Samsung has finished updating its premium smartphones for 2020, but has yet to consider designing a more accessible version of its flagship model, the Galaxy S20. On the occasion of the release of the new Google Pixel 5, the South Korean manufacturer counterattacked by presenting the S20 FE (for "Fan Edition").
Our comparison between the two smartphones at equivalent prices and among the best products on the market. What are the differences between a Galaxy S20 FE and a Pixel 5?
Google Pixel 5 at the best price Base price: 629 €
For this comparison between the Galaxy S20 FE and the Pixel 5, it's important to note that each follows a different strategy. On the one hand, there's the S20 FE which is touted as a more basic version of Samsung's top-of-the-line. On the other, there's the Pixel 5, which is Google's flagship, its most advanced smartphone and with the least compromise.
To decide between them, we will make sure to discuss the two versions of the S20 FE, as the smartphone is available in 4G and 5G versions.
The differences between the Galaxy S20 FE and the Pixel 5
To get started in our comparison between the Galaxy S20 FE and the Pixel 5, let's take a look at the differences in style, dimensions, colors and water resistance. On this part, there will be no difference between the S20 FE and the S20 FE 5G. We will let you know as soon as the two smartphones are to be compared.
Size, weight and screen
The Galaxy S20 FE has a larger screen than the Pixel 5, at 6.5 versus 6 inches. This is reflected in the dimensions of smartphones and their weight. Google's model is much more compact, with a height of 144.7 mm compared to 159.8 mm for the S20 FE. The difference in weight is around 40 grams anyway, but here it is more about the choice of components.
On the front, the selfie camera is not laid out the same on the Pixel 5 as it is on the Galaxy S20 FE. A punch centered on the top of the screen was chosen by Samsung when Google preferred a punch on the top left corner. Note that the selfie camera seems much thinner at Samsung than at Google, but for once, a centered punch is also more visible.
Neither screen has curved edges. Google never offered it, and Samsung decided to skip it to lower the prices of its S20.
90 Hz vs. 120 Hz, Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Glass 6
Now let's continue with the screen qualities that Samsung and Google offer on their respective S20 FE and Pixel 5. In terms of resolution, the two are tied, with their OLED (for Google) and AMOLED (for Samsung) screen. Only a difference in ratio varies their display in Full HD +, at 1080 x 2340 pixels for the Pixel 5 and 1080 x 2400 for the S20 FE.
On the other hand, the refresh rate of the S20 FE at 120 Hz is higher than the 90 Hz offered on the Pixel 5. Advantage to Samsung.
But Google is instantly coming back to change the scale by offering Gorilla Glass 6 screen protection, against Gorilla Glass 3 on the S20 FE. However, this detail is not trivial and it is easily noticeable that the Gorilla Glass 3 protection is quite fragile and sensitive to micro-scratches. The Pixel 4a pays as much as the S20 FE. A good point for the Pixel 5.
Finishes and colors
In five generations, Google has never succumbed to the fashion for glass backs on smartphones, and today we see Samsung backtracking on it. The Pixel 5 and Galaxy S20 FE both come with a plastic back. In fact, they are very similar once with their fairly common color, a very light blue-green.
Both offer a very pleasant grip and the grip obtained by the choice of materials is preferable. The Pixel 5 will feel more plastic but it will also be lighter.
To go into more detail on the colors, the Pixel 5 and the S20 FE oppose each other. Between the proposals of two smartphones, it is day and night. On the one hand, the Pixel 5 only offers two colorways. On the other hand, the S20 FE offers an endowment of no less than 7 different colors, both flashy and dressy. We give the point to Samsung, but do we still like these colors: for example, the black from Google is unavailable from Samsung.
Let's finish on waterproofing. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the Pixel 5 are both IP68 certified. This means that the two smartphones are logically capable of being submerged in a volume of water with a maximum depth of 1.5 m for 30 minutes.
Galaxy S20 FE at the best price Base price: 659 €
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Comparison of technical characteristics
Samsung and Google have not chosen to bet on the same points when it comes to the comparison of the technical characteristics of the Galaxy S20 FE and Pixel 5. We will take a closer look at their differences in batteries, processors and cameras. But before that, here are the specs of the Galaxy S20 FE and Pixel 5 compared.
|Pixel 5||Galaxy S20 FE|
|Dimensions||144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm||159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm|
|Weight||151 g||190 g|
|Screen||19.5: 9 |
6 '' Full HD + OLED (2340 x 1080 pixels)
Corning Gorilla 6 Protective Glass
|20: 9 |
6.5 '' Full HD + AMOLED (2400 x 1080 pixels)
Corning Gorilla 3 Protective Glass
|Audio||No 3.5mm jack|
Two stereo speakers
|No 3.5mm jack|
Two stereo speakers by AKG
Adreno 620 GPU
|Exynos 990 (4G) or Snapdragon 865 (5G)|
Mali-G77 MP11 or Adreno 650 (5G) GPU
|Storage||128 GB UFS 2.1||128 GB or 256 GB|
|RAM||8 GB||6 GB or 8 GB|
|Drums||4080 mAh||4500 mAh|
|Recharge||Fast charge 18 W (charger supplied)|
10W wireless charging and reverse charging
|Fast charge 25 W (charger supplied)|
15W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse charging
|Biometrics||Fingerprint reader on the back|
2D facial recognition
|Fingerprint reader under the screen|
|Camera|| – Wide-angle 27 mm: lens aperture of f / 1.7; 12.2 MP (1 / 2.55 ''; 1.4 μm photosite) sensor; optical stabilizer|
– Ultra wide-angle: 107 ° field of view, f / 2.2 aperture
16 MP sensor (1 μm photosite)
| – Wide-angle 26 mm: lens aperture at f / 1.8; 12 MP sensor|
– Ultra wide-angle: 123 ° field of view, f / 2.2 aperture
12 MP sensor
– Optical zoom x3; 8 MP; f / 2.0; 73 mm
|Front camera||8 MP sensor (1.12 μm photosite); 24mm f / 2 lens; 83 ° field of view||32 MP sensor; 26mm f / 2.0 lens|
|BONE||Android 11||Android 10|
802.11a / b / g / n / ac 2×2 MIMO 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Bluetooth v5.0 + LE, A2DP (HD codecs: AptX, AptX HD, LDAC)
|4G / 5G (Snapdragon 865)|
802.11a / b / g / n / ac / 6 Wi-Fi
Bluetooth v5.0 + LE, A2DP
|DAS||NC||0.24 W / kg (4G model)|
0.5 W / kg (5G model)
|Red, orange, lavender, mint, navy blue and white|
|Release date||October 15, 2020||October 2, 2020|
€ 629.00 at FNAC
€ 659.00 at Samsung
Performance: Samsung goes all out
During its presentation, the Galaxy S20 FE marked the arrival of Snapdragon 865 processors in the European marketing of its products. Previously, Qualcomm's US processors were only integrated into Samsung devices in the US.
