Samsung Galaxy S20 FE hands-on: Almost a flagship for midrange prices

by birtanpublished on October 29, 2020

All right this is going to sound like a really weird setup for a phone video but just hear me out in the early 1930s the composer cole porter was working on music for his upcoming smash hit musical anything goes which involves a lot of high seas hijinks and romantic interludes and love quadrangles and it's all kind of a mess but in that classic fun cole porter way i bring this up because one of the songs he wrote for this show easy to love has been sort of running through my head the entire time i've been using the

Samsung galaxy s20 fan edition it is not perfect by any stretch but because it cribs so much from what samsung got right with the galaxy s20 series and is available if you want for a relatively small amount of money it really is pretty easy to love now there are a lot of ways to look at the galaxy s20 fan edition and the one that i've sort of latched on to mentally is the idea that this is the sort of connective tissue between samsung's high end s series and

The a series which really runs the gamut from really cheap stuff like the a10 and even the a01 i think is like a hundred dollar phone up to the a71 5g which we have in for testing but we haven't really gotten around to doing a full review for there is a gap between the top end of the a series and the low end of the s20 series and in the past you generally try to fill that with something like last year's flagship phones the s10 series which samsung to this date continues to sell but if you're looking for

A brand new phone something that doesn't have as many compromises that runs all the newest hardware you're probably not going to want to do something like that enter the galaxy s20 fan edition which uses the same snapdragon 865 chipset as the standard galaxy s20s you're looking at a pretty sizable 4 500 milliamp hour battery you're also looking at a rear triple camera setup which while not completely unusual is still a nice thing to have in a phone that cost about 700

Or again less if you play your cards right now to sell a phone like this at the price that it's currently going for samsung obviously had to make some compromises there is a 6.5 inch amoled display here which looks beautiful but only runs at 1080p which is personally fine that's more than crisp enough for regular day-to-day use as long as your face isn't pressed up against the glass it also refreshes at up to 120 hertz which is a trait that we

First really saw this year in the galaxy note 20 series and i'm glad that technology has made it down to this the cheapest of the galaxy s20s so yeah screen compromise is really not that big a deal now speaking of compromises samsung obviously had to dial down the design a bit so we're left with kind of a pedestrian look for a quote unquote affordable flagship phone unless you get one of the fun colors which we certainly did not this thing uses a polycarbonate body

Which feels basically exactly like what you get from samsung's upper mid-range a71 series so the a715g uses glastic this is from what i can tell the same material just with a sort of hazy matte finish that you'd see on the galaxy note 20s that's made it over which is really nice it helps keep the fingerprint oils off i have a lot of trouble with that generally in my life so having a clean phone that just looks on point all the time is actually really nice and i have to throw in really quickly

Another thing i really like about this display is the fact that it is completely flat there's no curve around the edges that just invites parts of your hand to sort of nudge and accidentally touch part of the screen when you're trying to do something else it is far and away my biggest pet peeve about smartphones that everyone seems to be doing this now and now that i've got a flat screen i feel like i can kind of get back to getting things done instead of worrying about what'll happen if i reach my thumb over the screen

What's a little more concerning at least theoretically is the idea that this thing only comes with six gigs of ram as opposed to the eight gigs that come in the standard galaxy s20 now that's not a huge difference on paper and i guarantee it's even less noticeable in practice as i've been testing the galaxy s20 fe you know multitasking playing games really doing everything i could to throw it for a loop it handled all of those tasks even really good looking games with the same general poise and applause

As the galaxy s20 series so yes in terms of what you get right now you're looking at really really solid performance there is some level of performance degradation over time if you're the kind of person who sticks with your phone for two three four years at a time by the time your three kicks in i'd be really wondering how well this thing holds up but for now at least you are getting really really nice performance i also got similarly solid performance out of these cameras which is not something i

Really expected going into this i mean these tend to be fairly expensive components but maybe not as much as the screen and you know at least on paper everything here is a bit downgraded from what we've seen in those earlier flagship devices but samsung has decided a long time ago seemingly that it has its own look it has this super saturated almost better than real life kind of aesthetic that they apply to their photos via processing and because of the improved optics and

Because of that software that makes that look so possible it really doesn't seem like the s20 fe is losing out that much on the photography front it's obviously going to struggle a bit at night time that's true of all smartphone cameras but maybe truer than general for this thing but i did really enjoy having an 8 megapixel telephoto camera yes it's not as you know crispy detailed as some of the other ones that you've seen but having that 3x optical and the potential for up to

30 x space zoom if you really needed it is just kind of a nice tool to have in your kit by the way space zoom has really not gotten any better so if you can make do with shooting at anything less than 30x please for the love of god do that and then of course there's the 12 megapixel standard and ultra wide the standard is the strongest of the bunch and you're going to be using it most frequently i think i actually kind of used the telephoto most just because it was there you don't get that on the standard galaxy s20 so getting a

Feel for that has made me bias me in favor of the telephoto but i'm glad it's here the standard camera is surprisingly good the ultrawide is passable but you know that's just sort of how it goes with these things we are looking at cost savings across the board so it's not really a surprise to see samsung kind of skimp on some of these things but all told this photographic package at least as far as the back side is concerned pretty solid stuff again kind of easy to

Love considering the price i will say though that the front-facing camera the 32 megapixel sensor that samsung uses i hate it every selfie that i've taken which granted i don't love looking at myself so maybe not a ton but they tend to come out really soft and unsatisfying and just it's it's not a pleasant thing which is surprising considering the resolution this thing shoots at but you know samsung is gonna samsung now as you might have noticed i'm not really treating this as a full review i'm just

Kind of whizzing through things because i really appreciate what this phone has to offer both in terms of practicality in terms of what it gives you in performance and camera and battery life but also just what it represents i think that with samsung adding this to the s20 line you really have no gap in the price matrix that is not well filled by basically a brand new phone that's going to be annoying for some people i personally

Get a little miffed sometimes at every little update about every little new phone because samsung just has so many of them that keeping up with all of them is actually pretty difficult at times but for a consumer for a regular person who doesn't have to deal with all of these phones all the time it is almost certainly a great thing to decide that you know if i have an extra 100 or 200 in my budget for a smartphone i can easily move up from something like

An a71 5g to the galaxy s 20 fe 5g and get a significant improvement for that money all in all this really feels like it might be the right device at the right time for samsung samsung has been pretty candid about the fact that the s20 series maybe didn't do as well as they wanted to right at launch because of everything that happened immediately afterwards and for a lot of people spending that much on a smartphone was just if not undoable just maybe not the responsible decision samsung says that they kind of released this specifically as a response to the

Coronavirus i i wonder how true that actually is samsung seemed to have been thinking about the s20 fan edition in some way at least a little bit before the s20 was launched so take that for what it's worth that's kind of a story for another time maybe more than anything though what i really keep coming back to is just how good a deal this thing seems compared especially to something like the pixel 5 which costs the same 700 but doesn't have the

Top of the range chipset it has a fairly limited camera selection it on paper release does not seem to have the chops in terms of hardware to take on something like the fe and come out on top but that's really never what it was about google has always really been about giving its pixel phones the cleanest most ambitious most up-to-date versions of android as fast as possible and there's nothing wrong with that if you're the kind of person who enjoys and values software polish over everything else then the pixel is

Probably the safer choice but if you're like me and you just really gravitate to what is going to give you the best performance the best flexibility it seems like the s20 fe is going to be that phone but we'd love to hear what you think let us know in the comments how you're kind of thinking about the galaxy s20 fan edition whether you're going to buy one and just your thoughts on the phone in general i've just been rambling at you for a while so if you have any thoughts about that too

Leave it in the comments or email me at videngadget.com i'm gonna go test this thing some more so i have a real video to show you thanks for watching i'll see you next time you

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