The Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) marks a major break in Samsung’s business strategy. Used to launching its high-end smartphones at the start of the year and marketing entry-level and mid-range devices in the months that follow, the Korean brand is taking the risk of launching an affordable version of its flagship smartphone in the middle of autumn. , just before the end of year celebrations. We can find several explanations for this new experiment such as the worry of losing the battle for novelty against the iPhone 12 or the need to give a boost to its post-Covid sales, while 5G is starting to boost the market. smartphone market.
Available in six colors – like the very popular iPhone 11 Apple, funny coincidence not? -, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is a high-end smartphone marketed from 659 euros. For our part, we tested for more than a week its 5G version sold for 759 euros. and we are going to explain to you why, it is better to bet exclusively on this variation.
4G or 5G, the question does not arise
Given the absence of a 5G network in France, if you are rightly wondering if it is really reasonable to spend 100 euros more for a compatible smartphone, allow us to make the following recommendation: buy the 5G model. Equipped with the Snapdragon 865 processor rather than the Exynos 990, the S20 FE 5G is more powerful and more enduring than the S20 FE 4G. This difference of 100 euros is really worth it!
Truly high-end equipment
When we heard rumors that Samsung was making an affordable version of the S20 for Christmas, we were convinced that this device would not have much in common with the original S20. We imagined that the Korean would sacrifice many features of its flagship to make its S20 FE less attractive and thus preserve sales of its high-end devices. Nay, Samsung really spoils us!
Indeed, the Galaxy S20 FE is a real high-end smartphone. Equipped with the Snapdragon 865 processor in its 5G version, Wi-Fi 6 compatible, IP68 waterproof certified, with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of expandable storage, this device has a very solid technical sheet. Its compatibility with wireless charging is also a strong point, few “flagship killers” (the name given to high-end smartphones at knockdown prices) are compatible with this technology. The smartphone’s stereo speakers are also very powerful while its design has almost nothing to envy the S20 + top of the range, the device that most resembles it.
Equipped with a flat 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display, the S20 FE cuts corners. They are admittedly a little thicker than on the S20 + (especially at the bottom of the device), but the uninformed user is unlikely to notice. The most significant change is in the back where glass gives way to plastic. Failure ? It’s a question of taste. This material is certainly less premium, but it allows the S20 FE to take less fingerprints and to weigh only 190 grams. We will therefore forgive Samsung for this choice.
Another sacrifice, the S20 FE abandons the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor of the S20 and Note 20 for an optical fingerprint sensor also under the screen. Slower, the latter disappointed us only a few times (remember to leave your finger a little more than a second to increase the chances of success on the first try). Samsung has really made the right choices with this device which has everything from the benchmark Android smartphone of this end of the year. Design, power and practicality are there.
A very bright screen
The screen of the S20 FE is not only edge to edge, it is also of very good quality. Like that of the S20, it has a refresh rate of 120 Hz (the user chooses between 60 and 120 Hz, there is no adaptive tuning like on the Note 20). Thanks to this option, the S20 FE enjoys phenomenal fluidity of navigation. You quickly get used to 120 Hz to such an extent that switching back to a 60 or 90 Hz smartphone always hurts.
Full HD + definition, the OLED panel chosen by Samsung can reach 792 cd / m2 brightness when needed and has little to envy the competition. Level color fidelity, Samsung also hits hard, provided you opt for the right setting. We found a fairly average Delta E of 4.86 by default … but in natural mode, the colors displayed are much more accurate. This is evidenced by the measured Delta E of 1.87.
In other words, the S20 FE is strong. With the exception of the plastic on the back which betrays its true nature, you would think you were handling a top of the range at 1000 euros and more.
Finally an enduring S20!
By abandoning its own Exynos chip in favor of a Snapdragon SoC, Samsung has finally managed to go up the slope in terms of autonomy. After three S20s and two Note 20s that didn’t last much, the 13:33 that the S20 FE offered in our versatile battery life test seem like a miracle, even if the device lags behind many competing smartphones. We are also very satisfied with its video streaming results (11:59) and in communication (29h56). The S20 FE and its 4,500 mAh battery dominate Samsung’s small family of high-end smartphones, despite the constant activation of 120 Hz, which is very resource-intensive. Despite its much more affordable price, the S20 FE manages to make the S20 and S20 + outdated. This is probably not what Samsung hoped for, but ultimately the increase in sales is at the end of the tunnel. Manufacturer and customers will be the winners, what more could you ask for?
Recharge level on the other hand, we deplore the “small savings” of the Korean. Compatible with 25W fast charging, the device comes with a 15W charger. This still allows it to go from 0 to 100% in 1h28, which is rather fast. It would still have been appreciated if Samsung did not require its users to purchase an optional charger to save charging time.
A top-level triple camera module
Finally, let’s talk about the quality of the photos of the Galaxy S20 FE. It is usually on this specific point that “flagship killers” do not succeed in convincing us, generally because of slowness or difficulties in low light (we think in particular of OnePlus mobiles). Samsung has put the odds on its side here by equipping its S20 FE with a triple camera module almost identical to that of the high-end S20. We find the same 12 Mpix “dual pixel” main sensor for the main lens and the same ultra-wide angle attached to a 12 Mpix sensor as on the device released earlier this year … but not the same telephoto lens. The S20 FE has indeed a x3 optical zoom attached to an 8 Mpix sensor while the S20 was entitled to a large 64 Mpix sensor with a digital zoom. In the end, we believe the user wins. He loses the possibility of filming in 8K but gains a real zoom.
Overall, there isn’t much to fault with this S20 FE. For 759 euros (or 659 euros if you decide not to listen to us and take the 4G model), no device does so well in photos except for the excellent Pixels from Google. The daytime quality is exceptional, the nighttime quality satisfactory despite some occasional difficulties in managing the light. Taking pictures is fast, the switch from ultra wide-angle to the main module does not cause bugs… Samsung is demonstrating its know-how while offering this Galaxy S20 FE excellent value for money.