Samsung Galaxy S20 FE full review

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Hey, what’s up guys, Will here for GSMArena. A few months after the release of the Galaxy S20, Samsung has come up with a leaner and more affordable version –
the Galaxy S20 FE, or Fan Edition. So what do the fans get here, and what sorts of trade-offs
come with the lower price?   Let’s find out in our full review. According to Samsung, the Galaxy 20 FE
is a smartphone built “For The Fans”.

Not sure what that means exactly,
but it does bring premium features, like a flagship chipset and a high refresh rate screen,
all for a competitive price. Not all Galaxy S20 FE’s are the same. There is a 5G-capable version,
which uses a Snapdragon 865. Ours is this 5G model,
and it has the smooth Cloud Navy finish.   Overall, it looks elegant – though, you will notice that the back
is made of plastic here,  not the premium Gorilla Glass. The frame is made of aluminum, though. And you still get full IP68 water- and dust-resistance
that you’d expect from a high-end Samsung phone. On the front is a flat 6.5-inch SuperAMOLED display,
with a small punch hole for the selfie cam.

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The resolution is a bit lower than the regular S20 at 1080p,
but it still brings that fast 120Hz refresh rate. And it’s worth noting that
even for the regular S20’s display – if you turned on to its fast 120Hz refresh rate,
its resolution would dial down to 1080p as well. The high refresh rate makes scrolling and moving
elements on screen look much smoother to the eye.   It isn’t adaptive to the content
like some other solutions, we’ve seen though. As you’d expect from a Samsung,
the Galaxy S20 FE’s AMOLED is great,   with nice contrast,
super deep blacks and vivid colors. You can adjust colors to be fairly accurate
to specific color spaces in settings. And brightness is just as good as the other S20 models – we measured 400nits maximum with the manual slider,
and it boosts up to 820nits in auto mode in bright conditions. Unlocking the phone is done
with an optical under-display fingerprint reader, rather than an ultrasonic reader
like you’d find on other Samsung flagships.   This isn’t the fastest around,
but it is quite reliable. For audio, the Galaxy S20 FE has a stereo speaker setup, with one bottom-firing speaker and the earpiece acting as the second one.

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It’s quite nice – the phone scored a good loudness rating in our tests, and the sound is clean,
with well-defined highs and decent lows. Unfortunately, this device that’s built for the fans,
doesn’t include the fan-favorite the 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll have to buy a USB-C adapter if you want to plug in.
  The storage is expandable, though,
on top of the 128GB or 256GB on board. The S20 FE’s interface is Samsung’s latest OneUI 2.5,
over Android 10. It’s the same as you’d find on the other Galaxy phones. You get support for gesture navigation, as well as a system-wide dark mode,
which can be configured for certain times of the day. Edge panels give you quick access
to customizable shortcuts by swiping on the edge of the screen. It also contains useful features like the toolbox. And there’s something called Smart Pop-Up View. It allows apps to appear as a floating bubble
when they have a notification for you.   Clicking on this will open a floating window,
which is great for multitasking.

And there’s a game launcher
that groups all of your games in one easy-to-find place. and provides you with some interesting stats for your gaming. Under the hood of our Galaxy S20 FE
is a flagship-grade Snapdragon 865 chipset. And it provides support for 5G networks. However, the 4G-only version, however, will come with either
a Snapdragon or Exynos chipset depending on the region. Performance here is excellent –
as you’d expect from this level of hardware.

Benchmark scores aren’t quite chart-topping,
as the newer Snapdragon 865+ exists,   but you wouldn’t be disappointed here
when it comes to intensive tasks or gaming. The performance is also quite consistent
and we didn’t notice significant throttling due to heat. Powering the Galaxy S20 FE is a 4,500mAh battery –
the same capacity as the S20+ and Note20 Ultra. This phone aced our battery life tests. With the display set to 120Hz,
it was able to score an awesome 110h endurance rating. And turning the refresh rate down to 60Hz
resulted in a bump up to 118 hours! The Galaxy S20 FE supports
fast wired charging up to 25W.   However, the phone arrives
with a 15W adapter in the box. With it, we were able to charge the phone
from a dead battery to 37% in half an hour. Not terribly slow, but not very impressive either.

