Samsung Galaxy S10e vs iPhone XR: does Samsung's $750 offer trample over Apple's "budget" iPhone?

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs iPhone XR: does Samsung's $750 offer trample over Apple's
Well, well, the new Galaxy phones are here and — as expected — we now get a trio of flagships. Two premium-priced ones and a more “affordable” edition. That's without mentioning the 5G version and the foldable phone, bear with us, we are trying to keep it simple.

So, three new Galaxy S10 phones. Remind you of something? Yeah, that strategy looks a lot like the trio of iphones we saw a few months back. And it just so happens that the “affordable” Galaxy S10e matches the price of the “affordable” iPhone XR exactly — $750.

We wondered — how do these two devices stack up against one another? So, we spent some time with both of them in hand, here are our quick impressions.

Design


Samsung Galaxy S10e vs iPhone XR: does Samsung's $750 offer trample over Apple's "budget" iPhone?

The Samsung Galaxy S10e shares a lot of the colors that the other S10 phones come with. The exception here is Canary Yellow, which will only be available on the S10e. Luckily, we brought our own yellow iPhone XR for some comparison shots. It doesn't show a lot in the photos, but we can assure you — that Galaxy S10e is a screaming yellow, definitely more vibrant than the iPhone XR. That can be either a good or a bad thing, depending on what you are aiming for.

Moving past the color, the Samsung Galaxy S10e is certainly much more compact than the iPhone XR. For one, the Sammy has a 5.8-inch screen, while the diagonal on the iPhone's display is 6.1 inches. In fact, in terms of size, the S10e is much more comparable to the more expensive iPhone XS.

Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.79 x 0.3 inches

143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm

Weight

6.24 oz (177 g)

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Dimensions

5.6 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.29 oz (150 g)

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.84 oz (194 g)

Apple iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.79 x 0.3 inches

143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm

Weight

6.24 oz (177 g)

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Dimensions

5.6 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.29 oz (150 g)

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.84 oz (194 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page

You probably noticed another interesting tidbit in this image — the bezels of the iPhone XR kind of stick out at you like a sore thumb, don't they? And, while we know from experience that you can live with them, it's just impossible to ignore how much cleaner and more elegant the Galaxy S10e looks when compared to Apple's “budget flagship”.

We were a bit worried about the side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S10e, but it's not really hard to reach, especially since the device is so compact.

Display and hardware


The display panels are also wildly different. On the iPhone XR, Apple stuck to its traditional LCD, while Samsung used the latest iteration of its own Super AMOLED technology. Which one is better? Well, while one can argue that Apple's LCD panels are really, really good, the unanimous vote always goes towards a good OLED panel.

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs iPhone XR: does Samsung's $750 offer trample over Apple's "budget" iPhone?


Reason being is that OLED provides the ultimate contrast with its deep blacks, as well as more vibrant and punchy colors. Also, in the case of the Galaxy S10e vs the iPhone XR, the former has a much sharper resolution — 1080 x 2280 pixels (435 ppi) — and the latter sticks to a more modest 828 x 1792 pixels (326 ppi).

As for hardware — both the iPhone XR and Galaxy S10e sport their respective "best available" chips. The iPhone is powered by Apple's super-fast, hexa-core A12 Bionic, the Galaxy has Qualcomm's latest-and-greatest octa-core Snapdragon 855. The iPhone has 3 GB of RAM, the Galaxy starts at 6 GB and goes up to 8 GB.

Both phones appear to run smooth and fast, but we will need more time to put the S10e through its paces.

Camera


Samsung Galaxy S10e vs iPhone XR: does Samsung's $750 offer trample over Apple's "budget" iPhone?

So, the Galaxy S10e comes with no telephoto camera on the back and no secondary camera on the front. While shedding those, it also lost the ability to take Live Focus photos — there's no DSLR-emulating faux bokeh for a Portrait Mode on this phone.

To make up for that, Samsung gives you the ultra-wide-angle lens for the secondary camera on the back. With a 123-degree field of view, you can get some interesting shots, or dress your phone up in an armored case and use it as a makeshift action camera.

The iPhone XR also dropped extra cameras. In fact, it's down to the essentials — one on the front and one on the back. However, it retains its Portrait Mode by using the single main snapper and some software trickery.

We'll have more time to take detailed samples and compare the two cameras' performances later, but it seems that the decision here comes down to: do you want Portrait Mode or do you want an ultra-wide-angle camera?

Expectations


Samsung Galaxy S10e vs iPhone XR: does Samsung's $750 offer trample over Apple's "budget" iPhone?

The two phones are certainly neck-in-neck. Yes, the Apple faithful will stay with the iPhones, and the longtime Samsung fans don't seem to have a reason to be switching — not this year — but for all those customers that are stuck somewhere in between, this will actually be a tough call.

The Galaxy S10e offers great performance, full on Galaxy flagship hardware (no Lite editions or anything) in a very compact, cute little package. The iPhone XR gives you most of what its bigger siblings can do, but it loses the AMOLED display, 3D Touch, any form of secondary camera, and it gains a bit of a bezel that you can't unsee after comparing it with a premium phone.

