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Galaxy S20 FE vs Galaxy Note 20: Our fears have come true


Last updated: November 9th, 2020 at 20:37 UTC+01:00

We’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time, or to be more precise, ever since the Galaxy Note 20 series was introduced. We’re all aware that the base model is lacking compared to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but what we feared more was the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition making the base Note 20 model look even worse. And it kind of does…

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition today and customers in numerous markets can already pre-order the device. But should they buy this new Fan Edition smartphone or grab the latest S Pen flagship instead? Of course, it’s up to each individual to decide, but objectively speaking the Galaxy Note 20 looks like a bad investment next to the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition.

Galaxy S20 Fan Edition versus Galaxy Note 20: When cheap beats expensive

We all expect a pricier device to beat a cheaper one in pure spec battles that disregard costs, but this is not entirely the case here. Contrary to the natural order of things, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition equals and even outperforms the Galaxy Note 20 in key areas such as the display.

One of the Galaxy Note 20’s biggest shortcomings – its 60Hz display – is accentuated further by the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition and its 6.5-inch Super AMOLED panel with 120Hz capabilities. Both phones have a flat HDR10+ compliant display with a resolution of 2400 by 1080, but the Galaxy S20 FE has double the refresh rate to deliver smoother animations in mobile games and the UI itself.

Both phones are equipped with the Exynos 990 SoC in some markets but the Galaxy Note 20 uses the Snapdragon 865+ (instead of the Snapdragon 865) in other regions. The Galaxy Note 20 has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage in most markets – or 128GB in the USA. Similarly, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition can be acquired with 6GB/8GB of RAM and 128/256GB of storage.

Lastly, the Galaxy Note 20 is powered by a 4,300mAh battery whereas the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition uses a 4,500mAh unit. Both models benefit from 25W fast charging but the Galaxy S20 FE ships with a 15W charger and Samsung is selling the 25W accessory separately.

Cameras, build quality, and the final piece of the puzzle: The price

You’re probably not going to be surprised given the details above, but the camera setups on these two phones are also relatively similar, or at the very least, two out of four sensors are. Both phones have 12MP wide and ultra-wide sensors, but the Galaxy Note 20 has a 64MP telephoto lens instead of an 8MP unit. On the other hand, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition wins in the selfie department – at least on paper – thanks to a higher-resolution 32MP (versus 10MP) front-facing shooter.

Build quality is, again, on par. Both phones have a polycarbonate back panel – polycarbonate is a fancier word for plastic – along with an aluminum frame, and they are IP68-certified for dust and water resistance. The Galaxy Note 20 has Gorilla Glass 5 screen protection. Samsung has yet to confirm this but the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition should have Gorilla Glass 3.

Now, you’d expect these two phones to have similar prices given their common DNA, but they don’t. The Galaxy Note 20 is available for $999 and the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition 5G costs $699 (the 4G model is cheaper still). The Galaxy Note 20 looked underwhelming already, but with prices considered, it simply comes across as a bad value proposition next to the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition; at least on paper. Perhaps our opinion will change once we experience the Galaxy S20 FE first-hand. Stay tuned for our review.

All in all, the Galaxy Note 20 has one important feature the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition lacks, and that’s the S Pen. It also has a better camera setup but it might not make a huge difference in the real world, and it has Gorilla Glass 5. Do you think the extra $300+ cost is justified?

You can have a quick look at these devices and all their specifications side-by-side using our online comparison tool. Check it out below or hit the link and remember that the tool supports comparisons of up to four Galaxy devices at once. If you have any thoughts on the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition next to the Galaxy Note 20 or vice versa, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Galaxy S20 FE

Buy Full specs

General Information

  • Model Name

    Galaxy S20 FE

    Galaxy Note 20

  • Model type



  • Colors

    Navy (Navy)Red (Red)White (White)Lavender (Lavender)Mint (Mint)Orange (Orange)

    Bronze (Bronze)Black (Black)White (White)

  • Announced

    2020, September

    2020, August

  • Released

    2020, October

    2020, August

Physical specifications

  • Dimensions

    Bar: 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm

    Bar: 161.6 x 75.2 x 8.3 mm

  • Weights



  • IP rating



Operating system

  • Operating system

    Android 11

    Android 11

  • One UI version




  • SIM

    Dual SIM model (Hybrid SIM slot)

    Dual SIM model (Hybrid SIM slot)

  • SIM card sizes

    Nano-SIM (4FF)

    Nano-SIM (4FF)

  • Networks



  • eSIM support




  • Kind

    Main Display

  • Name

    Infinity-O Display

  • Technology

    Super AMOLED Plus

  • Size

    6.7 inch / 170.18 mm

  • Resolution

    FHD+ / 2400x1080 pixels

  • Pixel density

    393 PPI

Phone Galaxy Note 20Galaxy S20 Fan EditionGalaxy S20 FE
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