The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE comes with some iconic specifications at a price of $699. The “Fan Edition” will be available on October 2nd.
Samsung already manufactures three different types of Galaxy S20 phones: a normal, a Plus and an Ultra. Now you can add a fourth to that combination, the Galaxy S20 FE; FE stands for “Fan Edition”. It’s an S20 with some of the more expensive parts removed, but still retaining some of the key features that matter. It will also come in six different colors. Available October 2, it will sell for $699.
The S20 FE has a 6.5 inch screen. That places it right between the smaller Galaxy S20 and the larger S20 Plus. Like those phones, the FE has a 120Hz refresh rate for more fluid animations and graphics, but unlike those phones, its screen is completely flat and cannot be adjusted to Quad HD resolution.
It’s also plastic on the back; Samsung is heavily marketing the color options: there are red, orange, lavender, mint and white. All those colors have the prefix “cloud”, Samsung’s indication that they have a matte finish that should hide fingerprints.
However, the FE does not skimp on specifications. It has a 4500 mAh battery, 6 GB RAM, wireless charging, IP68 water resistance, expandable storage and the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 processor. FE also loses out by having Samsung’s higher megapixel rear camera options, but so far those extra megapixels haven’t been the big win Samsung expected earlier this year.
Its main rear sensor is 12 megapixels with OIS, plus there’s an ultra-wide 12 megapixel and an 8 megapixel telephoto. Samsung says the telephoto lens is a 3x optical zoom, and also says it maintains the 30x “spatial zoom” function, although powered more by software than hardware. Those sensors mean that FE won’t be able to change 8K video, but that’s not a big loss.
Samsung also continues its tradition of including strange cameras in its line, since the camera for FE selfies is 32 megapixels, similar to the one that appears in the Galaxy A71.
The company says that when it originally launched the S20 line, an FE version was not in its plans. But then came the pandemic and following the comments of many users who participated in the event for the official launch of the S20, the company decided to manufacture this phone.
The Galaxy S20 FE is probably the first smartphone we’ve seen that was created in direct response to the pandemic. Specifically, Samsung wanted to target a lower price but stick to the premium S brand that makes it better in the USA.
Its rapid development is a testament to how quickly Samsung can produce new products, although it probably helped by building on the existing S20. Samsung doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about the proliferation and confusion between four different variants of the same Galaxy S20 phone with a matrix of camera specifications that are difficult to compare.
Leaving aside the confusing market placement, the EF really does seem like a very attractive prospect, at least on paper. It puts more competition in the “premium mid-range” category, which in turn raises the stakes a bit for Google and OnePlus to meet their next phones.