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Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review: Not Devoid of that Flagship Feeling 

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is available in India at Rs 44,999.

Published
Tech Reviews
5 min read
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.
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Samsung is currently the only brand in the Indian market that has a smartphone in every price category. Be it a budget smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy M01 which comes in at Rs 7,499 or the gold standard in foldable phones, the Galaxy Fold 2 which costs a whopping Rs 1.5 lakh.

Many might call this market strategy an overkill but you can’t deny that customers get an array of smartphones in Samsung’s portfolio to choose from.

Going by the theme, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition), available at Rs 44,999, is for the Samsung fans who aspire to have the flagship experience without taking a toll on their pockets.

I had the opportunity to use the S20 FE for a considerable amount of time and here’s my review of the Samsung fan edition phone.

Snapshot

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Good battery life
  • Good camera

Cons

  • Plastic back
  • No QHD resolution

What’s Good?

What I liked about the S20 FE is that it’s a no-nonsense piece of hardware that carries flagship-level processing power that’s available on phones more expensive. No compromise there.

It runs on the latest 7-nanometer Exynos 990 processor which is the same used on flagships like the S20, the S20+ and even the S20 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review: Not Devoid of that Flagship Feeling 
(Photo: The Quint)

The fact that it comes with a 4,500mAh battery inside means that it’s well and truly capable of handling the processing power of an Exynos 990 and a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display that clocks at 120Hz.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review: Not Devoid of that Flagship Feeling 
(Photo: The Quint)

Many might disagree with me on this but I prefer the flat screen on the FE compared to a curved display on other flagships. It doesn’t make the feedback of the touch experience any better but the overall ergonomics feel in place for me with a flat-screen. Yes, the bezel might look a bit clunky due to this but it’s not a dealbreaker.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review: Not Devoid of that Flagship Feeling 
(Photo: The Quint)

Samsung hasn’t tinkered with the design and I like that. It’s reminiscent of the flagship design philosophy and someone buying the FE would want that.

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It’s one of the smoothest experiences you’ll have on a Samsung device and the 8GB of RAM made sure I had a lag-free gaming experience overall.

Samsung is offering the most flagship features like IP68 water-dust resistance, wireless reverse charging, Samsung Pay and a 120Hz display with the FE which I feel in this price range gives the FE an upper edge.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review: Not Devoid of that Flagship Feeling 
(Photo: The Quint)

Battery back-up had been impressive throughout my time with the FE.

It got me through the day with multiple apps running in the background and even with a few gaming sessions in between I was left with 25-30 percent charge. Bundle this with up to 25-watt fast-charging (available in the box) you can get to 100 percent in less than 70 minutes.

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Samsung has done well with the camera setup on the FE. Despite the absence of a higher megapixel telephoto lens unlike on the S20 and the S20 Ultra, the Galaxy S20 SE managed to deliver a good photography experience.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review: Not Devoid of that Flagship Feeling 
(Photo: The Quint)

The 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens definitely offers richer colours and contracts than the previous iteration. Not to mention the 8-megapixel telephoto with 3x optical zoom isn’t bad when it comes to portrait or lowlight photography.

The 32-megapixel front camera was more than capable of accommodating more than 6-7 people in a frame and that’s something you’d want in your front snapper. Also, low light shots were well-managed despite being a tad grainy.

Video stabilisation has also received improvements and hand-held shots look much better thanks to the in-built EIS (Electronic Image Stabilisation) and OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation).

Here’s a look a some of the shot I took using the smartphone:

  • Captured on ultra-wide mode.
  • Captured on standard mode.
  • 3x optical zoon shot.
  • Captured on ultra-wide mode.
  • Captured on standard mode.
  • Live focus mode.
  • Night mode with low ambient light.
  • Night mode with no ambient light.
  • Captured in monochrome mode from the selfie camera.
  • Selfie in standard mode.
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What’s Bad

I wouldn’t want to nitpick but there are places where Samsung seemed to have cut corner in order to bring the price down of the S20 FE.

To start with, it comes with a polycarbonate back panel which on other flagships is made out of gorilla glass. It won’t shatter but it also robs the FE of that premium look and feel.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review: Not Devoid of that Flagship Feeling 
(Photo: The Quint)

Also, since the plastic panel at the back is bound to attract smudges it’s best recommended you go for a lighter shade or use a cover.

The S20 FE also misses out on a Quad HD panel and the max resolution it supports is FHD+. The good side to this is that you get to save up on battery life but on the flipside miss out on a rich visual experience that other Samsung flagships offer.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Review: Not Devoid of that Flagship Feeling 
(Photo: The Quint)

Also, I was disappointed that Samsung didn’t add a 90Hz refresh rate option for the FE. It’s either a hardcore super-smooth 120Hz or a standard 60Hz. Why Samsung?

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Also, I noticed that Samsung isn't using its flagship-grade Supersonic in-display fingerprint reader on the FE rather has the standard optical in-display reader.

This isn’t a deal-breaker for me but just wanted to this point out. Doesn’t affect the performance in any way but there’s always a sense of security that a better tech is taking care of my smartphone security.

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Verdict

As the FE in the moniker stands for Fan Edition the phone isn’t meant only for fans. Get this, if you really were a fan of the Samsung brand you’d either go for the flagship or won’t buy at all. That’s what fans are supposed to do. Right?

But since a Samsung flagship isn't a pocket-friendly option for most people the Galaxy S20 FE fits the bill in that department. And If I were to rate the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE I’d give it 8 out of 10.

At Rs 44,999, it gets you flagship features like wireless charging, IP68 water-resistance without compromising on the overall experience. I also believe the FE is for people who mostly stuck to mid-range phones but are now looking to have the flagship experience without doing massive damage to their bank account.

If you want value-for-money features under the Rs 50,000 category you should definitely consider the Galaxy S20 FE. Else in this price range, you also get the iPhone SE, the Google Pixel XL and the OnePlus 8T.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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