Affordable flagship smartphones are starting to define the midrange segment and for good reason. Smartphones have been good enough for most for a few generations now, upgrade cycles are getting longer and the difference between the premium, flagship, and midrange is getting smaller and smaller.
OnePlus defined its place in the market as a Flagship killer, a smartphone brand focused on providing high specs at a lower price. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 line is all about living in the premium market segment. This is meant to be a step above Flagship setting itself apart with more refined features and of course I price point that hurts the wallet.
What is interesting for me is that the more direct competition with the OnePlus 6t is the S10, but the difference in price forces me to look at the S10E.
The OnePlus6t costs 550EUR, the Galaxy S10 899EUR and the S10E 749EUR. I’ve been calling the S10E the budget version mentally comparing it to midrange phone because I find the design and features average when in reality it’s a high-end price point.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each device before we dive into the details.
There is no doubt that the value of the OnePlus 6t is phenomenal, you get a winning design, blazing fast experience whatever you do using the phone and solid battery life. The downside is that it isn’t water resistant, doesn’t have wireless charging and no headphone jack (which is less of a problem these days). Then there is the camera which I believe is on par in most instances with the S10E.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
Samsung has made a strong handset that checks all the boxes of what a phone should essentially have. Solid camera, good selfies a Snapdragon 855 which is technically ahead of the OnePlus that is running the 845. The S10e is also filling a niche with its smaller form factor but its design feels midrange to us and it doesn’t charge very fast, which has been a noticeable issue for us moving from the 6t to the S10e.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is roughly the same size as the iPhone X
Samsung Galaxy S10E on the left, Apple iPhone X on the right
Samsung Galaxy S10e 142 x 70 x 7.9 mm vs the iPhone X 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm, everyone keeps calling it small, but actually, it’s a pretty common size. The reason everyone keeps calling it small is that Android smartphones on average have just gotten too big (and long!).
The OnePlus 6t falls in this trend being a pretty average size Android smartphone that, size wise, is on par with the Galaxy S10. The industry has moved to longer phones so by comparison to other Android phones the S10e is considered compact because of its length.
Personally, I think that the Galaxy S10e is a mid range looking device, style-wise it feels a little like a Samsung Galaxy S2 had a baby with an S9.
While both phones have great hardware, but the S10e was just released and has the latest specs.
The 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED display may not be quite as vibrant as what Samsung is offering, but it is decent enough for the price tag. You also get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard, and the 3700mAh battery easily manages to provide a day’s worth of use.
The Galaxy S10e is powered by Qualcomm’s latest 7nm Snapdragon 855 platform. It is also the first phone in the world to feature a Wi-Fi ax modem. You get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard, and the 3100mAh battery is adequate for all-day usage.
OnePlus 6t vs Galaxy S10e Camera Comparison
Where the 6t falls short is the camera. The 6T has the same sensor configuration as its predecessor, and while you get decent shots in daylight, the quality goes down considerably in low-light scenarios.
It is clear that in many scenarios the S10e does win, but we can’t say that the OnePlus 6t didn’t put up a good fight and even win a few rounds.
The biggest difference between the lens set up between the two phones is the OnePlus 6t comes with a standard and zoom lense and the Samsung Galaxys S10e has a standard and a wide lens. The OnePlus 6t has been my daily driver for a few months now, and admittedly I’ve missed the wide angle because I find it more versatile for the type of city and landscape photography that I tend to do.
OnePlus 6t standard and zoom lens samples:
The Samsung Galaxy S10E opts for a wide angle, here is how the same shot from the same location looks:
I’m having a hard time swallowing the price difference between the OnePlus 6t and the Galaxy S10e. Even though there are clear advantages to going with the S10e, I can’t help but think that when the OnePlus 7 comes up in a month or two we’ll have an even fight on our hands when they come out with a phone in 2019.
When it comes to low light photography the OnePlus 6t isn’t known to win too many shoot outs, so I was surprised just how close the quality was between the Galaxy s10e, a phone that everyone I talk to says blows OnePlus out of the water.
Take a look at the different lenses the OnePlus 6t has the zoom lens which does a better job at pulling out detail.
Here is the Samsung Galaxy S10e with the same shots:
The Galaxy S10e is at definite disadvantage in this comparison, but it definitely doesn’t outperform the OnePlus.
Hands down the Samsung takes a better selfie, in the admittedly not great apartment light the OnePlus looks grey and zombie-like while the Galaxy has me looking fresh-faced and ready to go. Both have light beauty mode applied.
Like all phone purchases should be, it comes down to what you are looking to get out of your smartphone. If you need the latest hardware and the best camera experience even if it’s only marginally better in some situations then you should get the S10e. If price matters and you don’t need a smaller handset then save a few bucks and pick up the 6t, however, I think waiting on the 7 might be wise. As always there is another great handset just around the corner.
If price isn’t a factor get the Galaxy S10 Plus, this is the best phone in the Galaxy line up, but we expect that you’re reading this comparison because value or size matters to you.
To recap, the OnePlus 6t is missing a headphone jack, wireless charging, waterproofing, and an SD Card slot. It has faster charging, better battery life, a great camera that doesn’t win in every situation but is definitely good enough. If price isn’t a factor, read our Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus day in the life of here, but if you want that one-handed experience with high-end specs than you should look towards the Galaxy S10e.
The Galaxy S10e is far from perfect, somehow it looks like a midrange phone to me but has a premium price point. The camera is good, the selfies are way better. But the charging, though they call it quick charge 3.0 it takes 1:45 min to charge and this is midrange. If your phone isn’t good enough to really last the day on a single charge then it needs to have better quick charge. The wireless charging does mean that you can have pads at the office or around the house and charge it (slowly) with less effort. There are also a bunch of little things about the S10e that don’t strike me as premium, the screen protector is just for shipping, where OnePlus gives you a real one that actually protects your screen. The OnePlus has a night mode, a feature that all phones ship with now a days.
Don’t get me wrong, I think punch for punch the Galaxy S10e does come ahead of the OnePlus 6t, but not by much. For such a big step up in price I expected more.