Why is the new Galaxy S20 FE 5G is so good, at least to my own opinion? I think it’s all because of the simplicity of the design and the same flagship power underneath it all won my heart. I like simple things in life. The look and feel of the S20 FE is exactly that. It looks simple, it feels simple and most of all, it still packs some mean punch for power and multi-tasking.
I had the privilege of testing and reviewing the Galaxy S20 FE for 3 weeks and boy I just love it. It looks really good, screen size is large enough but not too large and holding it feels premium and solid.
First Look & Design
Some of the flagship Galaxy phone comes with a matte back surface instead of shiny surface. One example is the new Galaxy Note20 series. I really prefer matte back simply because of the feel and it being non fingerprint magnet. The Galaxy S20 FE has a matte back, so that won some good points for me at first look.
With the matte back surface, it feels grippy. I have more confidence holding a matte back phones as opposed to the ones with shiny surface. Secondly, I hate to see fingerprint marks on my phone especially at the back. Can’t do much on the front because that’s where we touch to operate the device. So keeping minimal fingerprint marks is what I always preferred.
The screen size comes in 6.5″ at 1080×2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio with 407ppi density. Since this is considered as a flagship fan edition device, it comes with a super AMOLED display and supports 120Hz with HDR10+. Like I said earlier, the screen size is just right for me. The S20 Ultra has a screen size of 6.9″ which to me, is a little too large for my liking.
Also to note that there is a fingerprint scanner under the display near the bottom of the front screen. Most of Samsung’s flagship comes with the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, so there’s that. On the opposite end which is the top, you can see the front 32MP camera sits right in the middle. Just one single punch hole for the front camera. No notch on this one. I’m actually impressed by this selfie camera. But more on that in the camera section later on.
At the back of the device, you can see the triple camera setup that sits on a (now standard) rectangle platform, along with the LED flash. The camera comes with a 12MP, f/1.8, 26mm wide angle setup, an 8MP, f/2.4, 76mm telephoto setup and a 12MP, f/2.2, 123˚, 13mm ultrawide camera setup. Again, more about the camera below and some sample photos to go along with it.
On the right side of the S20 FE, you will see the usual volume rocker buttons and the power button below it. While on the left side has nothing. The SIM slot is located at the top of the phone as well as a tiny microphone hole, which also located at the bottom. Speaking of the bottom, there is a USD type-C port for charging and data transfer and the bottom firing speaker.
Also good to mention that the top earpiece also doubles up as a secondary speaker when listening to music or watching videos, giving you the stereo sound experience. The S20 FE also comes with Dolby Atmos enhanced audio.
Take a look at the full Galaxy S20 FE 5G specifications below:
- SoC: Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 (7 nm+), Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 585)
- GPU: Adreno 650
- OS: Android 10, One UI 2.5
- Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM
Super AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+
6.5 inches, 101.0 cm2 (~84.8% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~407 ppi density)
Li-Po 4500 mAh, non-removable
Fast charging 25W
Fast wireless charging 15W
Reverse wireless charging 4.5W
12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
8 MP, f/2.4, 76mm (telephoto), 1/4.5″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/3.0″, 1.12µm
4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS
- Selfie Camera:
32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.74″, 0.8µm
4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps (gyro-EIS)
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
- Colours: Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, Cloud White, Cloud Red, Cloud Orange
Performance & Usage
The Galaxy S20 FE 5G is highly suitable for power users. On full battery charge, the S20 FE can last a full day with many extra hours to kill before you need to plug in the charger. On my daily use, the fully charged S20 FE last me about 20 hours on heavy use. That includes the usual tasks such as messenger chats, social media, camera use for photos and videos, gaming, emails and so on. Sometimes I even turn on the hotspot for WiFi sharing.
So if it last for more than a day, I would give it another thumbs up. As a bonus, I still get to play a few rounds of PUBG Mobile at the end of the day before the need to recharge. It comes with a 4,500mAh battery, so that is enough power to last you the whole day. And for its fast charging, it goes from 10% to 100% in less than an hour. I didn’t get to test the wireless charging though, sad for me. But the overall performance when it comes to the usual tasks is phenomenal.
