The $699 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE: Budget Phone, Flagship Features


Samsung released the Galaxy S20 family last spring, and the reviews were mixed. Actually, “mixed” is probably too kind. We were all openly mystified at Samsung’s decision to charge $1,400 for the Galaxy S20 Ultra with its disappointing camera array. In some ways, the new Galaxy S20 Fan Edition is a do-over. It’s even cheaper than the base model Galaxy S20, but it keeps most of the flagship features, including the Snapdragon 865, 5G, and the 120Hz display refresh. It also comes in some delightful colors for just $699. 

At a glance, the S20 FE looks like any of the existing S20 variants. There’s the edge-to-edge OLED panel, a small hole-punch camera, and the rectangular camera array on the back. With a price $300 lower than the base S20, you’d expect the usual midrange phone tropes like macro cameras and 60Hz screen tech. In this case, you’d be wrong. 

The Galaxy S20 FE packs a 6.5-inch OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh for smoother motion. It’s only 1080p resolution, but that’s one of the few compromises. You also get the Snapdragon 865 in a phone that’s priced like devices running the slower 765. Samsung even managed to keep flagship features like IP68, wireless charging, and wireless power share. 

The camera setup for the FE may be an improvement over the more expensive S20s, too. There’s a 12MP primary, a 12MP ultrawide, and an 8MP telephoto. As previously mentioned, the S20 Ultra’s camera array is kind of a mess, and the cheaper versions of the phone don’t even have a real optical zoom — they have a high-resolution sensor cropped to fake zoom functionality. However, the S20 FE has a 3x telephoto lens on that 8MP shooter. 

While the back panel is plastic instead of glass, it’ll come in several wonderful colors including purple, green, and my personal favorite, orange. You can get a boring white phone if you want, but why?

The Galaxy S20 FE supports sub-6 5G networks like the ones available on T-Mobile and AT&T. If you want millimeter wave 5G, you’ll have to go to Verizon. The carrier’s S20 FE 5G UW (yes, that’s really the name) will cost $50 more, but it will connect to those super-fast 5G nodes when you’re within range. 

As many OEMs have learned, this is not the time to ask the mainstream public to buy very expensive phones. Samsung is not usually one to compete on price — it charges for the Samsung name. However, the S20 FE looks like an incredible deal, even compared with the likes of OnePlus. The S20 FE goes on sale on October 2nd.

Now read: 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *