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David Imel / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) was a standout launch for the corporate in 2020, managing to ship an excellent mixture of enticing pricing and a well-rounded spec sheet. In reality, we gave it our Editor’s Choice award for the perfect Android smartphone of 2020.

It form of boggles the thoughts that the Galaxy S20 FE nonetheless hasn’t been succeeded by the Galaxy S21 FE simply but given its reputation with consumers and critics — though the worldwide chip scarcity is understandably accountable. Ahead of the belated potential launch of its successor, how does Galaxy S20 FE fare after a 12 months? Should you continue to decide it up or must you watch for the corporate’s 2022 choices? That’s what we’re going to seek out out on this Samsung Galaxy S20 FE long-term assessment.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE assessment recap

As a refresher, you may take a look at our unique Galaxy S20 FE assessment for our ideas on the system on the time. You may view our unique hands-on video above for extra particulars.

How has the {hardware} aged since final 12 months?

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE camera macro off center

David Imel / Android Authority

The Galaxy S20 FE nonetheless holds up comparatively effectively once you take a look at the specs sheet. There’s 6GB to 8GB of RAM, 128GB to 256GB of storage, an FHD+ 120Hz OLED display screen, and a 4,500mAh battery with 25W charging.

Samsung’s cellphone additionally packs IP68 water/mud resistance and wi-fi charging, ticking two further containers for flagship telephones in 2021. It even has two options lacking from many of the firm’s 2021 flagships within the Galaxy S21 collection, particularly microSD growth and a bundled charger (albeit 15W).

The processor you get will rely in your area and once you buy the cellphone. The Galaxy S20 FE 5G within the US is basically equivalent to the Galaxy S20 FE common, however with the titular 5G assist and the Snapdragon 865 chipset. The 4G mannequin initially launched with an Exynos 990 chip (Samsung offered this mannequin for this long-term assessment), however has since been changed in lots of areas by the 4G-only Snapdragon 865-toting variant. Look out for the “SM-G780G” mannequin quantity if you need the latter chipset.

Check out: The greatest Samsung telephones

The Exynos 990 variant isn’t as highly effective because the Snapdragon 865 mannequin relating to GPU-related duties. In saying so, the elemental expertise was nonetheless very clean in my testing. Swiping between house screens, utilizing the digicam, launching apps, and scrolling had been all suitably fluid. 3D gaming was additionally dealt with fairly effectively, with the likes of Call of Duty Mobile and Nascar Heat Mobile working at an excellent clip. We additionally tried Genshin Impact and whereas it wasn’t the smoothest expertise (swiping the digicam round resulted in some noticeable judder), it’s nonetheless very playable. Emulators are one other story although, as superior titles in Dolphin (e.g. F-Zero GX and Metroid Prime) had been slow-motion affairs. Those who worth a clean gaming expertise throughout the board ought to preserve an eye fixed out for the Snapdragon model as a substitute.

The Galaxy S20 FE’s specs nonetheless maintain up comparatively effectively towards in the present day’s reasonably priced flagship fare.

I used to be fairly proud of battery life on the S20 FE as effectively. I used to be capable of recover from seven hours of screen-on time with a comparatively heavy day of YouTube viewing, however you’ll undoubtedly wish to plug in your cellphone come bedtime with utilization like this. Less intensive utilization, comparable to messaging and music streaming, together with setting the display screen to 60Hz, ought to definitely internet you a day and a half to 2 days of utilization.

An surprising take a look at of endurance got here just a few days into the assessment interval when the facility went out from 9AM till simply earlier than 3PM. I used to be in a position to make use of the cellphone as a hotspot for my laptop computer for just a few hours, however the pc wasn’t going to final for this whole time-frame. So I linked my wi-fi keyboard to my cellphone and was capable of work for nearly an hour and a half whereas streaming YouTube Music tracks on the identical time (I don’t advocate working like this, by the best way). Once the facility got here again on, I nonetheless had just below 40% juice left. Not dangerous in any respect.

