Those who follow the world of gadgets know that Samsung holds a couple of major presentations every year. At the spring event, the company is showing the Galaxy S family, and at the end of summer, it’s time to update the Galaxy Note series. At the end of this year, a new representative of the Galaxy S20 line suddenly appeared, the version was called Fan Edition, or Galaxy S20 FE for short.
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His birth can be explained as follows. For Samsung, this is not the first experience of releasing “simplified” flagships. You can recall the Galaxy S10 Lite, presented at the very end of 2019. The logic is the same: we get the flagship hardware, but due to some simplified characteristics, we managed to reduce the price.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review: “Glastic” body
In my opinion, it would be more logical to call the phone S20 + Fan Edition, since it is closer in size to the older model than to the younger Galaxy S20. I like the compact dimensions of the small Galaxy S20, but, apparently, the general trend requires more diagonals, so Samsung took the S20 Plus as a basis and slightly reduced it.
The body is covered with matte plastic, not glass, the difference in sensations is felt: glass is nicer. Perhaps I didn’t understand why the new Glasstic material is so good, which should simulate glass. I got the feeling that I am using an ordinary mid-range smartphone and not a top-end one. Although, to some extent, positive emotions are added by the aluminium frame along the case’s perimeter, diluting the “plastic” kingdom.
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In favour of this design, you can add that you can safely use the phone without a cover and not buy an additional accessory for protection. Protection from water and dust has not gone anywhere either. The smartphone complies with the IP68 level, which means that it will last an hour and a half at a depth of 1.5 meters.
I got a phone in a matte blue case for the test, but besides it, there will be five more different colours. Among them, you can choose both brighter options and black and white classics. In general, I would very much like to hold the phone in my favourite orange colour, but, apparently, for another time.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review: Curved screen
The display is huge, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE has a solid 6.5 inches and a Full HD + resolution, it is less than the flagships, but you will not find any grain here. Yes, the picture is less clear, but in theory, due to the reduced resolution, there is less load on the system, and at the same time this should have a positive effect on the battery.
The smartphone supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz, at the minimum brightness level, you can safely read a book at night, and at maximum brightness, you can walk with the phone in your hand under the bright sun.
The screen has no bends on the sides, the phone looks less impressive, but it is easier to glue the protective glass, and when using the smartphone, accidental touches are excluded in principle.
If you look closely, you will notice a decent indentation at the bottom, popularly referred to as the “chin”. It does not affect the work, but for a top-end smartphone, this is strange, the frames are still larger than those of the S20-series counterparts.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review: Problem Scanner
The first week I walked around with the phone, the under-screen fingerprint scanner worked disgustingly. He almost did not recognize the touch. As a result, I had to turn it off and switch to face unlock. Moreover, I tried to add the same finger several times, delete and save the fingerprint in memory again, tried with different fingers, but to no avail.
But after a while I decided to try the scanner again – lo and behold, the problem is gone. At least, he began to react normally to touch, life improved. Simultaneously, I note that the S20 Fan Edition uses not an ultrasonic, but an optical scanner is relatively slow.
Performance, sound and connectivity
The smartphone is sold in the USA with the Snapdragon processor, familiar from the previously announced Samsung flagships. I’ve seen criticism from Samsung for not bringing a version with the beloved Snapdragon 865 technology to many countries. Still, if you look at other markets, it’s easy to find an explanation.
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In those countries where 5G works, a modification with Snapdragon is sold. Where it is not available, Exynos is available. Also, it should be noted that in Europe, for example, where you can buy both versions, the 865 version costs 100 euros more: not 659, but 759 euros.
I have nothing against Exynos, but the drop in performance under load is noticeable, the flagship should behave more stable.
Unlike the Galaxy S20, the S20 Fan Edition has 6 GB of RAM instead of 8. The built-in volume is 128 GB; if necessary, you can put a microSD card. In terms of games, the situation is the same as on the “regular” Galaxy S20. The phone heats up decently under load.
Flagship smartphone with loud stereo speakers tuned by AKG specialists, but wheezing is heard at maximum power. It is even redundant for watching YouTube videos on the couch at home, the stock is good, and you won’t miss a call.
A phone with two SIM cards, but the tray does not allow using the memory card simultaneously, inconvenient. Otherwise, everything is at the usual level: NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6 and USB Type-C version 3.2.
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Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review: Autonomy
The phone is equipped with a 15 W charger, and it also supports faster charging from a 25 W unit, which can be purchased separately. By the way, a 25-watt charger was in the box with the Galaxy S20.
There is also wireless charging, and it is also very playful: up to 15 watts. Reversible wireless charging has also been preserved: the S20 FE works as a wireless Power Bank, and from it, you can recharge another phone or headphones in a case, simply by placing them on your smartphone.
