hello guys this is glenn from sydney cbd repair centre and today we have a samsung galaxy s20 fe with a broken display let’s try and fix it [Music]
so before we replace the broken display we’re gonna remove the back cover of this galaxy s20 fe and this is kind of a color pink and we’re gonna just fast forward it so you won’t be bored with the process and we’ll show you how it goes through in normal time although david is very very adept in taking these back covers off he still applies extreme caution when removing all components these are kind of sensitive sometimes when you remove the back cover some cables are attached to the back cover so you have to be very careful when you do it yourself so we’re gonna remove all the screws that are holding on to the motherboard shrouds on top and the daughter board at the bottom so there’s considerably a lot of screws that keeps these components uh snug so we’re just gonna pry this open as you can see the main board is on the top with the three cameras the battery and the center and the daughter board at the bottom for charging and the microphone for calls [Music]
and you these these shows you the most sensitive components that are housed inside your smartphone all smartphones modern smartphones have these components these ones are for the antenna and if you do this yourself without proper training or tools you’re gonna ruin one flat cable and that’s it you’re gonna find the replacement for that one as well so in terms of diying this repair for the galaxy s20 fe it’s pretty easy it reminds you of the mid-range smartphones and samsung did a great job in manufacturing these so that you can replace parts with a proper tools and uh certified technicians so now we’re gonna replace the display and as you know uh this reminds me of the galaxy notes where you when you replace the display you also replace the housing so those two components are integrated so all the components that we removed from the old display will be transplanted on this new housing or display [Music]
so that means we’re gonna remove this battery here including the screws that are needed to mount this on the new uh replacement display so if you have some problems with your galaxy s20 fe or other galaxy smartphones you can uh call us or message us we’re gonna give you a free quote or diagnostic on your on the types of repair that you need sometimes it’s just a battery uh issue we’re gonna replace the batteries as well and we can also give you options so once you replace the galaxy s20 fe display you can replace it with a different color
so if you don’t if we don’t have the color that you want for example this pink one or you’re okay with any color as long as the smartphone is working we can also arrange that one so we’re gonna install the battery now and the daughter board and the wiring for the antenna and we’re almost done so we’re not only experts in repairing samsung devices we’re also fixing smart watches apple watches fitbits and of course iphones so if you also have rog phones gaming smartphones that are extremely extremely difficult to fix nowadays and because the screens are very very specific those high refresh screens we also we also fix those smartphone models so right now we’re gonna put on the screws these are the final screws by the way and then we’re gonna cover it up with a back cover that we initially removed at the start of this video so if you want to diy this we highly recommend that you still check this with a certified ignition so just to reduce the risk of you breaking your phone so this is good so we’re just gonna test all the components here the buttons cameras off screen because the client doesn’t want us to show some sensitive information inside the smartphone we’re just gonna test uh charging it’s charging so all is working good and as you can see it’s it almost looks brand new it’s like you just bought a new smartphone because the housing and the display are brand new so this is good it’s now ready for the customer and thanks for joining guys till next time cheers [Music] [Music] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] you
In this guide, we will show you the complete process of replacing the screen on a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you start the replacement process.
First, make sure that your phone is powered off by pressing and holding down the Power button for a few seconds. Then remove the battery cover by prying it up from its bottom edge using your fingers. Now remove the battery from its slot on the upper side of your phone with your fingers. Once you have removed both, replace them with new ones and then reattach the battery cover back into its position on your phone
Introduction: The Do’s & Don’ts of Galaxy S20vFE Screen Repair
The Galaxy S20 FE screen repair process is relatively easy to do, but there are some important dos and don’ts that should be followed to avoid damaging the device. This article will provide you with information on how to complete this task.
-Keep your S20 FE Galaxy phone charged. It will make the process easier because the screen won’t shut off while you’re working on it.
-Before you start, remove any case or cover that may be protecting your phone to avoid any damage during the repair process.
-When removing screws, handle them gently and keep track of them so they can be put back in their original spots for future use.
