Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G Review: A Polite-Rounded Low-Cost Flagship

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Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE (LTE), which launched final year, has so far been a solid contender in the low-cost flagship segment. While it performed mannered in most of our tests, there were some drawbacks. It did get a bit warm under stress, and its battery life used to be just average; both things that the OnePlus 8T (Review) handled better at the same price level.

In 2021, Samsung determined on launching the 5G version of the Galaxy S20 FE (Review) in India, and it’s called the Galaxy S20 FE 5G. It is basically the same phone, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor (and X55 5G modem) instead of the Exynos 990. Does the switch to a Qualcomm processor maintain the shortcomings we experienced with the LTE variant? More importantly, does making an investment in a smartphone with a year-old processor at this price level make sense in 2021? Let’s find out!

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G price in India

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is priced at Rs. 47,999 in India. Unlike the 4G mannequin, it is to be had in a unmarried 8GB RAM + 128GB storage configuration. Buyers can choose from Cloud Navy, Cloud Mint, and Cloud Lavender finishes. With a competitive price, the Galaxy S20 FE 5G takes on the OnePlus 9 (Review), ASUS ROG Phone 5 (First Impressions), and Vivo X60 Pro (Review), all of which are priced starting at around Rs. 49,999.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G design

There are no cosmetic changes between the 4G and the 5G models of the Galaxy S20 FE. The phone looks identical to the 4G mannequin and has the same button placement, with the power and volume buttons on the correct. The primary speaker is placed at the behind, next to the USB Kind-C port and the mic. The earpiece speaker is hidden in a tiny slit at the top end of the display, and doubles up as the second one speaker to offer stereo sound which is loud and lucid.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G’s overall design is clean and minimalist

 

The overall design looks clean and minimalist, with a colour-matched camera module that barely protrudes from the rear panel. The Galaxy S20 FE 5G has a metal frame that’s sandwiched between a sheet of display glass on the front and a plastic panel on the back. The rear panel is curved to meet the frame on all four sides and has a smooth matte finish that feels premium. The glass covering the display is flat, which might have gave the impression of an peculiar choice final year, but feels at home next to the premium Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ (Review) smartphones which also have flat displays in 2021.

My review unit came in the Cloud Mint finish, and it showcases a gentle yellow gradient when viewed at an angle. The matte texture is non-slippery and is good at rejecting fingerprints, but picks up dust fairly easily.

The Galaxy S20 FE 5G, just like the 4G mannequin, may be rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, which is a large deal for the reason that several competing smartphones (that are priced a bit higher) do not offer this.

Samsung Galaxy S20 specifications and software

In comparison to other phones to be had at this price level today, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G’s processor is basically a year old. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor used to be announced in 2019 and started showing up in smartphones in the first half of 2020. It used to be the flagship processor used by almost all smartphone manufacturers who were taking a look to push out the first wave of 5G smartphones in India.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC

 

While a year-old SoC is not a big deal for the informal user, the hop from the Snapdragon 865 processor to the Snapdragon 888 is fairly big with regards to performance, and other manufacturers offer the latter for only an extra Rs. 2,000.

Still, Samsung can justify its pricing because the Galaxy S20 FE 5G offers features that other smartphones in this price segment do not. The IP68 rating will help you take your smartphone for a dip in a pool, and 15W wireless charging is fairly convenient. You’ll be able to even reverse charge other smartphones or accessories at 4.5W. While these features might not count as necessities for most users, they do support the premium smartphone experience.

One UI 3.0 includes several Samsung-branded apps

 

The Galaxy S20 FE 5G runs Samsung’s One UI 3.1, which is based on Android 11. Combined with the 120Hz refresh rate display, the Galaxy S20 FE 5G felt fairly fluid in day-to-day use. I felt no hiccups whatsoever when running local apps, third-party apps or switching between the two. There are many preinstalled Samsung apps. The phone also comes with a couple of third-party apps from Microsoft and Facebook, but these at the side of several Samsung apps (like Samsung Shop, Samsung Members, Samsung Global Goals, Paper money, Internet etc.) will also be uninstalled whether not needed. All over the review period, I used to be not bombarded with ads or promotional notifications. I did receive the occasional notification from the Galaxy App Store, but these will also be turned off in the system settings.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G performance and battery life

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 could also be a year old, but it’s no slouch and offers dependable flagship-grade performance on the subject of steady tasks and gaming. The phone performed a lot better than the Exynos 990-powered Galaxy S20 FE in our tests (despite the fact that some scores may not be directly comparable because of benchmark updates).

