Must you nonetheless purchase it?

Patrick

David Imel / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Version) was a standout launch for the corporate in 2020, managing to ship an incredible mixture of enticing pricing and a well-rounded spec sheet. In truth, we gave it our Editor’s Alternative award for the perfect Android smartphone of 2020.

It form of boggles the thoughts that the Galaxy S20 FE nonetheless hasn’t been succeeded by the Galaxy S21 FE simply but given its reputation with consumers and critics — though the worldwide chip scarcity is understandably guilty. Forward of the belated potential launch of its successor, how does Galaxy S20 FE fare after a yr? Must you nonetheless choose it up or do you have to look ahead to the corporate’s 2022 choices? That’s what we’re going to search out out on this Samsung Galaxy S20 FE long-term evaluate.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE evaluate recap

As a refresher, you’ll be able to try our authentic Galaxy S20 FE evaluate for our ideas on the gadget on the time. You too can view our authentic hands-on video above for extra particulars.

How has the {hardware} aged since final yr?

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE camera macro off center

David Imel / Android Authority

The Galaxy S20 FE nonetheless holds up comparatively effectively while you have a look at the specs sheet. There’s 6GB to 8GB of RAM, 128GB to 256GB of storage, an FHD+ 120Hz OLED display screen, and a 4,500mAh battery with 25W charging.

Samsung’s telephone additionally packs IP68 water/mud resistance and wi-fi charging, ticking two additional bins for flagship telephones in 2021. It even has two options lacking from many of the firm’s 2021 flagships within the Galaxy S21 sequence, specifically microSD growth and a bundled charger (albeit 15W).

The processor you get will rely in your area and while you buy the telephone. The Galaxy S20 FE 5G within the US is basically similar to the Galaxy S20 FE common, however with the titular 5G assist and the Snapdragon 865 chipset. The 4G mannequin initially launched with an Exynos 990 chip (Samsung supplied this mannequin for this long-term evaluate), however has since been changed in lots of areas by the 4G-only Snapdragon 865-toting variant. Look out for the “SM-G780G” mannequin quantity if you would like the latter chipset.

Try: The very best Samsung telephones

The Exynos 990 variant isn’t as highly effective because the Snapdragon 865 mannequin in relation to GPU-related duties. In saying so, the basic expertise was nonetheless very easy in my testing. Swiping between house screens, utilizing the digital camera, launching apps, and scrolling have been all suitably fluid. 3D gaming was additionally dealt with fairly effectively, with the likes of Name of Responsibility Cellular and Nascar Warmth Cellular working at an incredible clip. We additionally tried Genshin Affect and whereas it wasn’t the smoothest expertise (swiping the digital camera round resulted in some noticeable judder), it’s nonetheless very playable. Emulators are one other story although, as superior titles in Dolphin (e.g. F-Zero GX and Metroid Prime) have been slow-motion affairs. Those that worth a easy gaming expertise throughout the board ought to hold an eye fixed out for the Snapdragon model as an alternative.

The Galaxy S20 FE’s specs nonetheless maintain up comparatively effectively towards in the present day’s reasonably priced flagship fare.

I used to be fairly pleased with battery life on the S20 FE as effectively. I used to be capable of recover from seven hours of screen-on time with a comparatively heavy day of YouTube viewing, however you’ll positively wish to plug in your telephone come bedtime with utilization like this. Much less intensive utilization, resembling messaging and music streaming, together with setting the display screen to 60Hz, ought to definitely internet you a day and a half to 2 days of utilization.

An sudden take a look at of endurance got here a number of days into the evaluate interval when the ability went out from 9AM till simply earlier than 3PM. I used to be in a position to make use of the telephone as a hotspot for my laptop computer for a number of hours, however the laptop wasn’t going to final for this complete time-frame. So I linked my wi-fi keyboard to my telephone and was capable of work for nearly an hour and a half whereas streaming YouTube Music tracks on the similar time (I don’t advocate working like this, by the best way). As soon as the ability got here again on, I nonetheless had just below 40{2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} juice left. Not dangerous in any respect.

