Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Detailed Review, Availability, Specifications and Pricing Etc.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is the company’s attempt at giving users the Samsung flagship experience at a relatively affordable price and some compromises.
When we think of a high-end Samsung smartphone, we expect it to feature top-of-the-line specifications while offering a flagship experience. These primarily include the Galaxy S series and the Galaxy Note series of smartphones. However, these flagship-level devices often make a hole in your pocket with a hefty price tag.
This is where the Galaxy S20 FE comes in, where the FE stands for Fan Edition. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is the company’s attempt at giving users the Samsung flagship experience at a relatively affordable price and some compromises.
- 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with 120Hz high refresh rate
- 12MP wide with optical image stabilisation (OIS) + 12MP ultrawide lens + 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom.
- 32MP front camera
- Exynos 990 SoC with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal memory
- 4,500 mAh battery with 25W fast charging (15W charger inside the box)
- Android 10-based One UI 2.5
For the specs, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE would cost you Rs 49,999 in India. Is this enough reason for you to buy the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE? We have used the smartphone for well over a week’s time and here is our experience with the Galaxy S20 FE.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review
To make it simple and easy to understand, let’s break down the Galaxy S20 FE review into two parts - A Fan of, and Not a Fan of.
A Fan of
— The Design and Display
As we said earlier, Galaxy S20 FE packs flagship specs but there are some areas where compromises have been made. The first thing that you are likely to notice is the presence of bezels around the flat display that are noticeably thicker than the premium S20 range. The punch-hole cutout, too, is placed slightly lower, leaving room for unusable screen estate.
These tiny compromises are likely to not bother your viewing experience. The Galaxy S20 FE’s Full HD+ screen, like most Samsung AMOLEDs, is of excellent quality. It's sharp and offers vibrant colours with good viewing angles. You are likely to enjoy binge-watching videos as the audio quality from the loud dual-speaker setup complements the visual experience. There is also a 120Hz refresh rate support, which adds to the smooth user experience.
When it comes to outdoor usage, we absolutely had no major complaints during our Galaxy S20 FE review period. What did bother us though was the aggressive adaptive brightness setting that often lowered the brightness levels to the least. This could be fixed easily via a software update.
The other compromise that Samsung has made on the Galaxy S20 FE is replacing the glass back with a polycarbonate shell. To make it look premium, Galaxy S20 FE has a matte texture with a satin finish on top. Samsung has also thrown in a variety of colour options like Cloud Navy, White, Lavender, and our favourite, Cloud Mint. This is much better than Samsung’s “glasstic” design which features a glossy look on a plastic back and attracts a lot many fingerprints.
The combination of a polycarbonate rear and aluminium frame does not give as good a premium feel as glass does but surely keeps the weight under a check at 190 grams.
The power and volume buttons are comfortably reachable on the right edge, leaving the left edge completely flush. The SIM-tray and mic find a place on the top edge, whereas the USB Type-C sandwiched between another mic and speaker grille can be found at the bottom edge.
The rear-camera module sticks out, and while we are at, let’s get to the camera performance.
The camera setup on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE offers a versatile set of focal lengths for the photographer in you. There’s no 108MP camera or 100x zoom of the S20 Ultra but you get a 12MP wide with optical image stabilisation (OIS), a 12MP ultrawide lens, and an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom.
The camera performance overall is flagship-grade. Shots captured using the main camera offer a great amount of detail and you get well-saturated images. The contrast levels are also quite good with enough details in the shadows and highlights. Dynamic range, too, is very good on the Galaxy S20 FE. In lowlight, Galaxy S20 FE’s camera does a good job in retrieving details from the shadows but the night mode blows out highlights at times. Noise reduction is quite impressive.
The 12MP ultra-wide offers a 123-degree field of view and has almost the same level of colour reproduction as the main camera but has a noticeable difference when it comes to details. Yes, there is distortion around the edges. The 8MP telephoto lens can go up to 30x zoom. The results depend upon the lighting conditions and how far the subject is. During our testing, we found images up to 10x zoom to be fairly detailed. You are likely to notice a shift in colour temperature and loss in detail as you zoom further.
The front camera clicks detailed and sharp images. We got better results when the beauty mode was disabled. Click on the Flickr slideshow below to see some sample images shot using the Galaxy S20 FE camera.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE runs on Android 10-based One UI 2.5 out-of-the-box. The Samsung skin comes with a bunch of tweaks and additional features on top of Android. There isn’t any bloatware as such and you get some Microsoft and Samsung apps pre-installed.
The custom skin offers customisation and lets you alter the number of apps on the main screen and the size of app icons as well. You can also remap the side button and replace Bixby with the Power Off menu when you press and hold it for a second or so. There’s Nearby Share, aka AirDrop for Android, that lets you quickly share files between devices.
The in-display fingerprint scanner is quick to detect and unlock the smartphone. We liked the kind of circular animation that comes with the Galaxy S20 FE while it is detecting the fingerprint scanner. There’s just one default animation and we wish Samsung offered a couple of more at least for fingerprint unlock. You also get Face Unlock as an alternative.
Not a Fan of
This is the part where the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE kind of loses out against the competition. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE features the same Exynos 990 chip that you get on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S20 Ultra. We did not experience any lag while performing basic tasks like scrolling through the social media feed, attending calls, switching between apps, etc. RAM management is very good as apps opened from where we had left them.
The part we were not a fan of the Galaxy S20 FE was when we played games for an extended duration. Although the device can handle graphics-intensive games, it does heat up quite a bit. When playing Call of Duty (Mobile), the top half of the rear panel got warm in about 15 minutes of gameplay. The same was the case when we were recording videos on the Galaxy S20 FE. Lack of thermal management perhaps led to slight throttling in performance, thus introducing some stuttering at times.
Samsung Exynos 990 is not a bad processor at all. It’s just that the processor needs to be more efficient as battery life takes a hit here. We managed to get a screen-on time of close to five hours when we did not play games. On days when we had Call of Duty sessions, the battery lasted for nearly four hours. All of this with the refresh rate fixed at 120Hz. If you have a medium use case, Galaxy S20 FE can give you a screen-on time of 5-6 hours. You can expect better battery life with the refresh rate set to 60Hz.
A bummer here is that although Galaxy S20 FE supports 25W fast-charging, Samsung is shipping a 15W charger inside the box. We used the 25W charger that came with our Galaxy M51 review unit and it took nearly 30 minutes over an hour to charge the 4,500 mAh battery completely.
Coming to the main question: Should you buy the Galaxy S20 FE? Is Galaxy S20 FE the best smartphone under Rs 50,000 in India?
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE brings down some of the compelling set of features from its ultra-premium flagship smartphones. It, however, has a fair share of competition to beat and win the crown of the best smartphone under Rs 50,000 in India. There are premium smartphones like the Mi 10T Pro, OnePlus 8T, OnePlus 8 Pro, Mi 10, and the iPhone 11. All these smartphones feature a more powerful and efficient Snapdragon 865 processor (except iPhone 11 that features Apple A13 Bionic) and have an edge over the Galaxy S20 FE.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE scores the best points in the display and the camera department. The AMOLED 120Hz display is among the best of displays you’ll get in the segment. The camera unit too is flagship-level and offers good quality images. One UI is another reason to choose Samsung Galaxy S20 FE over the competition.
If only the battery life had been better, Galaxy S20 FE could have been a true flagship at an affordable price.
MoneyControl with Agency Inputs