If it ain’t broke, don’t repair it

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE back camera bump

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

One of probably the most notable Galaxy S20 FE cutbacks in comparison with its dearer stablemates within the Galaxy S20 vary was the transfer to a plastic rear cowl as a substitute of glass. But if something, the cellphone’s design and selection of rear cowl nonetheless make for a premium expertise once you’ve bought it in your fingers.

You can inform that the “glasstic” rear cowl is plastic after just a few moments with the cellphone, however the end nonetheless nonetheless feels higher than typical plastic designs. Personally, I really feel extra snug with a plastic rear again like this than a glass again relating to sturdiness. This explicit assessment unit had a slight ding on the prime once I acquired it. I’ve little doubt this may’ve been a bigger, extra noticeable spiderweb crack if the system had a glass again as a substitute.

Related: The greatest Samsung Galaxy S20 FE circumstances you should buy

The remainder of the cellphone’s design is fairly stable too, with a sturdy metallic body ringing the system and a flat-edged display screen that’s a welcome change from the curved panels seen on so many telephones in the present day. Speaking of that display screen, it’s not QHD+, however the FHD+ decision is sharp sufficient and I had no drawback viewing the display screen in daylight.

The Galaxy S20 FE is completely manageable with one hand too, owing to its comparatively light-weight construct and smaller dimension, particularly in comparison with the likes of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Those on the lookout for a extra ergonomic flagship ought to keep watch over this one even a 12 months on.

What in regards to the digicam expertise?

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE camera viewfinder.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy S20 FE delivered a reasonably succesful digicam system again in 2020. We bought a 12MP most important shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide snapper, and an 8MP 3x telephoto lens. The latter particularly was a welcome addition, because the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus made use of hybrid zoom for his or her zoomed-in snaps.

Samsung’s FE mannequin has aged fairly decently on this regard, because the digicam system continues to be fairly versatile. Though it does lack some extras you discover with some true flagships like 8K recording (because of the lack of a 33MP+ digicam) and autofocus on the ultra-wide lens. The latter is the extra disappointing in my guide, particularly when the likes of OnePlus, Apple, and others have supplied it to allow macro modes. In saying so, the principle digicam does allow you to get comparatively near topics in comparison with 50MP+ telephones.

What about real-world utilization although? The main 12MP shooter is a dependable digicam for probably the most half, with focus efficiency being persistently good in comparison with a lot of in the present day’s flagships. Daytime snaps normally with the first digicam had been often clear and contained a wholesome degree of resolvable element too.

The largest concern I discovered is that photos taken with the principle digicam can merely look means too vibrant at occasions, even by Samsung’s common contrast-heavy requirements. Check out the foliage within the fifth and sixth footage. I’m unsure if it’s a case of Samsung’s default coloration processing cranking issues up or aggressive HDR, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly bought a neon look occurring together with a halo. It’s additionally value noting that the foliage in these photos seems a bit muddy too. The halo impact additionally appears to increase to the picture of the Lego mannequin, suggesting that that is heavy-handed HDR.

See additionally: The greatest digicam telephones you may get

Need to get a bit nearer? That’s what the 3x 8MP telephoto digicam is for. We’re glad to see this digicam right here, because it isn’t at all times assured on this worth bracket. Photos taken with this shooter had been stable at 3x, though we see the watercolor impact and muddy textures on parts like timber once you pixel-peep. You can nonetheless get first rate outcomes at this zoom issue, however photos turn out to be nigh-on unusable earlier than 10x.

The Galaxy S20 FE’s rear digicam system covers all bases on paper, however picture high quality might be hit or miss.

The ultra-wide digicam may be the worst of the bunch although, delivering a 12MP 123-degree sensor. That discipline of view is completely vast, though there’s a reasonably noticeable drop in resolvable element in comparison with the principle shooter. A much bigger concern is the sheer quantity of noise and softening within the corners of those pictures. It actually looks like a funds proposition on this regard.

