We may (finally) be nearing the end of 2020, but Samsung’s never-ending rollout strategy is still in full swing. However, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE differs slightly from the 11 Samsung smartphones we’ve previously tested.
The Galaxy S20 FE, which was unveiled on September 23 during Samsung’s “Unpacked for every fan” event, is a less expensive option to the rest of the S20 line, offering largely comparable specifications with only a few compromises.
Review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE’s appearance and important characteristics
The design of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the standard S20 appear to be very similar at first look. The S20 FE keeps the rectangular camera housing on the back and has a similar appearance from the front, where a stylish pinhole selfie camera is positioned in the center, close to the top edge of its 6.5-inch, largely bezel-free display.
But as soon as you pick up the phone, it’s obvious that something has changed. The Galaxy S20 FE has abandoned the original’s aluminum/glass construction in favor of a less expensive plastic one in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs. There is no doubting that the S20 FE feels less premium than the rest of the S20 line, despite the fact that the phone is fairly light thanks to its plastic build (190g).
Review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE: Display
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE’s Super AMOLED display still has a buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, but the resolution has been significantly reduced to FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080). However, the S20 FE’s screen is actually larger, spanning 6.5 inches across the diagonal as opposed to the S20’s 6.2 inches.
Not only is the display big, but it also has good technical capabilities. Our testing revealed that the Galaxy S20 FE’s display panel covered 93% of the sRGB color spectrum, with a total coverage of 97% when the phone’s ‘Natural’ display setting was selected. Colors seemed as they should, with only a few exceptions involving certain dark red, brown, and green tones. The standard S20’s 2.64 average Delta E (color accuracy) is outperformed by 2.01 on average.
With the automatic brightness option activated, the maximum brightness is also excellent, reaching at 722cd/m2. In light of this, HDR material on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video also looks fantastic, with brilliant specular highlights and visibly noticeable deeper tones.
Review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE’s functionality and battery life
The Exynos 990 (4G) or Snapdragon 865 (5G) processors are used to power the Galaxy S20 FE, depending on the model you choose to purchase in the UK. Depending on your area, both chipsets can also be found in the Galaxy S20 and the more modern Note 20. There are a few minor architectural variations between the two.
For this assessment, Samsung provided us with the S20 FE 5G model, allowing us to finally assess whether or not Samsung owners outside of the UK have been receiving a better bargain thus far.
Using the Geekbench 5 test available on the Google Play Store, we pitted the S20 (Exynos 990) and S20 FE 5G (Snapdragon 865) against one another to assess CPU performance. This demanding benchmark tests each chipset’s single- and multi-core performance, displaying distinct results at the end to make it easier to determine which CPU performs best in terms of raw speeds.
Cameras on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review
Before we conclude, let’s turn our attention to the Galaxy S20 FE’s cameras, which have undergone a modest degradation. The 64MP telephoto camera and 8K video recording capabilities of the S20 are absent from the S20 FE.
Naturally, these are two specialized features, so there isn’t much of a step down. A 12MP (f/1.8) primary camera, a 12MP (f/2.2) wide-angle camera, and an 8MP (f/2.4) 3x telephoto zoom sensor still make up the triple camera array on the back. Along with the ‘Single Take’ shooting mode, which enables you to take up to 10 different photographs and 4 movies each time you click the shutter, the S20 FE also has the hybrid optical and digital ‘Space Zoom’ that magnifies a scene by up to 30x.
The main sensor on the Galaxy S20 FE is the same as the one on the standard Galaxy S20, therefore image quality is almost unaffected in most circumstances. This means that, when compared to the identical photographs produced on the iPhone 11, the S20 FE has many of the same flaws as its sister, most notably with occasionally artificial-looking colors and dull nighttime shots.
Nevertheless, the Galaxy S20 FE shines in a few crucial areas. Pictures shot in daylight have a little more contrast and less visual noise than those taken with an iPhone 11, and they are full of fine details. Similar to the S20 FE’s 3x zoom camera, the iPhone 11 only has a dual-camera array with a set of 12MP wide and ultra-wide sensors, making the S20 FE’s 3x zoom camera an extra bonus.
Conclusion of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review
I don’t think it makes much financial sense to release a nearly identical handset months after the initial releases for less money. Despite the (little) differences, I would be a little miffed if Samsung released a nearly identical device within the same year for £200 less if I had purchased the standard Galaxy S20 on day one.