WHILE SOME MAY VIEW the S10e as the runt of Samsung's Galaxy S10 lineup, we think it's arguably the most interesting.
It's essentially the Korean firm's take on the iPhone XR and marks the first time that Samsung has offered buyers an "affordable" model alongside its top of the range Galaxy S and S Plus flagships, no doubt in a bid to help to reverse its slowing smartphone sales.
The Galaxy S10e is by no means your typical mid-ranger, though; it offers an all-new Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O screen, support for reverse wireless charging and performance that matches its more expensive siblings. We've, naturally, taken the handset for a spin - as well as the Galaxy S10 and S10+.
Design and display
Compared to the majority of smartphones we've fondled recently, the Galaxy S10e feels positively tiny. It sports an iPhone X-sized 5.8in AMOLED screen, which much like the Galaxy S10, sports Samsung's 'Infinity-O' punch-hole display. With no notch and barely-there bezels, the S10e feels much more compact than Apple's flagship and proved much easier to operate with one hand.
We soon forgot the cutout (below) was there too, and it proved much less visually-offensive than your typical notch.
The screen also makes use of Samsung's new Dynamic AMOLED technology, which the firm claims delivers "cinema-grade" colour and unrivalled outdoor visibility; it certainly proved impressive during our hands-on time with the device and offered sharp picture quality on par with the S10 and S10 Plus, albeit of a lesser FHD+ resolution.
Unlike its bigger brothers, though, the S10e adopts a flat screen, which means it lacks the impressive curves of the more expensive models. There's no in-display fingerprint scanner either, with Samsung instead opting for a side-mounted capacitive sensor.
Design-wise, the S10e has clearly taken a leaf out of Apple's book - particularly with its 'exclusive' yellow colour option. It'll also be offered in the same prism green, prism white, prism black and prism blue colours as the Galaxy S10.
These shiny colour options proved a nightmare for picking up smudges and fingerprints, but the device's glass and aluminium construction means it feels satisfyingly premium to hold. It should withstand a tumble or two, too - the front of the device is guarded by Gorilla Glass 6, and IP68 certification is also on offer
Software and performance
The Galaxy S10e, on paper, matches up to its more expensive siblings when it comes to performance; you'll find Samsung's 8nm octa-core Exynos 9820 processor (here in Blighty, at least), backed up by either 6GB or 8GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB built-in storage; not bad for a self-styled "mid-range" device.
As you'd expect, we have no complaints (yet) when it comes to real-world performance; apps opened quickly and the device showed no signs of stutter, likely helped by Samsung's stripped back One UI. Of course, we'll reserve full judgement until we can put the Galaxy S10e fully through its paces.
We haven't put the handset's 3,100mAh battery to the test yet, either, but we did catch a glimpse of the handset's reverse wireless charging capabilities. While the S10e lacks some of the standout features of its flagship siblings, the S10e does offer Wireless PowerShare, a feature that'll let you juice compatible devices, such as Samsung's new Galaxy Buds, by placing them on the rear of the device.
While the S10 and S10 Plus offer souped-up triple camera setups, the Galaxy S10e sports a more modest dual-camera setup comprising a 16MP ultra-wide lens coupled with a 12MP wide-angle lens.
Though we're yet to test it fully, the dual cameras handled Samsung's brightly-lit demo area with ease and captured images that, on first impressions at least, looked just as punchy and detailed as those snapped on the flagship S10's triple-camera setup. We're fans of the camera's ultra-wide lens too, captured crisp, bright, er, ultra-wide images.
We're not so fond of Samsung's accompanying AI trickery, though; 'Best Shot', an AI-fuelled feature that tells you where best to snap a photo, failed to work properly during our hands-on time with the device.
Around the front, the Galaxy S10e sports the same single-lens 10MP snapper as the "normal" S10; while it's not capable of much of the trickery offered by Apple's Face ID system, it proved perfectly capable at capturing a detailed, well-lit selfie - if you're into that kind of thing.
The Galaxy S10e is a much-needed addition to Samsung's flagship lineup, and - depending on how much it costs - could be an ideal device for those not fussed about flashy features such as an in-screen fingerprint scanner and a triple camera setup.
As the time of writing, we're still awaiting pricing details; we'll update this hands-on once this has been confirmed.
Check back soon for our full Samsung Galaxy S10e review.