Samsung Galaxy S10E
The first thing you would notice holding this device is, how compact and nice it feels in your hand. The device has a 5.8inch AMOLED display, which can’t exactly be called small, thanks to those thin bezels and metallic frame, but the phone still feels compact and premium. The phone sports an Infinity-O display (2280×1080 resolution) that has a hole on the right corner for the front-facing camera. It might stand out at first, especially while watching videos on landscape, but you eventually get used to it. The colours look vivid, full HD videos come out looking vibrant and crisp, which seems to be something Samsung has never failed at doing.
The screen is HDR10+ certified for watching HDR videos with better contrast (with shadows and motion). We tried the device in the Prism White colour and thought it really looked classy without appearing blingy.
The back has 12 MP dual cameras – wide angle and ultra-wide angle (123 degrees). The camera takes pretty detailed and sharp photos, especially in daylight. It’s fast and smooth to operate, but not sure why Samsung opted to remove extended pro options for shooting videos. The 10 MP front camera can also take 4K videos, but can be unimpressive in low-light shots.
The S10e is equipped with a 3,100 mAh battery unit that lasts a day on light use, so don’t expect it to go on till the next day with moderate to heavy use. Though Samsung has optimized it a bit after the latest update, the battery life is still not the phone’s strength.
The capacitive fingerprint scanner on the power/lock button is fast and works far better than the on-screen fingerprint sensor that’s on the S10+. Samsung has also equipped an iris scanner along with face unlock, which works just fine. You can also set the Bixby button (situated on the left side) to open some other application instead of Bixby if needed.
Coming to the audio quality, the bottom-facing speakers do a fine job for videos and games, but the phone shines with the AKG-branded earphones that come bundled in the box. These are still some of the best pairs of headsets that come with a phone today.
The S10e sports the Exynos 9820 chipset with 6 GB of RAM. Samsung’s revamped One UI 1.1 based on Android 9. The new skin looks more thoughtful for one-handed usage, and is overall better looking. The phone handles most tasks effortlessly and doesn’t struggle to handle multiple apps at once.
All in all, the Galaxy S10e seems like the most well rounded and value for money option from Samsung’s S10 series and could be the best option for those looking for a premium device that fits comfortably in one hand.
Base Price: Rs. 55,900
LG V40 ThinQ
The V40 ThinQ is a well-rounded no-bling smartphone that does nearly every single thing well. The device has a matte finish to it, which means fewer smudges and fingerprints staining its exterior. The 6.4-inch 3120×1440 OLED screen is far better than what the company had come up with earlier. It’s brighter, has no grey screen issues and is good enough for watching high-resolution videos.
The best part about the device has to be its audio quality, both in-ear and loudspeaker, thanks to the dedicated DAC and DTS:X, who do a really good job of producing loud and clear audio. You would find it to be capable of producing sound for audiophiles with its in-ear sound. The bundled earphones are not cheap or knockoffs of any kind. The only downside is that the phone’s body vibrates when playing music from loudspeakers at high volume.
It is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 chipset coupled with 6 GB of RAM. The phone is still on Android 8.1 and December security patch, which is definitely a bit of a bummer. Performance-wise, the V40 ThinQ doesn’t disappoint and does not slouch when it comes to handling daily tasks of moving between apps, scrolling, surfing through Homescreens and settings.
The phone has as many as 5 cameras – 3 on the back and 2 on the front – 5MP and 8MP. The rear includes a 12 MP telephoto, 16 MP ultra wide angle and 12 MP camera. The phone takes detailed and relatively decent shots, but sometimes takes a lot more shutter time when taking photos in low-light. Video and audio recording is, perhaps, among the best on an Android phone and something that LG seems to have put in a lot of work with OIS+. The Triple View photo mode that allows you to take a shot each from the rear cameras comes in very handy at times and proves to be a good addition to the setup. The phone is IP68 certified – water, dust as well as shock resistant. The 3,300 mAh battery unit lasts a day long with some software work from LG, though cranking the brightness to above 60% really takes a toll on the battery life, maybe even more than what you might expect.
Price: Rs. 45,000
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro
The Redmi Note series has been among the most popular smartphones in India for a while, and the Note 7 Pro is no exception. The device is certainly a pure value for money option for those looking for something around the 15k mark.
Xiaomi could definitely work a lot on making software look clean and more cohesive, but that’s about it, and there are a lot of little features and themes available here that users appreciate. While the 48 MP + 5 MP dual rear camera at the back looks like its biggest USP on the paper, it isn’t exactly the best performer. The pro mode is where the camera shines and the whole set of pixels come into the picture.
The phone with its 4,000 mAh battery unit, lasts a whole day and then some on moderate usage, while Quick Charge 4.0 comes in handy for charging it quickly. The phone also feels nicer but not compact like its predecessor. The new Snapdragon 675 chipset along with 6 GB of RAM allows the device to run tasks easily. It should be noted that graphics intensive games might start to show the phone’s downside after prolonged use. Otherwise, the OS runs well and doesn’t really lag.
Base Price: Rs. 13,999