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Galaxy S20 FE vs. other S20 phones: Here's why the Fan Edition is so much cheaper

The Galaxy S20 FE is the cheapest phone in Samsung's premium S20 family, so what compromises did Samsung make?

Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
Expertise Huawei, Oppo, smartphones, smartwatches Credentials
  • More than a decade of journalism experience
Sareena Dayaram

Back in September,  Samsung  added a new member to its premium Galaxy S20 family in the form of the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. The device costs $700 (£599, AU$999), handily stealing the crown from the $1,000 (at launch) Galaxy S20 and making it the most affordable phone in Samsung's premium S20 line. That raises an obvious question: What compromises were made to drive down the cost, and therefore the starting price, of the S20 FE? 

On paper at least, there don't seem to be many core differences between the phones . The 6.5-inch S20 FE retains many of the top-shelf features found in its flashier siblings. Along with a sharp AMOLED display coupled with ultra-fast refresh rates, it has a large battery, an IP68 rating (for water and dust resistance) and multiple cameras on its rear, including a telephoto lens. 


Samsung's Galaxy S20 FE line comes in six colors.


Where Samsung does make compromises is in its choice of material. The S20 FE, unlike its fancier siblings, has a back made of plastic instead of glass. It has less RAM and storage than its family members, and there are some concessions on its rear camera setup, but you might not even miss them. 8K video recording and 100x Space Zoom are absent, but 30x zoom is available (like what's featured in the S20 and S20 Plus) and so is 3x optical zoom. 

To learn more about the differences and similarities of Samsung's S20 line, take a look at our specs chart below. 

Galaxy S20 Fan Edition vs. other Galaxy S20 phones

Samsung Galaxy S20 FESamsung Galaxy S20Samsung Galaxy S20 PlusSamsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch super AMOLED; 2,400x1,080 pixels6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X; (3,200 x 1440)6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Pixel density 405ppi563ppi525ppi511ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.29x2.97x0.33 inches2.72x5.97x0.311 inches2.9x6.37x0.30 inches2.99x6.57x0.35 inches
Dimensions (Millimeters) 159.8x75.5x8.4mm69.1x151.7x7.9 mm73.7x161.9x7.8mm76.0x166.9x8.8mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.7 oz; 190g5.75 oz; 163g6.56 oz; 186g7.76 oz; 220g
Mobile software (at launch) Android 10Android 10Android 10Android 10
Camera 12-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto)12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight camera108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight camera
Front-facing camera 32-megapixel10-megapixel10-megapixel40-megapixel
Video capture 4K8K8K8K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G)64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz)64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz)64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz)
Storage 128GB128GB128GB, 512GB128GB, 512GB
RAM 6GB12GB (5G),  8GB (LTE)12GB (5G), 8GB (LTE)12GB, 16GB
Expandable storage 1TBUp to 1TBUp to 1TBUp to 1TB
Battery 4,500 mAh4,000 mAh4,500 mAh5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screenIn-screenIn-screenIn-screen
Headphone jack NoNoNoNo
Special features 5G enabled, IP 68 rating, 120Hz screen refresh rate, support for 30W fast charging,15W fast wireless charging5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; water resistant (IP68)5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; water resistant (IP68)5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom; water resistant (IP68)
Price off-contract (USD) *at launch $700 for sub-6 5G; $750 for Verizon model with mmWave 5G$999$1,199, $1,349$1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB)
Price (GBP) £599 (4G), £699 (5G)£799, £899 (5G)£999 (5G)£1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB)
Price (AUD) AU$849 (4G), AU$999 (5G) AU$1,349 (4G), AU$1,499 (5G), AU$1,499 (4G), AU$1,649 (128GB), AU$1,899 (512GB)AU$1,999 (128GB), AU$2,249 (512GB)