As consumers, we want more choices, across price brackets. So when Samsung recently launched the Galaxy S10 Lite and Galaxy Note 10 Lite, more questions were raised around the intent of launching “lite” versions of the flagship devices. Some called the launch ill-timed, some called the devices “boring.” Everyone’s opinions are different and we as critics should acknowledge that.
This is not new. I clearly remember Apple had gone through the same scrutiny during the launch of the iPhone XR, when both trade pundits and tech reviewers had outrightly rejected the device. Even I was a bit doubtful about the iPhone XR at first, but it turned out to be a massive success, so successful that the phone became one of the best-selling premium smartphones in major markets, including India.
Now, coming back to the Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite, I feel we are somewhere judging the phones wrongly. I may be wrong but I still feel that Samsung has a point behind launching “lite” versions of the Galaxy S10 and Note 10. If I had to choose one phone out of the two handsets, I would probably go with the Note 10 Lite. And the reason is simple. I simply cannot afford the Note 10+, but I still need a Note 10-like device with massive screen size and the S Pen.
And this is where the Galaxy Note 10 Lite starts making sense. Sure, I might not be able to buy the Galaxy Note 10+, I wish I could, but now at least I have a device that has some of the key features of the more expensive smartphone. It’s cheaper than the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+, starting at Rs 38,999, but has a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, an Exynos 9810, a 4500mAh battery and a triple-camera setup. Oh and not to forget, the most affordable Galaxy Note device has a headphone jack too.
I think getting the balance right can be a challenge, especially when you are selling smartphones above Rs 40,000. In this case, Samsung is looking at a much larger group of aspirational consumers. For them, the Galaxy Note series continues to be desirable and aspirational. Priced at Rs 38,999 and up, Samsung had to cut some corners on the Galaxy Note 10 Lite to keep the cost down. Still, I would say the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is a much better value than the Note 10 and Note 10 Lite.
The thing that most consumers keep on forgetting is that the Note 10 Lite is a part of the Note series, so the premium is attached to the brand. Samsung, whether you agree or not, charges more for its high-end smartphones.
I agree that Samsung is under pressure in India, and lately, it has lost ground to Vivo in the fourth quarter of 2019. On one hand, Samsung is facing stiff competition from OnePlus and Apple in the high-end segment and on the other hand, it is losing its hold in the budget and mid-range segments.
It’s very difficult to explain where Samsung has gone wrong; but I do know that Samsung needs to work on long-term success and focus on those devices that offer a differentiated experience. The Galaxy Note 10 Lite could be the right step in that direction.
Samsung has launched the Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite ahead of the arrival of the Galaxy S20 series. Do you think the timing is correct? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Join me next Tuesday in another blog post where I will discuss the future of foldable phones and how Samsung could lead the market, if it plays its cards well.
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