At long last Europe is getting a Snapdragon-powered Galaxy S20. No, none of the original trio, but the new Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, which packs the Snapdragon 865 chipset and offers both sub-6 and mmWave 5G connectivity. There’s also the Galaxy S20 FE model, which uses the familiar Exynos 990 chipset in an unfamiliar 4G configuration.
That one shouldn’t be discounted either as it is cheaper than the local versions of the original S20 models – €633/£600, compared to, say, the Galaxy S20+ 4G, which can be found for a little under €800.
The Fan Edition phone is noticeably cheaper in the US as well – the 5G version is already down to $600, $100 off its MSRP (note that the US gets only 5G and 5G UW versions). India seems stuck with Exynos as only the 4G version of the phone made it into the country (and the price is kept under wraps for now).
The S20 FE phones will be in stores from October 2, which might pour some cold water on the OnePlus 8T and Google Pixel 5 launches. The 8T is expected to be cheaper than the OnePlus 8 ($700) and rumors put the price of the Pixel at $600, so both are in the same price category. And, of course, the FE undercuts the upcoming iPhones which may or may not have 120Hz displays.
The FE display definitely runs at 120Hz refresh rate, though its resolution dropped to 1080p+ (compared to 1440p+ of the other S20s). At least it’s a flat panel (which is preferrable for some) and is paired an optical fingerprint reader instead of ultrasonic like on the original S20 models. Note that the Gorilla Glass protection has changed from GG6 to GG3.
Samsung says that it focused on three key areas when designing the phone: camera, performance and display. We’ve covered the latter two, let’s look at the camera next.
The main camera on the Galaxy S20 FE has been lifted straight from the S20/S20+, it features a large sensor with 1.8 µm pixels, Dual Pixel AF and OIS. The tele camera is different, however, offering an actual zoom lens (3x) and an 8 MP sensor. So, no crop shenanigans here, but you do lose the 8K video mode. The ultra wide camera uses a slightly smaller 12 MP sensor.
There are a few other differences that we’ll focus on in the review, for now we wanted to get your first impressions.
Would you buy a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, 4G or 5G? If you were holding back because of the S20 prices or the chipset selection, then the FE might be just what you were waiting for. But Samsung had to make some sacrifices to hit that price point, so maybe you have other plans.