The Galaxy S20 FE 5G comes with the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 SoC. Coupled with a 6GB or 8GB variant, the S20 FE delivers more than enough power for any tasks you throw at it. Everything works like a charm. I did not come across any flaws or lags when I use the S20 FE for the last 3 weeks. I have also tested it with lots of apps running in the background, at least 10 apps opened at once plus a few games. Even with that, I experience zero lags.
The device that I got for the review comes with the lowest specs which is the 128GB of internal space with 6GB of RAM. Even with that “low” spec, it still delivers its promise. So imagine if you’re using the one with 8GB of RAM. Multi-tasking should be a breeze.
And for my love of gaming, PUBG Mobile is simply awesome. Among all phones that I have reviewed, this one has the most amount of games I have installed. I didn’t want to stop only at PUBG Mobile. I also want to test out any normal games or those from different categories, just to see how good this S20 FE is.
As for PUBG Mobile, I am able to set the graphics to its highest setting along with HDR+ and extreme FPS. Since the Galaxy S20 FE supports 120Hz screen refresh rate, having a high FPS looks really good. Other flagships can produce awesome graphics but the S20 FE delivers just as good without breaking a sweat. It does heat up a little bit but that’s normal. Hence why some gaming phone makers are providing an external cooling fan as a supporting accessory.
I had a really smooth gameplay throughout the whole 3 weeks. It is probably on par with the ones I have used before such as the Note20 Ultra, S20 Ultra, Galaxy Flip, Galaxy Fold and the Tab S7+. And because the gameplay on the Galaxy S20 FE is so smooth, I managed to get 11 chicken dinners with it. Lovely.
Other games I have installed are mostly the arcade type of games but I also installed a flight simulation and a racing game for extra varieties. All of them looks great and really buttery smooth experience. The super AMOLED display makes everything looks sharp and vibrant. AMOLED display is simply the best. And that is Samsung’s advantage.
On another performance note, the Galaxy S20 FE also scored well on Antutu Benchmark 3D. I installed the benchmark app to give it a full test and the graphic renders were awesome. I watched through the whole process and I like what I’m seeing. The S20 FE scored 551783 marks on Antutu. That is flagship score, mostly obtained by the best of the lot. So yes, the S20 FE is powerful.
The under display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor works quick. Setting it up was quick too. When the phone is on standby mode, it only takes about 0.3 seconds to unlock the phone when I put my finger on the sensor. Samsung has made some improvements for this so it should be quicker than last time.
Having said that, I also set up to use the face recognition to unlock the phone. I simply need to raise the phone and hit the power button to activate the facial recognition and it does that very quickly. It unlocks the phone almost immediately. I prefer to use this method of security to unlock the phone. It’s quick and easy whenever I’m in a fully lit area. Doesn’t work that quick when I’m in a dark area, but still works when there is a light source nearby.
When it comes to a new phone, the most improvements any phone makers made is in the camera performance. Either a better sensor, better wide angle shots, low light photography or telephoto camera setup. There will be some improvements in this area.
It was a shock to me when I learn that the Galaxy S20 FE 5G is using a 12MP sensor for both its main camera, the wide angle and the ultrawide angle. And a lower 8MP for its telephoto camera. But don’t let the low megapixel numbers put you off. And on the other hand, the selfie camera comes with a 32MP setup that supports up to 4K at 60fps video capture.
So this is a fan edition phone. Most of the functions are focused on what the fans want, or need. I guess Samsung’s fans want to do more selfie videos for live streaming or TikTok. And with that, the target market will be more towards to younger generations out there. I love this phone, so that makes me their target market as well. Yes, I’m still young 😉
With a better selfie camera setup, the Galaxy S20 FE is able to produce much better and higher quality selfie videos that the younger generation wants. This may be suitable for product influencers, TikTokers, IG stories and individuals who simply want to look better in their selfie shots.
