Packaging and accessories
In the white box, which indicates that we are dealing with the S20 series model from afar, there is a 15 W charger, and when it comes to other models from the S20 series, we can find AKG earphones with a USB-C socket in them – here we cannot find them.
Housing and display
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE connects a metal frame with a housing made out of plastic, with a matte finish and a glass display. The whole is made out of high-quality materials, well-fitted and perfected in slightest details – it is difficult to find anything to complain about. Everyone of course judge the looks of the device subjectively, I personally like Galaxy S20 FE. And if we take the price into consideration, I can even forgive the housing made out of polycarbonate. I received a blue version for this review, but the manufacturer prepared a lot more – from more elegant and toned-down, to less conservative ones. The dust- and waterproofness (IP68), just like Gorilla Glass 3, which protects the front panel, are advantages.
The 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with a 2400x1080 pixels resolution provides a clear, readable and a bright image, with highly saturated colours (especially in the default, vivid colours mode). The pixels density is on the decent level of 407 ppi, we cannot see any rough edges, smaller texts remain readable. It is clearly visible where the manufacturer decided to save some money – other phones from the Galaxy S20 family provide higher resolution, with values exceeding 500 ppi. What is more, the matrix itself is Super AMOLED, while in the rest of flagships we can find Dynamic AMOLED. However, for most users these differences will not be noticeable, because the quality of the displayed image is perfect (though I recommend to warm colours a bit, otherwise they move towards colder areas). The touch panel in the reviewed device worked without any problems – I will put an emphasis on this, because there are some negative comments about the faulty, unwanted work of the panel among some buyers and reviewers.
All of this taken into consideration, this AMOLED is still an unquestionable advantage of Galaxy S20 FE, but I am even more fond of the 120 Hz refreshment rate. The user can switch between this and a typical value of 60 Hz – unfortunately, there are no values in between. And this is a pity, because we could benefit from 90 Hz, as the best compromise between a smooth image and power-saving. I like the fact that the manufacturer decided not to use curves near the edges – the glass is flat, so we can use 100% of the screen surface. What is more, it does not create unwanted reflexes, it will be easier to place a reinforced glass on it and it simply looks better.
In the vicinity of the display, or rather under it, to be precise, there is an optical fingerprint scanner – this element did not meet my expectations fully. It does not matter that I prefer scanners placed on the edge, integrated with the power button. The solution used in Samsung is simply not that comfortable, it is slow and it is not precise. I have seen the error message definitely too often. In other words – it is irritating. It is good that there is a facial recognition feature, which can be used to unlock the display much faster.
The display is surrounded by narrow bezels (it takes 84,4% of the front panel) – they are not as narrow as in standard models from the Galaxy S20 series, but they are narrow enough to give a premium look. In the upper part of the display there is an additional, centrally placed hole with the camera for selfies (I do not know why it is surrounded by a silver lining), and on the edge of the glass panel and the metal frame there is a narrow cavity with a receiver, which works together with the speaker on the lower edge, providing a stereo effect. It is worth adding that the display has a foil placed on it from the beginning. There is no notifications LED, but its role is taken by notifications showed on a dimmed screen, that is Always On Display. Those, who are using glasses with polarizing filters, should know that the display does not go dark in any orientation, but it distorts colours noticeably.
The matte finish of the back panel deserves a commendation mostly due to the elegant looks and the lack of visible fingerprints (though greasy stains will be visible). Thanks to this the smartphone does not slide on any surfaces. What is more, the manufacturer provided six colour versions (navy blue, lavender, mint, red, white and orange – all in matte finish), which will definitely appeal to those who like less conventional variants. I can complain about the fact of using less prestigious material at the back panel – plastic. I am not bothered by this, and in some situations it might be a better solution than a glass. Still, some might feel the lack of a characteristic cold of metal or glass, while taking the phone into their hands, which often translates into the feeling of using a premium product.
There is a camera module placed on the back panel, which is the least visible in the navy blue version. It stands by a one millimetre above the housing, and due to this fact it is best to buy a cover. In the lower part there is a subtle manufacturers logo.
The frame of the device is a metal one – and thanks to this it is appropriately solid and stiff. Edges, which are intersected in some parts with antennas, are curved and profiled in such a way that the smartphone lies in hands comfortably, it smoothly connects with the plastic housing and the glass front and it is simply a pleasure to use it. The placement of elements on edges is intuitive and comfortable – apart from the left side, which lacks them. On the lower edge there is a microphones hole, a USB-C socket and an external speaker. On the right there is a rather narrow, but placed high enough above the housing, button for volume control and a power/lock button, while on the upper edge there is a hole of an additional microphone and a tray for SIM/microSD cards. The tray can store either two SIM cards, or one SIM and one memory drive. The hybrid solution is not perfect if we care both about enhancing the space and having two numbers (the smartphone does not support eSIM), as a consolation, we can be glad that the smartphone supports memory cards at all.