XS, because of that noticeable gap in display quality.
The new Galaxy phones are easier to understand from a customer’s perspective. Every phone has an OLED screen, but some phones have more screen real estate or an extra camera lens. For each step up in size, you’re also getting a slight step up in quality.
Apple’s iPhone lineup is the weakest it’s been in years, and that’s because of the confusion created by the iPhone XR, an iPhone sized between the iPhone XS and the XS Max but inferior to both phones.
Apple is still the gold standard for the seamless integration of hardware, software, and services, but Samsung and others are catching up.
It would behoove Apple to consider the logic of the Galaxy S10 lineup, where price correlates with size but not quality, when considering how to produce and market its 2019 iPhones.