I’m getting a feeling that if I hadn’t shared an update on my new smartphone, many folks on social media would have blocked me. I’ve had so many discussions around buying a new smartphone which has been going on for over a year now. Using the OnePlus 3T in 2021, I was certainly looking for a change.
Thanks to the OnePlus 3T swollen battery, the purchase was quick. In my last blog post too, I talked about zeroing on three smartphones: OnePlus 9 Pro, OnePlus 9 R, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G. Well, now you know which is my new smartphone. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G.
While this isn’t going to be a review as it’s too early to talk about a review. Nor is this going to be an unboxing sort of a blog post. I’ll mostly talk about how and why I zeroed in on the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G as my new Smartphone.
My Smartphone criteria – The Ideal Phone
Let’s clear one thing – there’s no BEST smartphone. It all varies based on personal choices. So for a particular set of features, you can have your best smartphone.
So, my preferences for a new smartphone were quite clear:
- A good and practical set of cameras,
- A solid processor that supports multiple simultaneous apps, AR/VR development, etc.,
- A good screen,
- A good battery, and
- A great OS experience
- Everything else would be an addon
I actually read my own blog post on Non-Chinese smartphones in India to understand the options I had.
The Contenders – OnePlus and Samsung
I had been hunting for a smartphone for quite some time now, however couldn’t find the best VFM phone for me. But thanks to the OnePlus 3T battery scare, I had to take a quick decision. Let me talk about the options I had shortlisted and talk about why I didn’t go for it in this section.
OnePlus 9 Pro
Having used the OnePlus 3T with the vanilla Oxygen OS, I became a fan of it. And hence the software was an equal priority. And due to that most of the other brands like Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi et al were never a part of the consideration.
The OP9P is feature-loaded with all the top-of-the-line spec – right from the processor to RAM, software, and everything else. I even took a hands-on of the OP9P at the OnePlus store here in Hyderabad. The phone felt good and solid on hand. The cameras however were disappointing – based on most of the reviews – and my own usage at the store.
The Hasselblad collaboration was hyped like crazy and it turned out to be a bummer. The only thing I liked in the camera setup was the 48MP wide-angle lens that would more details. While I could have easily used a GCam for it and take the photos to the next level, the pricing of the phone stopped me. At ₹65,000 for the base variant, it is expensive. Also, there are a lot of heating issues as well, in fact, many Snapdragon 888 based phones are having this issue. While 5G wasn’t a criterion, the OP9P comes with just 2 bands FYI.
OnePlus 9 R – the rebranded 8T
The OnePlus T series often leave the owners of the non-T version feeling cheated. 8T was a fabulous smartphone from the previous year. However, some of my friends had used it and complained about the lags. OP9R on the other hand comes with a newer processor – Snapdragon 870 (865+) and has a quad-camera setup with a couple of useless ones too.
While I did like the ultra-wide there, the main camera was average too. At Rs 40,000 this was a good deal, but I didn’t opt for it because of the camera setup. (Similar reason on the OP9 Pro as well)
I know that I’m going to miss the Oxygen OS experience, but cameras were my top priority this time. While the upgrade from 3T to any phone would have been a real upgrade, I also didn’t want to break the bank to get something that didn’t give value for the price.
The Winner – Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
If you are a geek, you know that Samsung is known to push Exynos-based smartphones in India and the Snapdragon ones in the rest of the world. While the Exynos 2100 has come a long way since the previous generation, it still doesn’t live up to the Snapdragon 888. Plus the Exynos processors are known to heat up and throttle a lot – even for regular tasks. The only reason, why I ditched the Samsung S20 Plus. In fact, I even considered getting one imported from the US with the Snapdragon variant.
Nonetheless, Samsung probably heard the cry of a smartphone fan and launched the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G variant in India a few months back with the Snapdragon 865 processor.
A Samsung with a Snapdragon in India? They won half the battle there. Also, if you consider the reviewer’s view, then Marques has awarded this the Best Smartphone of the Year 2020 and also Android Authority gave it the Editor’s Choice Award.
The S20 FE 5G comes with a modest yet practical three-camera setup – 12 MP main & ultra-wide and an 8 MP telephoto. The main camera is the exact same one used on the flagships S21 and the S20. The telephoto is a modest one and a similar ultra-wide that is found on the S21 and S20 sans the super steady video and autofocus and with a greater field of view – 123 degrees.
Apart from that, it has a Super AMOLED screen at 120 Hz with a much better front camera than the OnePlus allowing wide angles selfies and 4K video recording. It comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of ROM as well.
Coming to addons, the S20 FE 5G is IP68 water-resistant, supports wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, and comes with a memory card support up to 1TB! It also has Samsung Dex, Samsung Pay, and the OneUI – which is no match for the Oxygen OS but still packs a punch.
Lastly, it comes with 5G and supports 13 bands, unlike the OnePlus 9 series that supports only 2. Future proof in a way.
Detailed comparison -> Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G vs OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 9R.
How would you rate my purchase?
As I said, I will use the phone for some time and then have a review post. Though this processor is from the previous generation, it is one of the most stable 5G processors currently in the market.
Further, I had loyalty points on my credit card and the ones I got from work, that I could redeem for the purchase. I decided to redeem the points for the gift vouchers of Croma and take a chance with them. I’ll talk about my Croma experience in a different post. Effectively, I paid around Rs 30,000 for the Samsung S20 FE 5G and I’m content with the phone.
So how would you rate my purchase? Think I could have done better? I know a lot of people suggested the iPhone 12 but that was expensive plus I didn’t want an Apple phone. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, Tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM me on Instagram or Get In Touch.