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“Samsung S20 FE 5G review:” A well-rounded low-cost flagship

The Snapdragon processor inside the Galaxy S20 FE 5G addresses the shortcomings of the 4G model, but does that make this phone a good buy in 2021?

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE (LTE), which launched last year, has so far been a solid contender in the low-cost flagship segment. While it performed well in most of our tests, there were some drawbacks.

It did get a bit warm under stress, and its battery life was just average; both things that the OnePlus 8T (Review) handled better at the same price level.

In 2021, Samsung decided on launching the 5G version of the Galaxy S20 FE (Review) in India, and it’s called the Galaxy S20 FE 5G. It is basically the same phone, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor (and X55 5G modem) instead of the Exynos 990. Does the switch to a Qualcomm processor take care of the shortcomings we experienced with the LTE variant? More importantly, does investing in a smartphone with a year-old processor at this price level make sense in 2021? Let’s find out!

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G price in India

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G is priced at Rs. 47,999 in India. Unlike the 4G model, it is available in a single 8GB RAM + 128GB storage configuration.

Buyers can choose between Cloud Navy, Cloud Mint, and Cloud Lavender finishes. With a competitive price, the Galaxy S20 FE 5G takes on the OnePlus 9 (Review), ASUS ROG Phone 5 (First Impressions), and Vivo X60 Pro (Review), all of which are priced starting at around Rs. 49,999.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G design

There are no cosmetic changes between the 4G and the 5G models of the Galaxy S20 FE. The phone looks identical to the 4G model and has the same button placement, with the power and volume buttons on the right. The primary speaker is placed at the bottom, next to the USB Type-C port and the mic.

The earpiece speaker is hidden in a tiny slit at the top end of the display, and doubles up as the second speaker to offer stereo sound which is loud and clear.

The overall design looks clean and minimalist, with a color-matched camera module that barely protrudes from the rear panel. The Galaxy S20 FE 5G has a metal frame that’s sandwiched between a sheet of display glass on the front and a plastic panel on the back. The rear panel is curved to meet the frame on all four sides and has a smooth matte finish that feels premium. The glass covering the display is flat, which might have seemed like an odd choice last year, but feels at home next to the premium Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ (Review) smartphones which also have flat displays in 2021.

My review unit came in the Cloud Mint finish, and it showcases a mild yellow gradient when viewed at an angle. The matte texture is non-slippery and is good at rejecting fingerprints, but picks up dust quite easily.

The Galaxy S20 FE 5G, just like the 4G model, is also rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, which is a big deal given that several competing smartphones (that are priced a bit higher) do not offer this.