The Galaxy S20 FE does see an inevitable drop in picture high quality at night time, with the principle digicam delivering noisier, softer pictures. Check out the comparability between the Samsung cellphone and Vivo X70 Pro Plus beneath, with the Vivo cellphone delivering a sharper, brighter picture (and capturing the extra correct heat gentle of the general scene). Now, granted, the Vivo system is more moderen and far more costly, nevertheless it does illustrate what a bigger, extra fashionable sensor can do.

Ultra-wide picture high quality plummets when the solar goes down. Shots taken with this digicam at night time have a ton of noise and are sometimes means too darkish to see something. The night time mode, nevertheless, does a stable job of salvaging some pictures, nevertheless it nonetheless lags far behind in the present day’s prime ultra-wide cameras.

Samsung’s cellphone additionally accommodates a 32MP snapper upfront, and it’s not the worst selfie digicam round. We might undoubtedly do with improved facial element in all lighting circumstances, whereas dynamic vary tends to undergo as effectively. But low-light selfies aren’t fully terrible, thanks partly to nighttime mode for the entrance shooter.

Otherwise, we’re additionally glad to see returning options just like the nifty Single Take mode, Super Steady video recording (albeit at 1080p/30fps), professional video choice, professional picture mode, hyper-lapse performance, and extra. Although the shortage of Samsung’s Director’s View function (for switching between completely different lenses whereas recording) is a bit disappointing.

Room for enchancment

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE upright front

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy S20 FE undoubtedly looks like a robust proposition one 12 months down the road, however there are just a few areas the place it could possibly be a bit higher.

25W charging assist, however a 15W charger

One draw back is that Samsung’s final FE launch solely ships with a 15W charger, regardless of supporting 25W speeds. That means you’ll want to attend roughly an hour and a half for a full cost with the in-box charger. Even some 2018-era smartphones supplied a lot quicker charging occasions. While you do nonetheless get a charger, it’s not precisely a perk when it will possibly’t provide the greatest speeds doable.

One UI’s default settings are unintuitive

Like different Samsung telephones, One UI has some perplexing default settings on the Galaxy S20 FE. Perhaps the largest concern is Samsung’s insistence on making the facility button the Bixby button (as a substitute of, , providing you with entry to the facility menu). Samsung isn’t the one firm needlessly toying with the facility button performance, nevertheless it’s undoubtedly probably the most high-profile offender.

It’s additionally a bit disappointing that you simply nonetheless can’t set Google Discover as your left-most display screen within the default launcher. It’s a Samsung Free-or-nothing method right here.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE long-term assessment: The verdict

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE rear and center

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

The Galaxy S20 FE just isn’t excellent. If you come upon an Exynos model it’ll be a notable efficiency downgrade when you’re an influence consumer. Additionally, the sluggish charging occasions are solely excused by the truth that there’s a charger within the field in any respect. Image high quality hasn’t fairly saved up with 2021 flagships, both. Nevertheless, the remainder of the Galaxy S20 FE has largely aged like a advantageous wine.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE one 12 months later: Is it nonetheless value shopping for?

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It was priced at a reasonably aggressive $699 at launch final 12 months, and it noticed a worth drop to $600 in subsequent months. We thought the cellphone was a great deal at launch and an excellent deal following the value drop. But even now the Galaxy S20 FE continues to be value a glance, even with the brand-new Pixel 6 providing an identical degree of bang on your buck.

A big a part of the Galaxy S20 FE’s enduring success is as a result of the Galaxy S21 FE nonetheless isn’t right here but, although. Until then, this stays Samsung’s least expensive flagship-level cellphone, and with options like a 120Hz OLED display screen, 4,500mAh battery, versatile digicam system, wi-fi charging, water resistance, and a prolonged replace dedication, it nonetheless manages to impress when pitted towards present reasonably priced flagships.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Back side

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

All the perfect options of the Galaxy S20 collection at a lower cost

If you do not thoughts reducing just a few corners, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (which stands for “Fan Edition”) may be the cellphone you might be on the lookout for. It presents many of the flagship specs and options of the Galaxy S20 household however trims issues right down to preserve the value low.

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