The price of cell phones continues to skyrocket. Yet, as the prices of flagship smartphones continue to rise, a new market sector, the premium midrange, has emerged. Therein lies the home of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, one of the best Android phones if you want a great Samsung experience without breaking the bank.
All You Need To Know Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
The “Fan Edition” moniker fails to convey the true nature of this device. The Samsung S20 Lite is a more appropriate moniker.
The full capabilities of the Galaxy S20 are not being made available to you. The pricing may seem steep, but you’re getting everything you need plus some nice extras.
Hardware, Design, and Display
The Galaxy S20 FE is obviously based on the ordinary Galaxy S20, as the two devices are visually indistinguishable. But, it’s constructed from some unusual components. The Galaxy Note 20 no longer has a glass back and instead has a plastic one. While I understand the criticisms, I find the softer touch appealing and find myself not missing the glass at all.
The device stands out from the regular Samsung S20 in that it comes in more hues than the base model. While I’m testing out the more subdued Cloud Navy version, other, more exciting hues are also available. It’s safe to assume that everyone can find something to their liking.
The phone’s layout and style are very ordinary otherwise. The phone’s rectangular camera module is located on the top left of the back, the USB-C connector is on the bottom, and the volume rocker and power button are on the right. It’s wonderful that it’s not as thick as the Galaxy S20 Ultra or the Note 20 Ultra, but it also doesn’t have the same camera specs. That’s a topic for the future.
The Galaxy S20 FE is somewhat bigger than the regular Galaxy S20. The screen of the S20 FE is 6.5 inches in size, making it significantly larger than the one on the original S20. This phone boasts a higher resolution than the Galaxy S20, too: 1080p. It would appear that Samsung is saving its best resolution for its more expensive phones.
It’s still an impressive screen. Like the other S20s, this one features a Super AMOLED screen with a rapid 120Hz refresh rate. As a result, using the display is a really pleasant experience, and touches register accurately. The 120Hz refresh rate on a $700 phone is remarkable until other phones start getting them in the next year or so. It also outperforms rivals, but barely.
The OnePlus 8 stands out as a direct competitor due to its own 1080p resolution and maximum refresh rate of 90Hz. (Google’s next Pixel 5 will also include a 1080p 90Hz screen.) To be clear, it is much easier to see the difference between 60Hz and 90Hz than it is between 90Hz and 120Hz. Those who can hear the difference will be grateful for 120Hz.
It’s also worth pointing out that the screen is flat rather than curved. Curved screens are appealing to my eyes, but not everyone agrees. Nonetheless, the flat display should reduce the frequency of inadvertent palm presses.
Specifications and Efficiency
Samsung has clearly scrimped on the appearance and display, but it hasn’t skimped much on the internals. With its 6GB or 8GB of RAM and Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor (or Exynos 990 outside the US), the 5G version of the Galaxy S10e will be more than capable of handling any task you throw at it in 2020 and beyond.
This includes apps for work, play on the go, and everything else you may think of. As expected, the phone had no trouble running games, and it could easily switch between four or five apps at once.
The excellent performance in regular use is validated by the benchmark results. The outcomes we were able to accomplish are summarised here.
- AnTuTu: 550,800
- GeekBench 5: 889 single-core, 3,101 multi-core
Compared to the OnePlus 8, these numbers are a little low, but they’re close, and in practise, you won’t notice the missing 20 single-core points on GeekBench 5. We’re examining the base model here, so if you’re looking for a performance boost, boosting your RAM might be the way to go.
The days of the greatest phones being the only ones with great cameras are over. Phone manufacturers are starting to realise that consumers who pay $450 or more on a smartphone should be able to enjoy a premium camera experience, as evidenced by products like the Google Pixel 4a.
The Galaxy S20 FE provides a versatile, high-quality camera experience despite lacking the optical zoom capabilities of the Galaxy Note 20 and the main sensor resolution of the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The phone has a regular 12-megapixel sensor, an 8-megapixel sensor with a telephoto lens, and an ultra-wide 12-megapixel sensor. That’s great, and while some people may lean more towards a telephoto or ultra-wide lens, I find that having both makes my camera versatile.
Photos appeared to be roughly as good in day to day use despite having specs that aren’t quite up to par with the normal Samsung S20. They retain their vibrancy and sharpness, and their dynamic range is sufficient for a striking image without straying into the artificial.
It makes reasonable that the slightly poorer specifications do not truly result in considerably worse photographs than the Galaxy S20, given that photo quality may now have more to do with post-processing than sensor quality.
Photos are usable even in dim conditions. Photos taken in really low light can get noisy, but on the whole, the phone does a fair job of collecting enough detail to produce usable images. The same holds true for extremely magnified images.
The telephoto camera has a maximum hybrid zoom of 30x, thanks to its 3x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom. Obviously, photographs at that magnification level aren’t as sharp, but Samsung has been putting in a lot of work to improve the quality of magnified shots, and it shows.
The 3–10x range is reliable, but you won’t often need the 30x option. Even the selfie camera seems reliable. While lacking the dual phase detection autofocus of the original Galaxy S20, the 32MP front-facing camera was able to take vibrant selfies with plenty of detail.
There’s a good rationale for the higher resolution selfie cam: the lower resolution photo you get when not using the wide-angle sensor is just a crop. The Galaxy S20 FE doesn’t have the option to record video in 8K resolution.
That’s because doing so requires a camera with a larger pixel count. You won’t have to worry about filling up your storage too quickly thanks to the camera’s ability to record 4K footage at 60 frames per second.
Energy Retention and Charging
The 4,500mAh battery provides enough juice to keep everything running for an entire day. After a full day of use, I still had about 20% of battery life left. You shouldn’t have any problems as long as you’re in the habit of charging your phone every night.
Thankfully, charging the phone is a breeze. Wireless charging is supported, and you also get 25W wired fast charging, unlike the OnePlus 8. Now that I have several wireless chargers installed, it was convenient to utilise them when testing this phone.