Top positive review
THE BEST Android phone under $500 by FAR
Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2020
Rant about TRASH Amazon pricing policy the previous review mentioned first:
Just as the review directly before mine, I bought this phone for my wife when it was on sale for $500(Down from $650, a great deal). 2 days after I purchased it, and before I even received it, the price dropped to $449 which Amazon REFUSES to price match/honor even though it is within my return policy. The price I paid of $499.99 was an offer that was ‘SOLD AND SHIPPED BY AMAZON’, as is the current offer for $449.99...also ‘SOLD AND SHIPPED BY AMAZON’. HOWEVER... They want me to return the phone, wait for the refund and repurchase the phone(which assumes the price doesn't go back up to its normal $650)...OR just buy a second phone and return the first one when I get it, which is also extremely unreasonable ESPECIALLY during/soon after the COVID pandemic, when people are struggling financially...NOT EVERYONE HAS AN EXTRA $500 to spend on another phone when they already paid for the first one. Shame on you Amazon for making customers jump through hoops to get a price match that any other retailer would do. Perhaps tighten up the reckless return policy that clearly allows for used items to be returned as new and implement a more reasonable and fair price matching policy. Also to note; this isnt a normal phone that is associated with any contract or activation, its an UNLOCKED phone so there should be absolutely NO ISSUE WITH DOING A PRICE MATCH! I have worked in the cell phone industry and know what im talking about. I know the complications price matching a phone when it is already associated with a device(IMEI/ESN), thats NOT the case here!
**Real PHONE Review**
The phone itself as I said is for my wife. I am an iPhone person(not an Apple person, just an iPhone person)...but my wife previously worked for Samsung and is loyal to their phones. She has previously had an A5 (2016) and A8 (2018) and both were VERY solid phone for their price point. The Galaxy S10 Lite was originally rumored to be named the Galaxy A91, sticking in line with her previous phones A-Series models drew our interest. For those that dont know, the rest of the world has had A-line Samsung phones for YEARS that offer 2/3’s of the performance and features of S-line for a fraction of the cost. The A-line is overwhelmingly the most popular of their lines outside the US, even though most people in the US assume if its not S-Series its trash(like the J7). However, Samsung decided to change the name last minute for whatever reason(i think they didnt want a A-series phone to have the QualComm Snapdragon 855, a flagship processor, associated with the A-series line of phones). The phone performs as a flagship should, its snappy and handles all tasks with ease, and its exponentially better then the A8 (2018) which was also still a relatively new phone (1.5yrs). I cant see this phone being out performed by ANY Android in its price range, its just so smooth and snappy. Originally I was looking at the International version, as her A8 and A5’s were both international variants, but decided on the US version because of the higher amount of RAM(8GB US, and 6GB International) and US warranty. However it would be nice to have a Dual Sim capable US Galaxy S10 Lite. Smart switch and moving her MicroSD card and SIM from her A8 to the S10 Lite made the transfer about 10 minutes and as painless as possible. She was up and running with all systems go. I also have to say that I was even impressed with the performance, which is rare with an Android. Im not a big fan of Android due to the bloatware on it by various Manufacturers and Service providers, but as phones get faster, it seems the bloatware has less of an impact...as well as the fact that since this isnt an AT&T phone(what we use) there is no added bloatware from them.
*CAMERA AND CHARGING*
The camera on the S10 Lite is absolutely amazing. In combination with the beautiful screen on the device, your pictures will truly look as though they were taken with an actual camera(not a phone). After only a few days, it is quite easy to say, and very apparent that the camera on this phone is OUTSTANDING! It takes BEAUTIFUL pictures! I do wish Samsungs Camera app was easier to use, like the iPhone. They offer a lot, but have a lot going on and it isnt nearly as user friendly as the iOS Camera app.
-I will also say, that the face recognition is seemingly somewhat poor. I will see how it is moving forward, BUT its REALLY not good, which did not surprise my wife. My wife even told me when I told her to set it up that since she worked at Samsung YEARS ago that their face recognition is bad. I would have hoped it would have been improved on, and it isnt terrible, its just not nearly as seamless as one would expect...so for now shes using the in screen fingerprint reader, which works PERFECTLY! The in screen fingerprint reader is near flawless, and works perfectly!
-The phone comes with a 25W USB-C to USB-C Super Fast Charger and cable which is nice(though the cable isnt very long, nor is it good quality, I suggest a Choetech or Anker USB-C to USB-C cable). Many people comment that they wish it was the 45W Charging block that came with the phone, that the phone is capable of, but charging your phone with the fastest possible charging all the time generally isnt good for the battery, and 25W charges pretty damn fast as it is so shes happy with it. I can also confirm it will still ‘fast charge’ with a QC 3.0 charger and USB-A to USB-C cable so you can use the provided charger in your main charging area and keep your old QC 3.0 charger if you have one in a secondary area. It will also still fast charge with a lower power USB-C charging block and USB-C to USB-C cable, so if you have an 18W USB-C charger thats PPS/PD3.0 it will still do a ‘normal fast charge’ similar to the speed of QC 3.0.
*LOOK AND FEEL*
The phone also looks and feels more premium then I expected with Samsungs Glasstic. I have felt some other phones that dont use metal/glass for the frame and rear panel and theyve all left something to be desired. That doesnt happen with this phone, and you would be forgiven for thinking the back is glass(minus the weight). The easiest way to notice is that it is far lighter then glass would be. Another concern my wife had was size, the phone is 6.7” which is a significant jump from her A8(5.6”) BUT its thinner then most big phones(which is pretty standard for Samsung) so it still fits well in her smaller hands.
*FEATURES LEFT OUT*
While the loss of wireless charging and an IP rating compared to the S10, S10+, S10e, Note10, and S20 (Heck, even her A8 had an IP rating!) line does absolutely suck, and is inconvenient its not the end of the world. If I had to pick one I would prefer the IP rating on this phone and give up the wireless charging, because wireless charging is pure convenience but an IP rating protects your investment, so I hope in the future, no matter how ‘budget’ they make an S-line phone, I hope they include an IP rating especially considering its already been included in previous A-line phones in the past.
All in all this is far and away the best Android phone in the $500 price range. If youre an iPhone user the iPhone SE would be your go to(and in reality is a better buy anyways because of its $400 price point vs. this phone normally at $650), and if your a Samsung or Android user looking for flagship PERFORMANCE and are willing to sacrifice some convenience add-ons this should be your pick. You get a flagship processor, albeit last years model, 8GB RAM, a beautiful AMOLED display, Super Fast Charging, and a VERY similar camera setup to most flagship Androids that cost hundreds more. I strongly recommend this phone, just be prepared to get screwed by Amazons garbage price match policy if the price drops directly after you purchase it.
If you have got to this point in the review...I am just adding an update 2.5 months after initial purchase. The phone is still as snappy, fast and responsive as the day we received it. Amazon still sucks for their trash pricematch policy on this item, and I can still say with full confidence having worked in Cell Phones for 2+ years that this is by far the best bang for buck Android phone currently on the market, and makes it hard to justify double the cost on flagship devices for minimal convenience improvements. This phone has everything you NEED and performs the same as a flagship does. Buy with confidence, Samsung hit this one out of the park(but still...include IP rating next time).