Galaxy S20 Fan Version Overview: A Fancy however Frugal Flagship Telephone

Galaxy S20 Fan Version Overview: A Fancy however Frugal Flagship Telephone


Score:
9/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Scorching Rubbish
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Professionals, Heaps Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Sufficient to Purchase On Sale
  • 7 – Nice, However Not Finest-In-Class
  • 8 – Implausible, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Cash
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Worth: $700
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition
Niki Reed

Reward be to the mighty Samsung, for it has heard our pleas of “good freakin’ grief, phones are getting too expensive.” In its infinite knowledge, it hath remade the Galaxy S20, flagship from earlier in 2020, with barely cheaper supplies and parts. It hath been rechristened the “Fan Version,” and bestowed upon us for seven hundred dollarydoos. Scorching diggity, rejoice!

Here is What We Like

  • Flagship {hardware}
  • Virtually no compromise on options
  • Large, stunning display screen
  • Strong battery life

And What We Do not

  • Telephone’s a bit huge for my style
  • Deep digicam bump
  • Digital camera downgrade versus S20

It’s exhausting to see the Galaxy S20 FE as something besides a course correction for Samsung, which will need to have noticed a comparative drop in gross sales as its normal Galaxy S line began to skyrocket in value. Between the famous phenomenon of individuals retaining their high-end telephones longer and the worldwide financial crunch of a still-raging epidemic, not many are desperate to drop 4 digits on the most recent Galaxy S, Be aware, or forward-looking folding cellphone.

However sufficient business navel-gazing: is the Galaxy S20 FE a great cellphone? Sure! Is it definitely worth the asking value? Sure once more! Is it higher than the unique Galaxy S20? Truly, it’s about the identical, no less than when it comes to person expertise. The one large distinction is the digicam. And given the $300 value minimize versus the most affordable Galaxy S20 in the primary line, that makes it an incredible deal when it comes to high-end telephones.

{Hardware} and Worth

Let’s have a fast have a look at the specs:

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • Storage: 128 GB plus MicroSD
  • Show: 6.5-inch 2400×1080 OLED, 120 Hz refresh charge, and hole-punch entrance digicam
  • Cameras: 12 MP normal, 12 MP ultrawide, 8 MP 3x telephoto lens, 32 MP front-facing digicam
  • Ports and charging: USB-C, as much as 30 watts, 15-watt wi-fi charging, reverse wi-fi charging
  • Headphone Jack: No
  • Battery: 4500 mAh
  • Fingerprint Sensor: In-display
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5; NFC; 5G cellular connection
  • 5G bands: N5, N41, N71
  • IP Score: IP68
  • Colours: Navy, Lavender, Mint, Pink, Orange, White
  • Dimensions: 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm, 190 grams
  • Worth: $700 for American unlocked model

That’s a whole lot of cellphone for seven hundred {dollars}. It compares fairly nicely to the Pixel 5, which makes use of a a lot smaller show, much less highly effective processor, fewer cameras, and a traditional rear fingerprint scanner (although that might not be a miss for you). The S20 FE is $100 cheaper than the OnePlus 8, whereas that includes the wi-fi charging and water resistance that the latter declined to incorporate. It even compares nicely with the iPhone, the place the identical value solely will get you the comparatively tiny iPhone 12 Mini.

Comparing size: iPhone XR, Galaxy S20 FE, and Pixel 5, in a row on wood
Evaluating dimension: iPhone XR, Galaxy S20 FE, and Pixel 5 Niki Reed

However probably the most damning {hardware} comparability could be between the Galaxy S20 Fan Version and the unique base mannequin of the S20. The Fan Version will get a a lot bigger however barely much less sharp show, drops the 64-megapixel telephoto lens, will get a dramatically higher front-facing digicam, a 12% bigger battery, and a slight RAM downgrade to 6GB. The rear panel additionally strikes from tempered glass to coloured plastic, which we’re high quality with.

All that, for $300 much less. True, yow will discover a Galaxy S20 or any of its upgraded fashions for nicely beneath MSRP, however the same is already true for the S20 FE—man, Samsung telephones get value cuts shortly. I ought to level out that I’m reviewing the unlocked North American mannequin: your 5G bands may differ based mostly in your territory or provider. Surprisingly, Verizon’s extremely wideband variant of the S20 FE doesn’t get a price bump.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition rear cameras
Niki Reed

Samsung’s purpose with the S20 FE seems to be delivering about 95% of the expertise of its mainline S20 household for a major value drop. Strategically, that is much like what Google’s been doing with its Pixel 3a and 4a variants. It’s nearly like somebody stated, “let’s construct telephones like we did 5 years in the past, value them like we did 5 years in the past, however add in all of the {hardware} goodies now we have in the present day!”