AnTuTu reported a score of 6,41,038, while Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core results were 560 and 3,136 respectively. These are higher than what the Exynos-based mannequin managed (4,62,330 in AnTuTu; 517 and 2,573 in Geekbench) but are lower than the performance figures we’ve seen from Snapdragon 888-powered smartphones in the same price segment.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE in the Cloud Mint finish

 

Asphalt 9: Legends ran smoothly, with the graphics set to High Quality and 60fps mode enabled. The phone warmed up a bit all over gameplay but did not get hot.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 may be fairly capable of handling a game like Call of Duty: Mobile with regards to graphics. The game ran at Very High graphics and frame rate without a hiccup. Alternatively, I noticed some touch sensitivity issues and that dampens the experience in games that require a high degree of accuracy. There used to be noticeable lag when playing Call of Duty: Mobile and apparently that the 120Hz display (with a 180Hz touch sampling rate) could not stay alongside of my fingers. With this inability to correctly aim at a target, I ended up losing lots of the matches that I played all over the testing process.

The 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display showcases oversaturated colours when the use of the default Vivid screen mode. Switch it to Natural and the colours look fairly stupid but I found this a lot better. I wish there used to be a preset between the two modes which could have delivered colours that were a bit more restrained, particularly for watching movies or shows.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G features a hole-punch display

 

The FHD+ resolution delivers a crisp 407ppi, which meant that everything from text to images and videos looked fairly sharp. While the brightness used to be sufficient indoors, the display used to be barely legible outdoors under the afternoon sun. Samsung does not mention HDR in its spec sheet, but it sort of feels to be supported.

In the display settings, one can adjust the screen’s refresh rate, but it can only be set to 60Hz (for longer battery life) or 120Hz (for a smoother experience). All over the review period, I typically kept the display running at 120Hz.

The Galaxy S20 FE 5G clocked 18 hours and 22 minutes in our HD video loop battery test, which is fairly good for a premium smartphone. The Exynos mannequin, with the same 4500mAh battery capacity, ran the same video loop test for 12 hours and 44 minutes, which is a bit low. In unusual use, which included running social media apps, checking emails, an hour of calls and an hour or two of gaming with the display set to 120Hz, I typically ended the day with approximately 20-30 percent left, which is fairly impressive.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G offers better battery life than the Exynos-based Galaxy S20 FE

 

In 2021, this is a bit surprising to find a premium Android smartphone with only a 15W charger in the box. Still, charging times were not too poor, with the battery charging up to 33 percent in 30 minutes, 51 percent in an hour, and 100 percent in 1 hour and 38 minutes. The smartphone does toughen 25W charging, but you’ll have to purchase your own charger.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G cameras

While the camera setup remains the same as on the LTE mannequin, the processor swap from an Exynos 990 to a Snapdragon 865, could lead to minor differences in photo processing and subsequently the end result. So, I determined to put the Galaxy S20 FE 5G’s cameras through their paces. As expected, the results were not too different from what we saw in our review of the 4G mannequin.

The rear module consists of a 12-megapixel f/1.8 wide-angle camera, an 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto camera (3X optical zoom) and a 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide camera. Selfies are handled by a 32-megapixel f/2.2 camera that shoots 8-megapixel binned images.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G’s camera setup remains the same as on the LTE mannequin

 

The camera interface remains the same as on any other premium Samsung phone running One UI 3.1. There are easily accessible controls that help you adjust the aspect ratio, timer, and flash, and switch between cameras. The list of default modes is customisable and the slots will also be swapped and personalised as per a user’s requirements.

