It is a given that all tech companies, and indeed companies across all industries, claim to listen to the customer. Some call them some customers, some call them fans. It is particularly true for phone companies. Whatever it may be, the expectation is that some amount of customer feedback is taken, put into a blender and out comes inspiration, or at least a part of, for the next product they make. Samsung isn’t doing anything extraordinary here, but the very fact that it is doing this, makes for a rather interesting viewing. On the horizon is the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, short for Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. The Korean smartphone maker has done it before, with the Galaxy Note FE as well. Samsung says they have listened to the fans and made a phone that is tailored according to that feedback. Those requests. Those demands. Using this formula now makes a lot of sense. In many respects.
Let us look at what the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE brings to the table. Globally, there will be two variants, one with 5G and one without 5G. India gets the latter, and we really cannot hold it against Samsung because when we look at the complete Galaxy S20 line-up, you have the 5G options as well if that is what you choose. Apart from that bit, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE line-up in India is simple. It is a grand total of one variant. You really cannot get confused with the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage configuration that you get to pick. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE India pricing is yet to be confirmed. This now joins the Samsung Galaxy S20 which is priced from Rs 70,499 as well as the Samsung Galaxy S20+ which costs Rs 87,999 onwards and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra that is priced from Rs 97,999. Safe to assume, this will become the entry point into the Galaxy S20 line-up, but how low can Samsung price this remains to be seen. Update: Samsung has confirmed the pricing of the Galaxy S20 FE. It is priced at Rs 49,999 and will be available for preorders from October 9. Now, it is over to Google and OnePlus, for the pricing of the Pixel 4a and the 8T 5G respectively.
What you do get with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE from the outset, as a defining factor, are a bunch of colour options, more youthful colours, so to say. There is the Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, Cloud White and Cloud Red. Though I have to say, these colours aren’t exclusively meant for the youth, and pretty much any age demographic who likes a phone with a nice personality will find these worth a second look.
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As it sits alongside the Samsung Galaxy S20, the Samsung Galaxy S20+ and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE does things a bit differently. It has no qualms about rocking a plastic back, albeit with what is a glass-like finish. Yet it has wireless charging, full 15-watts of it. And reverse wireless charging too, if you happen to own a pair of wireless earbuds, for instance. So really, you probably wouldn’t it that much that this doesn’t have a glass back. That being said, it is well built and is very handy for what is a fairly large 6.5-inch screen size. This is IP68 dust and water resistant.
There is no 3.5mm headphone jack, and it is a bit hard to imagine that the fans feedback suggested that.
The 6.5-inch display is Infinity-O, which means this spec is at par with its elder siblings. However, you are restricted with certain compromises in comparison. Mind you, there will have to be a balance between what fans demand and what the accountant suggests is prudent. That is what Samsung have done with the display that is Full HD+, which means a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels. To be honest, this is the resolution that the other Samsung Galaxy S20 series phones also offer in the display settings and offers the ideal balance between visual brilliance and battery consumption. I, for one, will not be holding the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE’s display resolution against it. At all. Not to forget, this display ticks off the 120Hz refresh rate spec as well, which is right in tune with the times.
That being said, it is hard to also imagine that fans and users wanted a camera system step-down, at least comparatively. While the Samsung Galaxy S20 starts out with a 64-megapixel + 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel cameras, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE instead makes do with 12-megapixel ultrawide camera + 12-megapixel wide camera + 8-megapixel telephoto camera. On paper, 12-megapixel isn’t the same as 64-megapixel. Yet, I will take the liberty to just say at this time that the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE’s photography results, indoors and outdoors in good light and low light, are really impressive. Even with the Night Mode switched off, the large pixels capture enough light to allow excellent details to show up. More on that in the coming days.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE that we can buy in India runs the same Exynos 990 processor as the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones and even the Galaxy Note 20 series. No compromises on the power, then. It also gets a large 4,500mAh battery, which is actually bigger than the 4,000mAh battery that the Samsung Galaxy S20 packs in.
The success of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE has to be dependent on the pricing. In a way, this will become the new entry point to the Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone line-up. Prudence seems to be a welcome sign of the times, perhaps best indicated by the OnePlus Nord a few months ago and now the Google Pixel 4a. Perhaps even the OnePlus 8T and the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G when they arrive later this month. Smartphone companies are, in an understanding of the slightly complicated times we are living in, are perhaps foreseeing a slightly lower demand for premium smartphones. Which is why, robust yet a tad more affordable phones are the way forward. For Samsung, the Galaxy S20 FE plugs into that mission, perfectly. It is a Galaxy S20 phone, inside and out. It is latest gen by the specs, and it feels latest gen by the experience, performance and a sprightly personality. Lower price tag isn’t leading you unwillingly to the doorstep of compromise. And it allows Samsung to have another option, widening the price range of the Galaxy S20 line-up, without having to devalue any of the excellent existing phones.