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If money is on the tighter side and your sights are set on a Samsung’s Galaxy then the S20 FE might be just what you need. As recommended by Andrew Hoyle over at cnet

Despite not having all the bells and whistles of the Samsung Galaxy Ultra or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra models, the FE offers an affordable solution that doesn’t suck. It was only a matter of time before Samsung stirred up the mid-range competition to give Google and OnePlus a run for their money.

The FE (fan edition) model, while not as tech-heavy as the high-end of the range, it’s still chock-full of great features. It sports a triple camera and a powerful processor. Is ready to support 5G connection and has an IP68 waterproof rating. 

What We Liked About the S20 FE

Buy at Amazon $600

Buy at Best Buy $600 

Buy at Samsung $700

PROS

  • Performs well, fast processing.
  • 5G-ready
  • Accessibly priced

CONS

  • You might have to manually adjust your white balance in the camera settings

 

Retailing at almost half the price of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 ($1,300/ £1,179/ AU$1,849) the $700 price-tag is pretty appealing (£699/ AU$1,149).

You can still get your hands on a 4G version in the UK and Australia  (£599 or AU$999). Major retailers are offering unlocked models at around the $600 mark. So if you are shopping on a budget you are in luck. You can try Amazon and Best Buy or find out about Trade-ins and other activation options available at Samsung for a steal.

The S20 FE is competitively selling at a similar price to the Google Pixel 5 but does have a few features that trump it in our opinion. It offers expandable storage and better processing power. The camera features a telephoto lens.

The Galaxy S20 FE isn’t stacked to the rafters with revolutionary tech but its specs are better than cheaper models on the market from Apple and Nord. The iPhone SE and OnePlus undercut the S20 FE marginally but the Galaxy S20 FE does a better job of honoring its flagship model. 

It provides a solid, well-designed phone with enough trickle-down tech from the top to impress. So if the Galaxy has won your heart but the bank balance won’t allow, you can’t go wrong with the fan edition. Let’s take a closer look.

AMOLED Screen and Snapdragon processor

The AMOLED display measures a whopping 6.5-inches, stretching edge to edge leaving only room for the front-facing camera lens. It has great visibility with bright backlighting and provides a 2,400×1,080-pixel resolution. The Note 20 Ultra might be high-def but the difference is nothing to write home about. The Android interface is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and refreshes with a 120Hz rate.

Image credit: hype.tech

This is largely thanks to its Snapdragon 865 processor that gives it a lightning-fast performance. The 5G models are updated, matching the specs of the Note 20 ultra the 4G models have an Exynos 990 chip. You can scroll down for our comparison chart of processing specs. 

In comparative benchmark testing, users saw a noticeable difference between models. They found Snapseed Photo editing conveniently faster and put the phones through their paces with racing games.

Camera Capabilities

As with any budget model, a few dollars have to be shaved off somewhere. With the S20 FE, this comes at the cost of a slightly lower spec camera. The rear setup is a tri-factor model. It presents a 12-megapixel standard zoom camera. It also has a 12-megapixel 3x optical zoom. Those two lenses are then bolstered by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. 

Image credit: ixbt.com

The resolution doesn’t match the top of the range and you don’t get features like Samsung Ultra’s 100x “Space zoom” or 8K video recording. 

In fairness zooming in so far on the Ultra model does nothing for image quality and is hardly practical. Having creative options is always fun but when your budget is a key factor functionality comes first.

So how does it hold up? Photos are punchy with great contrast especially with the auto HDR mode selected. 

The clarity of the front-facing camera is more than adequate. It supports a 32-megapixel resolution. It distinguishes well between brightness and shadows for a crisp shot.  

It doesn’t have the finesse in definition of its high-end progenitors but it does come pretty close. So you can rest assured your social media posts will still be on point.

Design Options

You get a good mix of colors to choose from with the FE series. They cover pale pastels or you can opt for a darker red or deep navy blue. This gives the models a fresh-faced aesthetic. It is fun but ‘classier’ than the metallic-but-miserable, gun-metal appearance of the S20 Ultra.

Image credit: gsmarena.com

Samsung’s proprietary “Glasstic” plastic panel has a great frosted finish. It is not just easy on the eyes it also lends the device a smoother feel in the hand. The difference between the plastic rear and toughened Gorilla Glass 5 on the front is hardly noticeable but helps keep costs down. 

It has a matte finish that helps stop fingerprint smears. The edging is aluminum and the whole thing seems weighty and well-made. It holds a waterproof certification rating of IP68 to help keep it protected in the rain and survive accidental spills.

You’re going to need to source a pair of Bluetooth headphones because it retails without a set and has no headphone jack for direct connection. 

Impressive Battery Capacity

The S20 FE battery has been bumped up by 500 mAh when compared with its regular S20 predecessor. The new 4,500-mAh battery offers up plenty of juice. We’ve not had the chance to personally drain it but most users are happy with its capacity. In Andrew’s article, for example, he stated that an hour of streaming at full brightness only lowered the battery status by 7%.  

He also found that by the end of the day there was still 50% remaining. Given that he had been playing videos, gaming, and putting the camera to good use he was satisfied that most users would find it lasted sufficiently.

It can be charged wirelessly and benefits from a 25-watt fast charge if it needs a quick top-up.

S20 FE SPECS COMPARISON CHART

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra OnePlus 8 Pro Apple iPhone SE (2020)
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch super AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.78-inch AMOLED; 1,440×3,168 pixels 4.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334×750 pixels
Pixel density 405ppi 511ppi 513ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (inches) TBA 2.99 by 6.57 by 0.35 in. 6.51 by 2.93 by 0.35 in. 5.45 by 2.65 by 0.29 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 159.8 by 75.5 by 8.4mm 76.0 by 166.9 by 8.8mm 165 by 74.4 by 8.5mm 138.4 by 67.3 by 7.3 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 190g 7.76 oz.; 220g 199g 5.22 oz.; 148g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 iOS 13
Camera 12-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto) 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), time-of-flight camera 48-megapixel main, 8-megapixel telephoto, 48-megapixel ultrawide, 5-megapixel “color filter” 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera 32-megapixel 40-megapixel 16-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video capture 4K 8K 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5GHz + 2GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 128GB 128GB, 512GB 128GB, 256B 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 6GB 12GB, 16GB 8GB, 12GB Not disclosed
Expandable storage 1TB Up to 1TB None No
Battery 4,500 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,300 mAh Not disclosed, but Apple claims it has the same battery life as iPhone 8
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen In-screen Home button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Special features 120Hz screen refresh rate, support for 30W fast charging and 15W fast wireless charging 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom; water resistant (IP68) 5G enabled, Fast-charging, fast wireless charging, 120Hz display Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD) $699 $1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB) $899 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)
Price (GBP) £599 (4G), £699 (5G) £1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB) £799 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)
Price (AUD) AU$999 (4G), AU$1,149 (5G) AU$1,999 (128GB), AU$2,249 (512GB) AU$1,435 converted AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)
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