Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition blew us away: At $ 599 (it hardly ever sells for its $ 699 MSRP), it offered nearly identical performance to phones that cost twice as much thanks to its Snapdragon 865 chipset. one of the first phones to offer a 120Hz screen at a mid-range price. But it was released in October, which means it will be six months old. So is it worth buying in 2021? Let’s discuss.
At first glance, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition is still a very good phone. Made with high-end parts where it counts, it hardly gets old: Samsung said it wanted to distill the essential expertise of its flagship phones into something less expensive with the FE, and it succeeded in doing so. Although it “only” has six gigabytes of RAM, the S20 Fan Edition does not feel any higher Than any of Samsung’s high-end 2020 models, it continues to handle whatever task you can possibly throw at a phone with alacrity. It even supports 5G, if that’s something you care about.
The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition is still a very good phone.
You also don’t have to worry about your software going out of date anytime soon. Much to Google’s chagrin, Samsung has become the new king of Android updates, promising three OS updates and four years of security patches for most of your phones. FE currently runs One UI 3.1 on Android 11, with two more OS updates remaining, plus security patches until the end of 2024.
But even though the S20 FE has years to live, one of the biggest considerations when weighing whether to buy a phone months after launch is how close we are to a newer and improved version. In the case of the FE, we actually have no idea, we’ve only heard the vaguest rumors about a possible S21 fan edition (in short: one is probably coming this year). Samsung recently announced this year’s A-series phones, but those are a lower market than the S20 FE – they include mid-range Snapdragon processors, have no wireless charging, and with the exception of the A52 5G, they are slower, 90Hz. sample. However, if those concessions don’t bother you, wait to buy an S20 FE until we know how much the A52 and A72 will cost. They may have a better value.
The biggest hit against the S20 FE is a frequently reported strange touchscreen bug that causes swipes to be processed as multiple touches, leading to unwanted behavior. Samsung says it is aware of the problem and has released updates to improve it, but some users say they are still getting so-called ghost touches. It is worth noting that many users, myself included, have never experienced this problem. Still, it deserves consideration.
The S21 is probably a better buy.
Another factor: the S21. After disappointing sales of the S20 flagship series last year, Samsung launched the S21 line at lower prices, and they have only continued to decline since their launch. The standard model is frequently available for $ 699, $ 100 below its MSRP, and has dropped as low as $ 649. It has a smaller screen, 6.2 inches versus the 6.5 on the S20 FE, and does not have a slot for MicroSD card or MST functionality for contactless payments without NFC, two features that the S20 Fan Edition boasts. But it has better cameras than the FE, two more gigs of RAM, and a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 chipset. For most buyers, the smaller S21 is probably a better buy than the S20 FE, especially if they can fetch a particularly good asking price. Thanks to its more modern guts, it will age better than the FE, and its software will also stay up-to-date for a few more months (plus, you’ll eventually see Android 14).
But if the exact combination of the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition’s features – big screen, expandable storage, and $ 600 MST payments – speaks to you, it’s still a good buy in 2021. Just watch out for touchscreen issues.