Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review: 2020’s best Samsung smartphone?

Rating:

Samsung did a great job with its S20 lineup of Android smartphones, all of them featuring top-notch hardware, beautiful design, excellent cameras, and good software. However, most of the S20 devices have premium prices, including the Galaxy S20, S20+, and Note20. To get the price down but keep what users want, Samsung created the Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) 5G. For a more affordable sum of money, this smartphone offers flagship specs, stellar cameras, a large battery, resistance to water and dust, wireless charging, and more. Are you curious to see exactly what you get from it and whether it’s a good choice for you? Read this review and find out:

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G: Who is it good for?

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is an excellent fit for:

  • Those who want a powerful Android smartphone with excellent hardware
  • People who want a Samsung Galaxy S20 phone at a more reasonable price
  • Those who are looking for a smartphone with top-notch cameras

Pros and cons

There are a lot of good things to say about the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G:

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  • Great cameras for a reasonable price
  • Powerful hardware and top-notch performance
  • Super AMOLED display, with a high refresh rate
  • IP68 rating for dust and water resistance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Support for DeX (Desktop Experience)
  • Fast wireless charging support
  • It comes with Android 10 and will get Android upgrades for three years (Android 11 is already available)

Here’s what you could hold against the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G:

  • The plastic back looks OK, but doesn’t make the phone stand out of the crowd
  • You don’t get any earphones in the package, and the bundled charger is a travel model, not a fast charger
  • You can’t replace the default Samsung Daily news feed with Google Discover
Product rating 5/5

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is one of the best Android smartphones you can buy today. It’s a high-end Android device that offers a lot of performance, top-notch cameras, and excellent battery life. Its hardware allows it to easily manage any kind of workload, from productivity to gaming. In our opinion, it also looks good, and the build quality is what you would expect for a smartphone in its price-range. The only thing that doesn’t feel “high-end” is the plastic back, but if you’re going to use a protection cover, you’re not going to see it anyway. In the end, we warmly recommend the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G to all our readers.

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is a high-end smartphone, with simple, yet good-looking packaging. You get a white box that features only the smartphone’s name on the front and sides. However, the back of the box has a sticker on it with more details about the exact model you bought.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G package

Inside the box, you find the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G smartphone, a travel adapter, a USB data cable, an ejection pin for taking the SIM tray out, the quick start guide, and the warranty documents.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G: What’s inside the box

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is a satisfying experience. However, you should know that Samsung doesn’t bundle any earphones or a cover for this smartphone, like it does for the other Samsung Galaxy S20 models.

Design and build quality

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is a fairly large Android smartphone. With a screen size of 6.5 inches in diagonal, it measures 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm (6.29 x 2.93 x 0.33 inches) and weighs 190 g (6.70 oz). It’s a bit shorter, heavier, and also thicker than most other Galaxy S20 phones, except for the Note20 Ultra 5G.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is available in six different color variations: Cloud Navy, Cloud Lavender, Cloud Red, Cloud Mint, Cloud White, and Cloud Orange. The one we had for testing was the Cloud Orange one. It has a matte orange plastic back that looks nice and helps hide the inevitable fingerprints and smudges. Because the back is made of plastic rather than glass, Samsung manages to keep the phone’s price a bit lower than its S20 flagships.

Color options for the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Seen from the front, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G looks great. It has a large screen that covers its front side almost entirely. Although its bezels are not as thin as those of the other Samsung Galaxy S20s, they are still pretty slim. On the same note, a thing that we like and is standard for Samsung are the rounded edges and corners of the Galaxy S20 FE 5G.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G’s back looks simple, except for the camera system that draws your eye. The three back cameras, their sensors, and flash are all found inside a rectangular sector on the smartphone’s top-left corner. As we’re dealing with some advanced optics, the triple-camera section is slightly protruding. That makes the smartphone wobble when standing on a plane surface, but only if you don’t use a protective case.

The camera system on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Looking at its front side again, at the top of the screen, you’re going to notice a small circular hole: that’s where the selfie camera is found.

