This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Whether Samsung will ultimately decide to make the logical decision of releasing its "next big thing" under the Galaxy S11 banner or jump to a Galaxy S20 label that could easily backfire as the rumored upgrades in the pipeline are certainly not drastic enough to justify the leap, the number of early 2020 high-end models is pretty much etched in stone at five.
jumbo-sized variant with 5G support joined by both 5G-capable and 4G LTE-limited editions of a "regular"-sized S11 (or S20) and a more compact S11e (or S20e). At first glance, you'd be inclined to believe Samsung will cover all the bases and little high-end smartphone market segments with its upcoming flagship lineup, catering to every type of Android power user under the sun.We're looking at a single
But somehow, it feels like this year's Galaxy S10 family may have done a superior job of providing actual choice for actual consumers with meaningful differences between the entry-level 5.8-inch model and a 6.1/6.4-inch duo that couldn't altogether escape the overlap danger. The problem is there might be significant overlap between the features and designs of the S11, S11+, and S11e this time around, as Samsung is reportedly preparing to nix the two things that made the Galaxy S10e special in the first place.
I know I'm basing a lot of this piece on unconfirmed speculation, but given their track records, I really don't expect Steve Hemmerstoffer (aka @OnLeaks) and Ming-Chi Kuo (aka the most well-connected Apple analyst and rumormonger in the world) to be completely wrong when predicting the Galaxy S11e will come with a dual-curved 6.3-inch display and the iPhone 9 (aka SE2) will sport a 4.7-inch screen.
These two devices are therefore unlikely to fit in the same category and go after a similar target audience, which begs an obvious question (at least in my book). Why, Samsung?! Why not follow up the S10e with a 5.8 or even 5.5-inch handset with a flat screen, razor-thin bezels, the latest ultra-high-end processor, and a competitive price point to absolutely crush the iPhone 9? It's not like you didn't know Apple was cooking up this thing.
Is it because of the non-Pro iPhone 11? If that's the case, why not further extend the Galaxy S11 family or merge the all too similar S11 and S11+ (just look at the table below), make this S11e the "regular" S11, and add a "true" S11e model at the bottom of the lineup? It simply does not make sense to release three different S11 flavors with curvy screens and super-premium designs and leave the iPhone 9 unchallenged in the "budget" segment.
And yes, I'm fully aware Samsung unveiled a couple of awesome Galaxy A-series mid-rangers just a few weeks ago, but the A51 is taller than the Galaxy S10+ (!!!). It feels bizarre to even think this, let alone type it, but Apple is starting to beat the world's largest Android smartphone vendors at their own diversity game. iPhones nowadays come in many different sizes and many a couple of different designs, opening the brand up to a wider and wider audience.
Meanwhile, if all the rumors are correct, the Galaxy S11 will come in big, bigger, and bigass sizes, with what I can only assume will be fitting prices, forcing those in the market for something easier to handle to either adapt or try a different brand. If you're going to argue that's the will of the people, you should know the Galaxy S10e was by no means a flop. Sure, it wasn't as popular as its bigger brothers, but according to independent data gathered between March and May, it had its own important contribution to the family's improvement over the S9 series sales of last year, with a 22 percent share of the numbers, behind the "regular" S10's 32 percent.
Our in-depth Galaxy S10e review proves this is far from a perfect phone, with a whole lot of raw speed that doesn't always translate into a smooth real-world user experience, a largely unimpressive battery life, a fingerprint scanner placement experiment that didn't quite land, and a price tag that could have been at least 50 bucks lower. But from the look of things, the S11e has a very good chance of ending up in a much worse category than "imperfect" or "flawed."
This bad boy has "forgettable" written all over it, with a seemingly generic design (by what we expect to be the early 2020 standard for high-end handsets), a no doubt beautiful but in no way original display, and what may well be welcomed upgrades in the battery capacity and camera versatility departments. But I know I speak for plenty of neglected fans of truly compact phones out there when I say a Galaxy S11e with a significantly smaller screen than 6.3 inches, a 3,500mAh or so battery, and a similar dual camera system as the S10e would have been perfectly fine.
Granted, the iPhone 9 would have still most likely undercut that thing, at a rumored starting price of around $400, but if a 128GB variant of Apple's next device is indeed set to cost $500, Samsung could have killed two birds with a Galaxy S11e for $700 or so in a 256 gig storage configuration. As things stand, I fear the excessively large and curvy S11e could be too pricey to take on either the iPhone 9 or non-Pro iPhone 11.
For the sake of healthy competition pushing innovation forward (and not forgetting about people who don't believe a bigger phone is automatically better), let's hope I will be proven wrong by either a reasonably priced S11e or perhaps a compact Samsung flagship we haven't heard about just yet.