Samsung has started off 2020 with a bang by doing something that it has never done with its flagship Galaxy S and Note series smartphones. For the first time, there are ‘Lite’ versions of both the Galaxy S10 (review) and Note10 Plus (review), the brand’s flagship phones which had been announced back in 2019. The idea behind both Lite edition phones appears to be obvious. OnePlus is very popular in the affordable flagship segment in India, and Samsung is keen to take the fight to the Chinese smartphone maker. I currently have the Note10 Lite with me, and I think that thanks to its starting price of Rs 38,999, Samsung has all but rapped hard on OnePlus’ door. However, whether this is going to be a hard-fought battle is something that will be made clear after I review the device. For now here are my first impressions of the Galaxy Note10 Lite. 

Inside the box are some pretty standard items. There is obviously the phone itself in all its glory. Tucked in the top half is the documentation and a plastic case. Under the phone, we find Samsung’s fast charge adapter which is capable of 15W charging. Along with that, we find the in-ear earbuds sans the AKG branding that we are used to seeing with the Note and S-series devices.

While there is no denying that the Note10 Lite has the premium appeal of its much pricier older brother, the Note10 Plus, there are some cost-cutting measures. These include a polycarbonate or ‘glasstic’ finish on the back as compared to the Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection on the Note10. Consequently, this means that the Note10 Lite does not support any kind of wireless charging. The phone is not light, but the curved back on the phone lends a good grip to the device.

The Note10 Lite is equipped with a flat Super AMOLED display which is 6.7-inch in size and has FHD+ resolution. The punch hole for the selfie camera or as Samsung calls it, the ‘Infinity O’ display, is quite prominent at the top. Surprisingly the 3.5mm headphone jack makes a return after it was unceremoniously dumped from the Note10 series last year. Interestingly the Galaxy S10 Lite has opted out of the jack even though the S10 has it.

Of course, it would not be a Note phone without the all-mighty stylus. The Note10 Lite brings in the same S-pen that is privy to the Note10 series and offers most of the same functionality as well. I shall delve into more of the S-pen in my full review.

The triple cameras on the Note10 Lite, which are arranged in a rectangular housing, include a 12MP primary lens with a fixed f/1.7 aperture, a 12MP telephoto snapper and a 12MP wide-angle shooter with f/2.4 aperture with a 123-degree field of view. If shooting videos is your forte then the Note10 Lite also has OIS on the primary lens along with the Super-Steady mode for reducing shake. At front, there’s a 32MP camera housed in the punch hole. 

I did click a few sample shots with the Note10 Lite. You can see them below.

The Note10 Lite runs OneUI 2.0 based on Android 10 out-of-the-box. While I will reserve my judgments on the software after I review the device in its entirety, my initial impressions of the software are that it is quite similar to stock Android with many features of the original OneUI retained. 

As far as performance goes, the Note10 Lite comes with an Exynos 9810 SoC which is the same chipset that had been used by Galaxy Note9 (review). You do get the option of 6GB or 8GB of RAM while internal storage remains 128GB. In typical Samsung fashion, you will also get the option to expand this storage to 1TB using a microSD card.

Samsung has boosted the battery capacity of the Note10 Lite by giving it a 4,500mAh cell instead of the 4,300mAh seen on the Note10 Plus. We do get 15W fast charging on the Note10 Lite. 

The Galaxy Note10 Lite is Samsung’s attempt to assert some kind of dominance in the Rs 30,000- Rs 45,000 price range. The phone is being marketed for power users who might not want to shell out the premium amount for the original Note10, but could be tempted if they get some of the main features at a lower price. We will have to see how the phone fares in regular use when I review the device in full, so stay tuned for that.