-Be sure to use a dry cloth or paper towel when cleaning your phone so as not to leave any
The Galaxy S20 FE has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The device features a bezel-less screen which covers 93% of the device’s front panel, with slimmer bezels on the top and bottom on both sides of the screen. The Galaxy S20’s all-glass body is more durable than before, with improved water resistance and wireless charging capabilities. It also features a triple rear camera setup, an in-display fingerprint scanner, Samsung’s most advanced CPU ever, and more.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Screen Replacement Process Overview
The process for replacing screens for Samsung Galaxy S20 FE smartphones begins by reading the instructions carefully to make sure that you know what to do before starting. If you’re
keywords: guide, overview
Materials and Tools Needed to Perform a Galaxy S20 FE Screen Repair
Many people are constantly using their smartphones for various activities. One of the most common problems that arise is when the screen becomes cracked or damaged in some way. This article will examine the materials and tools needed to perform a galaxy S20 FE screen repair.
– Lamination film
– Tissue paper
– Wipe cloth
– Cleaning alcohol
– Plastic prying tool
– Soft rubber case removal tool (optional)
– Scratch card (optional)
keywords: tools, materials
Step-by-Step Instructions for Galaxy S20 FE Screen Replacement
This guide contains step-by-step instructions for replacing the Galaxy S20’s cracked or damaged screen.
Find a safe working environment.
1. Disconnect the battery from the phone by removing the small metal clips on each side of it with a small, flat object like a credit card.
2. Remove the SIM card tray by sliding it out of place.
3. Remove the screws holding in place on either side of the display assembly using a Phillips screwdriver or similar tool.
4. Once all screws are removed, gently pull up on one corner of the assembly to remove it from its housing and disconnect any cables attached to it while doing so, being careful not to tear any connections loose by pulling too hard or too quickly. 5] Once
keywords: instructions, process
Galaxy S20 FE Screen Replacement Conclusion and Additional Resources
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is one of the newest models. The phone has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display, which is beautiful and eye-catching. The screen also has an in-display fingerprint sensor for added security.
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Samsung‘s Galaxy A family has been a major success for the Korean giant in recent years. In fact, it now represents the largest portion of the company’s sales. That’s no coincidence either. There is only one way to pull off that level of success – and it’s by offering competitive features under high-profile branding for a reasonable amount. A daunting task that Samsung has been tackling like a true smartphone champ in nifty incremental steps throughout the last few Galaxy A generations.
The A family seems to constantly be growing as well. The lineup is sprawling, with new models seemingly popping up every few weeks. There is so much choice now, ranging from budget to nearly flagship-grade models, that Samsung could have easily spun it off into a sub-brand of its own. Not that we are suggesting they should.
the Galaxy A72 represents the highest-end model in the family. It is actually quite similar to the Galaxy A52, we recently reviewed. The vanilla version, that is, not the 5G one. Compared to the A52, the A72 offers a slightly bigger 6.7-inch, 90Hz display, an extra 8MP telephoto camera and a slightly bigger 5,000 mAh battery. Other than that, the vanilla A52 and the A72 are pretty much identical, including physically rocking a particular modern Samsung design.
Samsung Galaxy A72 specs at a glance:
Body: 165.0×77.4×8.4mm, 203g; Glass front, plastic back; IP67 dust/water resistant (up to 1m for 30 mins).
At the time of writing, the A52 starts at €350 for a 4GB/128GB unit, while the A72 costs €450 for its base 6GB/128GB tier. So the upgrades in the higher-tier model will set you back around €100 on top of the A52. Arguably, not quite as competitive on the value scale, but not bad either. Especially with features like the IP67 rating under its belt. Also, actual retail prices on both models have already come down a bit since their release, and the price difference should eventually shrink even further. Samsung is all too familiar with the kind of stiff mid-ranger competition it is facing in the space.
One more thing worth noting is that currently, there is no 5G variant of the A72 on offer. It is likely in the works, though, and has already been popping up in leaks. We can probably expect it to offer a 120Hz display, like the 5G variant of the A52 does. Potentially with a chipset swap from the Snapdragon 720G to the 750G 5G as well. That would make for yet another exciting model in the Galaxy A family. For now, however, we have a regular Galaxy A72 in for review in Awesome Blue, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage. Let’s dive in.
The Samsung Galaxy A72 ships in a fairly plain two-piece box. Nothing too fancy, no plastic, just paper. Thick and rigid, it gets the job done. You don’t get much in the way of accessories either – just a wall charger and a few leaflets, and that’s about it.
That being said, unlike the Galaxy A52, which ships with a simple 15W charger, the A72 comes with a proper 25W PD one, including a white USB Type-C to Type-C cable. This is great news since the phone can, in fact, charge at up to 25W, and you don’t need to go out and buy a compatible charger to make use of the higher speed charging with the A72 like with the A52.