The selfie camera on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

When we saw the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G for the first time, it didn’t appear to have an ear speaker. We thought that, maybe, it produces sounds by vibrating its top area of the screen, like the Huawei P40 Pro. However, after a closer inspection, we found the missing ear speaker behind a very thin opening between the screen and the phone’s top bezel.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G perspective from the top edge

When playing media, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G can use both its ear speaker and the loudspeaker found on its bottom edge. Thus, it delivers stereo sound. Speaking of which, besides the loudspeaker, you’re also going to find the USB-C port and a microphone on the bottom edge of the smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G perspective from the bottom edge

The power button and the volume rocker are found in their usual location on the smartphone’s upper-right edge. These physical buttons are easy to reach and press, unless you have short fingers. They only slightly protrude out of the body, but that’s enough to easily identify what’s what without having to look at them intentionally.

The physical buttons found on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

On the top edge of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, there’s a secondary microphone and the SIM and memory card tray. The smartphone’s left edge is clean and clear: no buttons, no trays, no nothing. 🙂

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G holds an IP68 certification. IP comes from Ingress Protection and classifies electronic devices according to how well protected they are against dust, water, and other accidents that can do damage. The digit 6 from the IP68 grade held by the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G means complete protection against dust. At the same time, the number 8 tells us that it can survive unharmed even if it is immersed in water as deep as 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G looks beautiful and feels robust. We like its design, especially the thin bezels around its display and the fact that the selfie camera cutout is small. Furthermore, we really appreciate the IP68 certification for dust and water resistance. Some might not like the plastic material on the phone’s back. Still, as most people use protective cases on their phones, it shouldn’t be an important shortcoming.

Hardware specifications

Although some people might be tempted to think that the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is a stripped-down Galaxy 20, the truth is that it packs powerful hardware. The phone features a Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 system on a chip (SoC), which is, in our opinion, a better choice than any Exynos variant bundled on the non 5G variant of the same smartphone. The CPU has eight Kryo 585 cores, out of which one can run at up to 2.84 GHz, three at 2.42 GHz, and the other four at up to 1.8 GHz.

The graphics chip used on the Qualcomm SM8250 SoC is a fast Adreno 650 that supports Vulkan 1.0 and 1.1, OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 Full, OpenGL, and Direct3D 12.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G: Processor details

Regarding storage options, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is available in various configurations: 128 GB storage space and 6 GB RAM, 128 GB or 256 GB storage and 8 GB RAM. Additionally, you can also insert a microSDXC card for even more storage.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G bundles an outstanding camera system. On the back, you get a triple-camera system:

  • 12 MP, f/1.8 aperture, 26 mm (wide), Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • 8 MP, f/2.4 aperture, 76 mm (telephoto), PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
  • 12 MP, f/2.2 aperture, 123˚, 13mm (ultrawide)

The front camera is designed to attract younger audiences. It has 32 megapixels, an f/2.2 aperture, 26 mm (wide), and HDR support.

The triple-camera system on the rear of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

The cameras have excellent specs for video recording also. The main camera system allows you to shoot videos in 4K resolution at 30 or 60fps, as well as in 1080p at 30 or 60fps, both modes supporting gyro-EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization). The selfie camera has the same capabilities. The only difference between this smartphone and the pricier Galaxy S20 is that the latter can record videos in 8K. However, considering that not many people own 8K TVs right now, we don’t consider this a shortcoming.

The screen is also impressive: it’s a 6.5 inch Super AMOLED display with 1080 x 2400 pixels and a 20:9 aspect ratio, leading to a 407 pixels per inch (ppi) density. It also offers a high refresh rate of 120 Hz and support for HDR10+.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G: Display specs

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G supports 5G mobile networks and Wi-Fi 6 wireless networks (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6). It also has a Bluetooth 5.0 chip, GPS, NFC, and a USB Type-C 3.2 port. In terms of sensors, you get a fast fingerprint reader (optical, under the display), an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, and compass.

The audio aspect is well covered, too: the loudspeaker is made of two stereo speakers, and the smartphone supports 32-bit audio playback at up to 384 kHz. Unfortunately, just like on most smartphones launched these days, there’s no audio jack. However, the USB-C port can be used for plugging in earphones.

The smartphone’s autonomy is delivered by a non-removable 4500 mAh Li-Po battery. It supports fast charging at 25 Watts, as well as fast wireless charging at 15 Watts.

Battery usage for the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

If you want more details about all the features and hardware specs, visit this page: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G Specs.

Next, read the second page of this review to find out more about the smartphone experience offered by the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, its cameras, operating system and bundled apps, and its performance in benchmarks.