And so they did. And it really works. $700 continues to be some huge cash to spend on a cellphone, particularly in the intervening time. However Samsung’s improve now appears loads higher than its competitors. Examine this cellphone to the Galaxy A51, after which take into account the Pixel 4a versus the Pixel 5, or the iPhone SE 2020 versus the usual iPhone 12. With Samsung, paying double the cash will get you about double the options, whereas different cellphone makers are providing extra incremental upgrades.

Utilizing the Telephone

Transitioning from a metal body and glass rear on the S20 to plastic all-around doesn’t appear to have hampered the sensation of the S20 FE. In reality, contemplating the dimensions of the cellphone, I feel it’s probably a better user-facing choice: the plastic is less complicated to grip than the glass could be, and it gives a variety of colours. We selected orange, which is absolutely extra of a flesh tone (relying on whose flesh, in fact) that I’m not in love with.

Galaxy S20 Fan Edition from the front
Niki Reed

I’m additionally not in love with the dimensions. Don’t get me flawed, the S20 FE makes use of its dimension nicely: the physique is barely greater than the 6.5-inch display screen, and that center-mounted front-facing digicam is totally tiny. However I’ve discovered that about 6.2 inches is as massive a cellphone as I can reliably use with one average-sized hand, and this cellphone is an effective bit past that barrier. That’s a really subjective comparability, clearly.

The one different downsides to the cellphone’s physicality are a scarcity of a headphone jack (Samsung critically couldn’t match it into this factor?) and a reasonably pronounced, sharp digicam bump—a case is a must have. I’d even have most popular a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor after getting used to it once more on the Pixel collection. The under-screen sensor of the S20 FE appears to be the identical one Samsung makes use of in its costlier telephones, and it doesn’t have the sluggish efficiency of these sensors present in cheaper fashions. However I nonetheless just like the ergonomics of getting it on the again: I’ve come to the conclusion that under-screen sensors are completely type over perform.

Galaxy S20 Fan Edition power and volume buttons
Niki Reed

In any other case, the S20 FE is greater than able to doing just about all the pieces I needed it to. The battery lasted me a day and a half on common, the efficiency is zippy because of that top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 processor, and the 120Hz display screen is totally beautiful, even at “low” 1080p decision. I admire the loud stereo audio system whereas watching video, and I the IP68 water resistance (not a given for any “price range” mannequin) whereas watching video on the bathroom.

5G efficiency is difficult to quantify since no one’s touring and 5G protection continues to be spotty. However round my neighborhood, the place Google Fi has 5G entry (presumably through T-Cell), I used to be getting 80-100 megabits down and up. The sign is rock-solid, and it doesn’t appear to punch battery life within the face just like the early LTE telephones did—the optionally available always-on show was a a lot greater battery hog.

Galaxy S20 Fan Edition front camera cutout
Niki Reed

I did discover the occasional stutter within the touchscreen, which generally interpreted faucets as swipes and vice-versa. A reboot cleared them up shortly. This looks as if the sort of factor that Samsung may remedy with a fast software program replace…and certainly, a Samsung software program replace explicitly addressed this drawback simply as I used to be wrapping up this assessment. Samsung’s assist isn’t horrible, even when they aren’t all that involved with upgrading to the most recent Android model.

I may really feel the lowered RAM versus the bottom mannequin OnePlus 8, particularly with Samsung’s heavy software program load, nevertheless it was a good distance from a dealbreaker. If and admire Samsung’s software program tweaks—which the subsequent part covers—the S20 FE can deal with it.

Nonetheless Extraordinarily Samsung

Sufficient comparisons with different telephones. How does the Galaxy S20 FE maintain up by itself deserves? Fairly nicely…assuming that what you need is an enormous, highly effective Samsung cellphone.

Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, with windmill in the background
Niki Reed

Okay, that’s a whole lot of {qualifications}. What I imply is that Samsung has cultivated a really particular expertise with its telephones, so distinct from different Android telephones that it’d as nicely be its personal class. And that’s extraordinarily intentional. For those who watch a Samsung occasion or learn a Samsung spec sheet, you gained’t see “Android” talked about anyplace. (This cellphone runs Android 10, by the way in which.) Except you’re intimately aware of the working system, you may not even want to consider it till you go to the Play Retailer to get your apps.

