Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds.
Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
ExpertiseContent strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
The first things I noticed about the new Galaxy Note 10 Lite and S10 Lite when I saw them at a small press preview here at CES are their giant 6.7-inch screens. The second is the rectangular camera array on the back, a bold new look that seems to confirm rumors that the Galaxy S11 will have a similar shape to house its cameras. It looks a lot better on the Note 10 Lite than on the S10 Lite, where the module protrudes from the back and takes up more space than it really needs to.
Otherwise, these new Lite
bring a good heap of specs that make them appealing -- especially the bright red Note 10 Lite, because I'm a sucker for that color on a phone. We don't know how much they cost or where they'll go on sale, but it's a sure bet that Samsung's new Lite phones will be cheaper than their Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10 counterparts.
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Watch this: Galaxy Note 10 Lite and S10 Lite: All about Samsung's new, cheap phones
From the massive screen size to the three rear cameras and a big 4,500-mAh battery, the Note 10 Lite and S10 Lite have a lot in common. Compared to the Galaxy S10 and Note 10, their screens aren't curved or as brilliant, and the materials are more modest. But they have the advantage of running Android 10 right out of the box. They also support dual SIM cards.
There are important differences between the two Lite phones. The most obvious is the Note 10 Lite's S Pen stylus, which was just as responsive on the Note 10 Lite as it is on the Note 10 Plus. The 10 Lite also uses Samsung's Exynos chipset, while the S10 Lite has a Snapdragon chip inside. Importantly, the Note 10 Lite has one feature many fans have been clamoring for -- a headphone jack. The S10 Lite does not.
There are separate camera sensors, too, with the Note 10 Lite having main, telephoto and ultrawide-angle lenses at 12 megapixels each. Meanwhile, the S10 Lite has a 48-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide-angle and 5-megapixel macro lens.
Of the two phones, I prefer the Note 10 Lite, which has the more advanced camera specs (at least on paper) and the more attractive design. Scroll below for the full specs.
Note 10 Lite and Galaxy S10 Lite: Samsung's flagship phones done cheap
Why did Samsung make the Note 10 Lite and S10 Lite?
What's even more interesting than the square camera array is that these phones exist at all. For the Note 10 Lite in particular, the fact that Samsung made this phone in the first place signals a shift in how it perceives its Note line. The Note has traditionally been the all-singing, all-dancing device for power users, the one to showcase every top-shelf spec and feature that Samsung has.
By bringing out a Lite version, which is undoubtedly more downmarket -- in a good way -- Samsung is taking its most different phone (the one with a stylus) and making it available in more places for more pricing options. With the Note 10 Lite, you now have a family of three Note 10s, ranging from it to the Note 10 Plus.
The Galaxy S10 Lite is a slightly confusing addition to an already jam-packed lineup that ranges from the more affordable Galaxy S10E to the Galaxy S10 5G. With the Lite, Samsung is pushing prices and features south.
For Samsung, that provides a golden opportunity to sell more of its most popular phones.