Depending on how you look at this, a proper charger in the box can be deducted from the total price of owning the A72, or rather added to the potential math of getting the A52 instead and have you adjust the value calculation a bit.
Samsung really upped its value game with the latest batch of Galaxy A family devices. The new “Awesome is for everyone” slogan definitely goes beyond vague PR talk.
The Galaxy A52 is first on our list of alternatives to the Galaxy A72. If you can live without the telephoto camera and settle for a slightly smaller, but otherwise just as excellent, 6.5-inch AMOLED display and a slightly smaller 4,500 battery, then you can save up to EUR 100 and get the A52 instead of its bigger A72 sibling. You’d also be getting a faster 25W PD charger in the A72 box, whereas the A52 ships with a 15W unit. And with that, the differences between the pair are effectively exhausted, simplifying the decision-making.
Tnen there is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro. It comes with an even faster 120Hz AMOLED display, certified for HDR10 video. You get stereo speakers as well and a 3.5mm jack for a complete multimedia experience. The battery is a hefty 5,020 unit with 33W fast charging support and a comparable 118 hours of endurance rating, as per our review. You might be losing the telephoto, but the main 108MP snapper on the Redmi Note 10 Pro is plenty impressive. There is even an IP53 rating, which is something.
Speaking of trendy 108MP cameras, the Realme 8 Pro has been blowing up in popularity for a reason. Going for it would save you quite a few bucks, but also skips on certain niceties like high refresh rate, stereo speakers and IP rating and a telephoto cam, to name a few.
Naturally, we can’t ignore the allure of recent Poco phones either. Mainly the Poco F3, which also has a glorious 120Hz, HDR10+ AMOLED display, stereo speakers and a slightly smaller 4,500 mAh battery, though one with comparable endurance to the A72 in our testing.
Last, but not least, the shiny new Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite shouldn’t be ignored. Specifically, the 5G variant, if it is available where you live and you find yourself drawn to the trendy allure of 5G connectivity. You will, again, be missing out on a telephoto camera, compared to the Galaxy A72, though.
Samsung has made the new Galaxy A-series phones hard to ignore. The A72 packs a feature set that brings it closer than ever to flagship territory.
The Galaxy A72 rocks an eye-catching and trendy design. It’s got a solid build with IP67 ingress protection. It might not be made of premium materials but still feels great to touch.
The 6.7-inch display has gorgeous colors and great brightness output thanks to modern AMOLED tech.
The impressive hybrid stereo speaker system with Dolby Atmos shapes the Galaxy A72 into a solid multimedia device. So does the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack.
The quad main camera setup is versatile, with both an ultrawide and a surprisingly good 3x telephoto camera.
You can get plenty of use out of the 5,000 mAh battery, and the inclusion of a fast 25W charger in the box is much appreciated.
Last but definitely not least, there is a reason why One UI has persistently been drawing in and retaining users for years now and the A72 not only comes with the latest One UI 3.1 and Android 11 combo but also a newfound promise for long term software support – 3 major OS updates and 4 years of security patches.
Now for some downsides, or at least deficiencies on the Galaxy A72: A display with a faster refresh rate and HDR video capabilities would have been great to see. Speaking of high display refresh rates, we can’t help but think of high fps gaming – a challenge for the Snapdragon 720G chipset. While it is not holding back the current feature set of the A72 in any way, faster silicon is now readily available in the mid-range space. A higher-grade chipset would have meant some trendy extras like Wi-Fi 6 or 6e and perhaps Bluetooth 5.1 but there are now missing.
So bottom line then – just like the Galaxy A52, the A72 is a truly unique package, even on the current over-saturated mid-ranger scene. That being said, its value relies on a very particular mix of features. If it just happens to be something that resonates with you, there really is no reason to look elsewhere.
Bottom line: Samsung’s Galaxy S21 is a great overall package, delivering 5G, the latest hardware, and all the extras you could ask for in a 2021 flagship.
6.2-inch AMOLED, 2400×1080, 120Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
128 or 256GB
12MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide, 64MP telephoto
25W wired, 15W wireless
151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm
Compact and lightweight design
Snapdragon 888 is a performance beast
120Hz AMOLED display
Very capable cameras
All-day battery life
Doesn’t have expandable storage
No MST for Samsung Pay
In 2021, Samsung has released a smaller and more affordable smartphone in the regular Galaxy S21. For shoppers that want a fully-fledged smartphone experience without completely breaking the bank, it’s well worth your consideration.