The video mode permits you to switch the video resolution with just two taps, which is fairly convenient. The back panel close the camera module does get a bit hot when keeping the viewfinder on for approximately 10 minutes, but cools down quickly once you exit the camera app.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G daytime photo samples. Top to behind: Ultra-wide, standard, 3X zoom (tap to see full size)

 

Photos shot in daylight came out bright, vibrant, and fairly saturated. If you are shooting flowers, fruits, or even scenery, the colours pop fairly a bit, which is typical of most Samsung smartphones. The dynamic range is fairly good, but HDR processing does go overboard at times, resulting in a dreamy effect. The sharpness and details in photos are fairly impressive for a smartphone in this price segment. Image quality and white balance remain consistent even when switching between cameras.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G daytime photo samples. Top: 1X zoom, behind: 3X zoom (tap to see full size)

 

The smartphone features a telephoto camera with 3X optical zoom, which shoots crisp images in daylight. The same camera also doubles up as a macro shooter as it permits you to get closer to the thing in comparison to the primary camera. This is important, as there is not any committed macro camera.

Portrait photos come out fairly clean with good edge detection, but the Galaxy S20 FE 5G falters at times (with a noticeable halo), when the subject isn’t still.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G Night Mode camera samples. Top: Wide (1X), behind: Ultra-wide (0.5X) (tap to see full size)

 

Post sundown, photos came out a bit murky with relatively reduced dynamic range in the shadows, but they still looked fairly good. The Night mode takes care of these minor shortcomings and assists in keeping streetlights and bright spots from getting overexposed, while bumping up the brightness and details. The phone shot crisp photos in low-light scenes when Night mode used to be used with the primary wide-angle camera, but delivered only satisfactory photos when used on the ultra-wide-angle camera.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G selfie samples. Top: Auto mode, behind: Night mode (tap to see full size)

 

Selfies in the usual and portrait modes came out fairly sharp and clean with good edge detection in daylight, but turned out murky and lacked depth in low-light shooting scenarios. The night mode may be to be had on the front camera and did a good job of maintaining detail and giving a sense of depth to the selfies.

The Galaxy S20 FE 5G promises a lot with regards to video, and surprisingly delivers with regards to quality as mannered. Videos shot at 1080p and 4K (30 and 60fps) with the primary rear camera came out crisp and packed with detail, and were also mannered stabilised when walking. My only gripe used to be with the ultra-wide-angle camera, as it tended to overexpose scenes. The selfie camera also managed videos fairly mannered and offers 1080p and 4K recording options. 4K video shot with the selfie camera lacked stabilisation and looked fairly jerky. In low-light scenarios, videos shot at any resolution came out blurry and a bit noisy, but stabilisation used to be decent.

Judgement

To the informal user, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE 5G might not seem to be much of an upgrade for the reason that it only adds 5G toughen to the spec sheet. This would have been fine whether this phone had been launched alongside the 4G mannequin in India in 2020, adore it did in other parts of the world.

We have reviewed the 4G mannequin and it’s easy to tell that the Snapdragon 865 silicon makes fairly a difference with regards to performance, and also doesn’t heat up as much as Samsung’s own Exynos SoC.

The Galaxy S20 FE 5G might be the most total low-cost flagship offering with regards to features in this day and age, for the reason that it offers optical zoom, wireless charging, and an IP68 rating. These features, at the side of its vibrant OLED display, great cameras, good battery life and solid on a regular basis performance make it a compelling option. Alternatively, it’s tough to recommend to a gamer provided its touch sensitivity issues.

If you’re in search of performance, there are smartphones like the Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro (Review) and the iQoo 7 Legend that get you the Snapdragon 888 processor and faster charging from Rs. 39,990. Whether you’ll stretch your budget by Rs. 2,000, there’s the OnePlus 9 (Review), which offers the Snapdragon 888 processor, an excellent display that can take care of bright sunlight, faster charging, and no touch sensitivity issues when gaming.

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