Galaxy S20 FE: This stellar phone is the best Samsung buy in 2020


Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Extremely and Galaxy Notice 20 Extremely is likely to be packed to the hilt with the most recent, biggest tech, however additionally they include sky-high costs to match. That makes them a tough promote at a time when purse strings are tightening and rivals like Google and OnePlus are making nice telephones at extra reasonably priced costs. However the Galaxy S20 FE, which stands for “fan version,” packs lots of the nice options of its flagship siblings, together with a stable triple digital camera, a robust processor, IP68 waterproofing and 5G connectivity, all for a way more reasonably priced worth.


  • Nice efficiency
  • 5G-enabled
  • Life like worth

Do not Like

  • Digicam white steadiness will be hit or miss

At $700 within the US, it is a hell of so much cheaper than the Notice 20 Extremely, which retails for $1,300 (£1,179, AU$1,849). Within the UK and Australia, a 4G model of the S20 FE is offered for £599 or AU$999, with the 5G model going for £699 or AU$1,149. Even higher, the road worth for an unlocked mannequin within the US is at present hovering round $600 at main retailers like Amazon and Best Buy — no activation required, no strings connected. Commerce-ins and different activation choices obtainable at Samsung and elsewhere may get that worth all the way down to a fair decrease degree.

Learn extra: One of the best cellphone to purchase for 2020

Even should you’re paying $700, that is the identical US worth because the just lately introduced Google Pixel 5 (which is a little bit cheaper within the UK and Australia). However the S20 FE does supply advantages over the Pixel within the type of an extra telephoto lens, expandable storage and a stronger processor. We’ll have to attend to get the Pixel in our arms to work out precisely how these two stack up. 

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The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is the midrange cellphone to beat


However total, the Galaxy S20 FE is just not a revolution in cellular expertise, however it’s not designed to be. What it’s is a stable all-round cellphone at a extra reasonably priced worth. Whereas it is nonetheless costlier than telephones just like the iPhone SE and the OnePlus Nord, its higher spec checklist makes it the cellphone to go for should you’ve acquired your coronary heart set on a flagship, however simply cannot fairly abdomen emptying your complete checking account to get one.


Angela Lang/CNET

A fantastic display screen and highly effective processor

There is a 6.5-inch, 2,400×1,080-pixel tremendous AMOLED show which is brilliant, vibrant and pin-sharp. Is it as excessive definition because the Notice 20 Extremely? No. Will you discover the distinction? I actually could not. It has a 120Hz refresh price too that simply makes swiping across the Android interface really feel that bit smoother. It stretches all the best way to the perimeters, with solely a small punch gap for the front-facing digital camera.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs. Galaxy S20 Extremely efficiency chart


Geekbench 5 (Single core)

Geekbench 5 (Multicore)

3D Mark Slingshot


Longer bars equals higher efficiency

Inside is a lightning-fast Snapdragon 865 processor (for the 5G fashions, an Exynos 990 chip within the 4G fashions — the identical one discovered within the Notice 20 Extremely and S20 Extremely), which carried out very effectively on our benchmark checks (take a look at the comparability chart above). Photograph modifying in Snapseed was a breeze and demanding racing video games Asphalt 9 and Grid Autosport performed completely effectively.

A potent triple digital camera

The digital camera is among the major areas that is seen some compromises to maintain the associated fee down. The rear digital camera setup features a 12-megapixel commonplace zoom digital camera, a 12-megapixel 3x optical zoom and an Eight-megapixel ultrawide-angle digital camera. These are decrease resolutions than you will discover on extra premium Galaxy telephones. The FE additionally lacks options such because the 100x “House zoom” and 8K video recording that you will get from the S20 Extremely. 

Whereas I actually do not suppose you will miss 8K video or the 100x zoom (the standard at that zoom degree is so poor you’d by no means need to do something with these pictures) I actually loved utilizing the 5x and 10x zoom choices on the S20 Extremely, and beloved the artistic capturing choices it supplied. Would I spend tons of extra to have it although? Completely not. 

Pictures from the S20 FE are punchy with a great publicity steadiness between brilliant skies and darkish foregrounds, helped by the auto HDR mode. It is in no way the very best digital camera round — I discover the white steadiness generally is a bit hit or miss at occasions — however for drool-worthy pictures of espresso and cake to make your Instagram followers jealous, it’s going to swimsuit simply positive. 


