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Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE is a $699 flagship with very few compromises

Published Sep 23rd, 2020 10:45AM EDT
Galaxy S20 FE
Image: Samsung

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  • Samsung revealed the Galaxy S20 FE on Wednesday during its latest Unpacked live stream.
  • The Galaxy S20 FE starts at $699 and features a 6.5-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 865 processor, 5G support, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and 4,500mAh battery.
  • Preorders for the S20 FE 5G and S20 FE start on September 23rd at Samsung’s website.

When Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 series earlier this year, we couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t a cheaper model to take up the mantle of the Galaxy S10e. The Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra were all solid phones in their own right, but when it came to price, none of them could compete with the iPhone 11. Well, it took a few months, but the cheaper model has finally arrived, as Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S20 FE on Wednesday.

The Galaxy S20 FE – which stands for “Fan Edition” – is the latest addition to Samsung’s S20 family of devices, and although it starts at just $699, it retains many of the most important features and specifications of its more expensive siblings. For example, the Galaxy S20 FE has a Snapdragon 865 CPU, 5G support, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 4,500mAh battery, IP68 water and dust resistance, and a 120Hz refresh rate display.

Those aren’t exactly “budget” specs, especially with one of Qualcomm’s latest and greatest processors on board. For a phone that costs almost half as much as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it should be nearly as fast.

That said, some compromises had to be made to get the price down. The S20 FE’s 6.5-inch display may have the same refresh rate as the other Galaxy S20 models, but it’s flat instead of curved and can’t reach the same Quad HD+ resolution as its pricier counterparts. The back cover is also plastic instead of glass, although that should make it a bit sturdier. It also opened to door to a variety of new color options, including Cloud Red, Cloud Orange, Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, and Cloud White, with a textured haze effect to prevent smudges and fingerprints.

The primary shooter on the back of the S20 FE is a triple camera with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens. It’s capable of 3x optical zoom as well as the 30x “Space Zoom” of the other S20 models. On the front of the phone, Samsung has included a 32-megapixel selfie camera.

We’re still surprised that this phone didn’t exist six months ago, but it seems like the perfect affordable flagship for the pandemic as everyone attempts to navigate through the endless uncertainty. The Galaxy S20 FE will be available on October 2nd from Samsung, mobile carriers, and online retailers starting at $699. Preorders for both the Galaxy S20 FE 5G and the LTE version of the phone begin on on September 23rd.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.