One of the best things the Galaxy S21 has going for it is the display. It’s a Full HD+ AMOLED panel, and when paired with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, it is nothing short of excellent. It’s not quite as sharp as the Quad HD+ resolution found on the S21 Ultra, but the picture still looks really crisp thanks to a smaller 6.2-inch display size. Combine that smaller display with plastic construction, and the S21 ends up being a really comfortable phone to use thanks to its small size and lightweight design.
Another highlight is performance; the Galaxy S21 features the Snapdragon 888 and 8GB of RAM. No matter what tasks you throw at the phone, it’ll handle them with ease. There’s also a 4,000 mAh battery for all-day endurance, an IP68 dust/water resistance rating, and your choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage. The camera experience isn’t as jaw-dropping as what you’ll find with the S21 Ultra, though it is a bit better than the S20 FE. Once again, it’s a nice middle-ground between the two.
You get three guaranteed Android updates and four years of security patches on the software front, making the Galaxy S21 one of the best phones for long-term use. That said, the Galaxy S21 shares the same cons as the S21 Ultra, meaning there’s no expandable storage or MST for Samsung Pay. Those are two features you do get with the S20 FE, but the S21 still manages to stand out thanks to its improved cameras, faster performance, nicer design, and more pocketable form factor.
Bottom line: The S21 Ultra stands out as the phone to get if you don’t want to spare any expense. Everything from the display, performance, cameras, and more are among the very best you can get — just be prepared for it to cost you a pretty penny.
What Samsung achieved with the Galaxy S20 FE is nothing short of amazing, and for the vast majority of you reading this, it’s the phone you should probably buy. But if you’re itching for a device that has even more to offer and you’re OK spending more to get that kind of experience, you’ll want to turn your attention towards the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
This is Samsung’s top-of-the-line flagship for 2021, and in virtually every regard, the premium nature of the S21 Ultra is easy to see. Starting first with the display, you’re treated to a massive 6.8-inch panel that’s capable of running a Quad HD+ resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate at the same time — something very few smartphones are capable of doing. This means you get razor-sharp text, buttery smooth animations, and the stunning colors of Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED screen technology.
Powering the S21 Ultra is the Snapdragon 888 chipset, paired with either 12 or 16GB of RAM. In real-world use, that means the Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the fastest phones money can buy. Keeping with the theme of high-end specs, other niceties include a 5,000 mAh battery, up to 512GB of storage, an IP68 water/dust resistance rating, and a larger in-screen fingerprint sensor that’s much faster and easier to use than the one found on the S20 FE.
As if that wasn’t enough, the tour de force of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is its camera system. The primary camera is a 108MP sensor that captures extremely detailed and colorful shots. The 8MP ultra-wide lens is a strong performer. The two telephoto cameras — featuring 3x and 10x zoom distances — allow for some of the very best zoom pictures we’ve ever seen.
There’s no denying the impressiveness of the S21 Ultra, but that’s not to say it’s without its faults. Samsung got rid of expandable storage and MST for Samsung Pay, two hallmark features of Galaxy phones before it. If you’re alright with losing out on those features, the Galaxy S21 Ultra experience is well well worth the price of admission.
Bottom line: The OnePlus 9 Pro delivers a gorgeous new design combined with top-notch internal hardware, cameras tuned by Hasselblad, and clean software. OnePlus finally has a phone that measures up to Android’s best, and the OnePlus 9 Pro is an affordable alternative to the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The OnePlus 9 Pro is gunning straight for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The phone features the latest hardware you’ll find today, including the Snapdragon 888 chipset, along with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage modules, and a marquee addition this year is the cameras.
OnePlus always nailed the hardware, but it just couldn’t deliver cameras that held up to Samsung, Google, and Xiaomi. That has changed with the OnePlus 9 Pro. The device comes with an upgraded 48MP camera at the back that takes fantastic photos. OnePlus also partnered with German camera giant Hasselblad to deliver outstanding photos to capture every moment. The result: the OnePlus 9 Pro takes amazing shots in just about any lighting condition. There’s also a 50MP wide-angle lens that may just be the best on any phone today, and you get an 8MP module that offers 3x digital zoom.
The OnePlus 9 Pro is one of the fastest phones you can buy today, and a new 120Hz AMOLED display joins the top-notch hardware. The phone uses an LTPO display to dynamically change the refresh all the way from 1Hz to 120Hz, allowing it to conserve battery life while delivering a smooth and fluid user experience in daily use.
