The Galaxy S20 FE, Samsung’s next-best smartphone in the premium S20 series but at a more manageable price, was released this year. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE was introdu iced in September as a “Fan Edition” smartphone designed specifically for fans and boasts specs comparable to those of a flagship. The phone is essentially a more affordable version of the Galaxy S20 that has been slightly toned down.
For the first time, Samsung offered a phone with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs 49,999 in India. Later, the company added a 256GB model, which retailed for Rs 53,999. The processor of the Indian retail unit distinguishes it from the global variant. Here is my long-term review after using the base model of the Exynos-powered S20 FE without the 5G.
Display and Design:
Starting with the design, the S20 FE has a flat display and a polycarbonate back that has a matte finish, unlike its siblings. This one is slightly smaller and weighs a little less than the S20+. The ploybcarbonate back is comfortable to hold and repels fingerprints and smudges. However, the display is inferior to that of the S20 series of phones. The S20 FE is significantly less expensive than the S20 or S20+ because of these two factors alone.
In terms of the display, Samsung has included a 6.5-inch full-HD+ 120Hz Super AMOLED screen, which is inferior to the QHD+ panel found in the S20 series of smartphones. However, as a stand-alone product, I don’t have many issues. The panel has vibrant and vivid colors and is still in good condition. Samsung’s display panels are regarded as the best in their class. Widevine L1 support means that you can watch full-HD videos on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
Despite its polycarbonate back, the S20 FE is a well-built smartphone overall. It has a decent display and a good screen-to-body ratio in a lightweight package. Strangely, this phone does not come with a protective case from Samsung; however, I was fine with not using the back case because I never needed one. My review unit of the S20 FE in the White color had an amazing matte finish that did not at all attract smudges, and the phone never felt fragile.
UI and performance:
The fact that the S20 FE includes Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and 5G at an affordable price is one reason why it has received worldwide high praise. However, India does not receive any of it, which is unfortunate. Like all of the flagship S20 models, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE India unit comes equipped with the company’s own Exynos 990 chipset. Again, this does not have 5G, and there are two versions with either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM. The 128GB of storage on our review unit was adequate.
As I have stated in previous S20 reviews, the Exynos chipset performs well when multitasking, and real-world performance exhibits no noticeable lag. However, it struggles to control overheating, particularly during graphically intensive gameplay. Additionally, the phone occasionally heats up while taking photos and videos.
Regarding the user interface, the S20 FE runs Samsung’s most recent OneUI 2.5, which is based on Android 10. Samsung has made steady improvements to the user interface over time. After OxygenOS overlay and the stock Android, I consider it to be one of the best.
Performace of the camera:
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE has a triple-lens setup at the back that is vertically stacked, just like the S20, with the exception of an 8-megapixel telephoto lens. A 12-megapixel primary sensor wide-angle lens, an 8-megapixel telephoto shooter with an f/2.0 aperture, and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter with a 123-degree field of view (FoV) round out the set.
In terms of image quality, I found that the triple-rear camera setup performs reasonably well in daylight. The 12-megapixel sensor’s binned output keeps the colors rich. As was to be expected, each result had sufficient detail and sharpness. The AI scene optimizer maintains the color saturation and contrast levels. The S20 FE camera also produces excellent HDR images.
When it comes to low-light shots, the rear camera setup isn’t as sharp, so the images don’t look as good. Nearly all of the images had noticeable noise. However, the S20 FE’s Night mode is still a lifesaver. Compared to the typical low-light shots, the processed images do appear a little sharper and more pleasing to the eye. Regarding video recording, the phone supports 4K at 60 frames per second in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Pro mode also lets you record 60 frames per second 4K 21:9 videos. On the other hand, the S20+ could record videos at up to 8K.
On the other hand, this phone’s front camera has been upgraded. The Galaxy S20 FE has a 32-megapixel camera instead of the 10-megapixel camera found on the S20 series.
Even though I didn’t like the S20’s selfie camera, I think the S20 FE has a better front camera. The 32-megapixel lens’s images appear more crisp and detailed. Beauty mode is enabled by Samsung by default for selfies, but you can disable it for better results. See examples of cameras below (slideshow).
Scanner for fingerprints and Face Unlock:
As I mentioned in my review of the Galaxy S20+, Samsung did improve the Fingerprint scanner and Face Unlock features of its previous generation of phones, and the S20 FE follows suit. If you don’t compare it to any flagship phone, both of these security features work fine. These, in my opinion, are still not moving as quickly as one might anticipate in 2020. Since every Samsung phone’s face unlock function is identical, this is one area where Samsung should improve. In the case of the S20 FE, I also felt that the fingerprint scanner was severely lacking, failing numerous times to recognize the device and unlock it.
Charging and battery:
Concerning the battery and charging, the S20 FE has a 4500mAh battery that can be charged quickly with 25W. Samsung has kept the reverse Wireless PowerShare feature and support for WPC Qi wireless fast charging. However, the company was unable to include a 25W fast charging adapter in the box. Instead, you get a USB Type-C to USB Type-C charging cable and a 15W two-pin charger.
It’s clear that the phone takes a long time to charge otherwise, so I’m wondering why Samsung didn’t feel the need for a 25W charger. Additionally, the battery barely lasts an entire day. I mostly had to charge it halfway through. The 120Hz panel settings use significantly more battery power than anticipated.
The S20 FE is Samsung’s next-best product globally, but it is not available in India due to its high price and lack of 5G support. At Rs 49,999, the phone competes with the much more expensive OnePlus 8T or Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro in its price range. Compared to the S20 FE, these phones are more affordable and provide better value. The primary reason this phone does not appear to be profitable enough for its price in the country is because Samsung chose not to include support for 5G and the Snapdragon 865 processor.
Additionally, the S20+ went head-to-head with the S20 FE at Rs 49,999 during the festive season, making it impossible to recommend it over the flagship. Despite this, the S20 FE still looks good and has decent cameras and a display. It does offer competitive specs for a premium smartphone if you can overlook the competition and 5G support. The phone is currently too expensive for its price, but if you can get one for close to 40K, you should definitely consider it.