I have a Samsung Galaxy S20 with the very first. Still test firmware, the phone on it gives out 4.5 hours of screen, a normal result. The S20 Fan Edition worked less for me, I got about 3-4 hours of screen time, which I cannot attribute to the phone’s advantages. Note that 120Hz was turned off in both cases in favour of 60Hz. But these are exclusively my habits since there is no particular difference in the working time.
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Let’s take a picture
The phone has one front camera and three main ones. Let’s compare the specs with the “regular” Galaxy S20:
|Main camera||Wide-angle camera||Televik||Front-camera|
|S20||12 MP, f / 1.8, optical stabilization||12 MP, f / 2.2, 123 °||64 MP, f / 2.0 with OIS and 3x zoom||10 MP, f / 2.2|
|S20 Fan Edition||12 MP, f / 1.8, optical stabilization||12 MP, f / 2.2, 123 °||8 MP, f / 2.4 with OIS and 3x zoom||32 MP, f / 2.2|
It turns out that everything is the same, but the zoom is worse, but the front one with a higher resolution.
The main camera is of excellent quality, it shoots well during the day, and in poor lighting, use a separate night mode. Moreover, it works when shooting with additional modules, opening up more opportunities for getting good pictures. When shooting landscape photography, it helps a lot, except that you have to wait 5-7 seconds for the phone to process the frame and save the photo.
On the collage below, the left photo is in normal mode, and the right one is in night mode when the phone combines several pictures into one:
Let’s enlarge and get more contrast and volumetric image with a clear picture, which is especially noticeable in the text on the postcard:
The zoom lens isn’t quite as high-resolution as the Galaxy S20, but the optional camera won’t let you down in good light. In the evenings, like a shrink, it loses quality. But for shooting portraits during the day it suits well, we get proportions pleasing to the eye.
The wide-angle lens is normal: there are distortions at the edges, and the quality of images in low light decreases. But creative mode! A couple of examples:
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review: Equipment
The phone came to me in a complete set: the box contains a cable, a 15 W charger and a familiar tool for removing the SIM card. There is no adapter from Type-C to wired headphones, no headphones either. It is a pity that the charging is weak; on the other hand, the iPhone 12 does not come with a power supply, so we can only rejoice at what we have.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review: About the price
The phone has already appeared on sale, it costs $699 and is sold in the only modification of 6/128 GB of memory, chooses one of six possible colours.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review: Options
So, we have a budget of about $700, let’s see what to buy for this money in the official retail:
- Xiaomi Mi 10 with Snapdragon 865 is sold for $599;
- You can keep within $700 if you buy the Galaxy Note10, last year’s flagship with a stylus;
- Samsung Galaxy S20 costs $799;
- I would also like to add the pleasant flagship OnePlus 8 to the list;
- There is still an iPhone 11 for $649 with 64 GB of memory and an HD-resolution screen.
There are not so many options, I must say.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition?
Samsung now has the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, crafted under the pressure of reality as consumers increasingly look at mid-range smartphones rather than flagships. The reason is simple: flagships are expensive, and the middle class has significantly increased its capabilities in recent years and is stepping on older brothers’ heels. So why pay more?
I didn’t like the unpredictable fingerprint scanner on the phone, perhaps just problems of a specific sample, but judging by the responses on the Internet, I’m not the only one. The main camera is excellent, and the optional ones still play an entertainment-supporting role. On the autonomy, too, nothing special. You can also add that the frame rate drops under load – the same thing happened with the test S20.
In my opinion, the phone may interest those who would like to buy the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus or S20 but are not ready to pay for the older models in the lineup and are running into a limited budget. True, you have to consider that the phone is not as beautiful outwardly as its more expensive counterparts and rather feels like a representative of the A-series. But at the same time, you can find such chips as dust and moisture protection, which are not available for the middle class, or a 120-Hz screen.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review: Specifications
- OS: Android 10, One UI 2.5;
- Screen: 2400 × 1080, 6.5 ″, Super AMOLED, 120 Hz, 407 PPI, HDR 10+;
- Processor: Samsung Exynos 990;
- Graphics: Mali-G77 MP11;
- Memory: 6/128 GB;
- Memory card: microSD up to 1 TB;
- Cameras: main – 12 megapixels, f / 1.8, optical stabilization, 79 °; ultra wide-angle – 12 megapixels, f / 2.2, 123 °; telephoto – 8 Mp, f / 2.4, optical stabilization, 32 °; frontal – 32 Mp, f / 2.2, 80 °;
- Communications: GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi 802.11ax, 4×4 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, two nanoSIM;
- USB version: Type-C 3.1;
- Sound: stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos;
- Battery: 4500mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W fast wireless charging, reversible wireless charging;
- Moisture protection: IP68;
- Dimensions: 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4mm;
- Weight: 190 g.
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