Samsung's budget-friendly Galaxy S10e gives you more bang for the buck than the equivalent iPhone

  • Samsung's Galaxy S10e is the best new Samsung phone for most people.
  • It's $250 less than the Galaxy S10+ but doesn't sacrifice too much on features -- it has the same processor, a brilliant screen, is water-proof and also has great battery life.
  • You should save $250 and buy this model if you don't need every bell and whistle.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The Samsung Galaxy S10e

Earlier this month I took a look at the Samsung Galaxy S10+, the most premium of the current Samsung phones, which are now available to buy. It's a very good phone that's a perfect alternative to Apple's iPhones, but it's also expensive and starts at $999.

You should buy the Galaxy S10e instead.

Samsung didn't cut many corners with this model, and it costs $250 less than the Galaxy S10+. It also gives you more bang for the buck than Apple's iPhone XR, which costs the same -- the Galaxy s10e has a brighter screen, headphone jack and expandable storage.

Samsung's shipments were down last year, just like Apple's, because people have shown they're less likely to spend $1,000 on a new phone. But at $750, and considering all that you get with the Galaxy S10e, I think Samsung's found a nice sweet spot. In fact,Samsung is already seeing success with Galaxy S10 orders.

I love the size

Samsung's Galaxy S10e
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Samsung's Galaxy S10e

The Galaxy S10e has the smallest screen of Samsung's new models, but it's still large enough at 5.8 inches and is much easier to hold in one hand than Samsung's larger models. This means it's easier to reach things on the screen while you're holding a coffee in one hand and trying to text with the other, or if you're like me and prone to fumbling a large phone while holding it over your head at night. It also feels less chunky in my pocket, like it's barely there.

The screen is great

Samsung's Galaxy S10e
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Samsung's Galaxy S10e

The S10e doesn't have a super-sharp Quad HD display, but it does still have Samsung's really bright and colorful Infinity Screen, which takes up the whole face of the phone except for a tiny cut-out for the camera. My iPhone XS Max's screen looked somewhat dull in comparison to the popping colors on the Galaxy S10e, especially while watching movies.

The cameras are good

Samsung's Galaxy S10e
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Samsung's Galaxy S10e

Samsung includes most of the cameras you get on the more expensive models. There's still a super wide-angle lens that lets you include more of a scene inside a picture, but it lacks the 2X optical zoom and front-facing portrait-mode cameras. But I don't think either of those features are a huge deal for most people.

The fingerprint reader is fast

Samsung's Galaxy S10e
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Samsung's Galaxy S10e

The Galaxy S10e doesn't have a fingerprint reader under the screen like the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ do, but it has one built into the power button that's even faster. It almost always unlocked right when I touched it, without the tiny delay you might see on the in-screen reader. And because the reader is on the side of the phone, it's easy to unlock the phone while holding it with one hand.

Battery life is solid

Samsung's Galaxy S10e
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Samsung's Galaxy S10e

Samsung's Galaxy S10+ gave me about two days of usage, but the Galaxy S10e got me through a work day, which is enough power for most people. Plus, like the more expensive models, it lets you wirelessly charge other devices, like Samsung's Galaxy Buds, by placing them on the back of the phone. It works great, and it might be one of my favorite new features outside of the brilliant screen.

Lots of bonus features

Samsung's Galaxy S10e
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Samsung's Galaxy S10e

There are lots of other bonus features. Unlike with Apple's latest iPhones, you still get a full headphone jack and expandable storage so you can save more movies, games and TV shows by adding a cheap microSD card. It's water-resistant just like the other models, it has the same powerful Snapdragon 855 processor, and also includes stereo speakers.

The design is also gorgeous. Samsung sent me the flamingo pink model which has a slight orange hue. It's glass, not cheap plastic, and feels like a phone that costs much more.

If you're considering this over the iPhone XR, you should know that Apple's $750 phone -- while also great -- has a screen that's not as colorful or bright, doesn't have a headphone jack, isn't as water resistant and doesn't include expandable storage. You get a bit more here if those things matter to you.

If you want a new phone and you don't want an iPhone, get the Galaxy S10e. I like it even more than the Galaxy S10+ because it offers the most bang for your buck, even beyond what you get with the iPhone XR.