It has been a while since 2019 began and Samsung has finally unveiled the Galaxy S10. Since the leaks started coming, we had a fair idea that Samsung would follow Apple and introduce three models under the S10 moniker. The standard S10 and S10+ go up against the Google Pixel 3 and iPhone XS with comparable prices. In fact, Samsung is playing the price card and has offered the Galaxy S10 at lower prices than what the competition offers, despite packing next-generation hardware. However, there’s a third model this year under the S10 moniker that aims to do what Apple intended with the iPhone XR – offer the flagship features in a slightly watered-down package.
The Galaxy S10e is to Samsung what the iPhone XR is to Apple. The S10e offers most of the “standard” S10’s thrills but at a lower price point. And similar to the iPhone XR, Samsung has cut corners where it feels it can to bring down the price while still justifying it as a flagship series smartphone. The Galaxy S10e has a flat screen display instead of the curved edges on the Galaxy S10. Samsung also dropped the third telephoto camera from the rear and offers instead a dual camera system. There’s a smaller battery as well as an overall compact form factor.
Samsung’s clever pricing spills it all
However, Samsung always has the price factor to its advantage when compared to Apple and Google. In India, Samsung has priced the entry-level variant of the Galaxy S10e at Rs 55,990. This is the lowest that Samsung has priced its flagship newest flagship in a while. The S10e is only available in one variant in India with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage (the 8GB/256GB variant isn’t coming to India now). Samsung is currently offering the Prism Black and Prism White colours for now. In contrast, the iPhone XR comes in all five colours and three storage variants.
However, with the Galaxy S10e, Samsung isn’t aiming for the iPhone XR in India. If you pay close attention to the pricing, it is evident that Samsung isn’t bothering the Galaxy S10e for fighting the iPhone XR. Instead, Samsung wants the Galaxy S10e to secure another segment of the crowd – a crowd that prefers the OnePlus smartphones.
For the last few years, we have seen OnePlus dominate the sub-flagship premium smartphone segment under Rs 40,000. The OnePlus smartphones always offer the latest Qualcomm flagship chipset and fast performance. These phones have always been the go-to options for those who want a flagship experience without burning a hole in the wallet. Of late though, OnePlus has been raising prices of its smartphones, bringing it closer to the true flagship models. A recent example is the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, which costs an eye-watering Rs 50,990 – this is the proper flagship territory.
OnePlus follows a classic higher-price-per-generation strategy
Since OnePlus bumps up the prices for its smartphone with every generation, it is expected that the next generation OnePlus 7 will be touching the Rs 50,000 mark. Rumours and leaks have so far led us to believe that OnePlus 7 will have a fullscreen sliding display and the latest Snapdragon 855 with support for 5G connectivity. It may get the 30W Warp Charge from the McLaren Edition as well.
Samsung has got it all right this time
With the Galaxy S10e, Samsung has a worthy offering to give the OnePlus crowd an option to own a true flagship-grade smartphone. The Galaxy S10e offers Samsung’s newest Infinity-O display with uniform bezels all around – and it does that without adopting any slider. The Exynos 9820 is comparable to the Snapdragon 855, if not better in some cases, in terms of raw performance.
Samsung’s new OneUI based on Android 9 Pie has proven to be extremely smooth on Galaxy Note 9 so far, which means it should fare even better on the newer Exynos 9820 chipset. And so far, the Galaxy S10 has nabbed the title for the best camera smartphone, which means the S10e even with its dual camera should be able to take really good photos. And there’s always the superior brand value which Samsung enjoys over anyone else in the Android universe.
In comparison, OnePlus doesn’t seem to offer anything more compelling. Yes, the company will still have the advantage of doing aggressive pricing to make the next OnePlus device more appealing. OnePlus would still benefit with much lower pricing for the entry-level model, even if it starts at Rs 40,000. However, with many price cuts over the course of the year via various Amazon or Flipkart sales, the Galaxy S10e could still make a better deal even at Rs 50,000. And that could be enough to bring them back as the leader in the premium smartphone segment in India.
Now, it all depends on OnePlus as to how it plays the game. Will the company price the OnePlus 7 higher than the OnePlus 6T and touch the Rs 50,000 mark, or will it maintain its price advantage?
Whatever be the case, it sure is an exciting time to buy a premium smartphone.