Take a look at the spec-sheet and you immediately wonder why Samsung chose to term it ‘Lite’.
With 8GBs of RAM on board, a 2.7GHz processor under the hood, a display that makes you go ‘WOW’ and the inclusion of the beloved headphone jack, this puppy is more of a revolver shooting bullets at its competition in proper noteworthy style rather than just a ‘Lite’ smartphone.
Design and build
The OG Note 10+ (Heavy) is a beautiful slab of pure note-worthy class in its Aura glow avatar and the S Pen its greatest feature. Samsung’s idea of bringing it to the masses at almost half the price of the big daddy comes with some compromises and those are mainly in the design department.
Hold it in the hand and you immediately notice the lack of that high polish metal and glass blend that the Note 10 comes with. The Note10’s curved glass at the front, the curved edges that fit your palm like Thor’s Hammer and make you feel like Thor, the super-premium feel, are all missing. Dare we say it, but it feels like an S9 with a stylus and now, the term ‘Lite’ starts making sense. Don’t get us wrong, though, the build quality is still pretty Samsung, but the design, slightly standard.
We got the ‘Aura Red’ variant and the colour, although appealing to some, doesn’t really tickle our senses on the Lite. The back now gets the ‘Pro-Grade’ camera that rests on the top left in an iPhone-esque rectangle and looks slightly less streamlined than the cleverly integrated unit on the Note 10. The S Pen remains in the bottom left corner and the headphone jack (yay) rests on the right. The unit feels slightly chunky to hold, but hey, it’s a Note alright.
Screen and Audio
Replete with vivid colours and stunning detail, the 6.7in Super AMOLED display, although not capable of QHD, is quite the stunner in its FHD+ resolution. You get the regular options to change modes – there’s ‘Vivid’ which lends it that special ‘pop’ and if you’re a bit OCD, there’s the ‘White Balance’ settings that allow you complete control over RGB levels so you can tweak it to your liking.
Stare at it under the sun or the moon, the Note 10 Lite makes sure it doesn’t disappoint you when you binge on your favourite Netflix shows. The added headphone jack is a boon and enables a suite of Dolby Audio settings which include ‘Movie’, ‘Music’ and ‘Voice’. Apart from this, you also get the UHQ upscaler that enhances the sound resolution for a richer media experience. Pair it with good headphones and you really have quite a serious entertainer in your palm. Yes, it’s not as immersive as the big daddy Note 10+ with its curved edges, but the display itself is so good, you’ll be hitting next after almost every episode of your favourite show. Gaming is equally addictive on the big display, but the OnePlus and the ROG II have a slight edge over the Lite, offering refresh rate options that lend to a better gaming experience, especially when it comes to first person shooters.
The 32MP front camera is an upgrade over the Note 10’s 10MP unit and now manages to capture shots with impressive detail. You also get the regular AR Emoji shenanigans as well as Samsung’s suite of creative stickers that make for some really fun Insta stories.
Around the back there’s the 12MP Ultra-wide, 12MP Wide and a 12MP Telephoto unit with optical image stabilisation. The shots turn out a tad over smoothened but do have the typical colour-pop we’re familiar with. There’s enough detail on offer; however, the OnePlus 7T handles exposure and colours better. It’s a really tough battle, and the differences really minute, but surprisingly the Note 10 Lite comes out on top thanks to its ability to capture better details. Low light shots come out well too, although the Pixel’s Night mode takes the cake.
Video captures come out as smooth as butter and with ‘Super Steady’ on (and a steady hand), it feels like they’ve been taken with the help of a gimbal. You also get Tracking auto-focus that works tirelessly to keep a moving subject in focus. Apart from that, there’s the Pro mode for those who want to up the ante along with others such as Hyperlapse, Super slow-mo and regular Slow motion along with Panorama.
The slim pokey thing is the talk of the town and is the same unit borrowed from the big daddy Note 10. It enables a lot of the same features that we experienced on the flagship, but not all of them. The pen enables you to quickly jot down notes in the ‘Off Screen’, doodle like Picaso, send Live Messages and much more.
You can also select a part of the display, make a GIF of that selection or extract text from whatever it is you’ve selected. It’s a great feature for those who love to collect snippets and articles. The pen can also be used as a remote to click pictures, scroll through the Gallery and control your media.
While most of the features have been trickled down, there are a few that are reserved for the flagships and don’t feature on the Lite. Air Gestures that allow you to flick the Pen in order to change camera modes and others are missing on the Lite, but we didn’t really miss using them. The basics are covered and the Pen on the Lite is truly noteworthy.
Like a government’s secret pandemic conspiracy, Samsung doesn’t reveal its processors, but a quick search confirms it’s the Exynos 9810 with the Mali G-72. It can handle regular tasks pretty efficiently and is almost on par with the super-quick anxiety ridden OnePlus 7T, although the latter trumps it when it comes to managing a higher workload and multitasking.
The Lite handles games pretty well and we could easily complete rounds after rounds of COD Mobile with settings at ‘high’. The OnePlus 7T, however, does things a lot faster and the difference in load times is quite noticeable. We recommend you spend a tad bit more and buy the 8GB variant if you’re a power user.
The Lite is a slab for those with a penchant for creativity and the S Pen enables just that. It’s got the looks, the display and, more importantly, Samsung’s One UI that we are absolutely in love with. Add the S Pen and its suite of features and you have quite the beast of a smartphone and more so a tool that enables you to express your creativity and work.