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PHOTO: SAMSUNG

Samsung has had a busy 2020, dropping new phones again, and again, and again. The Galaxy S20 family debuted in February, the Note 20 came in August and the Z Fold 2 launched earlier in September. And now Samsung is introducing yet another: the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, a 6.5-inch smartphone with pretty solid specs all around.

The phone is up for preorder now, with shipments slated for October 2.

At $699, it’s the new entry point to the Galaxy S20 family. The S20 FE comes in six colors: Cloud Red, Cloud Orange, Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy and Cloud White. The phone won’t feature a metal-and-glass design all around; instead, it gets a metal frame with a polycarbonate backside. We don’t expect this to be a deal breaker, and it’s similar to the build of the standard Note 20 but just $300 less.

Here’s everything the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition offers.

A big display

PHOTO: SAMSUNG

For $699, you’re still getting a pretty large phone with an expansive screen — it’s a 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-O display. It measures in with a 1080 x 2400 resolution and 407 pixels per inch. Most importantly, it carries that 120 Hz refresh rate (essentially the spec for how many times in a second the screen can refresh itself) for a buttery smooth experience. The display is also flat, with no curved edges.

Four cameras: One on the front, three on the back

PHOTO: SAMSUNG

The pinhole in the front, what Samsung calls the Infinity-O hole, contains a 32-megapixel front-facing camera. That’s more megapixels than on the Note 20, Note 20 Ultra, iPhone 11 and even the S20.

The camera and content capturing experience continues on the back with a three-camera setup:

  • A 12-megapixel ultrawide lens: Shooting with this camera allows you to capture a much wider field of view without having to physically move. Perfect for a skyline or long city street shot.
  • A 12-megapixel wide-angle camera: This will be the default lens and still captures a pretty wide view. This will be great for everyday photos, portrait shots and pet photography.
  • An 8-megapixel telephoto camera: Like the ultrawide, which lets you capture a wider view, this telephoto lets you zoom in without physically moving. It supports up to 3x optical zoom and powers the 30x Space Zoom.

Space Zoom is on board the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, specifically a 30x Super Resolution Zoom that’s digitally zooming in on the maximum 3x optical zoom. While the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 100x and the Note 20 Ultra’s 50x zoom felt a bit unnecessary, the 30x Space Zoom not only should be worthy of an Instagram post but will actually look good. And hopefully be a fun way to shoot.

The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition also supports Samsung’s Night Mode and Single Take modes. With the latter, you just hit the button and move the phone around, it then uses AI to intelligently capture photos (some with filters and effects) and videos.

Same processor as the rest of the S20 family

PHOTO: SAMSUNG

Powering the camera, Android and the entirety of the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor with 6GB of RAM. The good news here is that’s the same processor powering the S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra. All three of those devices performed well in our full reviews and are still running quite well in the months since. Safe to say it’ll be a fluid experience, and we expect it to be close even with a bit less RAM in the S20 FE.

Internally, the S20 FE features 128GB of internal storage (there’s just one SKU in the United States), and you can expand via the microSD slot. It’s running Android 10 with Samsung’s One user interface out of the box. The S20 Fan Edition will also get three software generation upgrades. Pretty great value there.

There’s a pretty sizable battery inside the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition — a 4,500mAh single cell — and it makes sense when you consider the screen size. We’re also expecting all-day battery life, as this is just a Full HD+ screen and not a Quad HD+ like on the other S20s. It supports fast charging up to 25 watts via a cable and standard wireless charging. Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare function is here and allows you to wirelessly charge other devices (like Galaxy Buds Live or AirPods) on the back of the S20 FE.

5G is split between two variants

PHOTO: SAMSUNG

Perhaps the most important feature that Samsung is including at the price is 5G connectivity. But not all Galaxy S20 FEs are created equal. The base model, priced at $699, supports Sub6 5G connectivity, which is the wider-reaching but slower standard. In use, it’s not much faster than the LTE connections all of our phones are equipped with now.

For $749, however, there’s another version of the Galaxy S20 FE that includes Sub6 and mmWave 5G support. Finding an mmWave-powered network connection right now is difficult due to its limited range (we’re talking covering one city block but not the next), but mmWave is where the real speed and overall promise of 5G lives. It offers impressive speeds and minimal latency.

Our advice? As a means to future-proof your investment in a phone that you’re likely to keep for a couple of years, spend the extra $50.

Let’s recap

From left to right: the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra
From left to right: the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra
PHOTO: SAMSUNG

In a nutshell, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition is a value-centric device.

Both the Galaxy S20 FE and the Galaxy S20 FE UW are up for preorder right now and will launch on October 2. They cost $699 and $749, respectively. Those who preorder by October 1 can score a $70 credit to Samsung.com, and you can trade in devices to save on the S20 FE. Select devices will be eligible for up to a $450 credit, which brings the cost of the S20 FE to just $249.99.

We’ll be back before October 2 with our full thoughts on the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition.