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The Galaxy S20 FE Is the More Affordable Samsung Phone You Really Want

Illustration for article titled The Galaxy S20 FE Is the More Affordable Samsung Phone You Really Want

Picture: Sam Rutherford

When Samsung selected the Galaxy S20 FE’s title (FE stands for Fan Version), it did so as a result of FE examined higher in focus teams in comparison with different tags like “Lite” that usually get slapped on barely cheaper finances flagship gadgets. However you already know what? I’m type of OK with that slice of company nonsense as a result of it’s simply two letters. And extra importantly, for individuals who have been scared off by the $1,000+ worth tags of Samsung’s different high-end telephones, the S20 FE retains loads of the premium options present in its costlier siblings, all for simply $700.

That’s the identical worth because the 2016 Galaxy S7 at launch and $50 lower than final 12 months’s woefully underappreciated Galaxy S10e. So despite the fact that I’m not an enormous fan of its title, I’m a fan of the Galaxy S20 FE’s worth.

In comparison with telephones just like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the S20 FE is refreshingly easy. That stated, you do get a variety of shade choices together with navy (seen right here), lavender, mint, pink, orange, and white. You additionally get a flat 6.5-inch OLED display with 32-MP hole-punch selfie digital camera up entrance, triple cams in again, and a USB-C port down under—all in a physique that’s about the identical dimension because the Galaxy S20+.

The S20 FE even comes with wi-fi charging with assist for Wi-fi Powershare, so you may lend some additional juice to a good friend in want or recharge a pair of Qi-compatible earbuds on the go. The one miss is that whereas some producers are nonetheless equipping their extra inexpensive handsets with a headphone jack, the S20 FE doesn’t have one, which implies the subsequent least expensive Samsung telephone with an precise 3.5mm port is the Galaxy A71.

Of course, to hit this worth, Samsung has made a couple of concessions by way of the S20 FE’s design and specs, however they’re ones I can stay with. So as a substitute of a QHD+ display decision, the S20 FE options an FHD+ 2400 x 1080 show. And whereas the S20 FE does assist a 120HZ refresh price that makes issues look additional clean, it’s not certainly one of Samsung’s new VRR screens such as you get on the Note 20 Ultra. Lastly, rather than a glass rear panel, the S20 FE has what Samsung calls a “glasstic” again, which is a pleasant means of claiming high-quality polycarbonate—plastic. It’s received a pleasant matte end, however between being a lot much less dense and conducting warmth otherwise, there’s no mistaking it for actual glass. There’s an upside to this although, as a result of in comparison with the Galaxy S20+, the S20 FE is noticeably lighter.

Fortunately, Samsung didn’t make any compromises in the case of the S20 FE’s processor, because it will get the identical Snapdragon 865 chip utilized in its costlier siblings—which means you don’t have to fret about getting hit with lag or stutter—together with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of base storage, and a microSD card slot. So regardless of its cheaper price, it’s good having full flagship efficiency on the S20 FE.

The S20 FE’s sturdy efficiency doesn’t cease there both, as a result of it options a 4,500 mAh battery that’s simply as huge as what you get within the S20+ and Be aware 20 Extremely. The S20 FE’s battery life is unbelievable. On our video rundown take a look at, the S20 FE lasted simply shy of 16 hours (15:52), which is means higher than our 12-hour common and higher than something on this worth vary apart from the OnePlus 8 (16:09).

The one small wrinkle is that unlocked fashions of the S20 FE don’t have assist for mmWave 5G (or AT&T’s particular wifi calling protocol), simply sub-6GHz 5G. So if you need a S20 FE that works correctly in your community, you’ll have to purchase one instantly out of your provider, with Verizon’s particular mmWave 5G-enabled S20 FE commanding a $50 premium over an ordinary mannequin.

The S20 FE sports activities a well-rounded trio of rear cameras, together with a 12-MP primary cam, a 12-MP ultra-wide cam, and an 8-MP telephoto cam with a 3x optical zoom. Whereas the S20 FE’s cams exhibit loads of the identical traits seen on different Galaxy telephones, like wealthy colours and strong publicity, it additionally has loads of the identical shortcomings, like a bent to be a bit over-aggressive in the case of sharpening, and a low-light mode that’s fairly respectable, however not fairly pretty much as good as Google’s Evening Sight.

The one con (and it’s a fairly minor one) I’ve discovered on the S20 FE is its in-screen optical fingerprint reader. It completely works and is usually fairly correct, however I discover it’s not fairly as quick as what you get on a daily Galaxy S telephone, and the sunshine it must shoot out to learn your digits could be a bit jarring at evening.

Illustration for article titled The Galaxy S20 FE Is the More Affordable Samsung Phone You Really Want

Look, the S20 FE isn’t fairly as eye-catching as a few of Samsung’s different costlier telephones, and I nonetheless kinda cringe on the notion that anybody would purchase a second telephone in lower than a 12 months just because they’re a fan. However when you lengthy for the times when an excellent flagship telephone price round $700 as a substitute of $1,000 or extra, the S20 FE is a delight. It’s received a shiny, colourful display, a easy construct with plenty of shade decisions, nice efficiency, and a strong assortment of cameras with out something even approaching a significant flaw. The S20 FE has just about all the pieces you really need with out punishing your pockets, and that’s all the time a formulation I can get behind.


  • The S20 FE helps as much as 25-watt wired charging, however to get that you just’ll want to purchase a brand new energy brick since you solely get a 15-watt quick charger within the field.
  • In contrast to loads of costlier Galaxy telephones, the S20 FE has a flat display. No rounded edges.
  • For folks on Verizon, there’s a particular Verizon S20 FE that helps each sub-6GHz 5G and mmWave 5G, nevertheless it has a barely increased $750 MSRP.
  • The S20 FE’s “glasstic again” makes the telephone a bit lighter and fewer dense in comparison with actual glass, which can be good or unhealthy relying in your tastes.
  • Like different Galaxy S and Be aware telephones, Samsung says the S20 FE will get three years of safety and Android updates.

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Sam Rutherford