Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review

GSMArena team, 08 October 2020.

OneUI 2.5 and Android 10, three OS updates, too

The S20 FE runs on the same OneUI 2.5 that debuted on the Note20 and was later released to the S20s and last year's flagships as well. Again, it's not dramatically different from the 2.1 version, or the plain 2.0. In any case, there's Android 10 running underneath the in-house overlay, and the FE is on the list of phones that will get three major OS updates - so Android 13 is the end of the line for it.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review

The lockscreen is a familiar sight with a couple of shortcuts in the bottom corners and notification icons under a clock. The always-on display is, of course, available, and it can be shown all the time, according to a daily schedule, or when summoned with a tap.

The fingerprint icon can be set to show on the AoD, but even if it isn't visible, the phone is on the alert and will unlock if you place your finger in the correct spot. The sensor is positioned notably lower on the FE than it is on the other S20s - but since you're unlikely to be switching from an S20 to S20 FE, that's no big deal.

The sensor is a different kind too - this one is optical, while the non-FEs get ultrasonic ones. It still doesn't give you that instant unlock feeling that you can get from a OnePlus, for example, and it takes an extra split second to get you to the homescreen. It is, however, more reliable than the ultrasonic ones - we had fewer failed attempts on this one that we normally get with the S20s.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review

If for whatever reason you're not thrilled about the FE's fingerprint reader, there's also face recognition. It's just camera based, no 3D face scanning, but it still offers a convenient (if not as secure) way to access your homescreen.

Lockscreen - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Always-on display - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Biometrics - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Biometrics - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Biometrics - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Biometrics - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review
Lockscreen • Always-on display • Biometrics

When it comes to the UI basics, OneUI 2.5 on the Fan Edition is the same as on the other Galaxy phones. Gesture navigation is available, and you can choose that in the initial setup process or later on. A system-wide dark mode is available, too.

Homescreen - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Folder view - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review App drawer - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Notification shade - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Quick toggles - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Task switcher - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review
Homescreen • Folder view • App drawer • Notification shade • Quick toggles • Task switcher

The FE gets the Edge Panels' latest redesign with the larger icons and moved pane names. The core functionality has remained the same. It gives you quick access to apps, actions, tools, etc. with a single swipe from the side with the usual customization options for panes and handles location. In the Edge screen sub-menu, you will also find Edge lighting - a feature that can light up the UI outline in an ever-growing selection of glow types to alert you of any new notifications gently.

Edge screen - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Edge screen - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Edge screen - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review Edge screen - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review
Edge screen

Nearby Share that got announced just before the Galaxy Note20 and debuted there is present on the S20 FE, as it will eventually be on all Androids. Pre-existing Galaxy-only sharing features are still here. Quick Share is Samsung's latest name for the company's sharing solution based around Bluetooth for device discovery and Wi-Fi direct for actual data transfer that works with Samsungs only - really old ones too. Music share, meanwhile, lets you connect the Galaxy to a BT speaker and use the phone as a hub for other phones to connect to the speaker.

So many sharing options - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review So many sharing options - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review So many sharing options - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review So many sharing options - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review So many sharing options - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review So many sharing options - Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review
So many sharing options

Synthetic benchmarks

The Galaxy S20 FE 5G we have for review, being the 5G version, is only available with a Snapdragon 865 chipset inside. The 4G variant has the usual regional divide where some countries get the Snapdragon. Others receive the Exynos 990.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review

The Fan Edition comes in one of three memory configurations - 6/128GB, 8/128GB, and 8/256GB, and we have the base version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Meanwhile, the S20+ 5G comes with 12GB of RAM for each of its three storage versions (128/256/512GB), the S20 5G can be had with 8 or 12GB of RAM and only 128GB of storage, while the 4G-only S20 and S20+ only come in 8/128GB trim.

The benchmark performance of the S20 Fan Edition is predictably great. Single-core CPU results in GeekBench are on par with other S865 devices, as well as Samsung's Exynos 990-based handsets. A starker difference can be seen in multi-core tests between S865 and E990 phones, the latter trailing behind, but the FE in Snapdragon trim is up there with the other Snapdragons of the day.

