Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs. Samsung Galaxy S20: What Distinction Does $300 Make?

It may only have been a few months since the Samsung Galaxy S20 debuted, but Samsung has just launched the Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition). Starting at just $ 700, it undercuts the S20's original retail price and adds a bigger screen and battery to triumph where the older phone failed. It is certainly one of the most affordable phones you can buy right now. But is it really better than a more expensive Samsung phone that only came out half a year ago?

We answer this question by comparing the two phones in different categories. We take a look at the technical data, displays, designs, performance, batteries and camera and see how the individual devices develop in the individual areas. That way, we should hopefully clarify where to go for the slightly newer Galaxy S20 FE or stick with the earlier Galaxy S20.

Technical specifications

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S20
size 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm (6.29 x 2.93 x 0.33 in) 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9 mm (5.97 x 2.72 x 0.31 in)
Weight 190 grams (6.70 ounces) 163 g (5.75 oz)
Screen size 6.5 inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen 6.2 inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X capacitive touchscreen
Screen resolution 2400 x 1080 pixels (407 pixels per inch) 3200 x 1440 pixels (563 ppi density)
operating system Android 10, One UI 2.5 Android 10, One UI 2.5
warehouse 128 GB, 256 GB 128 GB
MicroSD card slot Yes Yes
Tap-to-pay Services Samsung Pay, Google Pay Samsung Pay, Google Pay
processor Exynos 990 (5G version: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865) Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
R.A.M. 6 GB, 8 GB 8 GB
camera 12 megapixels wide, 8MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide at the back, 32MP at the front 12MP wide, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra wide rear, two 10MP front
Video 4K at 60 fps 4K at up to 60 fps, 1080p at 30 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C, 3.1 USB-C, 3.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes, in the display Yes, in the display
Water resistance IP68 IP68
battery 4,500 mAh

Fast charge (25W)

Fast wireless charging (15 W)

4,000 mAh

Fast charge (25W)

Fast wireless charging (15 W)

Reverse wireless charging (4.5 W)

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Colours Cloud lavender, cloud mint, cloud marine, cloud white, cloud red, cloud orange Cosmic gray, cloud blue, cloud pink, cloud white, aura red
Prices $ 699 + $ 1,000
Review rating 4 out of 5 stars 3.5 out of 5 stars

Design, display and durability

Andy Boxall / DigitalTrends.com

The casual observer will be forgiven that the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the Galaxy S20 have identical designs. There are a number of subtle differences, however. First, the FE is bigger than the S20, a touch thicker and 1 ounce heavier. Combined with the larger 6.5-inch screen and bezel, these bumps could make some find it a little less comfortable to hold than the older Galaxy S20.

The S20 FE also has a "glass-bottomed" body, which is a composite plastic that looks and feels more like glass than standard plastic. It's nice, but it's not quite as sophisticated or elegant when compared to the Gorilla Glass 6 on the original S20. Even so, it's comfortable even if it's not that aesthetic.

The differences in the display are interesting, and you may prefer one phone or the other depending on whether you prefer size to clarity. The FE's 6.5-inch screen offers a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels, while the S20's 6.2-inch display offers 3200 x 1440 pixels. This makes a noticeable difference in sharpness, which is enhanced by the integration of the original S20's Dynamic AMOLED screen technology that enhances its colors and contrasts.

On the other hand, we found in our S20 review that the beauty of the display is compromised by its relatively small size. This has no impact on the FE, so large screen enthusiasts may be interested in the newer phone. Both phones support a refresh rate of 120 Hz, which further enhances the high-resolution and realistically smooth graphics.

Both phones are rated IP68, which means you can submerge them in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. However, the original S20 looks better with its glass body and sharper screen, so we're giving it a tight win this round.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S20

Performance, battery life and charging

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and Galaxy S20 have largely the same specs, but with some notable differences. Both come with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor that helps them handle the latest apps as well as a significant amount of multitasking. However, the original S20 comes standard with 8 GB of RAM (the US version comes standard with 12 GB of RAM) while the FE only has 6 GB.

Users can find that this makes a difference in how both phones handle the most compute-intensive games and apps, while the original S20 can prove to be better at juggling multiple open apps and tasks at the same time. Both phones offer 128GB of internal storage and both have a microSD card slot so you can keep charging the internal storage.

The S20 FE has a 4,500 mAh battery as opposed to the 4,000 mAh cell of the S20. The FE battery longevity is still not fantastic compared to some other devices. The phone lasts a little more than a day of heavy use. Still, the S20 doesn't even go that far. Our test showed that at the end of a day of moderate to heavy use, the battery was about 15% discharged. Both phones support 25W fast charging, so you won't have any trouble quickly refilling either phone.

This round is a tie. The S2o offers better performance, but the S20 FE offers a longer-lasting battery. So choosing a winner depends on which one is more important to you.

Winner: tie

Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the Galaxy S20 have the same setup for the rear view camera with three lenses, with one difference. Both have 12-megapixel wide-angle and ultrawide lenses, but the original S20 has a 64-megapixel telephoto lens while the FE telephoto lens is only 8-megapixel.

This is important if you tend to take zoomed photos regularly. Otherwise, the two phones are basically just as good for everyday pictures. Our review of the FE found it to be as capable as the S20 in most situations. Photos capture a wide dynamic range and offer a very good level of clarity. It still offers 3x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, like the S20. However, the zoomed images of the S20 offer more detail, especially at higher zoom levels.

The S20 FE and S20 let you record 4K video at 60 frames per second so there is no difference there. Even so, this lap with a significantly more powerful telephoto lens is a slim win for the original S20.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S20

Software and updates

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Both devices run on One UI 2, Samsung's own version of Android 10. As mentioned earlier, One UI 2 is one of the best Android skins out there and offers an intuitive, colorful and streamlined user experience. It's well designed and clean, giving users uniformly shaped icons throughout the system as well as a good level of customization. It also includes a helpful system-wide dark mode as well as a logically organized settings menu.

Samsung has a knack for developing operating systems, but not quite up to date with updates. Users can find that these are a bit slow, at least compared to Google and Apple smartphones. This is an issue that affects both devices equally so this round cannot be anything other than a tie.

Winner: tie

Special features

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE design

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and S20 both support 5G networks, including support for mmWave and 5G below 6Hz. While 5G is still not everywhere, its coverage in the US is gradually growing, so users in cities with 5G will happily use both phones .

Aside from 5G, both phones support a refresh rate of 120 Hz, making them both in the same league as more expensive Samsung flagships and providing users with a very fluid and seamless visual experience.

Winner: tie

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE starts at $ 699 and can be pre-ordered from Samsung. It will also be available from all major airlines and the vast majority of major retail stores.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 is officially priced at $ 999 and is available from Samsung and all major retailers. It's still a new phone. While it has been superseded by the FE to some extent, it doesn't seem like anyone is offering significant discounts right now.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20 handAndy Boxall / DigitalTrends.com

The Samsung Galaxy S20 wins the overall victory in this competition, largely due to its superior specs. Thanks to its 12GB of RAM as standard, it can claim to have better performance than the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, and its more powerful telephoto lens also means it has a superior camera system. In addition, the glass body looks more elegant than the newer FE, which is reinforced by the sharper display.

It has to be said, however, that this is a pretty close win. It's also given out in complete disregard for the huge price difference between the two phones, which is $ 300. When that $ 300 is factored in, the FE becomes the overall winner. It works almost as fast as the S20, has improved battery life, a bigger screen, the same internal storage, almost the same camera, the same 5G support, and the same easy-to-use software. If you're looking to save a ton of money, this is definitely a better option.

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