Galaxy S10E vs iPhone XR preview, the art of the 'affordable' flagship

Galaxy S10E vs iPhone XR preview, the art of the 'affordable' flagship
This year, Samsung will directly address its Apple problem by releasing exactly as many "flagships" as there were iPhones in announced in 2018. The Galaxy S10 will take on the iPhone XS directly, the S10+ will size its large display up with the XS Max, while the lowly iPhone XR will receive a brand new flat earth screen competitor in the form of the Galaxy S10E

The iPhone XR didn't turn out to be the best seller that analysts hoped but it has been the most popular of the new iPhones since its release in the US anyway, as can be expected from gear that costs $250 less than the next step

The same could happen with Samsung's Galaxy S10E (no, not the lower-than-expected sales part!), this is why we decided to pit those two "budget" buddies directly against each other, and preview the expected specs and design of the upcoming S10E against Apple's already established XR warrior.

Galaxy S10E vs iPhone XR design

XR in coral, meet S10E in green

Just like the XR and like its larger siblings, the Galaxy S10E is expected to sport glass rear and metal sides, with a body that comes in black, white, green, blue and yellow, according to Roland Quandt who leaked the S10E press render you see below. 

The XR will then surely beat it in the range of available colors, with its coral and red options. No green, though, take that, Apple, and you call yourself an environmentalist!

Since Samsung hasn't mimicked the gargantuan 6.1" screen diagonal of the XR, but is said to instead go for the 5.8-incher of the S9 in a non-curved flat version, the S10E may end up being more compact than the XR. It could also have thinner bezels all around than the XR's abominations. 

Overall, the dimensions are expected to be pretty similar, while the phones would differ in their biometry solutions. Samsung has reportedly equipped the S10E with a side-mounted finger scanner, while Apple retrofitted even its low-end model for 2018 with a TrueDepth camera setup at the front for facial recognition. 

Galaxy S10E vs iPhone XR specs and displays

The S10E may redefine active screen area and basic storage notions in the class

With an Infinity-O "punch hole" design, the active area of the smaller S10E screen may be very similar to what the iPhone XR offers, considering Apple's unsightly "notch" protrusion that houses the FaceID camera kit. The Super AMOLED display is also likely to be with a higher resolution than the HD+ or so that the iPhone offers.

As to what comes under the hood, considering that the iPhone XR is equipped with Apple's latest A12 processor that can crunch 4K videos like it's a gaming rig, we doubt that the Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 chippery of the S10E will bench more than the A12. The leaked benchmarks of the eventual S10E chipsets also confirm this, plus Apple's processor has to drive what will likely be a much lower display resolution, too. 

In any case, you won't feel underpowered with any of those 7nm juggernauts that will make a cameo with the S10E, so apart from synthetic bragging rights, iPhone fans won't have much else to point to as computational advantage of the XR. 

Moreover, the S10E is said to start from a 128GB basic storage, while the lowly iPhone XR comes with 64GB which would be score one for Samsung as the RAM amount can't really be compared directly given the drastic difference in mobile operating systems.

Galaxy S10E vs iPhone XR cameras

Hey, Samsung's boss said S10 cameras must be top-notch!

The Galaxy S10E is expected to take over the camera set from the Note 9, infused with some newfangled computational photography. Thus, we can expect a dual 12MP (main) plus 12MP (telephoto) camera config on the Samsung phone, against a single 12MP camera on the XR. Score two for Samsung here, but we'd wait to snap a few samples for you at the event in two weeks before we can pass any judgment. 

Given Samsung's track record with cameras recently, we can only expect the Galaxy S10E to at least match and most likely exceed in low light what the iPhone XR is capable of, even if we discount the extra telephoto lens and zooming abilities of the S10E. Hey, the boss said cameras must be top-notch, after all!

Galaxy S10E vs iPhone XR battery life

Low-res displays come with a not-so-obvious advantage

With the alleged 3100 mAh battery pack of the S10E, and the 2942 mAh one in the XR, all the specs listed so far make one conclusion about the battery life of these two the most probable. While the S10E battery would be just 3% larger than what the iPhone offers, Samsung's phone would most likely have to drive much more screen pixels than the XR, and that component is what takes the largest toll on battery life. 

With the processor production nodes being equal at 7nm, the S10E can't expect help on that front, either, so if we have to guess, we'd have to give the endurance round to the XR which has proven that it can be a real "two-day battery" phone thanks to the lowball screen resolution that Apple equipped it with. The S10E may last less, but will likely do it in at least a Full HD style.

Galaxy S10E vs iPhone XR prices

$750 is the new $650

We now come to the most interesting part, how much would the S10E cost compared to the iPhone XR. While previously Apple used to launch iPhones at the fairly decent $649 price point, it is now a Benjamin above that, and Samsung is unlikely to price its direct competitor much lower considering it may offer better hardware (and a green eco-friendly model!). 

