Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E: Which budget smartphone to buy?


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Erin Lawrence

Photo courtesy: India Today

The new lineup of Galaxy phones of 2019 was announced earlier this year: the Samsung Galaxy S10e, the Samsung Galaxy S10, the Samsung Galaxy S10+, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Many of you are probably asking: Is the Galaxy S10Ee Samsung’s answer to the Apple iPhone XR? Does the Galaxy S10e have what it takes to truly challenge Apple’s so-called “budget” iPhone? I asked guest blogger Al Mamun to put the two phones head to head to see which one comes out on top in his opinion. – Erin

Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E: Build and Design

Both the Galaxy S10E and iPhone XR have pretty similar design and build quality. Both have a metal frame made from aluminum or aluminum with glass panels on the front and back. Both devices come in an assortment of colors and are also water and dust resistant.

However, the Galaxy S10E IP68 rating, whilst the iPhone XR has IP67. So, here Samsung’s offering has a slight advantage.

When it comes to size, the iPhone XR is bigger compared to the S10e, so you could say the Galaxy S10E easier to hold and use in your hand, though someone else might feel the XR’s display is bigger and easier to read. Tomato, tomahto.

The S10e is also significantly lighter than the iPhone XR. Now this is partly because of the differences in the display sizes of the phones. The iPhone XR comes with 6.1-inch display, while the S10e has a 5.8-inch panel. Both phones have small bezels, though the S10e has bezels that are slightly smaller. So, another score for S10e. Both devices also have different arrangements to house the front-facing cameras. The iPhone XR has a notch, whilst S10e has a punch hole camera cut onto the display. Which one you like better boils down to your personal preferences.

Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E: Display Technology

Samsung Galaxy S10E vs Apple Iphone Xr, budget smartphone, which, best, review

Speaking about the displays, both devices have different display technologies and it is quite a significant difference. The iPhone XR comes with an LCD screen or as Apple calls it, “Liquid Retina Display”.  It’s actually a very decent panel with color accuracy, but in my opinion it falls short of the Galaxy S10e which as much better dynamic AMOLED display. The Samsung has deeper blacks, more vibrant colors, as well as a higher pixel density. So, when it comes down to the displays, the S10e is my clear winner.

Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E: Internals

Moving on the guts, the iPhone XR has Apple’s proprietary A12 Bionic chip. It’s very powerful making the XR one of the fastest smartphones out there.

The S10e comes with either with Samsung’s Exynos 9820 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor depending on where you live. Once again these are some of the latest and greatest SoCs in terms of speed and performance. So, both phones will have reliable and smooth user experiences. No clear winners here.

Speaking of smooth user experience, the iPhone XR has 3 GB of RAM and the Samsung Galaxy S10e has either 6 GB or 8 GB of RAM depending on which model you buy. On paper, it seems that the S10e will surpass the iPhone XR at multitasking, but you need to consider that both devices are running different operating systems so work differently. The iPhone XR uses iOS 12 on the iPhone XR and on the S10e side we have Samsung’s One UI running on top of Android Pie 9.0. The S10e also includes Wi-Fi 6 which is expected to be up to 20% faster compared to previous generation.

Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E: Storage

Samsung Galaxy S10E vs Apple Iphone Xr, budget smartphone, which, best, reviewStorage is a big deal for a lot of people. The iPhone XR comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB variants.  The Samsung S10e starts with a base model of 128GB and there is another model with 256GB. The storage on the S10e can be expanded up to 512 GB via an SD card. So, if you’re looking for a smartphone with a large and expandable memory option, the S10e is your choice.

Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E: Cameras

The cameras these days is where the rubber hits the road for a lot of smartphone buyers. It’s where we capture videos of our kids, selfies, and shots of the new puppy. The iPhone XR has a single 12 MP rear facing camera with optical image stabilization. It is an F1.8 aperture camera and has Apple’s Smart HDR feature and overall I think it’s a really good camera.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S10e has two rear-facing cameras, the primary shooter is 12 MP with optical image stabilization with a variable aperture between F1.5 and F2.4. The secondary camera is an ultra-wide camera with an F2.2 aperture with a 123-degree field of view.

Both devices can record videos in 4K up to 60 frames a second, but they have different HDR options. The iPhone XR has extended dynamic range while the S10e has got HTR 10 Plus. For the front-facing cameras, the iPhone XR has 7 MP shooter with an F2.2 aperture, whilst the S10e has a 10 MP camera with an F1.9 aperture with autofocus.

Both devices include portrait mode and work pretty well on either device. However, on the S10e side, you have the added option of video recording up to 4K UHD from the front-facing camera. The iPhone XR is limited up to 1080p in front. So when it comes to photography, I say the S10e is on the winning side.Samsung Galaxy S10E vs Apple Iphone Xr, budget smartphone, which, best, review

Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E: Security

For security, you have Face ID on the iPhone XR—which explains the wide notch. It’s reliable, works really well, and is super-fast. On the other side, the S10e has a typical fingerprint reader and is located on the side and works pretty well. The S10e also include 2D facial recognition, however, it isn’t as secure.

Audio: Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E

Both devices have really good stereo speakers. However, on the S10e, you do have a 3.5mm headphone jack, whereas on the iPhone XR, it has been removed (it has been like that for a while) so if you’re someone who digs wired earphones, opt for the S10e. If you’ve navigated your way to the future with truly wireless earbuds, then this analogue holdover won’t faze you and you might prefer the iPhone XR.

Batteries, Fast Charging, and Wireless Charging

Now, let’s talk about the batteries. The S10e has a slightly larger battery at 3100 mAh than iPhone XR’s 2942 mAh, but we’re talking tiny increments here. Battery life will vary depending on the usage, and since the S10e has a much higher resolution display than the iPhone, might drain faster.

In comparison, the iPhone XR does has the best battery life of any iPhone.  Both devices support fast charging, but in the case of the iPhone XR, you need to purchase the fast charger separately. The S10e has got the fast charger right out of the box. Both devices also support wireless charging, but the S10e has speedy wireless charging 2.0, which means you will be getting faster wireless charging speeds on the S10e compared to the iPhone XR.

Worth noting,  the S10e has a new feature  called ‘Wireless PowerShare’, which means that you can use your S10e to charge other devices that support Qi wireless charging including the iPhone XR. So, in the battery and charging department, I will give all my points to the S10e.

Samsung Galaxy S10E vs Apple Iphone Xr, budget smartphone, which, best, reviewPrices: Apple iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E

Finally, let’s talk prices. The S10e is a bit cheaper when compared to the iPhone XR if you take into account the 128 GB variants. The iPhone XR starts at US$749 for the 64 GB model, while the S10e starts at US$749 for the 128 GB variant. So, if you’re looking for value in terms of money, you will like what S10e is offering.

But you have to remember that hardware isn’t everything. It is about the whole ecosystem, operating systems, and experience you will be getting from the devices. Erin wrote a great blog about what it’s like switching from Apple to Android, and what some of the features are like when it comes to putting devices head to head. (Read about switching from Apple to Android here. ) If are somebody who’s deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone XR may be a better option for you. On the flip side, if you are team Android, or want to migrate from iOS to Android, then the Samsung Galaxy S10e does look like a compelling device at a reasonable price point.

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