If it ain’t broke, don’t repair it

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE back camera bump

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

One of the crucial notable Galaxy S20 FE cutbacks in comparison with its costlier stablemates within the Galaxy S20 vary was the transfer to a plastic rear cowl as an alternative of glass. But when something, the telephone’s design and selection of rear cowl nonetheless make for a premium expertise while you’ve acquired it in your palms.

You may inform that the “glasstic” rear cowl is plastic after a number of moments with the telephone, however the end nonetheless nonetheless feels higher than typical plastic designs. Personally, I really feel extra snug with a plastic rear again like this than a glass again in relation to sturdiness. This specific evaluate unit had a slight ding on the high once I obtained it. I’ve little doubt this is able to’ve been a bigger, extra noticeable spiderweb crack if the gadget had a glass again as an alternative.

Associated: The very best Samsung Galaxy S20 FE circumstances you should purchase

The remainder of the telephone’s design is fairly strong too, with a sturdy steel body ringing the gadget and a flat-edged display screen that’s a welcome change from the curved panels seen on so many telephones in the present day. Talking of that display screen, it’s not QHD+, however the FHD+ decision is sharp sufficient and I had no downside viewing the display screen in daylight.

The Galaxy S20 FE is completely manageable with one hand too, owing to its comparatively light-weight construct and smaller measurement, particularly in comparison with the likes of the Galaxy Word 20 Extremely. These searching for a extra ergonomic flagship ought to regulate this one even a yr on.

What concerning the digital camera expertise?

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE camera viewfinder.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy S20 FE delivered a fairly succesful digital camera system again in 2020. We acquired a 12MP predominant shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide snapper, and an 8MP 3x telephoto lens. The latter specifically was a welcome addition, because the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus made use of hybrid zoom for his or her zoomed-in snaps.

Samsung’s FE mannequin has aged fairly decently on this regard, because the digital camera system continues to be fairly versatile. Although it does lack some extras you discover with some true flagships like 8K recording (because of the lack of a 33MP+ digital camera) and autofocus on the ultra-wide lens. The latter is the extra disappointing in my e-book, particularly when the likes of OnePlus, Apple, and others have supplied it to allow macro modes. In saying so, the principle digital camera does allow you to get comparatively near topics in comparison with 50MP+ telephones.

What about real-world utilization although? The first 12MP shooter is a dependable digital camera for essentially the most half, with focus efficiency being constantly good in comparison with a lot of in the present day’s flagships. Daytime snaps basically with the first digital camera have been often clear and contained a wholesome degree of resolvable element too.

The largest difficulty I discovered is that pictures taken with the principle digital camera can merely look method too vibrant at occasions, even by Samsung’s normal contrast-heavy requirements. Try the foliage within the fifth and sixth footage. I’m undecided if it’s a case of Samsung’s default colour processing cranking issues up or aggressive HDR, however it’s positively acquired a neon look happening together with a halo. It’s additionally price noting that the foliage in these pictures seems to be somewhat muddy too. The halo impact additionally appears to increase to the picture of the Lego mannequin, suggesting that that is heavy-handed HDR.

See additionally: The very best digital camera telephones you will get

Have to get somewhat nearer? That’s what the 3x 8MP telephoto digital camera is for. We’re glad to see this digital camera right here, because it isn’t all the time assured on this worth bracket. Photographs taken with this shooter have been strong at 3x, though we see the watercolor impact and muddy textures on parts like bushes while you pixel-peep. You may nonetheless get respectable outcomes at this zoom issue, however pictures turn out to be nigh-on unusable earlier than 10x.

The Galaxy S20 FE’s rear digital camera system covers all bases on paper, however picture high quality may be hit or miss.

The ultra-wide digital camera may be the worst of the bunch although, delivering a 12MP 123-degree sensor. That area of view is completely large, though there’s a fairly noticeable drop in resolvable element in comparison with the principle shooter. A much bigger difficulty is the sheer quantity of noise and softening within the corners of those pictures. It actually seems like a finances proposition on this regard.

