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Review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE was announced in September 2020 and launched in October of 2021. This one for the fans! Or for the chemistry students with a penchant for iron alloys? It’s not ‘lite,’ that’s for sure.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE price in Kenya debuted at Kes 65,000/= but will vary as there are offers and discounts currently.
Galaxy S20 FE specs at a glance;
- Body: 159.8×74.5×8.4mm, 190g; Glass front, plastic back, aluminium frame; Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified), IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins); Colors: Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, Cloud White, Cloud Red, Cloud Orange.
- Display: 6.5″ Super AMOLED, 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 407ppi; 120Hz refresh rate.
- Chipset (5G): Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 (7 nm+): Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 585); Adreno 650.
- Chipset: Exynos 990 (7 nm+): Octa-core (2×2.73 GHz Mongoose M5 & 2×2.50 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G77 MP11
- Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot).
- OS/Software: Android 10, One UI 2.5.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Telephoto: 8 MP, f/2.4, 73mm, 1/4.5″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚, 13mm, 1/3.0″, 1.12µm; LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama.
- Front camera: 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.74″, 0.8µm; HDR.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 4K, 1080p, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K, 1080p.
- Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 25W, Fast wireless charging 15W, Reverse wireless charging 4.5W, USB Power Delivery 3.0.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer; NFC; stereo speakers.
Design and Build
The central punch hole in the panel and the camera arrangement on the back give the Galaxy S20 FE a distinct Samsung look. Despite its apparent brand association, the Fan Edition falls short of giving off an S-series vibe, instead giving off an ‘A-series’ vibe.
The Galaxy S20 FE has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED panel, but it lacks the ‘Dynamic’ branding that the other S20s and Note20 Ultra have. So it’s similar to the vanilla Note20, but better: unlike the simple Note, it supports a 120Hz refresh rate.
FullHD (1080x2400px in a 20:9 aspect ratio with a pixel density of 393ppi) is the resolution. You might argue that it’s a downgrade compared to the 1440p panels on the other S20s, but you could also argue that it’s the same – after all, the non-FEs’ display resolution is similarly limited at 1080p when run at 120Hz.
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User Interface and Performance
The S20 FE runs on the same OneUI 2.5 that was first introduced on the Note20 and later rolled out to the S20s and last year’s flagships. It isn’t significantly different from the 2.1 edition or the plain 2.0 version. In any case, Android 10 is running under the in-house overlay, and the FE is on a list of phones that will receive three big OS updates – so Android 13 is the most it will get.
The Snapdragon 865 chipset is the only choice for the Galaxy S20 FE 5G. There is a geographic division in the 4G variant, with several countries receiving the Snapdragon. The Exynos 990 is given to the rest of the group. We have the base version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which comes in three memory configurations: 6/128GB, 8/128GB, and 8/256GB.
The camera system on the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition differs from that on the S20 and S20+. That is, two of the three modules are distinct, while the main unit remains the same. Behind an f/1.8 aperture lens is a 12MP sensor with large 1.8m pixels. Dual pixel autofocus and image stabilization are also included in the list of features.
The ultra-wide-angle cam has a slightly wider field of view than the other S20s, but at 123 degrees vs. 120 degrees, even with the software correction factored in, the difference isn’t important. This one has the same f/2.2 aperture as the others and, like the others, no autofocus. The resolution is also the same: 12MP.
Then it’s on to the telephoto. The FE has an 8MP telephoto camera with a 76mm equivalent focal length. That’s around 2.9x zoom, which can pass for 3x in our book, measured from the main camera’s 26mm focal length. This camera has a smallish 1.0m pixel size and an f/2.4 aperture lens. Compare that to the S20 tele’s 1.07x optical zoom and 64MP resolution, which uses software to zoom.
Instead of the traditional 10MP selfie sensor used on the S20 and S20+, the Fan Edition gets a 32MP Quad Bayer sensor. This one has the same f/2.2 aperture and 25mm equivalent focal length as the previous one, although it lacks autofocus.
The main camera on the Galaxy S20 FE can capture video in 4K60 resolution. The ultra-wide can shoot in 4K and 1080p, but only at 30 frames per second. Technically, the telephoto will do the same, but you’ll have to turn to tele first and then adjust the frame rate in settings to get it to record at 60fps in either resolution. Furthermore, it’s a mystery how it manages to record 3840x2160px from a sensor with a nominal resolution of 3264x2448px.
The Galaxy S20 FE has a 4,500mAh battery, which is the same as the S20+ and Note20 Ultra. To be clear, we’re testing the 5G variant of the Fan Edition, which means it has the Snapdragon 865 chipset instead of the Exynos chipset used in most Galaxy review devices.
With Samsung’s USB PowerDelivery with PPS adapter, the Galaxy S20 FE supports fast wired charging up to 25W. The caveat here is that the phone comes with an old Qualcomm QC2.0-compliant 15W adapter – also the S10 Lite came with the correct 25W charger!
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