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Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition looks imminent — and iPhone 12 should be worried

Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition
(Image credit: Evan Blass)

Earlier this year, Samsung gave the Galaxy S10 a final hurrah with the S10 Lite. It provided a cheaper alternative to the super pricey S20, with a marginally cut down version of a still very powerful handset.

Samsung is looking to repeat the experiment with the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (or S20 FE). The name may make less sense (why would a ‘fan’ buy a weaker version of the same product?), but otherwise it’s a very similar project to the S10 Lite, with one small difference: the release date. 

While the S10 Lite came out alongside the S20 in March, the S20 Fan Edition will emerge this year. Korean publication The Elec predicted an October launch, and that’s been given more credence by the handset getting certified by the NFC Forum. 

As spotted by GSM Arena, both the SM-G781V and SM-G780F/DSM are now certified for Near Field Communication. Why two versions? Well, both have appeared on Geekbench and it looks like the former is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, while the latter is sticking with Samsung’s own Exynos 990. That’s not a consumer choice thing: it’ll be dependent on where in the world you’re buying. But if you decide to import, then it’s pretty clear that the Qualcomm version will be the superior handset.   

In any case, NFC certification is something that happens when a device is at the end of its production. For reference, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 devices (SM-N986U and SM-N981U) were certified by the same process in June before emerging at Samsung Unpacked on August 5. Assuming a similar trajectory, the predicted October release date feels pretty much spot on.

We’re not expecting a big reveal from Samsung for this one, and it’ll likely be unveiled by press release. Fortunately, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect at this point

Alongside the Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 processor, you’ll be getting 6GB or 8GB RAM — a bit of a downgrade from the 12GB in the regular S20, but fine for most people. Pleasingly, reports indicate that the 120Hz screen will be retained, although it looks likely that it’ll miss out on the glass back, with Samsung opting for plastic for cost saving reasons. It still looks nice though, as the render above from Pricebaba and OnLeaks demonstrates.

It’s not clear if Samsung intends to release the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition in America, but if it does, the quoted price predictions convert to around $750 — a decent saving on the original $999 retail price of the original S20. That price could also give Android fans a solid alternative to the upcoming iPhone 12, which is predicted to start around $649 but could cost as much as $1,099 for the higher-end pro models