Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T: Which should you buy?
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Thanks to outstanding hardware and insane value, the Galaxy S20 FE is one of the best Android phones you can buy today. Samsung nailed the basics here, with the phone offering a 120Hz AMOLED panel, same primary camera as the Galaxy S20, IP68 rating, wireless charging, and all-day battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
The OnePlus 8T sets a new standard for performance on Android. It is powered by the Snapdragon 865 chipset, has a 120Hz AMOLED panel, comes with an exciting new 65W fast charging system, and runs Android 11 out of the box. It misses out on the extras, but if you want one of the fastest phones money can buy, get the 8T.
With the Galaxy S20 FE, Samsung is throwing its hat in the affordable flagship category. The phone shares the same foundation as the regular Galaxy S20 — including the same camera, 120Hz display, and Snapdragon 865 — but the fact that it is much more affordable makes it a standout value. In fact, it offers such a good value that it overshadows the OnePlus 8T.
Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T: The two best value flagships of 2020
With traditional flagships now regularly costing over $1,000, manufacturers are increasingly looking at the $600 to $800 category to offer affordable options that still deliver the latest internal hardware. That's the case with both the Galaxy S20 FE and the OnePlus 8T. The Galaxy S20 FE in particular is astounding as it costs just $700, and we just haven't seen Samsung offer this kind of value for a really long time.
By contrast, the OnePlus 8T starts off at $749 and doesn't quite deliver the same kind of value as the Galaxy S20 FE. With OnePlus building its entire business around value, it's strange to see Samsung offer more in this area with the S20 FE.
Let's take a detailed look at what's on offer with either device. The Galaxy S20 FE shares a similar design aesthetic as the Galaxy S20 series, but the camera housing is more in line with the Note 20. In short, you're getting a phone that looks just as modern as other Android flagships, and as a bonus, Samsung is offering the S20 FE in exciting color options.
The one issue on the design side of things is that the Galaxy S20 FE has a polycarbonate back, unlike the glass finishes on the regular S20 series. To Samsung's credit, the matte finish at the back does a great job hiding the fact that the material is polycarbonate, and although there's no glass back, you're not missing out at all. Particularly considering Samsung retained the same hardware as the S20, it's decision to go with a plastic back is a smart one.
The OnePlus 8T also retains the same overall design language as the OnePlus 8 series, but it has a new rear camera housing that makes it stand out. The dual-column housing is flatter and looks much better than the oblong housing on the OnePlus 8, and gives the 8T added elegance. Oh, and the phone has a glass back with a metal mid-frame, with both the front and rear panels featuring Gorilla Glass 5.
Neither device has a 3.5mm jack, but you get stereo sound on both the S20 FE and the OnePlus 8T. To sum it up, both phones have modern designs and are available in attractive colors. The OnePlus 8T has a slight edge as it technically uses more premium materials in its construction, but when it comes to the fit and finish, both devices are on an equal footing.
Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T: The latest hardware money can buy today
The standout feature on both the Galaxy S20 FE and the OnePlus 8T is the 120Hz AMOLED display. Both phones have the same refresh rate, and the quality of the screen itself is identical. Oh, and both devices also offer always-on display, with OnePlus recently getting the option via OxygenOS 11.
Both devices feature a 6.5-inch panel with an FHD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution, and both phones sport flat displays without any curves, unlike their flagship siblings. That's particularly interesting for me as I'm not a fan of curved screens, and it makes using the Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8T that much more enjoyable.
If I had to choose one as the better display, I'd go with the S20 FE. There's very little different between the two in terms of color vibrancy and viewing angles, but the S20 FE is able to get that little bit brighter in outdoor use.
There's a similar story on the hardware side of things as well. Both phones are powered by the Snapdragon 865 chipset and offer 5G connectivity, but the Galaxy S20 FE also has an IP68 rating and 15W wireless charging along with 5W reverse wireless charging. The extras give Samsung's value flagship a distinct edge, and the OnePlus 8T misses out.
That said, the OnePlus 8T has a few redeeming features. The phone comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as standard on the $749 model, with Samsung offering 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage with the base model of the Galaxy S20 FE. With double the RAM and storage, the 8T is clearly in the front when it comes to real-world usage. The S20 FE has a MicroSD slot if you want to extend the storage, and like all OnePlus phones, the 8T is reliant solely on internal storage.
OnePlus has another ace up its sleeve thanks to 65W wired charging. The innovative charging system is able to fully charge the 4500mAh battery in just 39 minutes, and can go from zero to 50% in just 15 minutes, giving you enough power for several hours' worth of use. The Galaxy S20 FE also has a 4500mAh battery, but it is limited to 25W fast charging.
The OnePlus 8T clearly has a lot to offer, particularly in terms of the storage and 65W charging, and if you don't mind the fact that there is no wireless charging, it is the better option on the hardware front.
Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T: Specs
Both the Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8T deliver the latest internal hardware money can buy, including 120Hz AMOLED panels, Snapdragon 865 with 5G connectivity, exciting cameras, and much more. Here's a detailed look at the internal hardware powering these value flagships:
|Category||Samsung Galaxy S20 FE||OnePlus 8T|
|Operating system||Android 10|
One UI 2.5
|Display||6.5-inch 120Hz AMOLED|
Gorilla Glass 5
|6.55-inch 120Hz Fluid AMOLED|
Gorilla Glass 5
1 x 2.84GHz A77
3 x 2.42GHz A77
4 x 1.80GHz A55
1 x 2.84GHz A77
3 x 2.42GHz A77
4 x 1.80GHz A55
|Storage||128GB/256GB UFS3.1||128GB/256GB UFS3.1|
|MicroSD slot||Yes (Up to 1TB)||❌|
|Rear camera 1||12MP f/1.8|
8K at 24fps
4K at 60fps
|Rear camera 2||12MP, f/2.2|
1.12um, 123-degree wide-angle
1.0um, 123-degree wide-angle
|Rear camera 3||8MP, f/2.4|
1um, OIS, telephoto
3x optical zoom
|Rear camera 4||❌||2MP, f/2.4|
|Front camera||32MP, f/2.2|
4K at 60fps, autofocus
1080p video, fixed focus
|Connectivity||5G Sub-6, SA and NSA|
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
|5G Sub-6, SA and NSA|
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
AptX HD, NFC, A-GPS
|Charging||USB-C PD 3.0|
25W fast charging
15W wireless charging
Warp Charge 65 (10V/6.5A)
|Security||In-display fingerprint (optical)||In-display fingerprint (optical)|
|Dimensions||159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4mm|
|160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm|
|Colors||Cloud Mint, Cloud Lavender, Cloud Red, Cloud Orange, Cloud Navy, Cloud White||Ultramarine Green, Lunar Silver|
Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T: What about the cameras?
While OnePlus has managed to make a lot of positive strides in terms of hardware and design, camera quality is still one area where it doesn't measure up to the likes of Samsung and Google. And that's still the case with the OnePlus 8T, with the phone retaining the same 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor as the regular OnePlus 8.
That 48MP module is joined by a new 16MP wide-angle lens with a 123-degree field of view, a 5MP macro lens, and a 2MP monochrome filter. The Galaxy S20 FE, meanwhile, has the same 12MP primary camera as the regular Galaxy S20, and it routinely takes great photos in just about any lighting condition. The S20 FE also has a 12MP wide-angle lens with a 123-degree field of view, and you even get an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom.
So while the Galaxy S20 FE has just three cameras, you're getting three high-quality sensors. The OnePlus 8T has four cameras, but you should only care about the 48MP primary and 16MP wide-angle lenses; the other two modules are present mostly for marketing.
Galaxy S20 FE on the left, OnePlus 8T to the right
The Galaxy S20 FE manages to take shots with better dynamic range, and this is much more evident in low-light scenarios. Samsung's software algorithms are also better at minimizing noise in low-light conditions, and the resultant images have more detail. The camera on the OnePlus 8T skews warmers, and you don't get accurate colors in low-light shooting conditions.
Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T: The software looks very similar
OnePlus stood out over the last three years for its focus on delivering a clean UI with fast updates, and with the OnePlus 8T, the manufacturer is sharing its vision for the future. The OnePlus 8T runs OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11 out of the box, and the skin has bold styling elements and UX designed for one-handed use. That focus on one-handed use means OxygenOS 11 looks very similar to One UI 2.5 on the Galaxy S20 FE.
The Galaxy S20 FE comes with Android 10 out of the box, and it is unlikely the phone will receive the Android 11 update before the end of 2020. That said, the S20 FE will get three guaranteed Android version updates as part of Samsung's renewed commitment to software updates, and that means it will be updated to Android 13 once it is available a few years down the line.
The OnePlus 8T will also get the Android 13 update in a few years as it is already running Android 11 out of the box, so in terms of longevity, both phones are on a similar footing. Samsung has done a great job in terms of rolling out monthly security updates, and OnePlus does so once every two months.
Both OxygenOS 11 and One UI 2.5 have plenty to offer in terms of features. Both interfaces are optimized for high refresh rate screens, but OxygenOS 11 has an edge when it comes to fluidity — the UI just feels more responsive in day-to-day use.
Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T: Samsung is onto a winner here
It would have been unthinkable for Samsung to launch a phone like the Galaxy S20 FE just two years ago. But with flagship sales flagging and the likes of the Note 20 Ultra starting at $1,300, Samsung needed a phone for under $800 that could hold its own against the likes of OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO, and other Chinese manufacturers.
The Galaxy S20 FE is that phone. It has all the features that make the Galaxy S20 series stand out, and the fact that it costs just $700 makes it a standout option in this category. Make no mistake here, the Galaxy S20 FE is one of the best Android phones money can buy today.
The S20 FE has a 120Hz AMOLED display, the same Snapdragon 865 chipset with 5G connectivity as the regular S20, the same 12MP primary camera, and all-day battery life with 25W fast charging. You even get 15W wireless charging and IP68 dust and water resistance, making the phone a fantastic overall choice in this category.
The OnePlus 8T has plenty to offer as well, particularly on the hardware side of things. The 120Hz AMOLED panel is sublime, it also features the Snapdragon 865 chipset, you get an insane 65W fast charging, and the phone runs Android 11 out of the box. While you get double the RAM and storage, the camera just doesn't measure up to the Galaxy S20 FE, and you're just not getting the same value here.
The ultimate 2020 value flagship
The Galaxy S20 FE has everything you want in a phone in 2020. It has a fluid 120Hz display, the latest hardware with 5G, versatile cameras that take outstanding photos in any lighting conditions, and three years of guaranteed Android updates. The value on offer here is incredible.
Great overall — but not enough value
With a 120Hz AMOLED display backed by a Snapdragon 865 chipset and 65W fast charging, the OnePlus 8T is one of the fastest Android phones you can buy. It runs Android 11 out of the box as well, but the camera isn't quite as good as the S20 FE, and it's missing a few extras.
Get the Android Central Newsletter
Instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.