You’ll also find clean software without any bloatware at all in the Android 11-based OxygenOS 11. The interface has plenty of customizability, and unlike Samsung’s One UI, you will not find any errant ads anywhere. The clean UI combined with a focus on performance and customization make OxygenOS the default choice for enthusiasts.
The phone doesn’t miss out in other areas either — you get IP68 dust and water resistance, 5G connectivity over both Sub-6 and mmWave, and dual-band GPS along with NFC. But a key highlight is around battery tech — the OnePlus 9 Pro offers 65W wired charging along with 50W wireless charging, with the phone taking just 29 minutes to fully charge using the bundled charger. OnePlus also recently announced that its flagship phones would begin receiving three major Android updates — up from the two promised previously.
While it’s exciting to see the gains in this area, the one downside is that battery life itself isn’t on par with other Android flagships. For example, the OnePlus 9 Pro barely manages to last a day with heavy use, so you may want to take the charger along if you’re heading out.
That said, the OnePlus 9 Pro is a great overall package that nails the fundamentals. So if you’re not sure about the Galaxy S21 Ultra and are looking for an alternative, you will love what the OnePlus 9 Pro has to offer.
Bottom line: There are many good smartphone deals out there, but none of them are as amazing as the Pixel 4a. From its flagship-grade cameras, reliable performance, all-day battery life, and long-term software support, no other phone gives you this much for so little.
5.81-inch OLED, 2340×1080, 60Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm
Flagship camera on a budget phone
Easy to use in one hand
AMOLED display looks great
Three years of software support
The Pixel 4a is the best phone value available today, period. Google’s packed most of what makes the Pixel 4/5 series good into a smartphone that costs over 50% less. You also get a compact device that, despite its size, excels in the battery life department. Seriously, this phone lasts all day and then some.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the 4a is its camera, which is nearly on par with the Pixel 4 that preceded it. The main camera shoots exceptional photos in all lighting conditions, with Night Sight really showing its strength in poor lighting. Google even added Astrophotography mode this time around and improved the already impressive Portrait Mode. The front-facing camera is also tack-sharp and focuses more quickly than on the Pixel 3a from 2019. Both front and back, you’re getting flagship-level camera quality out of a phone that’s a fraction of the price. Google’s also improved the video quality on the 4a, thanks to an improved Snapdragon 730 chipset and 6GB of RAM standard.
So what do you lose by spending a third of the price of a more traditional flagship? Well, the Pixel 4a is made of plastic and lacks both water resistance and wireless charging, features you can take for granted at a higher price point. It also only comes in one size, a 5.8-inch variant, and one color, black. There are no storage size options, either: you get 128GB of internal memory, which should be plenty for most people, but a lack of microSD expansion may be a problem for the content collectors out there. Also, there’s no 5G support here.
All of these limitations shouldn’t impede your desire to buy the Pixel 4a, which proved to be one of the best smartphone surprises of 2020 — even if it did launch a few months late. Google’s latest budget phone is a winner, from the size to the performance to the battery life and camera quality.
Bottom line: They say that the best camera you have is the one you have with you, so make sure it’s the best it can be. Google’s Pixel 5 takes incredible photos in virtually any setting, and thanks to the company’s top-notch image processing, you don’t even have to be a pro photographer to get impressive shots.
6.0-inch OLED, 2340×1080, 90Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
12.2MP primary, 16MP ultra-wide
18W wired, 15W wireless, 5W reverse wireless
144.7 x 70.4 x 8.0mm
Among the best cameras on the market
Compact and comfortable to hold
90Hz AMOLED display
Great battery life
Three years of software updates
Might be too small for some users
The Pixel 5 is Google’s latest flagship smartphone that you can buy. Compared to past releases, it’s a huge departure. Rather than trying to have the absolute best specs possible, the Pixel 5 focuses on offering a great all-around user experience at a competitive price. And, in just about every regard, it succeeds.
First thing’s first, we have to talk about the Pixel 5’s camera performance. Simply put, if camera quality is a key priority for you, the Pixel 5 should be at the very top of your shopping list. The 12.2MP primary and 16MP ultra-wide cameras may not look all that impressive on paper, but combined with Google’s unmatched image processing, they kick out truly incredible results. The detail is sharp, colors are true-to-life, and the Pixel 5 handles low-light environments without a hitch. The best part? The Pixel 5 does all of this more reliably than any other smartphone.