So with that, we shall see some sample photos.
Shooting with the main ultrawide angle is fun. The result is good without much distortion around the edges. Clarity is also good.
Shooting with the telephoto camera is fun too. It can go up to 30x zoom for the S20 FE. And that is good enough to zoom for faraway subject.
The telephoto camera works well indoors and outdoors. Of course it will always look much better when shooting outdoors.
For normal outdoor shots with the main camera, everything looks good. Due to the weather, the image result tend to be a little washed out. Colours are not as vibrant. But the details and contrast are good.
Even the ultrawide angle camera shoots well too. Colours are also washed out but good details in the center of the image. On the corners however, it get a little bit blurry.
As for night photography, the image on the left is captured by the camera app’s auto detection mode while the one of the right is using the actual night mode feature. You can clearly see the difference here. And this is set to 3x zoom.
Another test comparison with the night shots but this time using the main wide angle camera without any zoom.
For testing and clarity check between the normal and telephoto mode, I took three samples for the comparison. The normal wide shots have good details but hitting the one step zoom button shows the close-up shots which actually looks good. I use this zoom function for close-up shots especially for food photography. You can see that sample below.
The two food photos above are taken using the zoom function on the S20 FE camera app. As you can see, the results are stunning. Details are sharp and clear. So with the zoom mode, you can really take some close-up shots, probably even macro.
And this one is using the normal camera setup. You can see the difference right?
Portrait shots are excellent especially when using the Live Focus function. It still preserves the subject detail while creating the bokeh effect for the background.
What about selfies?
Thanks to the bigger sensor, the 32MP selfie camera does not disappoint. Images are sharp and fully detailed. Shooting both indoors and outdoors are a breeze. I really like the front camera setup and I do believe that the S20 FE’s fans are asking for better front camera for this one. And Samsung delivered just what they wanted.
I do have a few video samples but I shall upload that soon and have it added here. It is a little too “heavy” for me to edit on my old laptop so that will be done later.
As for the overall camera performance on the Galaxy S20 FE 5G, I would say that it scored 8.5/10 for me. Some of the ultrawide angle camera shots are out of focus and blurry around the corners. However, the main camera is excellent and the zoom function for close-up shots are awesome. The biggest advantage for the Galaxy S20 FE is the front selfie camera. It snaps are 32MP resolution and can shoot up to 60fps videos on UHD format. That is awesome.
I usually look at simplicity when it comes to a mobile device. As an example, I don’t fancy a car that shows all the bells and whistles, large and noisy exhaust pipe, car stickers all over or stripes that goes from front to the back. All those are gimmicks for a car that has nothing, but portrays that it has everything. But when you look at a Bentley, it doesn’t need stripes, large exhaust pipe or stickers to show what it can do. Just by looking at it, you know it can do 200% more than the other car.
Same goes with a mobile device. You don’t need to have it look too fancy to outshine the competitors. It’s more about the substance. It’s what’s under the hood that counts. And the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G have all that I need in a smartphone. Plus, it looks good as well.
In fact, I feel that it has a better design than the other flagship Galaxies that I have tested. I love the matte back, no doubt about that. The aluminum frame feels solid and sturdy. The overall look and feel is just right for me. I can’t really pin the exact point on why I love the feel of it, I just love it.
So if I were to save some money to buy myself a new phone, would I buy the Galaxy S20 FE 5G? Yes. I definitely will. This is probably one of the few Galaxy devices that I will actually save up to buy. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is up for grabs now in Samsung’s official webstore starting from RM2,699.00.
Note: I have yet to see Samsung making a small flagship smartphone, something like S20 Mini kinda thing. I know many of us prefer large screen flagship devices so that they can watch movies or shoot videos but that lacks ultra portability. I for one prefers a smaller footprint device. One great example is Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. It comes with flagship specifications but in a compact device. I absolutely loved that one. I hope Samsung will create something similar to that. A compact smartphone with flagship specs. What do you think?