The Galaxy S20 FE does see an inevitable drop in picture high quality at night time, with the principle digital camera delivering noisier, softer pictures. Try the comparability between the Samsung telephone and Vivo X70 Professional Plus beneath, with the Vivo telephone delivering a sharper, brighter picture (and capturing the extra correct heat mild of the general scene). Now, granted, the Vivo gadget is more moderen and far more costly, however it does illustrate what a bigger, extra trendy sensor can do.

Extremely-wide picture high quality plummets when the solar goes down. Pictures taken with this digital camera at night time have a ton of noise and are sometimes method too darkish to see something. The night time mode, nonetheless, does a strong job of salvaging some pictures, however it nonetheless lags far behind in the present day’s high ultra-wide cameras.

Samsung’s telephone additionally accommodates a 32MP snapper upfront, and it’s not the worst selfie digital camera round. We may positively do with improved facial element in all lighting circumstances, whereas dynamic vary tends to undergo as effectively. However low-light selfies aren’t fully terrible, thanks partly to nighttime mode for the entrance shooter.

In any other case, we’re additionally glad to see returning options just like the nifty Single Take mode, Tremendous Regular video recording (albeit at 1080p/30fps), professional video possibility, professional photograph mode, hyper-lapse performance, and extra. Though the dearth of Samsung’s Director’s View characteristic (for switching between totally different lenses whereas recording) is somewhat disappointing.

Room for enchancment

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE upright front

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy S20 FE positively seems like a robust proposition one yr down the road, however there are a number of areas the place it may very well be somewhat higher.

25W charging assist, however a 15W charger

One draw back is that Samsung’s final FE launch solely ships with a 15W charger, regardless of supporting 25W speeds. Which means you’ll want to attend roughly an hour and a half for a full cost with the in-box charger. Even some 2018-era smartphones supplied a lot quicker charging occasions. Whilst you do nonetheless get a charger, it’s not precisely a perk when it may’t provide the greatest speeds doable.

One UI’s default settings are unintuitive

Like different Samsung telephones, One UI has some perplexing default settings on the Galaxy S20 FE. Maybe the most important difficulty is Samsung’s insistence on making the ability button the Bixby button (as an alternative of, you realize, providing you with entry to the ability menu). Samsung isn’t the one firm needlessly toying with the ability button performance, however it’s positively essentially the most high-profile offender.

It’s additionally somewhat disappointing that you simply nonetheless can’t set Google Uncover as your left-most display screen within the default launcher. It’s a Samsung Free-or-nothing strategy right here.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE long-term evaluate: The decision

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE rear and center

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The Galaxy S20 FE shouldn’t be good. For those who bump into an Exynos model it’ll be a notable efficiency downgrade should you’re an influence consumer. Moreover, the sluggish charging occasions are solely excused by the truth that there’s a charger within the field in any respect. Picture high quality hasn’t fairly stored up with 2021 flagships, both. Nonetheless, the remainder of the Galaxy S20 FE has largely aged like a fantastic wine.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE one yr later: Is it nonetheless price shopping for?

347 votes

It was priced at a fairly aggressive $699 at launch final yr, and it noticed a worth drop to $600 in subsequent months. We thought the telephone was an excellent deal at launch and an incredible deal following the value drop. However even now the Galaxy S20 FE continues to be price a glance, even with the brand-new Pixel 6 providing the same degree of bang on your buck.

A big a part of the Galaxy S20 FE’s enduring success is as a result of the Galaxy S21 FE nonetheless isn’t right here but, although. Till then, this stays Samsung’s least expensive flagship-level telephone, and with options like a 120Hz OLED display screen, 4,500mAh battery, versatile digital camera system, wi-fi charging, water resistance, and a prolonged replace dedication, it nonetheless manages to impress when pitted towards present reasonably priced flagships.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Back side

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

All the perfect options of the Galaxy S20 sequence at a lower cost

For those who do not thoughts chopping a number of corners, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (which stands for “Fan Version”) may be the telephone you’re searching for. It affords many of the flagship specs and options of the Galaxy S20 household however trims issues right down to hold the value low.

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