Outside of killer cameras, the Pixel 5 has a bunch more to offer. We’re in love with its design, which is refreshingly compact and is made entirely out of aluminum. The paint job gives it an exceptional in-hand feel, and if you ask us. The Sorta Sage color is one of the best we’ve ever seen on a phone. Period.
Rounding out the Pixel 5 experience is a 90Hz AMOLED display, fast performance thanks to the Snapdragon 765G processor, and long-lasting battery life. For considerably less money than a lot of other flagships, the Pixel 5 is well worth your consideration.
Bottom line: Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE is a solid, affordable 5G phone that offers most of what makes Samsung flagships so good in a cheaper, colorful package.
6.5-inch OLED, 2400×1080, 120Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
12MP primary, 8MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide
15W wired, Qi wireless charging
161.6 x 71.1 x 9.3mm
Flat 120Hz display is terrific
All-day battery life
Promised three years of software updates
Impressive cameras with 3x optical zoom
Sturdy design with fun color options
Not every color option is available everywhere
Camera can be slow to load
Samsung clearly understands that this is a time for people to pare back their expenses because the Galaxy S20 FE is a value flagship that really doesn’t skimp. It’s based on the successful foundation of the Galaxy S20+, featuring a spacious 6.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display with a luxurious 120Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 865, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and an all-day 4,500mAh battery.
Of course, to hit its affordable price point, Samsung needed to make some sacrifices, so it traded the Galaxy S20 series’ back glass for colorful plastic — the FE is available in six delicious colors — and cut back on the quality of the triple-camera setup ever-so-slightly.
Still, the S20 FE has everything you’d expect in a high-end phone and performs just as well. We especially love the IP68 water resistance and wireless charging, two features rare in this price bracket. Plus, it shares the same primary camera sensor as the Galaxy S20 and S20+, ensuring beautiful results in good light and bad.
Samsung’s One UI 3.0 is also on-board, and the company’s promising three years of platform and security updates, ensuring that you’ll be getting the latest Android features well into the next decade.
Finally, Samsung includes sub-6Ghz 5G in all variants of the Galaxy S20 FE, and we found performance to be excellent on both AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s 5G networks. If you want a Verizon version that supports mmWave, it’s also available for purchase.
Bottom line: The Moto G Power 2020 has reliable hardware combined with outstanding battery life and clean software. There are a few downsides — it’s limited to 10W charging and will only get one Android update, but you are getting a great entry-level package overall.
6.4-inch LCD, 2300×1080, 60Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
16MP primary, 8MP wide-angle, 2MP macro
159.9 x 75.8 x 9.6mm
At least two-day battery life
Large 1080p display
Will get only one Android update
Charging limited to 10W
If you’re in the market for an entry-level phone, the Moto G Power 2020 is still a great choice in 2021. Motorola has nailed the basics here, delivering a robust phone with all the features you’re looking for in a budget option.
The standout feature on the Moto G Power 2020 is the battery: featuring a large 5000mAh battery, the phone manages to last over two days without fail. The charging situation isn’t ideal, though; the Moto G Power 2020 has 10W wired charging, so you will want to plug in the device overnight.
The phone holds up pretty well in other areas too. You get a 6.4-inch 1080p LCD that’s decent enough in its own right, and the Snapdragon 665 is a reliable performer in normal use. The phone has stereo sound, a 3.5mm jack, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a microSD card slot. And as the phone is officially sold in the U.S., it works on all the major carriers.
In fact, it’s a better option than the Moto G Power 2021 in key areas — the 2021 model has fewer LTE bands, a lower-resolution 720p display, and a less powerful chipset. You’ll find positives on the software side as well, with Motorola offering a clean interface without any bloatware. The downside here is that the phone will get just one Android update — to Android 11 — and if you’re okay with that, the Moto G Power 2020 has plenty to offer in 2021.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a value flagship and want a phone with a gorgeous design, the latest hardware, stellar cameras, fast charging, and clean software, the OnePlus 9 is the obvious choice.
6.5-inch AMOLED, 2400×1080, 120Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
48MP primary, 50MP wide-angle, 2MP portrait
65W wired, 15W wireless
160 x 74.2 x 8.7 mm
Sublime 120Hz AMOLED display
Clean software with no bloat
65W wired / 15W wireless charging
Three years of Android updates
Single-SIM in the U.S.
With the OnePlus 9, OnePlus sets its sights on the Galaxy S20 FE. The phone delivers on the same fundamentals as Samsung’s value flagship, offering the latest internal hardware, a 120Hz AMOLED display, reliable cameras, and many extras from the OnePlus 9 Pro.
