The £599 Samsung Galaxy S20 FE could be all the phone you need

While OnePlus was busy screwing itself trying to take on Samsung, Samsung’s been taking notes from the OnePlus playbook. And so we have the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, approximately the one-billionth Samsung phone released this year.
An almost-flagship, the S20 FE – which stands for Fan Edition – is around the same price as last year’s Galaxy S10 with two variants available in the UK from 2 October: a £599 4G version and a £699 5G model. And there’s more than enough to justify its existence in the line-up.

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We haven’t seen the S20 FE in person yet – blame Covid – but from the images, it looks to be a cross between Galaxy S and Note styling, with a metal frame and a “textured, hazed” matte finish ‘glasstic’ back. Samsung is putting it out in a bunch of fairly chic colours including navy, mint, red, orange, white and lavender. The S20 FE is 8.4mm thick and weighs a reasonable 190g.
Here’s what you do get for your money: a 6.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display with that 120Hz refresh rate, an 8MP telephoto lens with OIS and a 30x ‘Space Zoom’, a big 4,500mAh battery with wireless charging and IP68 waterproofing. There’s three lenses in total with a 12MP main and 12Mp ultra-wide completing the camera setup and the 32MP front-facer is housed in a small, central punch hole.
More important, though, is what’s missing and the truth is nothing totally essential. There’s no 8K video here, for instance, the in-display optical fingerprint sensor isn’t ‘ultrasonic’ and it’s Gorilla Glass 5 not 6 on the front. Charging speeds aren’t quite top of the line, either so you get 25W ‘super fast’ charging and 15W wireless charging.

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More than most Android phones, it pays to know what processor is powering your Samsung as it can vary depending on where you are in the world. For the Galaxy S20 FE, the cheaper 4G model will run on Samsung’s own Exynos 990 chip, which has had its critics regarding performance and battery efficiency, whereas the 5G S20 FE will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 chip. This decision alone might make the £699 version much more popular than you’d first think.
Elsewhere, there aren’t too many surprises here. There’s stereo speakers with AKG tuning, NFC for Samsung Pay and Knox and now-wireless DeX if you’re interested. There’s 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage with up to 1TB via microSD. Samsung reckons the 240Hz touch response rate of the display is good enough for gaming and is throwing in three months of Xbox Game Pass and a Moga XP5-X+ controller (or Galaxy Fit2 fitness tracker) too if you pre-order. Like the iPhone 11, then, Samsung’s most practical phone might be the £700 one.

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