I’ve just reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S10e, and I can’t help but feel that there’s a need for more phones like it. No, I’m not just talking about compact, small form factor smartphones, but powerful, flagship-tier devices that can comfortably fit into people’s pockets.
In a market where smartphones are getting bigger and bigger with every iteration, it’s high time for small, powerful flagship smartphones to be considered. I reckon there’s increasing need for such devices, especially with the advancement of display technology.
Throughout my time reviewing the Galaxy S10e, I’ve been told by friends and family how much they love the size of the phone. Even though it’s a small device, you’re still getting a lot of screen real estate, thanks to the lack of bezels.
Previously, if you want a compact smartphone, you’d have to live with a small, almost unusable display by today’s standard. Take the iPhone SE: I absolutely love how small the device is, but I simply couldn’t live with the phone’s minuscule 4-inch display.
Things are much better now with the introduction of the iPhone X and its successor, the iPhone XS. Just like the Galaxy S10e, the XS sports a very usable 5.8-inch display in a compact chassis. One-handed usage isn’t impossible with a phone this size, and it will fit into your pocket comfortably – perhaps even with a casing on.
In fact, the existence of the iPhone XS itself is a good enough incentive for other phone makers to follow suit and release their own competition to that particular phone. Like it or not, many brands mimic Apple’s products when it comes to their own product development. Just look at the sheer amount of smartphones with notches after the iPhone X was introduced.
Another issue with the current crop of compact smartphones now are the compromises that come with them. Even though the Galaxy S10e is a very respectable flagship smartphone, it still feels like a lower-end device compared to its more expensive siblings.
This is particularly the case in the display and camera department, where the S10e loses out on the 1440p display and telephoto sensor. Granted, this phone is meant to be the most affordable option in the Galaxy S10 series, and even Apple does the same with the iPhone XR.
Basically, those who are shopping for small smartphones, more often than not, have to settle for mid-range, or even entry-level smartphones. If they want a high-end smartphone in a compact form factor, they have very limited options.
Unfortunately, except for a few phone makers, most brands simply aren’t looking to release compact flagship smartphones – it is seen as a niche segment. This relates back to the spec race, where the most prevalent logic is “the bigger, the better.”
Instead of sticking with a display size that is practical, most brands (if not all) are trying to fit more display into a smartphone. While this does spur advancement in display technology, there comes a point where bigger is not necessarily better anymore, especially when it sacrifices practicality.
Right now, there are a couple of good options like the Galaxy S10e, but not nearly enough. On top of that, most of them are not particularly new either. There’s the Pixel 3 (which is not even officially available in Malaysia), and the Samsung Galaxy S9 – both of which were released last year.
After reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S10e, every phone that I use simply felt…unnaturally big. I find myself really missing the compact form factor of the phone, more than anything else. Personally, I think the 5.8-inch display is completely usable too; never did I thought to myself I need a bigger screen.
It’s probably something that will never materialise, but I do hope the day comes where there are much more options for those who are shopping for compact flagship smartphones. And hey, maybe these future devices won’t compromise on key features too – one can dream, right?