The COVID-19 pandemic had left its mark on the mobile market this year, leading to global sales plummeting and many consumers shifting focus from the premium segment to value-oriented mid-range solutions. OEMs have done the same, reason why devices like the Galaxy S20 FE exist.
The Galaxy S20 FE came out of nowhere last month; not that it wasn’t extensively leaked and rumored ahead of the official unveiling, but it was still an unexpected addition to Samsung’s 2020 smartphone lineup because FE devices don’t come about very often. It exists because Samsung wanted to give customers a more budget-conscious flagship phone that’s fit for the current economic climate.
The Galaxy S20 FE 5G costs $699. It competes not only with some of Samsung’s own Galaxy phones but also the mobile landscape at large. In fact, the phone costs exactly the same as the new Google Pixel 5, which technically means that Samsung and Google are competing to win over the same prospective buyers. So how do these two phones compare?
Galaxy S20 FE vs Google Pixel 5: Two sides of the same coin
A side-by-side comparison between the Galaxy S20 FE and Google Pixel 5 highlights one of the greatest things about the Android smartphone market, namely variety. These two phones cost exactly the same and yet they’ve somehow turned out to be extremely different from one another. Both Samsung and Google want to offer better value for your money with these products but their vision as to how they can achieve this is clearly different.
The Google Pixel 5 is equipped with a 6-inch OLED display featuring a resolution of 2340 x 1080, a 90Hz refresh rate, and Gorilla Glass 6. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S20 FE has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED panel covered in Gorilla Glass 3, boasting 2400 by 1080 pixels and a 120Hz refresh rate.
The Galaxy S20 FE is the superior device as far as the screen goes, but what about other internal hardware components? Samsung’s budget flagship is equipped with a Snapdragon 865 chipset (5G) or an Exynos 990 SoC (4G), and memory options include 6/8GB of RAM and 128/256GB of UFS 3.0 storage expandable via microSD. Meanwhile, the Google Pixel 5 relies on the less desirable Snapdragon 765G chipset, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage that’s not expandable.
The Galaxy S20 FE is powered by a 4,500mAh battery with 25W fast charging whereas Google’s solution relies on a 4,080mAh unit with 18W fast charging. Both devices have stereo speakers and lack a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Galaxy S20 FE vs Google Pixel 5: Cameras and design
Samsung’s budget flagship features a 12MP main camera with Dual Pixel AF and OIS, an 8MP telephoto shooter with 3x optical zoom capabilities, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 32MP selfie camera.
The Google Pixel 5 is equipped with a 12.2MP wide shooter with Dual Pixel AF and OIS, and a 16MP ultra-wide shooter. The selfie camera consists of an 8MP sensor.
On paper, the Galaxy S20 FE is the clear winner in terms of mobile photography, however, Google is well known for delivering fantastic results through AI and machine learning without having to rely on crazy camera hardware, so we can’t yet vouch for one device or the other in this category.
As for design, the Galaxy S20 FE is subjectively a better-looking phone but Google’s device arguably uses higher-quality materials. The Galaxy S20 FE has a better-looking Infinity-O display design with a center cutout instead of one in the corner; it features a metal frame and a plastic back panel, and it boasts a very colorful exterior.
The Google Pixel 5 has a unibody design, meaning the phone doesn’t have a visible frame but the back panel wraps around the edges towards the display. The case was built from aluminum and the phone carries a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner instead of an under-display solution.
Finally, the Google Pixel 5 ships with stock Android 11 whereas the Galaxy S20 FE runs Android 10 and One UI 2.5, but Samsung’s device should be updated to Android 11 and One UI 3.0 in the coming months.
Galaxy S20 FE vs Google Pixel 5: Conclusion
If you’re in the market for a new price-conscious mid-range/flagship device then we’d recommend buying the Galaxy S20 FE over the Google Pixel 5, and that’s not just because SamMobile is a Samsung fan site. Both phones cost the same but the Galaxy S20 FE has the upper hand in nearly every category, from the choice of chipsets and display to the battery and camera setup.
Google’s solution will always be a step ahead in terms of Android OS updates so if that’s what you’re after then the Google Pixel 5 is the winner, even if you take Samsung’s new update policy into account. Otherwise, there’s simply no competition and the Galaxy S20 FE is the superior device for more than one reason. It’s also available for under $699 if you take advantage of the right deals.