The Galaxy S20 FE, or Fan Edition, is Samsung’s attempt at taking on the affordable flagship segment. With smartphone prices shooting up with every successive generation, the category dominated by OnePlus and Xiaomi has become increasingly important. But does the phone make the right compromises compared to the full-featured Galaxy S20? Let’s find out in our Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs Galaxy S20 comparison!
The Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 FE are very different beasts, yet there’s a distinct uniformity in design despite the obvious gulf in prices.
While the former sports a glass and aluminum build, the Galaxy S20 FE foregoes the metal for plastic. The fan edition might not feel as premium as the glass build, but Samsung is dabbling in a range of pastel shades that look great. There’s also something to be said about polycarbonate being much more drop-resilient compared to glass.
The button layout remains more or less the same, and unfortunately, so does the lack of a headphone jack across the two phones.
The Galaxy S20 FE drops the resolution but adds a larger flat display.
Switching over to the display, things get a bit more interesting. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is directly aimed at the affordable flagship market where larger screen sizes are the norm. Compared to the 6.20-inch panel on the Galaxy S20, the Galaxy S20 FE has a larger 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display, but there’s a catch.
To cut costs, the Galaxy S20 FE uses a Full HD+ panel compared to the QHD screen on the S20. Additionally, you’ll find Gorilla Glass 3 for protection instead of the Gorilla Glass 6 on the S20.
Both phones, however, make use of a 120Hz display which should ensure a slick user experience. Further, both phones are IP68 rated, include stereo speakers, and sport in-display fingerprint scanners.
In fact, buyers might prefer the generally quicker and more reliable optical fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S20 FE over the ultrasonic fingerprint reader in the regular Galaxy S20.
The Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy S20 FE are both powered by either a Snapdragon 865 chipset or the Exynos 990 depending on the region you are in. Elsewhere, the Galaxy S20 ships with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard.
The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, on the other hand, can be configured with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and can come with as much as 256GB of storage, which makes it a bit more versatile for those who need additional storage. Both phones sport microSD card slots for storage expansion too.
All in all, the user experience should be very similar if not identical across the two phones. Samsung has done a great job with OneUI over the last few years, delivering excellent optimization for the hardware.
Packing similar hardware, the Galaxy S20 FE should be just as fast as the regular Samsung Galaxy S20.
There are a few differences on the imaging side of things, but here too, there’s more in common than not. The primary shooter is the same 12MP sensor on both phones. Meanwhile, the ultrawide camera is once again the same 12MP sensor as well.
While the Galaxy S20 opts for a 64MP sensor to deliver 3x hybrid zoom, the Galaxy S20 FE sports an 8MP sensor combined with 3x optical zoom. On paper, this might just deliver sharper results at the telephoto end, but we’ll have to test that in our full review.
On the video side of things, the Galaxy S20 FE drops support for 8K video capture, but that shouldn’t be a major concern for most buyers.
The Galaxy S20 FE has a larger 4,500mAh battery, but drops charging speeds to 15W compared to 25W on the S20.
Finally, there are differences in Samsung’s approach towards the battery on the two phones. The Galaxy S20 ships with a 4,000mAh cell that netted us about 6 hours of screen on time. We expect the Galaxy S20 FE to last a bit longer on account of its larger 4,500mAh battery and lower-resolution display.
However, when it comes to charging, the Galaxy S20 takes the lead with its faster 25W charging support. The Galaxy S20 FE, on the other hand, manages just 15W which isn’t particularly great. Wireless charging on both phones tops off at 15W.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 was initially priced at $999 in the United States. Over in the UK, the phone also got a slightly more affordable 4G version that was priced at £799/€899, a full £100/€100 cheaper than the 5G variant.
Today, however, the phone can be found for a much lower price with several deals going around. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G can be picked up for as low as $549.99 directly from Samsung.com.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is priced starting at $699 in the United States, while in the United Kingdom, you will be able to opt for a 4G-only or a 5G version of the phone. While the 5G model costs £699 (~$890), the 4G-only model is priced at £599 (~$763). Similarly, in Europe, the 4G-only Galaxy S20 FE will start at €659 (~$769), while the 5G version will cost €759 (~$886).
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs Samsung Galaxy S20: Which should you buy?
Samsung has done a stellar job at creating a ‘greatest hits’ version of the Galaxy S20 with the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. The latter brings all the key features of the flagship to a much more affordable starting price. Of course, compromises have been made to hit the price point. This includes a lower resolution display, slower charging, and the lack of 8K recording support.
The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition packs all the greatest features of the S20, and is a compelling option if found cheaper than the S20.
These are, however, minor niggles in an otherwise stellar package. Your decision between the two phones is mostly dependent on cost savings. Now that the Galaxy S20 is heavily discounted in the US, the Fan Edition might not be nearly as appealing to some users.
In markets like India though, the Galaxy S20 still commands a steep Rs. 70499 (~$958) which makes the Fan Edition an appealing option for anyone looking to buy a new high-end smartphone.