Samsung Galaxy S20 FE - Best Review ever/ Price / Design / OS / Camera and performance /

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review

 Samsung introduces a new Samsung Galaxy S20 FE or "Fan Edition" as a model, providing all the features that fans care about the most in a more affordable package. As the prices of flagship phones have crossed Rs 1,00,000 over the past few years, the "flagship killer" segment has grown to around Rs 40,000 to 50,000. Instead of having lunch to contestants like OnePlus and Xiaomi, the Korean giant has decided to fight back with a watered-down version of the Galaxy S20.

Samsung has managed to sell more affordable versions of its flagship phones without cannibalism in many ways. Last year, we had a physically smaller Galaxy S10e (review) that proved to be a hit, similar to the "mini" versions of some older models. The company also later offered the Galaxy S10 Lite at Rs 45,500 (review), a somewhat confusing but still decent mid-range option. We have also seen premium A-series models trying to serve in the same market.

Now that the OnePlus 8T has been launched at Rs 42,999 (review) and many flagship prices are falling, can the new Galaxy S20 FE attract Rs 47,493 viewers? Read on to find out.

Price and Compitetor

Only one configuration of the Galaxy S20 FE in India, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, was announced at launch, priced at Rs 49,999. However, when this model went on sale, a 256GB variant was priced at Rs 53,999. Oddly, it is sold in only one color, the Cloud Navy, rather than the full range.

The 5G variant is sold in other countries, but the Galaxy S20 FE is only available with 4G network compatibility in India. The obvious target is the OnePlus 8T, which starts at Rs 42,999. Other potential competitors are the new Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G, gaming phones such as Asus ROG Phone 3 (Review) and even iPhone 11 (Review).

However, what makes the Galaxy S20 FE stand out for all the wrong reasons is the fact that the much more premium Galaxy S20 Rs 45,990 and Galaxy S20+ Rs 49,999 (review) are now sold much below their official launch prices. In fact, Samsung is currently discounting the luxurious Galaxy S20 + for exactly Rs 49,999 on its own website, and it is available a lot during the online festive sale.

This is difficult to understand, as it outlines the new Galaxy S20 FE and even the Galaxy S20. In an effort to cover its limit, Samsung has recently announced price cuts for 128GB and 256GB variants which are Rs 44,999 and Rs 48,999 (plus bank offer). This will undoubtedly upset early adopters, less than two weeks after the Galaxy S20 FE went on sale. As far as giving consumers value for money, this is hardly the most favorable environment in which to promote a model with more modest specifications.

Design and Look

The Galaxy S20 FE fits in with its siblings. It has the same basic proportions but is interestingly larger than the Galaxy S20 with its 6.5-inch screen. You don't get curved edges on the screen, which is a really good thing in my opinion. The frame is shiny and metallic, while the rear panel is made of a matte polycarbonate. The 128GB version of this phone is available in five colors, ranging from bold cloud red and cloud navy to fairly soft pastel cloud mint and cloud lavender, as well as neutral cloud white.

The rounded edges of the rear panel make the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE very easy to hold and non-slip textures are preferred. You don't have to worry about fingerprints at all, but mild smoothies can be seen after use. You do not make any kind of case in the box with this phone.

Contributing to the premium feel, the screen boundaries are quite thin. The earpiece is so narrow that it can barely be seen. The front camera is embedded in the center of the right top - it is quite small but still not only slightly distracting due to its position, but also a highly reflective silver ring around it. Samsung will ship this phone with a screen protector pre-applied, and one was slightly missed on my review unit.

The power and volume buttons are on the left, and are within easy reach. Samsung has removed its dedicated Bixby button and I don't remember it at all. The bottom has a USB Type-C port and no 3.5mm audio socket. The tray at the top can have two nano-SIMs or a nano-SIM and a microSD card.

The Galaxy S20 FE, which is 8.4 mm thick and weighs 190 grams, is easy to handle and live. It is IP68 rated for water and dust resistance, so it needs to be able to come in contact with the elements. While not exactly flagship-level, the build quality is excellent and there is no doubt that it looks like a premium phone.

