Galaxy S20 FE isn’t a revolution in mobile tech, but it’s what 2020 calls for

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and S20 Ultra might be packed to the hilt with the latest, greatest tech, but they also come with sky-high prices to match. That makes them a tricky sell at a time when purse strings are tightening and rivals like OnePlus are making great phones at more affordable prices. The Galaxy S20 FE (which stands for “fan edition”) aims to offer much of what you’ll find in the company’s top-end phones but with a few tweaks here and there in order to keep the price down. 

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That price is $700 — the same as the iPhone 11. In the UK and Australia, it’s £599 or AU$999 for a 4G version, and £699 or AU$1,149 for 5G. (Only the 5G version will be offered in the US.) That’s a significant price drop, given that the 5G Galaxy Note 20 Ultra retails for $1,300 (£1,179, AU$1,999). It also undercuts the OnePlus 8 Pro, which has a similar set of specs but costs $899 (£799). So much for OnePlus’ famous affordability.



The price might be more affordable, but the key specs don’t seem to have suffered all that much. There’s a 6.5-inch, 2,400×1,080-pixel super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and a lightning-fast Snapdragon 865 processor (for the 5G models; there’s an Exynos 990 chip in the 4G models — the same one found in the Note 20 Ultra and S20 Ultra). 

There’s a triple camera setup on the back, although the resolutions are lower and it lacks high-end features like the 100x space zoom (30x zoom is offered, but it relies heavily on digital zoom) or 8K video recording, neither of which I think you’ll miss. It still offers things like 3x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, night mode photos and the “single take” feature which captures multiple versions of the same shot when you hit the shutter button (zoomed in, zoomed out, a video, a GIF, different filters) allowing you to decide which to share afterwards. 



Physically, it looks much the same as the rest of the S20 series. It has a Gorilla Glass 5 display (rather than Gorilla Glass 6 on the Note 20), and the back is made from a toughened, matte plastic rather than shiny glass. It still has IP68 waterproofing though, along with an in-screen fingerprint scanner and it’s available in a wider range of snazzy colors, including a vibrant red, a lavender purple, navy blue, mint green and orange — all of which look much nicer than the sinfully dull gray on Samsung’s most expensive S20 Ultra.

The phone is available for preorder globally from Wednesday, with in-store sales starting on Oct 2. 

No, this phone isn’t a revolution in mobile technology, but that’s not what Samsung needs to do right now. What it should be doing is offering a solid all-round experience at a more attractive price, which on paper at least is exactly what the S20 FE provides. We’ll find out how it stacks up against similarly priced competitors like the OnePlus 8 Pro in the full review, but for now you can see how its specs compare in the chart below.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE specs comparison chart

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra OnePlus 8 Pro Apple iPhone SE (2020)
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch super AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.78-inch AMOLED; 1,440×3,168 pixels 4.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334×750 pixels
Pixel density 405ppi 511ppi 513ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (inches) TBA 2.99 by 6.57 by 0.35 in. 6.51 by 2.93 by 0.35 in. 5.45 by 2.65 by 0.29 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 159.8 by 75.5 by 8.4mm 76.0 by 166.9 by 8.8mm 165 by 74.4 by 8.5mm 138.4 by 67.3 by 7.3 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 190g 7.76 oz.; 220g 199g 5.22 oz.; 148g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 iOS 13
Camera 12-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto) 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), time-of-flight camera 48-megapixel main, 8-megapixel telephoto, 48-megapixel ultrawide, 5-megapixel “color filter” 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera 32-megapixel 40-megapixel 16-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video capture 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 Up to 1TB None No
Battery 4,500 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,300 mAh Not disclosed, but Apple claims it has the same battery life as iPhone 8
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen In-screen Home button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Special features 120Hz screen refresh rate, support for 30W fast charging and 15W fast wireless charging 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom; water resistant (IP68) 5G enabled, Fast-charging, fast wireless charging, 120Hz display Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD) $699 $1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB) $899 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)
Price (GBP) £599 (4G), £699 (5G) £1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB) £799 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)
Price (AUD) AU$999 (4G), AU$1,149 (5G) AU$1,999 (128GB), AU$2,249 (512GB) AU$1,435 converted AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)


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