Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review&nbsp

Key Highlights

  • Pros: Samsung’s signature sAMOLED display, 120Hz refresh rate, overall practical phone, refreshing choice of colours
  • Cons: Low-light imaging could have been better, only a 15W charger is supplied in the box, Exynos 990 got slightly warm when stressed

While 2020 has witnessed the highest of high-end smartphones launching, the year has also been marred by the global coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the smartphone industry. The average selling price (ASP) of smartphones globally increased by 10 per cent YoY in the second quarter of 2020 which came in the face of the highest-ever decline in smartphone shipments YoY at 23 per cent, according to Counterpoint Research. COVID-19 has also been instrumental in making a shift in consumer behaviour, but that has not deterred players such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei from launching ultra-premium phones. While the price of iPhone 12 Pro prices start at Rs 1,19,000 Samsung’s Galaxy Note Ultra 5G (review) costs Rs 104,999 and Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro has just been launched for $1,655 which is roughly Rs 121,000. 

Even as the smartphone makers try to strike the fancy of the buyers, but they’re also aware that they need to strike a balance between performance, build quality, internals and cost. That’s where smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and even the Apple iPhone 12 step in as practical propositions that offer all the stuff that people want for a good price. The newly-launched Galaxy S20 FE, or S20 Fan Edition arrives in five appealing colours that bring the top features of the flagship S20 into a more affordable device. But, how does it fare in real-life? Here’s what was our experience of the Galaxy S20 FE.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

What makes Samsung Galaxy F20 FE variant more appealing?

The Galaxy S20 FE’s five colours, namely, Cloud Red, Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy and Cloud White, definitely look refreshing and so much better than just black slabs out there. The rear of the smartphone features a premium textured haze effect with a satin finish that minimises smudges and fingerprints. Our Cloud White coloured review unit looked very classy, and the colour should appeal to anybody who’s monochromatic, like us. White is also a neutral colour, and the S20 FE’s back has a sophisticated shimmer to it. However, Samsung did cut some corners to bring the price down. The usage of polycarbonate is there, but the device has a unified and solid feel to it. The plastic back of the Galaxy S20 FE definitely looks and feels heaps better than the glossy rear of the Galaxy S10 Lite (review).

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The overall design is notably similar to what we’ve seen on the Galaxy S20 lineup that was unveiled earlier this year — with the placement of the primary cameras as well as the ports and keys. The S20 FE, however, has bigger bezels around the screen and the display is completely flat. Like the S20 series, this one too features a hole-punch selfie camera with a slim silver ring. A flatter screen, in our opinion, makes it easier to handle generally. On the front, the S20 FE houses a 6.5-inch super AMOLED display with 2,400×1,080 pixels and a refresh rate of 120Hz unlike the much lower 60Hz refresh rate in the Apple iPhone 12. However, it misses out on the QuadHD resolution that the S20 and other super-premium Galaxy phones bring to the table, and we did not miss it. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The screen is very agile even under direct sunlight, but colours remained a tad bit oversaturated, in atypical Samsung fashion. Samsung’s super AMOLED displays remain unmatched, and the screen’s fluidity and responsiveness are pretty addictive. The higher refresh rate rendered smoother scrolling as well.

The primary cameras are where Samsung has cut corners too, and the triple camera setup arrives with a 12-megapixel+12-megapixel+8-megapixel sensor. The Samsung Galaxy FE offers a string of shooting options such as the pro mode, the slow motion and the super slow motion which we were very happy with. Also, the S20 FE brings in Samsung’s signature Single Take feature, which lets you shoot up to nine videos or images in one touch of a button. The primary 12-megapixel camera takes noteworthy images with good overall details. There was no yellowing issue that some reviews of the S20 had mentioned and the white balance was almost great. Like a range of shooting modes, the S20 FE also has plenty of zoom options. Starting from the 0.5x with the wide-angle lens to the 3x with the telephoto lens. Images clicked using 0.5 to 3x zoom were decent, but they started losing details significantly when we moved past 10x hybrid zoom. The 32-megapixel front cam arrives with an ultra-wide and a normal mode; the images were slightly smoothened, but the colours did pop. Images shot using portrait mode had pretty clean detection. Low-light and night-time imaging could have definitely been better.

How good is Samsung Galaxy S20 FE?

Samsung makes use of its proprietary top-tier Exynos 990 chip to fuel the S20 FE, but similar to other Exynos chipsets, this one too got slightly warm when we used the device for continuous gaming and social media usage. Games like Need for Speed: No Limits were a charm on the S20 FE, and there were no stutters or frame drops. The Galaxy S20 FE pairs an octa-core Exynos 990 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB onboard storage which is expandable up to 1TB via a microSD card. One noteworthy feature is the presence of IP68 certification which makes it dust and water-resistant. The phone’s overall performance was very smooth, albeit for the fingerprint sensor which now is an optical under-display fingerprint scanner. The accuracy is good, but it is a tad bit slower than the ones on the Galaxy S20 series.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The 4500mAh battery held up enough power to get us moving through the day on a single charge with internet and video browsing, and social media usage. However, the 15W charger that is supplied in the box doesn’t juice it up really fast, and neither does Samsung promise crazy fast-charging like what OnePlus currently offers. We could charge the device up to 35 per cent from 0 in about 30 minutes. Given the price of Rs 49,990, it is safe to say that Samsung is offering a good smartphone that picks some of the best features of the flagship S20 series at a justified price. In other words, the company has brought a model which is both a toned-down S-series phone and a beefed-up A-series device. Other options worth considering around this price bracket include Xiaomi’s new Mi 10T lineup, and the Asus ROG Phone 3 (review).


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