The first Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition images have leaked, showing us how Samsung's changed the design of its cheapest flagship phone.
Thanks to Jimmy is Promo's recent tweet, we have some real-life pictures of the new phone as well as some specs information. And between this and his replies to follow-up questions, there's a lot to go through.
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition release date, price, specs and leaks
- Our review of the original Samsung Galaxy S20
- Plus: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 got these big upgrades to fight Apple Watch 6
The Galaxy S20 launched back in February, but the FE (short for Fan Edition) is expected to arrive soon with both improvements to the hardware as well as some downgrades to reduce costs. This new phone feels like a successor to the Galaxy S10 Lite, which launched in January as a cheaper version of the Galaxy S10, even though the naming convention is different.
#GalaxyS20FEShe's Flat6.5" FHD+ 120hzNice priceIP683x optical + 10x digital = 30x rear32mp Selfie ShooterOne UI 2.5* Right between that S20 & S20+ * pic.twitter.com/DF3ABnmjUiSeptember 17, 2020
Design-wise, the Galaxy S20 FE looks a lot like the original three Galaxy S20 phones. What's different is the materials, as the S20 FE will have a plastic back like the basic Galaxy Note 20. That makes it cheaper to build, but will likely make it feel a lot less pleasant to hold than the standard glass-backed flagship.
The S20 FE's flat display is quite different from anything in the original S20 lineup. It measures 6.5 inches across, which puts it between the S20's 6.2 inches and the S20 Plus' 6.7 inches. Another change is the resolution downgrade to FHD rather than QHD. This is likely a cost-saving move, but one that could also help increase the battery life, which was one of the S20's weak points. You'll still get a 120Hz refresh rate with the S20 FE, though, and that's an excellent premium feature to keep intact.
The original tweet only describes the price as "nice," but in a reply, Jimmy is Promo specifies a figure of $699 to $749, depending on your preferred storage capacity. At this price — roughly $300 below the S20's cost — Samsung looks to be squarely aiming at the space occupied by Apple's basic iPhone 11, and the cheapest iPhone 12 when that launches next month.
Also within the comments to the original tweet, you'll find a reference to the phone's chipset — the Snapdragon 865. That's the same as the rest of the Galaxy S20 series in the U.S., as elsewhere the S20 used an Exynos 990 chip designed by Samsung itself. Qualcomm has since released the Snapdragon 865 Plus, which offers more performance, but the S20 FE should still have more than enough power for most users, plus the crucial 5G compatibility that will become more and more important in the coming years.
Like the rest of Samsung's flagship phones, the S20 FE gets an IP68 rating. This doesn't make a phone water and dust-proof, but it'll certainly survive an accidental trip into a sink or a sandpit.
For photography, there is a telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom among the rear cameras, another holdover from the original Galaxy S20 and S20 Plus. That's combined with 10x digital zoom for a maximum magnification of 30x, should you want to use it. An older leak says the telephoto camera will use an 8MP sensor instead of the 64MP one on the normal S20 and S20 Plus, while the other cameras on the back of the phone are two 12MP sensors for main and ultra-wide photos.
On the front, there's a 32MP selfie camera, a big improvement from the S20's 10MP sensor. The Galaxy S20 Ultra still has it beat with its 40MP shooter, but it's an admirable selfie camera for an entry-level flagship device. Even Jimmy himself says the S20 FE's got excellent photo skills, saying they're just as good as Samsung's original S20 and Galaxy Note 20 models.
Finally, the tweet shows us that the phone runs on One UI 2.5, the newest version of Samsung's Android 10-based operating system. It's a shame the Galaxy S20 FE won't launch with the recently debuted Android 11 pre-installed, but this will likely appear, in the form of One UI 3.0, in a few months via software update.
Unmentioned in the tweet is battery capacity or charging information. Fortunately a previous leak has pegged the FE's capacity at an S20 Plus-equalling 4,500 mAh, and its charger as the same 25W model that Samsung throws into the box of all its flagship phones. Other spec leaks have suggested a 4,000 mAh power pack.
Samsung is holding a virtual launch event on September 23, which is when we expect this phone to officially appear. That's before both of its potential big rivals, the iPhone 12 and the OnePlus 8T, appear in October, letting Samsung enjoy more of the smartphone limelight for a few weeks.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.