The 120Hz AMOLED display on the OnePlus 9 is one of the best you’ll find in this particular category, and thanks to the Snapdragon 888 chipset, the phone handles anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat. You also get 5G connectivity over Sub-6, Wi-Fi 6, NFC, AptX HD audio codecs, and an excellent vibration motor.
The phone has the same 4500mAh battery as the OnePlus 9 Pro, and you get 65W wired charging. What’s new this generation is the addition of 15W Qi wireless charging. It may not be quite the same as the insane 50W wireless charging on the 9 Pro, but the upside is that the OnePlus 9 works with any Qi-enabled wireless charger available today. This particular feature is missing on the Indian and Chinese models, but you’ll find it on the OnePlus 9 variants sold in North America and Europe.
Coming to the software, OxygenOS 11 continues to set the standard in terms of customizability. The bloatware-free UI is a delight to use, and recently OnePlus announced that it would begin supporting its flagship phones with three years of Android platform updates.
Overall, the OnePlus 9 is a solid contender to the Galaxy S20 FE. It has the latest hardware, great cameras, clean software, and fast charging, and for what it costs, you are getting a great overall value.
Bottom line: The ASUS ZenFone 8 is a bit of a departure from its predecessors, but it is the best smallest Android flagship you can buy right now. It has an excellent build, clean software, great cameras, 5G, and the powerful Snapdragon 888 SOC.
5.9-inch OLED, 2400×1080, 120Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
64MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide
148 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm
Easy to use one-handed
Gorgeous screen with 120Hz refresh rate
3.5mm headphone jack
No wireless charging
No telephoto camera
If you’re one of those people who still pines for a smaller, flagship-level phone, then we have some good news for you. The ASUS ZenFone 8 delivers one of the best Android experiences that you can get in mid-2021 for much less than the competition. Plus, it’s one of the smallest Android flagships around.
Unlike the ZenFone 6 and 7 series and the ZenFone 8 Flip, the ZenFone 8 has done away with the flipping camera module in favor of a more traditional design. While this new (older) form factor makes the device more pocketable, ASUS was able to retain an excellent camera setup nonetheless. It also means that it is now IP68 water-resistant. The ZenFone 8 features a gorgeous AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and it even retains an old-school fan favorite with its 3.5mm headphone jack.
The ZenFone 8 has top-notch internal specs, too, including the powerful Snapdragon 888 processor, fast 20W wired charging, and one of the cleanest builds of Android we’ve seen this year. However, you miss out on wireless charging, and ASUS’s track record for updates has left us wanting in the past.
This is the perfect phone for someone who admires the size and capabilities of something like the Google Pixel 4a but who also wants a more premium and performant Android phone.
Bottom line: Folding phones are here, and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the best one we’ve seen yet. It’s basically a smartphone and tablet in one device, and while it is costly, it’s also the best attempt yet we’ve seen for this form factor.
6.23-inch AMOLED, 2260×816, 60Hz refresh rate
7.6-inch AMOLED, 2280×1768, 120Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
12MP primary, 12MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide
25W wired and 11W wireless
159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9mm (unfolded) and 159.2 x 68 x 16.8mm (folded)
Puts a mini-tablet in your pocket
Great cameras and battery
App compatibility issues
Just like any piece of technology, smartphones evolve and change as time goes on. We’ve seen screens get bigger, cameras get a lot more capable, and processors rival those found in computers. The next big thing for phones is the folding form factor, and so far, the best yet in this niche is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.
The best way to think about the device is as a phone and tablet in one. When the Z Fold 2 is closed, you’re treated to a 6.23-inch AMOLED display that you can use for anything you’d like — checking email, scrolling through Twitter, watching YouTube videos, you name it. Should you find yourself wanting a larger canvas, however, all you need to do is open up the Z Fold 2 up. There, you’re treated to a larger 7.6-inch AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s a lot like having an iPad Mini that you can fold up and take with you wherever you want, and if you ask us, that’s pretty amazing.
As you might expect for a new technology like a folding phone, the Z Fold 2 does come with some unique dilemmas. For example, the Ultra-Thin Glass for the tablet display is prone to scratches more than traditional glass. The folding design raises questions about long-term durability, and not all apps are properly optimized for that larger display size. There’s also the matter of price, with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 costing more than two OnePlus 8 Pros.