Operating Software and Some Specifications

The Galaxy S20 FE gets the same top-tier Exynos 990 processor as its siblings in the S20 family. It is an octa-core SoC with two custom Samsung Performance cores running at 2.73GHz, two more ARM Cortex-A76 cores at 2.5GHz and four more powerful 2GHz Cortex-A55 cores.

There is 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage, plus support for 1TB microSD cards using hybrid slots. The battery capacity is 4500mAh and wireless charging is supported in both directions. You only get a 15W adapter in the box, although this phone can take advantage of up to 25W chargers.

Samsung has gone with a 6.5-inch 1080x2400-pixel Super AMOLED screen. There is no official mention of HDR but it appears to be supported. There is also always an on-mode which is disabled by default. A pleasant surprise is the refresh rate of 120Hz, although there is no way to enable it dynamically - it's 60Hz or 120Hz all the time. An alternative solution is to enable adaptive power saving, which will turn on the refresh rate along with many other settings depending on your usage pattern.

Talking about power saving, Samsung lets you choose between four display levels. Medium and maximum modes limit CPU performance to 70 percent and reduce maximum screen brightness by 10 percent. Maximum mode locks you in only for certain apps and forces dark mode. Background data is restricted and always on-display and all biometrics are also disabled.

These are some of the huge features you get in Samsung's One UI 2.5, which runs on top of Android 10. My unit received an update to the October Android security patch during the review period, which was good to see. The Bixby button can go through but the assistant can still be called using the power button. You can use your SIM for calls and text messages via other linked Samsung devices, and Samsung's recent partnership for Windows 10 integration with Samsung is also supported on the Galaxy S20FE.

There are various shortcut gestures, a game launcher with customization, UI themes, a dual messenger feature for using two accounts with some applications, a screen recorder, expandable notification bubbles, and plenty of options for home screen customization. Edge panels give you quick access to various shortcuts and mini apps with swipes from both sides of the screen, and you can download many more free and paid panels from the Galaxy Store.

On the downside, some Samsung apps are preloaded, including a useless web browser and tie-in apps for the company's AR, wearables and IoT products. Samsung Health and Samsung Pay are potentially useful, but on the other hand, my Galaxy app provides annoying notifications several times per day.

Boost and Performance

As expected, there is no lag when swiping through the One UI interface and multitasking between apps. The Galaxy S20F felt devastated, thanks to the high refresh rate panel as well as capable SoC and large amounts of RAM. The in-display fingerprint sensor and face recognition are not as quick as I'd like, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. This is a phone that you will be more happy to use for everyday apps and tasks.

The screen is crisp and vibrant. Apart from distracting camera holes, videos and games look great. The stereo speaker of this phone helps the experience, which seems quite well balanced. The sound is a bit thin and lacks bass, but that's to be expected.

According to benchmark tests, AnTuTu scored 4,62,330, and Geekbench's single and multi-core results were 517 and 2,573, respectively. 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme Graphics Test managed 6,649, while GFXBench's Manhattan 3.1 and Car Chase's visuals ran at 55fps and 33fps, respectively. These scores are slightly lower than the Galaxy S20 + (review) and Galaxy S20 Ultra achieving Rs 77,190 (review).

Modern games including Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends were completely smooth in their default graphics quality settings. However, the upper part of the Galaxy S20 FE was significantly heated after just five minutes of play. This became a bit uncomfortable in long gaming sessions.

Battery life was not particularly impressive. I was able to get all day use for a fee, but I would not expect more from it. Our HD video loop test lasted 12 hours, 44 minutes, which is below average. Using a bundled charger, I was able to get 17 percent in 15 minutes and 61 percent in an hour.

Camera and image quality

Given how much Samsung emphasized camera quality as a defining feature of the Galaxy S20 family, it will be interesting to see how this low-priced model fits. The Galaxy S20FE has a smaller set of cameras starting at 12. Megapixel f / 1.8 primary camera with OIS. It also has a 12-megapixel f / 2.2 ultra-wide camera and an 8-megapixel f / 2.4 3X optical telephoto camera. For the selfie, you get a 32-megapixel f / 2.2 camera.

