I get a lot of feedback saying that I'm too tough or unfair to Google, Samsung, and Qualcomm. That's because it's true; I hold those three companies to a higher standard than other brands because they are all obviously more capable than other brands. We should expect the very best from each at all times, and when they fall short, they should be called out.
I expect the best from companies that are the best. You should, too.
What probably doesn't come across because I spend time pointing out their shortcomings is that I think all three of those companies are the very best at what they do when it comes to Android or smartphones in general. Google writes and maintains the best software platform you can buy into today in Android 11, Samsung makes the best smartphone components and some of the best phones money can buy, and Qualcomm has perfected the art of building a complete mobile application processor bundle with the Snapdragon platform. These three companies are responsible for almost all of the innovation we have seen in the mobile space for the last 2 years.
This is why it's so great seeing the cumulative result from them to respond to the issues surrounding the Android ecosystem in the disaster that is 2020 and the release of the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. The combination of specs, release date, and price make it the best phone of 2020 by a country mile.
The crazy thing is that I haven't even used one yet, but I still know it's the best Android phone of 2020. Because I don't need to use one to know it.
I'm surrounded by people who have been using an S20 FE for a while and every single person says the same things: you won't miss the UHD display as much as you think you would, the camera and speakers are good (especially for the price), the phone has a plastic back but still feels solid and expensive, and it runs Samsung's version of Android as good or better than every other Galaxy phone you can buy right now.
What Google, Samsung, and Qualcomm have done for $600 is too great to ignore.
On top of that, it's got Wi-Fi 6, a big honking battery, and comes in colors that look great. When you put all of this into a package that retails for $600 at launch — and will almost certainly see a great cost-cutting deal before the holidays actually arrive — you can't ignore it. This is the first phone you should be looking at if you're looking for a new phone. And yes, I know the Pixel 4a and its great value to price ratio exists and still say that.
I'm not a big fan of Samsung's phones, find them too busy when it comes to the software, and the gadgetry Samsung adds like 100X space force zoom. I've used plenty of them, of course, (and actually loved the Note 4) and can't find any faults with them other than they just aren't for me. I'm simple; it's not you, Samsung, it's totally me. Let's still be friends, mmkay?
Because I've used enough Android phones, both good and bad, I can tell you that since the Galaxy Fold came out, every Samsung phone feels very optimized when it comes to the software. Unless you're buying one of the very cheap entry-level models, any Galaxy phone will perform like every other Galaxy phone.
Sure, you can nitpick and say the Note20 Ultra does this one thing faster than the S10e does and you would be right, but if you like the experience on that Note Ultra, you're going to like it on that S10e. Samsung has done its homework and its increased level of collaboration with Google — they had to work together to make the Galaxy Fold work with Android) — shows. One UI is great and Android runs as good as you've always expected from one of Google's Pixel phones or a OnePlus phone. You can just tell both companies worked together and made the tweaks that were needed to make everything great.
When you add in the marvel that is the Snapdragon 865 and its 1-3-4 Kryo setup, legendary cellular performance, updated coprocessors for things like photo processing or cryptography, you end up with something that is a more than a flagship. The Samsung Galaxy series defines Android. The incredible hardware, insane specs, and custom optimized operating system is exactly what Android is all about, and Samsung is killing it even if it can't sell 65 gazillion phones in 2020.
The last piece of the Android puzzle is and always will be price. There is a reason iPhone users used to call us "poors" (actually two reasons: those particular iPhone users are arrogant assholes, too) and that's because Android phones are a great value. You get more than what you're paying for. COVID-19 and the whole race to 5G from silly cell providers changed that a little in 2020, and we saw prices reach or exceed the iPhone for basic flagship models. An Android was still a better phone for a lot of reasons, but the value wasn't as much of one as it used to be.
The Galaxy S20 FE changes that. Apple will soon release a new iPhone, and it will have some cool features in it as well as a cheaper model to go alongside the pricey one. But neither offers the best of Android software at the price of the S20 FE. I hope the S20 FE is so successful that Samsung can't ignore a phone like this and we see a Fan Edition come every October. I know I'm buying two of them sometime before Christmas because I'm a phone-nerd-tech-dad and my kids know exactly what they are getting every year. And I'm not even looking at any other brand — not even the Pixel 4a. I just can't ignore the value the S20 FE brings. Neither should you.
This is the first phone to look at when buying in 2020.
The Galaxy S20 FE offers nearly everything you'd find on the more expensive S20 variants, with a more affordable plastic design. It features three great cameras, excellent battery life, and years of guaranteed software updates.
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