The Contest of Cheaper Champions

Iphone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E

iPhone XR vs Samsung Galaxy S10E

Flagships have been consistently getting more and more expensive. There’s a price tag premium that comes with the latest innovation in your pocket. The value proposition these phones offer, however, isn’t an upward graph anymore.

Cheap phones are getting good. And good phones are getting cheap. (we see you, Marques Brownlee)

Most major smartphone makers have noticed this shift in the audience looking for a flagship-level performance with fewer bells and whistles, provided it doesn’t burn a hole in their pocket, and the last year has seen a new affordable flagship roster larger than The Avengers.

Keeping the Captain America iPhones and Iron Man Galaxy flagships alone for a Civil War for later, we arrive at their supporting characters.

The Samsung Galaxy S10E and the iPhone XR. They have a lot in common: Both are the entry-level variant of a three-phone flagship lineup. Both come in bright, unique colorways. Both carried a $750 (~₹52,000) price tag at launch.

That’s where the similarities end.

Both Samsung and Apple have tried to capitalize on a specific section of the market and they’re pulling out all stops to make sure their device wins the popular vote.

Read along as we pit these gladiators against each other in the MMR Coliseum.

How do they stack up? The Hulk and Thor of today’s smartphones, S10E versus XR, this is the ultimate contest of the cheaper flagship.

The Contenders

Apple iPhone XR

Launched in September of 2018 alongside the XS and XS Max models, the XR generated sales hype reminiscent of the super-selling iPhone 5C. It carries the same concept: bright coloured backs, a smaller footprint, and a slashed price. The XR carried the same processor as its seniors, however, it seriously skimped out on the display and camera departments, offering a thicker-bezel LCD display and a single rear camera. The lack of a headphone jack and Touch ID fingerprint scanning wasn’t enough to deter fans from making this the best selling iPhone in recent history, so much so that it hurt sales of the XS and XS Max.

Display: 6.1-inch “Liquid Retina” LCD HD ( 828 x 1792)

SoC: 2.49 GHz A12 Bionic CPU( Dual core, Vortex + 1.52 GHz, Quad core, Tempest) + Apple integrated 4-core GPU


Primary: 12MP

Secondary: 12MP

Battery: 2942 mAh


Storage: upto 256GB (non-expandable)

OS: iOS v12.0

Samsung Galaxy S10E

Launched in March of 2019 along with the S10 and S10 Plus (and also the elusive S10 Ultimate 5G edition), the S10E struck the masses as an instant crowd favourite. With a practical form factor, a less obtrusive single-camera cutout Infinity Display, and a whole line of unique colors, the S10E was angled to eat into the successful iPhone XR wave. Unlike its Apple rival, this device did not compromise on the display panel, packed a headphone jack (sigh), a side mounted fingerprint scanner and offered a fresh 2019 Snapdragon (or Exynos equivalent) processor.

Display: 5.8-inch “Super” AMOLED Quad-HD (1440 x 2280)

SoC: 2.73 GHz Samsung Exynos 9820 CPU ( Dual core, M4 Mongoose + 2.31 GHz, Dual core, Cortex A75 + 1.95 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A55) + Mali-G76 MP12 GPU


Primary: 12MP + 16MP

Secondary: 12MP

Battery: 3100 mAh


Storage: upto 256GB (+expandable)

OS: One UI over Android 9.0 Pie


The iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy S10E are two inherently different phones with different strategies to conquer a new market in the exact same price bracket.

From a design standpoint, both smartphones’ glass and metal build lend them a sturdy, premium hand feel. While the look and colour of the phone may be completely up to the individual user, the bonus of a compact form factor, a fingerprint scanner, and headphone jack is enough to sway the odds in the Galaxy’s favour.

Yes, the iPhone’s display is a tad bigger than the S10E, but the Galaxy demolishes its rival in every other way. A smaller notch, significantly higher pixel count, bright OLED panel to the iPhone’s LCD and better angles and colours. On the brighter side, the lesser abilities of the iPhone may take less of a toll on the battery.

Speaking of battery, both phones support wireless charging. The iPhone comfortably outlasts its competitor in this department but misses out on the fast charging capabilities offered by the Galaxy out of the box.

While the iPhone’s A12 Bionic outperforms every other chipset on the market in every major benchmark test, the S10E tries to compensate by packing twice as much RAM for multitasking. Broadly speaking, both these phones are among the best on the market right now and will provide extremely smooth performance with few to no hiccups.

The camera department is hotly contested as usual. The iPhone, credited with popularising the Portrait Mode is a consistent performer on both its front and rear ends. The Galaxy instantly one-ups its 2018 adversary with an extra sensor on the back, wide-angle capabilities, and better low light performance. Eventually, the color profile and application software are up to personal preference.

The Verdict

For an independent consumer, it’s clear on and off paper that the S10E is the clear winner. It is fresher, up-to-date and consistently ekes out its nemesis across several departments. The caveat here is that for anyone who’s invested into the Apple Ecosystem, the iPhone isn’t that far behind. Factoring in Apple’s services and seamlessness versus Samsung’s hit-or-miss attempts, there are no absolute winners. Looks the Apple vs Samsung cult war rages on.