The Samsung Galaxy S20 is heralded as the flagship phone experience for 2020, but if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s probably “too much” phone for most people. the galaxy s20 fan edition (fe), came a few months after the standard bearer, and brought most of the core features of the s20, but with a price that’s a few hundred dollars cheaper.
how is the galaxy s20 fe doing? Is it worth spending the extra money to get those extra features or does this work for typical users? Read on to see what I think of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fe.
Reading: Does the samsung fe have a headphone jack
Galaxy S20 FE is Samsung’s budget flagship device for 2020 and as such some corners have been cut. the most notable of these has to do with the phone’s design.
for starters, the back is plastic and this is undoubtedly what most people will notice when looking at the s20 fe. While I’ve always found metal and glass backs to add to the premium feel of a smartphone, I’ve never been one to disparage a smartphone for using plastic when it makes sense.
in this case, plastic makes a lot of sense for the galaxy s20 fe. it’s lightweight, durable, won’t scratch, allows for good signal strength, works with wireless charging, and helps keep costs down. Plus, the S20 FE is still IP68 waterproof, so you’re not giving up much. the only real drawback is the lack of “premium feel”, and that’s something I can live with at this price. if you’re like me, you’re going to put a case on it anyway.
While the back is plastic, samsung used a metal frame and that still gives the s20 fe a premium feel that you wouldn’t get with an all plastic build.
around the top of the device, you’ll find the nano-sim slot which also includes a cutout for a microsd card allowing you to expand the storage on the s20 fe. the bottom houses your main speaker complemented by the earpiece speaker that produces loud, clear audio for streaming videos or playing games.
no headphone jack or dongle
finally, the only port on the phone is the usb-c port on the bottom. Unfortunately, you won’t find a headphone jack on the S20 Fe. As a huge headphone fan, I’m still bummed about the removal of the headphone jack, and I’ll always hate Apple for making this the standard.
worse yet, the galaxy s20 fe doesn’t include a dongle, something I discovered the first night when I wanted to plug in my favorite pair of iems and listen to music. instead i had to wait a couple of days for amazon to deliver a usb-c to 3.5mm adapter before i could do this. the other two headphone dongles i have didn’t work with the s20 fe because they lacked an audio processor.
Just another reason why I’m still upset about the headphone jack being removed. If you are looking for a compatible headphone dongle for the galaxy s20 fe, I highly recommend the official one I ordered from amazon linked here. It has worked perfectly for me.
One of the reasons I’ve always gravitated towards samsung phones is because of the amazing screens. the s20 fe is no exception here, sure the bezels are bigger, it’s not curved and the screen is only fhd+ instead of qhd but it looks awesome.
The screen becomes extremely bright, blacks are like ink, and colors are vibrant – everything you’d expect from a quality Samsung AMOLED panel. videos and games looked fantastic, and the 120hz refresh rate made everything run smooth.
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There’s something about scrolling and seeing animations in 120hz that makes the phone feel much more responsive. Also, for years I’ve been bothered by the black speck you’d see when scrolling through amoled panels. the high refresh rate makes this almost unnoticeable.
My only real complaints were the lack of curved edges, the lack of hdr support, and the larger bezels around the edge. I know a lot of people will look at flat screen like a pro, but I’ve never had a problem with curved screens on samsung phones and have always preferred that aesthetic. It also went a long way in making the bezels appear slimmer, and the s20 fe could have helped a bit in that department.
regarding hdr support, the netflix app shows that the s20 fe does not support hdr. youtube and prime video supposedly support it, but compared to other phones I own that support hdr playback, the s20 fe seems muted.
don’t get me wrong, the screen still looks beautiful when playing videos, but hdr would make it look much better.
Naturally, I can’t mention the screen without referring to what’s underneath it, and that’s the fingerprint sensor. this is another area where samsung saved some money by using an optical sensor instead of an ultrasonic one.
Optical sensors have come a long way and are much faster than they used to be, however they are generally less secure than ultrasonic sensors. Despite being less secure, optical scanners are some of the most widely used fingerprint sensors in phones these days, so I find that to be an acceptable cost-cutting measure on the s20 fe.
