If you’re a fervent follower of a company’s product line, you’ll pay top dollar for a special edition, right? Then color me confused with the naming scheme for Samsung’s newest phone, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. It offers the best features of the flagship Galaxy S20 from earlier this year for … $300 less.
Samsung was able to cut the price by using less expensive components and materials, like favoring plastic on the back instead of glass and including a cheaper charging adapter in the box. Thanks to these austerity measures, Samsung is able to produce a phone that offers features comparable to the $1,000 Galaxy S20—great performance, a big 120-Hz display, similar cameras—but that sells for only $700. At this price, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition is what most people—not just fans—should buy if they’re looking for a high-end Android phone with all the important perks.
Trimming the Fat
I say important perks because the original Galaxy S20 has a lot of fluff, like 8K video recording. Samsung has stripped this out of the new S20 FE, but considering no one has an 8K TV, you’re not missing much. Filming at 4K is good enough, with the FE producing well-stabilized and sharper-looking footage compared to Android competitors like the Google Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8T.
More fluff? The S20 also has 12 gigabytes of RAM. It’s overkill, as evidenced by the fact that the S20 FE manages perfectly fine with half as much. Performance feels virtually the same, which is to say it’s flawless. After all, both phones are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 processor, and I’ve had no trouble running intensive games like Genshin Impact at the highest graphical settings or quickly flipping between my favorite apps. The S20 FE retains the 120-Hz screen refresh rate too, which adds an extra layer of polish to everyday use.
It has a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen, which is sharp, colorful, and bright enough to read on the sunniest days, but it’s somewhere between the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus in size. If you’re after a more compact Android phone, the aforementioned Pixel 5 is the way to go, but the larger S20 FE is manageable in one hand. (Note: I do have large hands.) At least the plastic back won’t shatter if the phone fumbles out of your fingers. Sure, the FE doesn’t feel as luxurious as the S20 does with its double-sided glass, but I’ll take that trade-off. Plus, the FE comes in more colors, which gives it an edge in my book.
It’s worth noting that the pricier S20 packs more pixels in its smaller screen, and it has updated display technology (Dynamic AMOLED) that can get even brighter with better colors, contrast, and brightness in certain content you watch. It has slimmer edges (bezels) around the screen as well. Honestly? Those differences aren’t worth an extra $300.