France and Europe having to rely on less powerful and more energy-intensive Exynos. This is half the case on the S20 FE because its 5G version does offer a Snapdragon 865, the most powerful processor on the market.
The 4G version is limited to the Exynos 990, which is also very powerful but not optimal for the battery. For its part, Google did not want to capitalize on the performance of its smartphone. These are good, with the 5G compatible Snapdragon 765G, but not as high as a Snapdragon 865. Samsung wins the performance duel, at least with its 5G model.
When the Pixel 5 has only one version – in 5G with 128 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM – the Galaxy S20 FE offers four different ones. A detail that is important to note in this comparison because each version does not differ in the same way.
There is both a 4G model with 128 GB of storage and only 6 GB of RAM (the first price), as a 5G version with 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM.
The comparison between the S20 FE and the Pixel 5 will therefore depend on the variation chosen on the South Korean model. But for once, we will give a point to Google which simplifies its range. The S20 FE, for its part, hides a significant rise in prices in the choice of its variation. We will come back to this later in the comparison.
Autonomy: which smartphone to choose?
Let's keep in mind the technical characteristics of the Pixel 5 and Galaxy S20 FE to focus on the autonomy of the two smartphones in the comparison. The more compact product, namely the Google Pixel 5, is also the one with the smallest battery, although 4080 mAh all the same.
But the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE offers 4500 mAh. This will be very useful to be able to manage both the superfluous need for the Exynos 990 processor of the 4G model, and the more energy-intensive GSM network of the 5G model.
Compared to Google, the S20 FE should therefore not have a real lead in terms of battery life. This obviously depends on the use, in particular whether the 120 Hz mode is activated or not (knowing that it is fixed on the Galaxy S20).
For charging, Samsung beats Google. Its charger delivered in the packaging delivers a power of 25 W, against 15 W for the Pixel 5. Let’s add that the two smartphones are compatible with wireless charging and reverse charging.
Camera: Pixel 5 vs S20 FE
The camera match is now taking place in our comparison. The two players are among the best in the market with Apple and Huawei. To decide between them, let's first look at their technical sheet. And we quickly notice that an additional sensor equips the Galaxy S20 FE.
This is a 3x optical zoom allowing us to photograph subjects farther away from us. Otherwise, both have a main sensor (12 MP at Samsung, 12.2 MP at Google).
The two smartphones also agree on the presence of an ultra wide-angle lens. That of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is wider (123 degrees versus 107), but Google holds the advantage of a 16 MP sensor rather than 12 MP for Samsung.
Note that Samsung, on this point, resumes its lenses and sensors but ignores the new endowments offered on the high end (such as the 108 MP sensor). At Google, we always capitalize on software integration which is the best in the market for image processing.
At the front of the devices, Samsung dominates Google on the technique with a 32 MP sensor against the 8 MP of the Pixel 5. More imposing, Samsung's sensor allows it to offer 4K – up to 60 frames per second – where the Pixel 5 is limited to 1080p.
Pixel 5 vs Galaxy S20 FE: the price comparison
Which version of the Galaxy S20 FE should you really compare with the Pixel 5? Google's smartphone is, in any case, the cheapest in the buying guide with its price of € 629 compared to € 659 for the Galaxy S20 FE. But to be able to put the two smartphones face to face, it is better to look at the first of the 5G versions. There, the price of the S20 FE goes to 729 euros, a difference of 100 € between the two smartphones. We will come back to this in our review and conclusion.
Buy the Galaxy S20 FE
Buy the Pixel 5
Review and opinion on the comparison
What to retain from the comparison? And which smartphone to choose between the Pixel 5 and the Galaxy S20 FE? At 100 € more in its 5G version, the Samsung offers a slightly more powerful, autonomous and better finished product. But Google has serious arguments, including image processing software that will not be left behind against Samsung, even if it will be limited to two photo sensors (no x3 zoom).
The two smartphones each have advantages and disadvantages. The Galaxy S20 FE's 120Hz display is better than the Pixel 5's 90Hz, but Google's smartphone has Gorilla Glass 6 screen protection against Samsung's Glass 3. The choice will therefore be largely a matter of taste. Advantage until October 14 at the Pixel 5, which offers one of the most attractive pre-order offers on the market: against the purchase of its latest smartphone, a Bose QC 35 II bluetooth headset is free.
See the Pixel 5 Special