So the entire Samsung hallmarks are right here: tons and many further apps that duplicate Google performance, bizarre interface touches that will in all probability be helpful if I had the will to be taught them, and different interface tweaks that I can’t imagine anybody really desires. That bizarre factor the place long-pressing the power button activates Bixby (which now not will get its personal button) continues to be right here, and you may nonetheless flip it off with a deep dive into the settings menu.

Galaxy S20 FE screenshots

I may go on for a thousand phrases about all of the little tweaks Samsung has made to the software program. However on the belief that anybody on this cellphone is aware of the broad variations between Samsung software program and normal Android, and even the extra light tweaks of OnePlus or Motorola: that is extra of the identical. Take that as a constructive or destructive, for no matter you need.

There was one characteristic I used to be desperate to check out: the deeper integration with Microsoft’s Your Phone. Your Telephone for Home windows means that you can do some normal name and textual content stuff from a laptop computer or desktop, a la Mac and Chrome OS, however for the second Samsung telephones have an unique on utilizing full purposes from the desktop.

Microsoft Your Phone displaying Galaxy S20 FE screen on Windows
Microsoft’s Your Telephone means that you can see apps on Home windows, if not precisely “run” them.

It’s extra interesting to me than Samsung’s DeX desktop UI (which can be current on the S20 FE), however the finish result’s lower than wonderful. The system doesn’t tunnel into your cellphone, it launches the app on the display screen after which remotely accesses it…so that you’re utilizing the cellphone app in your PC whereas the cellphone is sitting subsequent to you, display screen on, the entire time. And whereas I can see that having some restricted utility for shortly typing out a textual content message, I have already got options for that.

Digital camera Downgrade

The most important distinction between the Galaxy S20 FE and the costlier S20 fashions launched earlier this yr, no less than on paper, is the cameras. And that bears out in its real-world use. Whereas the S20 FE is completely competent when it comes to pictures, it’s not going to match as much as its costlier brethren in relation to nonetheless photographs or video.

Galaxy S20 FE sample photos
Michael Crider

Evaluating to the S20, the FE’s photographs are typically a bit on the over-exposed facet, whereas the colours are much less saturated and a bit boring. (That may really be a plus when you’re not a fan of Samsung’s excessive digicam saturation defaults.)

Galaxy S20 FE sample photos Galaxy S20 FE sample photos Galaxy S20 FE sample photos

Above: the identical spot at telephoto, normal, and wide-angle photographs.

Naturally, the 3X optical telephoto lens takes the most important hit: it’s dramatically worse than the costlier telephones, to the purpose that cropping after the picture is taken is the higher alternative for nearly all photographs. The ultrawide lens is on par with the pricier choices, with maybe a little bit of distortion across the edges of the body.

Galaxy S20 FE sample photos Galaxy S20 FE sample photos Galaxy S20 FE sample photos

The front-facing digicam, likewise, is a bit disappointing. On paper it needs to be a lot better, at 32 megapixels, however I didn’t see that within the precise photographs. I’d a lot relatively have gone with a lower-resolution sensor and added on a large angle lens possibility for group selfies.

So sure, the cameras are a particular low level, particularly when evaluating this with a similarly-priced iPhone or Pixel. It’s not as if the cameras are horrible, they simply don’t compete with flagship gadgets as a lot as the remainder of the cellphone does. It’s greater than acceptable, both as a recognized trade-off or for somebody who simply doesn’t care about cellphone pictures that a lot.

A Excessive-Efficiency Discount

I’d be mendacity if I stated I choose the Galaxy S20 FE over the equal Pixel, however that’s as a result of I like Google’s model of Android. On paper, and because the huge, bombastic, proudly Samsung smartphone that it’s, it’s a reliable system and an incredible cut price. You gained’t discover this a lot pure {hardware} goodness for this value anyplace else in the intervening time.

Galaxy S20 Fan Edition on rocky background
Niki Reed

Even with the marginally diminished digicam energy and display screen points, the S20 FE is well one of the best bang-for-your-buck anyplace on Samsung’s lineup. For those who love Samsung’s cellphone design, however your price range gained’t stretch to the heights of the highest Galaxy S, Be aware, or Fold collection, the Fan Version is an excellent compromise.

Score: 9/10
Worth: $700

Right here’s What We Like

  • Flagship {hardware}
  • Virtually no compromise on options
  • Large, stunning display screen
  • Strong battery life

And What We Do not

  • Telephone’s a bit huge for my style
  • Deep digicam bump
  • Digital camera downgrade versus S20



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