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There is support for 15W wireless charging too, as well as reverse wireless charging,
where you can use the S20 FE to charge other devices. The Galaxy S20 FE has the same 12MP main camera with OIS
as you’d find on the other S20 models. Its other two cameras are different though. Its 12MP ultra-wide-angle cam has smaller pixels,
and there’s an 8MP 3x telephoto cam. During the day, 12MP photos from the main camera
are sharp, detailed, and noise-free. They’re very similar in quality to those from the Galaxy S20+,
though colors aren’t quite as punchy here.

The S20 FE’s Portrait mode produces okay results. The edge detection can get confused
by more complex backgrounds.   But in more straightforward scenarios
you get good subject separation. In a fashion similar to the main cam, the 12MP ultra-wide-angle photos have more restrained colors
than you’d get from the Galaxy S20+. Dynamic range is on par though, and the results
from the Fan Edition smartphone are actually a bit sharper. The 8MP telephoto camera outputs images at 3x zoom,
but these come out in 12MP,  so there is some upscaling involved. Sharpness is still decent though, comparable to the S20+’s telephoto camera,
and the noise performance is better here. In low light, images from the FE’s main camera
are quite similar to those from the S20+.   Highlights around light sources
aren’t quite as well-contained as on the S20+.   The FE has a bit more detail
and more noise as well.

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If you switch on Night mode, the results are almost identical
to those of the more expensive model. You get the same level of detail and hardly any noise.   Highlights are well preserved,
and you get a boost in the mid-tones. Night-time photos with the FE’s ultra-wide-angle camera
come out a bit better than those from the S20+.   Colors are more saturated and there’s lower noise.
However, the S20+ does have more preserved detail. With Night mode on, the FE’s ultra-wide-angle camera
is flat out superior to the S20+, with consistently better sharpness. When zooming at night with the telephoto,
the FE produces better results as well. With improved detail, lower noise,
and wider dynamic range than the S20+. The difference isn’t as pronounced with Night mode
ON though. Both produce some pretty good photos. The Fan Edition selfies are taken
with the 32MP front-facing cam, and there is no autofocus here.

These photos come out at 10MP or 6.5MP,
depending on the crop, and the quality is decent.   You get well-detailed images
with pleasing skin tones, and nice dynamic range. Videos can be recorded
with the main camera in up to 4K at 60fps.   The quality is adequate,
with likable colors and a good dynamic range.   But sharpness and detail
are inferior to the other S20 models. The same can be said for the ultra-wide-angle camera,
which can record in 4K at 30fps.   There’s pleasing colors and wide dynamic range,
but sharpness leaves more to be desired. Zoomed 4K videos from the telephoto cam are great –
comparable to those from the S20+.

Colors are on point, dynamic range is wide,
and there is plenty of fine detail. Electronic stabilization is available in all modes
on all cameras. On the main cam, it works great. We had a less-than-pleasant experience
with the ultra-wide-angle camera though. The framerate isn’t steady with the stabilization on,
and you get some jerky movement every now and then. The telephoto is somewhere in-between.
The framerate is constant,  but it’s still a little shaky. So, that’s the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. You get a water-resistant build,
a smooth 120Hz SuperAMOLED display, nice stereo speakers, excellent battery life,
wireless charging, a flagship chipset, and a great triple camera setup
that is comparable to the more expensive models. You do get some downgrades here and there, though –
like the plastic back panel.  4K video recording has less detail, too,
we’ve seen better selfie cams from Samsung, and you only get a slow 15W charger in the box.

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But the upside here is the price. It’s way cheaper than the S20+,
especially if you compare the 5G versions. This kind of value is enough for the Fan Edition
to earn our full recommendation. Thanks for watching guys,
stay safe and see you on the next one..

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