Like most markets outside North America, India got the Exynos variant of Samsung’s fantastic upper-mid-range Galaxy S20 FE. This model simply isn’t on par with its Snapdragon-powered sibling on several fronts, including 5G connectivity. Now, Samsung is bringing the S20 FE 5G to the Indian market right around the time OnePlus is set to drop its 9-series flagships in a similar price bracket.
Last year's Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition blew us away: for $599 (it's hardly ever sold for its $699 MSRP), it offered performance nearly identical to that of phones that cost twice as much thanks to its Snapdragon 865 chipset. It was also among the first phones to offer a 120Hz display at a mid-range price. But it was released in October, which means it's coming up on six months old. So, is it still worth buying in 2021? Let's discuss.
Samsung kickstarted its February 2021 patch rollout a bit early this time, with the European Galaxy S20 line being the first recipient. Now, these latest Android security updates are spreading to the US, starting with the unlocked Galaxy S20 models and the Note20 Ultra, and more recently followed by a couple of older and budget devices on AT&T and Verizon.
The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition was one of the best smartphones of 2020, as it included most of the features of Samsung's more expensive phones at a lower $700 (or $600, or $550) price point. It clearly served as inspiration for the newer Galaxy S21 series, as the phone has the same plastic casing and flat display as the Fan Edition.
One of 2020's best phone deals just got a spec bump. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, originally only available in a 128GB storage configuration, is getting a new 256GB model that offers twice as much space for just $70 more. Sales for this upgraded version open at midnight (ET) tonight.
Technology is supposed to become cheaper as it improves, but prices for high-end smartphones have done nothing but rise over the past few years. However, 2020 represents something of a change in attitude, as several companies have opted to revamp their pricing. There have always been options for cheaper smartphones, but now both Samsung and Google have released flagship-tier options for lower-than-normal prices.
The $700 Pixel 5 is Google's top phone this year, even if the internal hardware doesn't quite stack up against its competitors. Meanwhile, Samsung has slightly refreshed the Galaxy S20 and given it the same $700 price tag, deeming it the Fan Edition.
Reports of issues with the aggressively-priced Galaxy S20 FE's touchscreen have been circulating in recent weeks. This includes so-called "ghost touch" problems and issues with swipes being processed as a series of taps. Since a screen is your primary way of interacting with a phone, this sort of problem is pretty frustrating. However, Samsung tells us it's aware of these reports and working to resolve the issue.
Samsung's top-end phones are getting more and more expensive at an alarming rate, as evidenced by the fact that very few people bought an S20 during the series's launch window. Seeing the gap to fill between bargain-bin budget phones and outright luxury devices, this week, Samsung launched the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. It costs $700 (currently $600 on sale), and it packs a ton of features we're used to seeing in flagships with very few compromises. This might just be the best phone of the year.
Today, Google officially announced the extremely leaked Pixel 5. It's a lovely device with a very cool green colorway option, and as an unrepentant Google hardware fan, I'm struggling against the urge to buy it. Honestly, there's only one thing stopping me: the Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, launching early next month, is the exact same price at $699. And on paper, it's a much better value.