With the usual zoom lens, the cellphone has finished a great job balancing the very brilliant sky with the extra shadowy floor under. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET


Utilizing the 3x optical zoom, I have been capable of get nearer up on the buildings, attaining a extra fascinating composition. Once more, publicity is nice, with good vibrant colours, too.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET


Activating the super-wide lens let me seize an enormous quantity of the scene in entrance of me. The publicity is sweet, however the colours are a contact drab. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET


The colours are something however drab on this super-wide shot of one in every of Edinburgh’s artwork galleries. It is vibrant, punchy and would look nice on Instagram.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET


I like how shut up I have been capable of give attention to this flower, however the white steadiness is barely shifted to the magenta facet, giving it a cooler, purplish tint total that I do not love. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET


The 3x zoom has come in useful once more to let me focus extra on this lovely clock tower. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET


You possibly can digitally zoom all the best way as much as 30x, however as you’ll be able to see right here, the standard takes a severe hit. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The entrance digital camera has a 32-megapixel decision which produces crisp pictures which might be greater than adequate for Instagram — relying on the face you pull, that’s. 

Stylish design

Samsung affords the S20 FE in a variety of vibrant hues, however I feel the deep navy blue of my overview mannequin is way more “stylish” than it’s “cool” — it is a good sport coat as a substitute of a neon parka; a steak and glass of chianti as a substitute of a burger from a van; an HBO drama as a substitute of WWE highlights. It is way more engaging than the sinfully uninteresting grey of the S20 Extremely, however then absolutely anything is. 

Its rear panel is made out of plastic, however its frosted end makes it feel and look extra like glass to me (Samsung even calls it “glasstic”). There’s toughened Gorilla Glass 5 on the entrance and aluminum on its edges. It feels sturdy and cozy to carry and the matte texture of the again means fingerprints aren’t a lot of an issue.

There is not any headphone jack, so hopefully you’ve got invested in some bluetooth headphones by now (you will not get any headphones within the field) however the cellphone does have IP68 waterproofing, which can preserve it secure from spilled drinks or heavy rain. 


Angela Lang/CNET

A beefy battery

Samsung has stuffed a four,500-mAh battery contained in the S20 FE, which is 500 mAh greater than the battery it put within the common S20. It is no shock that it has plenty of energy to supply. I have not but been capable of do our full suite of battery-drain checks on the cellphone, however after an hour of YouTube streaming at full brightness, the cellphone had solely dropped by 7%, which is excellent. 

Anecdotally, I discovered that it had effectively over half its battery left after a day of photographing, enjoying movies and doing bits of gaming. I’ve little question that it will comfortably get you thru a full day of combined use and possibly effectively into the subsequent. It additionally helps wi-fi charging in addition to 25-watt quick charging to provide it a fast juice up should you’re about to move out. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE specs comparability chart

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely OnePlus Eight Professional Apple iPhone SE (2020)
Show dimension, decision 6.5-inch tremendous AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.78-inch AMOLED; 1,440×3,168 pixels four.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334×750 pixels
Pixel density 405ppi 511ppi 513ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (inches) TBA 2.99 by 6.57 by zero.35 in. 6.51 by 2.93 by zero.35 in. 5.45 by 2.65 by zero.29 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 159.Eight by 75.5 by Eight.4mm by 166.9 by Eight.8mm 165 by 74.four by Eight.5mm 138.four by 67.three by 7.three mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 190g 7.76 oz.; 220g 199g 5.22 oz.; 148g
Cellular software program Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 iOS 13
Digicam 12-megapixel (commonplace), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), Eight-megapixel (3x telephoto) 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), time-of-flight digital camera 48-megapixel major, Eight-megapixel telephoto, 48-megapixel ultrawide, 5-megapixel “colour filter” 12-megapixel
Entrance-facing digital camera 32-megapixel 40-megapixel 16-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video seize 4K 8K 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5GHz + 2GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 128GB 128GB, 512GB 128GB, 256B 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 6GB 12GB, 16GB 8GB, 12GB Not disclosed
Expandable storage 1TB As much as 1TB None No
Battery four,500 mAh 5,00zero mAh four,300 mAh Not disclosed, however Apple claims it has the identical battery life as iPhone Eight
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen In-screen House button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Particular options 120Hz display screen refresh price, assist for 30W quick charging and 15W quick wi-fi charging 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh price; 100X zoom; waterproof (IP68) 5G enabled, Quick-charging, quick wi-fi charging, 120Hz show Water-resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging
Worth off-contract (USD) $699 $1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB) $899 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)
Worth (GBP) £599 (4G), £699 (5G) £1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB) £799 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)
Worth (AUD) AU$999 (4G), AU$1,149 (5G) AU$1,999 (128GB), AU$2,249 (512GB) AU$1,435 transformed AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)

First printed Oct. four