When it comes to "who cut more corners to get to that $750 price tag" it seems that it was the iPhone XR. The Galaxy S10e feels like a no-compromise, compact flagship. We'll have to wait and see how it performs for a prolonged period!

Related phones

Galaxy S10e
  • Display 5.8" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh
iPhone XR
  • Display 6.1" 828 x 1792 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2942 mAh(25h talk time)

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73 Comments

1. BCMWorld

Posts: 54; Member since: Mar 24, 2014

By far, dumb question

11. bucknassty

Posts: 1305; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

S10e no question about it

18. Phonehex

Posts: 751; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

The author is missing the point that the S10E is really a competition to the Xs and not the Xr.

23. worldpeace

Posts: 3099; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Right.. S10E is for XS, while S10 and S10+ will compete with P30 and P30 pro, that will be a fair comparison.

21. Cat97

Posts: 1765; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Actually, tell me one reason why the S10e cannot be compared with the iPhone XS, let alone the XR ! Similar performance, similar size, similar build quality, similar screen resolution, extra fingerprint scanner, extra wide-angle camera, extra headphone jack, extra micro SD support, more base storage, extra "no notch", etc. etc.

36. kEaNu

Posts: 36; Member since: May 10, 2018

Lol similar performance, dont make me laught. Apple is two years ahead of the industry in performance. Even the A11 (2017 SOC) is better in some areas vs SD855. Check the review of Anandtech of the SD855.

41. guest

Posts: 370; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

yet the A12 powered phones still can't split screen LOL

56. lyndon420

Posts: 6489; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

That was a damn good burn!! lol

22. adecvat

Posts: 623; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

XR no question about it

44. GreenMan

Posts: 2694; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

I still think The XR is a far better value than The S10e, after all things considered. Larger display, way smoother UI, lovely gestures, OS updates for at least 4 years (As opposed to 2) and a relatively hefty 3,000mAh battery (For an iPhone). It's a fine package. Besides, most cellular carriers are practically giving away XRs with a 2 year contract, thanks to weak demand, something to keep in mind! Oh well, G'Day!

57. lyndon420

Posts: 6489; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Updates are only good when they don't break something. Who wants 4 years worth of that??

65. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

You were trained well. Of course you have absolutely no idea about the "breakings" you're talking about, but hey!, as long as it's something to say negative about Apple, it's good enough for you...

72. TheOracle1

Posts: 2029; Member since: May 04, 2015

The Xr only has a larger display on paper. The notch effectively makes it about 5.7".

73. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

XR doesn't have a notch ;).

74. CQuine unregistered

Are u blind?

77. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

No, I am just a positive person.

2. GeorgeAF

Posts: 85; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

I really love the S10e. I need to get it

3. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

Neck to neck..... Aside from the powerful chipset in the XR, in which aspects are these two phones comparable? The S10E is obviously the better phone for the same price. No question marks here.

7. OneLove123

Posts: 841; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Powerful shipset? They are on par with each other. The A12 does a little better on geekbench and SD 855 is a lot better on antutu. What are you smoking?

24. OneLove123

Posts: 841; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

“chip”

37. kEaNu

Posts: 36; Member since: May 10, 2018

Antutu is a crappy benchmark, check the Anandtech Review of the A12, is years ahead of Qualcomm.

45. OneLove123

Posts: 841; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

And geekbe check is a crappy benchmark. I don't listen anandtech because they are Apple bias. The guy that owns the site works for Apple.

46. AmashAziz

Posts: 2886; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

The A12 bionic has a faster CPU than Sd 855. In GPU performance, both are tied though. End of story. Stop with this "both have same performance" trash.

70. eli577

Posts: 142; Member since: Jun 29, 2010

Please interpret what I wrote better. I did not write that the performance of the S10E is worse than the XR's. I wrote that in that department, you can call it neck to neck. Get objective and chill the hell down.

76. deleon629

Posts: 440; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Did you guys see that new Unicycle with the V-12 engine on it? Of course that has nothing to do with the idea of that Apple phones have a lot of power that the users can't do anything with...Just thought I'd mention how ridiculously it is to put such a powerful engine on such weak hardware

4. Whitedot

Posts: 719; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Author missed one important thing that 10e comes with 128gb for that price but the XR ejich is 64gb. Choose XR 128GB version and the price goes up.

9. thxultra

Posts: 439; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Also has a microSDXC slot so you can add more storage if needed. One thing the apple does have is face id. I do find face id works better when exercising then fingerprint scanners. Always have problems with a fingerprint scanner when sweating... I also think the apple will have better battery life with the LCD vs OLED display... That being said the Samsung is a better value here.

12. Fred3

Posts: 389; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

The S10e haves facial recognition. It may not be more secure but it's another option added other than fingerprint reader

48. thxultra

Posts: 439; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Samsung facial recognition is easily fooled I wouldn't even consider it. I don't know if these new phones still have the iris scanner or not but even if they do it doesn't work if you wear glasses so also useless.

16. Whitedot

Posts: 719; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

As far as I know Amoled screens consume less power than LCD. To be honest I had little trouble with Sony's side mounted FP reader on XZ1 but who knows maybe Samsungs is better implemented.

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