Surprisingly, the camera app is jammed with features and options. The modes include Samsung's single tech composition tool, Pro Mode, Food Mode, Night Mode, Live Focus for Still and Video, Slow Motion and Super Slow Motion and Hyperlap. You can download additional filters or make your own based on the color profile of any photo, if the default selection ever gets boring. The Scene Optimizer feature is on by default and will display a shortcut to quickly enable Night Mode if deemed necessary.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE focused during the day and closed the scenes quite well. Colors were lively, in some instances oversaturated. The shots looked sharp and the subjects were well defined. The detail on objects at a distance was also quite good. The close-up shots were excellent, reproducing the minute detail very well and a very pleasant natural depth of field.

In fact, a close-up taken in the default focus mode was often better when using live focus mode, which makes you stand far away from your subject. If you use this mode, you can refocus shots, adjust blur intensity and type, and remove all colors except for the object in focus.

The wide-angle camera introduces significant distortion and the quality is not poor if you are looking at your shots on the phone screen. The colors do not vary much due to the remodel. The 3X optical telephoto camera also captures excellent detail, and also captures shots when fully visible on large monitors. The three cameras that Samsung has chosen are all useful without a gimmick, and all can come in handy regularly.

Things are a little less satisfying at night - the focus was sometimes wrong, but manually tapping the screen will lock immediately. The good news is that if you are too deep to see your subject, even if you know how to tap, you can still capture good shots. The Scene Optimizer will force a slow shutter by default, but it is not the same as Night mode, and the results were slightly different.

The low-light shots were slightly grainy and the colors sometimes stopped depending on the lighting. Wide-angle and telephoto cameras are thanks to their narrower holes, but shots are still usable. Using the Night mode has generally led to better color reproduction and little improvement.

The front camera takes 8-megapixel binned shots by default. The frame is essentially reverse-cropped in wide-angle mode, but the difference is very slight. The selfie looks crispy with good detail and exposure, but beautification has been turned on by default and many taps to disable it. Night mode works here too, and can certainly help when there is not enough light falling on your face.

For video, the Galaxy S20 FE was able to capture smooth 1080p footage with all three cameras on the day. Whether it was standing, panning, or walking, the video looked good and there was no shock. In 4K, the speed was slightly less smooth, especially with the telephoto camera. The low-light video shot with the primary camera was quite good, but the quality suffered with telephoto and wide-angle cameras. 4K was noticeable when running during recording, and stabilization artifacts at 1080p were also an issue. You can switch between cameras during recording, and transitions are slick.

The slow-motion video looked great. In super-slow-mo mode, the video is captured at 720p. The beginning and end of the clip play back at normal speed, and you can adjust the points between which the footage slows down dramatically. You can also reverse and loop it for a creative effect.

Should you upgrade to it or Not?

Samsung used the "Fan Edition" suffix when it tried to sell the refurbished Galaxy Note 7 unit in South Korea with a smaller, safer battery. The move could help Samsung overcome some of the pitfalls that followed the disastrous and embarrassing global launch (and subsequent global ban) of the Galaxy Note 7, but it was never going to hit a mass market. "Fan Edition" originally conceded that only those who are dedicated to the Samsung brand would actually buy it.

So it is a bit surprising to see a new model launch in many countries with the same branding - that too for a more mainstream audience than its siblings. You do not have to be a fan of the brand to like this phone.

Samsung has got it right though, but there is a balance of cost and features. You don't get the full flagship experience, but if people are happy with the so-called flagship killers, then you now have a very good option within Samsung Backup. What works for the Samsung Galaxy S20FE is its fit and finish, high-quality screens and useful cameras.

Pricing is an unavoidable issue, however. People who pre-order or buy the Galaxy S20 FE are going to be reasonably upset due to the increasingly low price and 256GB storage options. The big issue is Samsung is now selling the superior Galaxy S20 + at the same price that the Galaxy S20 FE was launched. No matter how good this new phone sounds and how perfect it gets, Samsung offers itself strong competition as long as where the prices are currently.

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