Just because Samsung took the wraps off its latest S Pen-wielding hero devices roughly a month and a half ago, fully detailing the world’s most advanced foldable handset as well a few weeks thereafter, that doesn’t mean the company is done releasing ultra-high-end Android smartphones for the year.
Unlike what the name might suggest, the newly announced Galaxy S20 FE is not a direct competitor for Apple’s second-gen iPhone SE around the $400 mark or some sort of a belated Galaxy Note FE sequel without the built-in stylus. Instead, what we’re looking at here is the spiritual successor to the inexpensive Galaxy S10 Lite that was internationally unveiled back in January ahead of a tardy US commercial debut in April.
In case you’re wondering, Samsung appears to have learned from that fatal mistake, planning to release the $699 Galaxy S20 FE 5G stateside as early as October 2 following today’s pre-order start.
All the “innovations” Galaxy fans love most
In and of itself, the 5G-enabled Galaxy S20 FE is anything but innovative. In fact, we can’t think of a single feature this phone doesn’t borrow from a previous member of the S20 or Note 20 families, except for a 32MP selfie camera carried over from the S10 Lite.
The beauty of this device is its significantly more accessible price point than those of the “regular” S20 and Note 20 variants, which somehow still allow the S20 FE to retain all the “fan favorite” specifications (hence the Fan Edition abbreviation in its name).
Of course, that wouldn’t have been possible without the adoption of a “streamlined premium design”, ditching the pronounced curves of the Galaxy S20 5G while keeping the trendy centered hole punch around.
The flat Infinity-O Super AMOLED display measures 6.5 inches in diagonal, thus squeezing between the 6.2-inch S20 and 6.7-inch S20+. Although the resolution is downgraded from QHD+ to FHD+, aka 2400 x 1080 pixels, the S20 FE 5G supports 120Hz refresh rate technology for fluid scrolling and a “super smooth” content viewing experience.
Incredibly enough, the Galaxy S20 FE 5G matches the 4,500mAh battery capacity of the slightly larger S20+ 5G without adding too much overall heft, at a weight of 190 grams, and measuring a reasonably thin 8.4mm. The water-resistant construction is presumably made at least in part from plastic, while the battery technically comes with 25W Super Fast Charging capabilities but the handset itself only includes a 15W power brick in the box.
Three rear-facing shooters and a lot of horsepower
Obviously, certain corners had to be cut in order for Samsung to keep production costs in check, so it’s definitely not surprising to see the Galaxy S20 FE 5G feature a humbler camera system than the S20 and Note 20. That means no 64MP telephoto lens for the company’s cash-strapped “fans”, although unlike the S10 Lite, the S20 FE does at least come with an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor on its back rather than a useless macro shooter.
The primary and ultra-wide-angle rear cameras of the S20 Fan Edition are both equipped with 12MP sensors, joining forces with the aforementioned telephoto lens to create a reasonably versatile and powerful imaging setup supporting everything from optical image stabilization to 3x optical zoom and a very gimmicky-sounding 30x Space Zoom functionality.
Speaking of power, it’s interesting to note that Samsung doesn’t spell out the SoC options for us in the press release announcing the Galaxy S20 FE, but one of the two variants is clocked at up to 3.0GHz, which suggests the state-of-the-art Snapdragon 865+ processor might be running the US hardware show instead of the slightly slower Snapdragon 865 chipset.
Your $699 will most likely buy you a 6GB memory configuration with 128 gigs of storage space also on deck, while the pricing and availability info of the 8GB RAM models accommodating your choice of 128 or 256GB data internally remains under wraps.
As far as 5G speeds are concerned, the Galaxy S20 FE capabilities run the gamut from non-standalone to standalone technology and from Sub-6 GHz to mmWave support, so at least on paper, this device is compatible with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile’s most advanced networks right now.
Another important puzzle piece yet to fall in place is the phone’s actual carrier release details, although we already have every reason to expect Verizon to pick up four of the six color options unveiled today in the not-so-distant future.