GeekBench 5.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    3399
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    3374
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    3322
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    3302
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    3296
  • Motorola Edge+
    3295
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    3289
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    3197
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    2750
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    2715
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    2703
  • LG Velvet
    1905
  • Motorola Edge
    1862

GeekBench 5.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    996
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    950
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    931
  • OnePlus 8
    919
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    910
  • Motorola Edge+
    910
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    906
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    902
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    895
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    886
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    780
  • LG Velvet
    586
  • Motorola Edge
    586

In Antutu, the Galaxy Z Fold2 (with the Snapdragon 865+) pulls ahead of the non-plus-equipped S20 FE, though the Fan Edition still outscores the Exynos S20s we've tested. As you may have noted above, we've also included the LG Velvet and Motorola Edge that use the Snapdragon 765 - the chipset of the Pixel 5 for an early sort-of comparison with the Google phone.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    602934
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    578056
  • Motorola Edge+
    574155
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    573276
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    564907
  • OnePlus 8
    564708
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    543986
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    527612
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    525029
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    515538
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    500114
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    496356
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    489371
  • Motorola Edge
    305989
  • LG Velvet
    297372

In graphics tests, the FE's strong record continues. It consistently ranks in the top half of the charts for fps count in GFXBench, never winning, but never falling behind. It also typically edges ahead of the S20s - once again, Exynos ones in our testing.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    91
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    90
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    89
  • Motorola Edge+
    89
  • OnePlus 8
    88
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    87
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    86
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    86
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    86
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    85
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    85
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    84
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    75
  • Motorola Edge
    34
  • LG Velvet
    33

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Edge+
    83
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    79
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    78
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    77
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    75
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    73
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    59
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    53
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    52
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    45
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    43
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    43
  • Motorola Edge
    32
  • LG Velvet
    29

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    55
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    54
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    52
  • OnePlus 8
    52
  • Motorola Edge+
    52
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    51
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    51
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    51
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    51
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    51
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    50
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    50
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    44
  • LG Velvet
    19
  • Motorola Edge
    19

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Edge+
    48
  • OnePlus 8
    46
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    46
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    45
  • LG V60 ThinQ 5G (new run)
    44
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    44
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    42
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    42
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    33
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    31
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    26
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    25
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    24
  • Motorola Edge
    18
  • LG Velvet
    16

Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Edge+
    32
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    30
  • OnePlus 8
    30
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    29
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    27
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    22
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    17
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    15
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    14
  • Motorola Edge
    12
  • LG Velvet
    11

Aztek OpenGL ES 3.1 High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Edge+
    33
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    33
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    32
  • OnePlus 8
    31
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    30
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    29
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    22
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    19
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    19
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    17
  • Motorola Edge
    12
  • LG Velvet
    11

3DMark SSE OpenGL ES 3.1 1440p

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    7687
  • Motorola Edge+
    7409
  • OnePlus 8
    7290
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    7215
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    7132
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    7127
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    7035
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    6819
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    6735
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    6723
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    6610
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    6062
  • Motorola Edge
    3004
  • LG Velvet
    2987

3DMark SSE Vulkan 1440p

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    7002
  • OnePlus 8
    6720
  • Motorola Edge+
    6666
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    6605
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 5G
    6490
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    6425
  • Galaxy S20 (120Hz, 1080p)
    6398
  • Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    6354
  • Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    6311
  • Galaxy S20 (60Hz, 1440p)
    6248
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    5879
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    5637
  • Motorola Edge
    2801
  • LG Velvet
    2758

The Galaxy S20 FE delivers top-level performance - as expected from its high-end chip. It also does so with a relative consistency that's not all that common, and repeated benchmark runs don't lead to lower results. It warms up a bit in the process but doesn't really get hot-hot. Overall, a great showing.

Reader comments

  • Kri

I had the same dilemma. Specs wise S20 FE 5g has better features than A52s, however the major drawback that I see is the overheating issue with S20 FE 5g and the battery drain issue. S20 Fe 5g can heat up even when you are browsing or using YouTube e...

  • Madhu

Go with s20 fe snapdragon model

If you are from India, it is sold for INR 40000 approx. This is the best price