Samsung’s software has had fans and critics over the years. however, most seem to agree that a user interface has matured into a well thought out and designed skin. emphasizes one-handed use and places items within reach for an enhanced user experience.
plus, samsung includes tons of extra features and settings to help you customize your phone. there are themes, custom always-on display graphics, a one-handed mode, double tap to wake, dual messaging, and the list goes on and on.
some might say this causes samsung software to bloat and they wouldn’t be wrong. there are a lot of features here that I never touch and don’t care about, bix for anyone? Regardless, I love the extra features and flexibility that a user interface gives me.
The camera setup of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE consists of a 12MP f/1.8 Wide Camera, an 8MP f/2.4 3x Telephoto Camera, and a 12MP f/2.4 Ultra Wide Camera. 2.2 with a 123 degree view. this selection of focal lengths is perfect for almost any occasion. the 3x telephoto lens provides enough range to justify its existence, while the ultra-wide and wide-angle cameras ensure you can capture everything your eyes see in the frame and more.
i would describe photos taken with the s20 fe as too bright and sharp. they don’t look bad by any means but you can tell samsung’s processing has been tweaked to make photos look super bright and sharp because that’s what most people tend to prefer in camera shoots .
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Personally, I would have preferred the processing to be a bit more subtle, because you lose some shadows that can really add a nice ambiance to your photos or give a sense of dynamic range. Also, it doesn’t match what I see with my eyes in the scene.
in the end, the s20 fe still produces good photos, even in low light situations. plus, there’s optical image stabilization on the wide-angle and telephoto lenses, and you have plenty of shooting modes and options to choose from, including professional, panorama, live focus, super slow motion, and night mode.
Speaking of night mode, the s20 fe does an impressive job of retaining detail and balancing exposure in extreme night scenes. for example, you can balance the exposure between the Christmas lights here, the night sky, and a mix of exterior and interior lighting. that’s a big challenge and he was able to pass with flying colors.
the front camera is a 32 mp f/2.2 shooter that uses pixel binning. that means it’s technically capable of taking photos at 32mp, but unless you specifically choose that option, your photos will be 6.5mp or 10mp if you choose the wide-angle option. also if you decide to shoot at 32mp you will lose the ability to capture in hdr. in my opinion the extra resolution is not worth the extra storage space or loss of hdr.
Overall, I was disappointed with the front camera. It mainly suffers from Samsung processing, which applies face smoothing and brightness, even if you turn it off. this has been a problem with samsung selfie cameras for years. you can often get around this by using the google camera app, and then you’ll see how much more detail the camera is capable of capturing.
samsung may have cheapened the plastic back, but if that allowed it to include the snapdragon 865, then I’m all for it. granted, he only uses 6gb of ram and i know that sounds bad considering flagships these days use 8gb of ram.
I haven’t found the lack of that 2gb of ram to be that limiting when using the s20 fe though, but I have noticed how incredibly fast it feels with the latest qualcomm processor and 120hz screen.
In other words, Samsung took shortcuts in all the right places and made a phone that is capable of speeding up most tasks, including loading large mobile games. the only drawback is that it will remove some larger apps from memory faster than 8gb phones and you will have to wait for them to reload.
with such a large 120hz screen on the galaxy s20 fe, I was concerned about battery life. after using it for the past few weeks, those concerns were completely unfounded. I was ending the day with almost half battery life, and that was with a mix of gaming, reddit browsing, and video streaming.
All of that added up to a combined four hours of screen time on most days, and yet the battery never dipped below 40%. I was even able to get it to last two days for free with moderate use.
the galaxy s20 fe is much more than a fan edition, it’s the phone samsung needed for 2020. flagship phone prices have spiraled out of control, combined with a global pandemic, and it was clear something needed to be done thankfully, Samsung took shortcuts in all the right places to deliver a flagship performance phone at a reasonable price.
For $700 or less on trade-in, you get a stunning display, top-notch performance, fantastic battery life, and a great set of cameras. Pretty much everything you’d expect from a high-end phone in 2020, with just a few drawbacks like thicker bezels or a plastic back.
buy from amazon buy from samsung
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