In Samsung’s history, there had only been one other FE smartphone – and that’s the Galaxy Note FE. Many years passed, and now we have the second “FE” smartphone, the Galaxy S20 FE.
As far as I know, this is a phone that was created after a series of surveys on the Samsung Members app, asking and inquiring what people wants and cares the most on a smartphone.
But first, we have to talk about the box first. This is the most decor-worthy phone box ever, as it has a bunch of icons debossed on the box. Now, since we got the Cloud Navy color of the S20 FE, the wording “S20” is written in the Cloud Navy color.
If you have the S20 FE in different colors, then you get the “S20” written will be changed to whatever color your S20 FE is.
The Galaxy S20 FE is available in a total of 6 different colors, but we Malaysians are NOT getting the red color. Don’t ask me why.
UPDATE: The Cloud Red version of the Galaxy S20 FE will be available in the Malaysian market starting from 22nd October 2020.
Either way, I’m really liking the Mint and Orange colors.
All color options of the S20 FE are in plastic matte finish. It does look and feel like glass and I don’t have anything I have nothing against plastic, but seriously – I still think that Samsung should provide a glass back while charging at this price.
By the way, the S20 FE is still IP68-rated.
Specs and performance
For us Malaysians, yes – we’re getting the Snapdragon 865 version because – yes, Samsung Malaysia is listening to the fans and this wouldn’t be a “fan edition” if they didn’t. It also comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage and this is the only configuration that we’re getting in Malaysia.
Question is – do we actually need 256GB of storage? Because the Galaxy S20 FE still has a microSD card slot.
As for the benchmarks, I’m not going to focus on that since the performance is going to be the same as any other Snapdragon 865 smartphones out there anyway. IF you want to look at the charts, watch the video at the top of this review instead.
What matters here is the gaming performance. Spoiler alert – it’s great.
With a 4,500mAh battery – the battery life is as expected. It lasts about 14 and a half hours in our test. Again, the battery life comparison chart is in the video at the top of this review.
But for charging time, the Galaxy S20 FE comes with the older 15W charger instead and takes about 80 minutes to charge from 15% to 100% battery.
By the way, the S20 FE can also be charged wirelessly.
It has a standard triple camera setup and with a very thin camera bump. The pictures from all 3 cameras come with the signature Samsung contrast and clarity. I can even take close-up shots with the main camera clearly!
Once again, if you want to have a look at all the pictures taken with the Galaxy S20 FE, watch the video at the top of this review.
This is a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED screen. Flat, mind you – which means it’s easier to find screen protectors as opposed to curved sides. It can also go up to 120Hz refresh rate, which is another thing that fans wanted.
The colors and quality of this display are very similar to other Samsung flagship phones as it has clear, bright vivid colors. Weirdly enough, Samsung added a little silver ring on the selfie camera cutout. I thought it’s going to be annoying at first but ended up not being a big deal after all as I ignored the notch entirely.
Android 10 with Samsung’s One UI 2.5. Still, it is the best skin for Android phones as it is functional in terms of aesthetics and utility. The Galaxy S20 FE also supports the usual Edge Panel and Samsung Pay as well. Moreover, it also has Samsung DeX and the new Wireless DeX as well.
And since it has Samsung DeX, that means the Galaxy S20 also is equipped with a high-speed USB 3.0 port at the bottom. Wow.
What it means to be an “FE”
As this is an “FE” smartphone, there are definitely a few missing features here and there. The Galaxy S20 FE doesn’t have a case included in the phone box, no wired USB-C earphone, and like any other S20 smartphones – no audio jack.
The selfie camera also has a fixed focus lens – but that’s okay since no one really cares about the autofocusing selfie camera anyway.
There’s also no rear-facing microphone compared to the Galaxy S20+ and that means no video mic zoom feature thing. I honestly don’t know if anyone actually uses this feature, so that’s okay. Moreover, if you’re already planning to record a video using the Galaxy S20 FE, use an external mic instead. And the Pro Video mode is exactly the same as the S20 series and the Note20 series.
Other than that, the software experience is exactly the same. The FE is born because they listened to the customers on what matters the most. Turns out, Samsung made the FE by cutting out negligible features here and there but with a significant price drop. And by the way, Samsung promised that this is the first of many upcoming FE variants of their flagships.
And it actually makes the Galaxy S20 and S20+, obsolete. Not entirely, but somewhat, in a way. I think it’s a necessary turning point for Samsung to create more affordable flagships, but it’s a transitional period now so things will be a little weird right now.
Sure, there are a lot of cheaper flagships out there with the same specs. But the true value of Samsung phones is in the software. And Samsung also promised 3 years’ worth of updates for the S20 FE.
If you want the best software that Android phones have to offer now, then the Galaxy S20 FE gets a wholehearted recommendation from me.