In fact, different Korean sources are claiming that the cheapest member of the Galaxy S10 portfolio will start from 800,000 won, and that translates to about $715, so we can expect the S10E to be priced about the Galaxy S9 tag at launch. So, at ~$750 vs $750, which one would you pick considering that they would both have flat displays (now that's logic)?

Galaxy S10E or the iPhone XR, which one would you get?

Galaxy S10E
iPhone XR

Related phones

iPhone XR
  • Display 6.1" 828 x 1792 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 2942 mAh(25h talk time)
Galaxy S10e
  • Display 5.8" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh



1. Cat97

Posts: 1923; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The big difference between the two is that the S10e will be 8mm shorter and about 2mm narrower than the iPhone XR, comparison pictures in the article are wrong.

17. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

"As to what comes under the hood, considering that the iPhone XR is equipped with Apple's latest A12 processor that can crunch 4K videos like it's a gaming rig, we doubt that the Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 chippery of the S10E will bench more than the A12." The SD 855 can do live 4K HDR video. The A12 CANNOT do that. The SD 855 is bringing HDR10+, and is the first mobile SoC to do so. The SD 855 supports 8K video out at up to 120 fps. So VR and AR will shine with this SoC. The SD 855 also comes with a new HEVC and VP9 codec decoder that is seven times more efficient, and Qualcomm claims this means you won’t need to look for the charging cable while watching movies on Snapdragon 855-powered devices. It will be interesting to see how iPhoneArena. I mean how will PhoneArena will rate these new devices in their closed, in house battery tests. Also the S10e display supports HDR where as the XR does not. The S10e all day for the win, and you are saving money.

32. alaw.14

Posts: 426; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

They will never understand that. Such as the new upgraded hexagon dsp as an Ai accelerator is crushing everything currently. Support for 802.11ax with 8x8 MIMO is sick. Also adreno 640 with vulkan 1.1 support will post higher graphics scores then the a12, but will be very similar in fps testing. Since iPA likes to go by geekbench both exynos and sd855 will have multicore ranges between 10k-13k.

2. dimas

Posts: 3380; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Is this article for real? iphone xr is compared to an unreleased, unofficial s10e? What's the point when the other product have no official reviews yet? It's like an election between a person and a ghost.

19. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

There have been some sites that have already received their test S10e units, and are waiting for the release date which has already been confirmed in two weeks for the actual big boys the S10, and not the cheaper S10e. Putting that aside. Look at the things that are confirmed. Like the S10e has a confirmed higher resolution OLED display that supports HDR. The iPhone XR has a lower resolution LCD display that doesn't support HDR The S10e has dual rear 12 mp cameras, and the XR has one single camera on the rear. The SD 855 is the first chip to support live HDR 4k video capture with HDR10+. The A12 doesn't support that. A12 only supports HDR for camera images and not video. This is confirmed. Look it up yourself. Plus there is more, and to top it off the XR costs more and gives you less. Well that has always been the case when it comes to Apple products in general.

23. mackan84

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

You do know that hdr10+ is a format competing against Dolby vision? It’s like Blu-ray vs hd-dvd. It’s better to stay at the sideline and see who the winner will be. Netflix is aboard Dolby vision, there is my vote for now.

24. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Did you know that Netflix supports both DV and HDR10? DV OEMs of TVs and other types of equipment have to pay Dolby. Where as HDR10 is an open format and OEMs don't have to pay to use that format. Did you also know that there is more TVs that support HDR10 than DV right now. Not to mention there is next to no smartphones that support Dolby vision recording. Yet the vast majority of smartphones support HDR10 for photo images. No many HDR10 video recordings, currently. Well some already support HDR10 video recording. If you have been following these format wars. Then DV is losing right now, and will continue to lose. Mark my words.

28. mackan84

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Well good then. Still better to stay at the sideline and wait for the death of one of them formats. The a12 would handle hdr10+ with an ease, just needs an update although I know apple would promote it in a new iPhone even if the old ones can handle it.

30. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

The A12 cannot handle live HDR video recording. Live HDR video recording is already found on some Android smartphones today. Not one iPhone supports that, because the hardware or A12 cannot do that. If Apple could do that today, then don't you think Apple would be supporting that today. The only type of Dolby supported recording that can be done on an iPhone and most others, is audio recording only. No video at all. Apple is behind, period.

36. mackan84

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

One year ago androids were behind Apple in 4k60fps but the cameras change faster then anything on smartphones. But as far as SoC go Apple leads the way for now.

39. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Says who? Apple, and a crappy Geekbench score that is meaningless. Just like those single core scores, are trash. Look as of today not one iPhone supports any real multitasking, or split screen multitasking. As soon as you leave one app on an iPhone to run another, it automatically halts that task. That doesn't happen on Android. Other apps continue to run on Android. It's why Geekbench is a pile of crap, because it doesn't take that fully into effect when it runs. So it's not giving you the real picture for Android. If the A12 is really fast, then why not support real multitasking with split screen? Hmmm? Instead that is reserved for Apple's iPads, and even then Apple uses ANNX versions of their SoCs instead. Look there is a saying "proof is in the pudding". Show us what the A12 or any Action SoCs can do in your iPhones. Instead Apple's has nothing really to show in their iPhones. Where is a VR or AR headset? Yet those exist for Android and even older SD SoCs.

40. mackan84

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

The iPad 5th gen 2017 runs a a9 from the iPhone 6s and does multitasking. Give me an example of an app that needs to “not halt” when switching. You can run any gps-apps while switching over to any app while running music etc. Compare fortnite on an iPhone to an android. Compare 4K rendering. VR exists on the iPhone as well as android with those cheap headsets the same goes for AR. AR is demonstrated on every Apple-event the last couple of years.

42. alaw.14

Posts: 426; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

What you mean compare fortnite when phones like the note 9 was updated to run fortnite at 60 fps as well? Sd kills it when it comes to 4k rendering now supporting hdr 10+.

43. mackan84

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

There is a lot more frame drops on note 9. I mean compare an android to an iPhone when exporting a 4K project. The thing is Apples SoCs uses bigger cores and are more expensive because they calculate profit from a complete phone. Arm and qualcomm makes their profit from the chip.

47. riteshrkm

Posts: 157; Member since: Apr 15, 2015

Why are you avoiding a general simple thing which a even a 200$ Android can do what he said n talking of Fortnite n 4k Rendering. I can watch a youtube video or Fav tv series simultaneously I can chat in Whatsapp. A simple simple thing! can this be done by any Iphone today? For godsake now d'nt say Split window is a Gimmick!

55. mackan84

Posts: 547; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

it is a gimmick, I have an iPad and never use split window. I use copy and paste which work fine on both. I use maps or gps simultaneously with other apps. why would I need Netflix and another app on a 5.8" screen? its just dumb

3. irossdrummer

Posts: 369; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

I hate how $750 is now considered "affordable". I got my s9 plus on sale for $735. About 3-4 years ago flagships costed $650 and the plus or "edge" (at the time lol) were $750. $1000 for the basic high end (not "affordable") phone is just ridiculous.

7. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

wait a few months and the Samsung phone will be cheaper and some carriers will probably have some great deals around launch as well, unfortunately if you buy unlocked you'll have to wait on the former but I agree it's a shame but when you want bigger and better phones the prices are bound to get bigger as well, their are still fantastic flagship phones being sold for less than $600 and you can get mid ranged phones that are more powerful than the old $650 phones for less than half that, you have options that aren't bad people, quit acting like you have to get one of the $700 plus phones, of course if you're and iOS user I suppose you have to, tough break that.

4. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Gotta go with the S10E a unibrow on a phone is still a no go for me, not to mention the fact that the S10E will have much better battery life, sure the cells aren't that different in size but the SD845 is already more power efficient than the A12, I expect the SD855 to take that a step farther and of course the S10E will have an OLED display as opposed to the LCD on the XR. The XR has literally already lost in battery life, camera and display, the 3 most important categories before the S10E has even launched lol. BTW don't @ me about the efficiency stuff because it's true, the A12 is more powerful than the SD845 but not more efficient despite being produced on 7nm and the SD845 on 10nm, SD855 on 7nm though!

5. Cat97

Posts: 1923; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Actually if the S10e will have a QHD display like the S9/S10 (and I suspect it will, it will most likely not beat the XR in battery life. The XR has stellar battery life which comes from the 7nm chipset and also the low-resolution display.

8. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

For the record the article says FHD+ for the S10E but for the sake of it lets say it did have a QHD resolution, I would still be right and I can prove it, keep in mind that the S10E will have the same display size and basically the same battery size as the iPhone XS. GSM has a fantastic endurance test if you will kindly look at the review for each of these iPhones and skip to the endurance rating you will find that the XS with the same chip as the XR gets a lowly 1hr more yet higher rating than the XR does thanks to it's extra 232mAh even though it has a higher resolution screen, given how similar the battery size and display of the S10E will be to the XS I think it is safe to say that the S10E with it's much more efficient SOC will do a lot better than the XS and of course the XR as well in battery life endurance.

16. Cat97

Posts: 1923; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Actually you may want to look here, XR beats the XS/Max by a huge difference, exactly due to the display. The display driver circuit power draw plays a huge role, but amateurs don't take its existence into account.

37. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I use anandtech too but they can't run their full battery life suit on iPhones so you just get the web browsing, look at gsm, they do web browsing too and just looking at that you get the same as the test you just showed me, infact fact the difference in web browsing on GSM is bigger than that on anandtech lol. really should read things you know.

11. adecvat

Posts: 644; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

> lost in battery life What? Don't forget it has different OS, not so power hungry. > and display If it will be FHD amoled, no way. > camera Wow, can you share some samples?

20. hpspectrex360

Posts: 57; Member since: May 10, 2017

Judging by the look of the power button on the S10e, I don't think it'll have that in-display fingerprint scanner, it'll likely be on the power button. Edit: just realized the article mentions it. This may be a deal breaker for me though.

34. middlehead

Posts: 458; Member since: May 12, 2014

It's been said all along that the E wouldn't have the in-display reader. It'd be nice, but side is okay too. I wish the power button was lower on the side, but I really don't want the reader on the back. Flat screen is the most important part of this one to me.

21. domfonusr

Posts: 1087; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

If I had the $750 in disposable cash to spend, I would take the iPhone XR over the Galaxy S10E... mostly because I am not a spec's junkie, I am already invested in Apple's iTunes ecosystem, and five years of support versus three at the most for the Samsung. Granted, five years is a long time to hang on to one phone, and I don't expect the performance to increase (or even stay the same) over time, but if I was going to spend $750 on a phone it had better last for a good long while. Still, the S10E, if it turns out to meet all of the expectations, seems like it would be a decent phone as well, and certainly better spec'd and at least as capable as the XR. I just don't need the extra power, though. I am all for phones that are HD resolution and/or about 300ppi in density. Unless you are truly a connoisseur of fine smartphone displays, or a mobile gamer or video editing or something, there is really no discernable difference between a 300ppi display density and anything more than that. The XR doesn't waste any time on having a display that is above the 'Retina' standard, and anything more would be wasted on me. However, as there are phones available at much lower prices that deliver everything I need, I have no need to spend $750 on either of these devices, in the end. If I was to wait a year for the Samsung, or two to three years for the iPhone, I could get the same phone with a little less support in the future for a much lower price, I imagine.

50. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

What iphone gives you 5 yrs support? Your lucky Apple gives you one yr support. 7 and 7 plus are already havin the slowed down operatin a shuttin off at 40 percent problem that seems like apple does on purpose since the 6s and before that the 6 did the same thing Soon this will happen to your 8. Everytime you update a iphone you have to worry about something not working on your phone. Example: ear speaker wont work for anythin can only use phone with headphones and speaker button is grayed out. Even if phone is under warranty they claim this is not there fault amd tell you to buy a new phone or do insurance claim. Yea i love apple

53. domfonusr

Posts: 1087; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

All has to do with perspective: iPhone owners will tell you that they get at least 5 years of OS updates and ongoing support. I fully understand that such is not the same as a warranty, which only lasts one year in the US, but just about every OEM offers a one-year warranty in the states, so it is a moot point. Again, the throttling of the CPU by Apple on its devices as they age, while certainly Apple is hoping that you will buy a new iPhone in response, the truth at the center of that is that you can replace the battery and the throttling goes away. I would rather replace a battery at $80 than buy a whole new handset at $750, but that is my own preference. I know plenty of iPhone owners who have the means and the desire to spend $1000+ every year when each new iPhone comes out... I will never be one of them, but I do think that the iPhone offers them something that other phones do not, or else they would not be spending $1000+ a year in order to have the newest iPhone all the time. I would not say that I "love" Apple. I am surrounded in my community by people who do "love" Apple, and so I can see both their advantages and pitfalls, but there is a balance to be had somewhere in the middle. I was gifted my first used iPod nano by my brother in 2013, and even though it was beat up, it still worked well enough for me, and I got started in the iTunes ecosystem. In 2015 for Christmas, my parents and my brother collaborated to buy me my first new iPod nano, and I have immensely enjoyed it. I still have it, and still use it regularly (I did have a slight problem with it late last year, when iTunes had to be reinstalled on my PC, and would not recognize my iPod for a while... I worked with Apple support to try to get the problem fixed, but they could not figure it out, and encouraged me to buy an iPhone to replace my iPod, which I did not do... I eventually figured out that if I uninstalled Nokia PC Suite and all of its connectivity drivers, that would fix the problem, and so now I cannot connect my iPod and my old Nokia smartphones to the PC without uninstalling the other's support... but at least my iPod syncs with iTunes again), and the experience has overall been great. I have nothing bad to say about Apple's products. Their business practices I do get a bit upset with at times, but other companies try to get away with the same things once Apple has gotten away with them the first time, so I can't really single-out Apple at this point, other than for the fact that they were the one and only trillion-dollar-elephant in the room...

54. domfonusr

Posts: 1087; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Sorry for the double-post...

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