This isn’t a phone that we recommend everyone go out and buy right now, but as far as folding phones go, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the best we’ve seen to date. If you’re willing to spend the money and put up with those quirks, the Z Fold 2 has a lot to offer.
Bottom line: The Galaxy A52 5G gives you amazing hardware in the form of a 120Hz AMOLED screen and a Snapdragon 750G chipset with 5G connectivity. Although the design looks similar to the S21 series, you also get great cameras and all-day battery life, which is much more affordable.
If you want to switch to a 5G phone but don’t want to pay too much money, then the Galaxy A52 5G may just be the ideal option for you. Samsung has always delivered value packages with the Galaxy A series, and it is taking things to a whole new level in 2021.
The Galaxy A52 5G offers considerable upgrades over its predecessor; the 6.5-inch AMOLED panel now has a 120Hz refresh rate, giving you a level of immediacy during daily interactions that was missing in last year’s Galaxy A51. The internal hardware has also received a boost, and the Snapdragon 750G chipset is faster in almost every day-to-day scenario.
The camera has received some attention as well, with the A52 5G now offering a 64MP lens at the back. There’s even a MicroSD slot and a 3.5mm jack, two features you won’t find on the Galaxy S21 series. And thanks to a generous 4500mAh battery and 25W fast charging, you don’t have to worry about battery life.
Samsung added IP67 dust and water resistance to the Galaxy A52 5G, making it just that little more enticing. Oh, and there’s, of course, 5G connectivity here, so if you’re thinking of switching to a 5G plan this year and need a mid-range phone, the Galaxy A52 5G ticks all the right boxes.
Bottom line: The ASUS ROG Phone 5 is designed for gamers. It has an incredible build, a stunning 144Hz AMOLED display, and is paired with a massive 6,000mAh battery and 65W wired fast charging. There are also great accessories and extras to help you get the most out of your mobile gaming experience.
6.78-inch AMOLED, 2448×1080, 144Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
64MP primary, 13MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro
172.8 x 77.2 x 10.2mm
Huge battery (6,000mAh)
144Hz refresh rate
3.5mm headphone jack
Gaming inspired design
Fast and fluid performance
This phone is BIG
No wireless charging
No water resistance
Gaming phones are definitely a niche category, but the folks who are interested in these devices really care how they perform. ASUS knows this subset extremely well and has been cranking out heavy-duty gaming phones for several years now. Its ROG line of phones complements its gaming PCs quite well, and there is undoubtedly a lot of crossover between owners of these computers and phones.
The latest in the vaunted ROG series is the ROG Phone 5. It boasts one of the largest capacity batteries we’ve seen (6,000mAh) for extended play sessions, as well as a brilliant AMOLED display with an high 144Hz refresh rate to make your content fly. You also get a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you don’t have to worry about audio latency, and it’s all powered by the latest and greatest Snapdragon 888 chipset.
There are several great accessories that you can purchase separately to help you get even more out of the experience, such as gamepads, coolers, and cases, but the phone looks great au naturale. The biggest drawbacks of the phone are that it doesn’t have wireless charging or an official IP rating, and it is quite a big and heavy device.
Bottom line: The Redmi Note 10 Pro takes things to a whole new level in the budget segment. The phone has a 120Hz AMOLED display, robust internal hardware, a 64MP camera that takes great photos in any lighting, and a gigantic 5020mAh battery with 33W fast charging. You can’t ask for much more in a budget phone.
Xiaomi knows how to deliver a value-focused package, and with the Redmi Note 10 Pro, it is setting a new standard for budget phones. The phone has features previously only seen on flagships, including a 120Hz AMOLED display that makes an immediate difference in day-to-day use.
The Snapdragon 732G delivers decent performance for most tasks, including intensive gaming. The phone also has generous memory and storage options, and you get a 3.5mm jack, microSD slot, NFC, and even an IR blaster that lets you control your TV or other AV gear. The phone also has IP53 dust and water resistance to withstand the occasional splash of water or be submerged in a pool without any issues.
The 5,020mAh battery on the Redmi Note 10 Pro easily delivers over a day’s worth of use as for battery. When you need to charge the phone, the bundled 33W charger ensures the battery is full in just over an hour. You won’t find wireless charging here, but honestly, the battery life is good that you don’t need to plug it in during the course of a day.
The 64MP camera is also new, and it takes great photos in just about any lighting condition. This may just be one of the best cameras you’ll find for under $300, making the Redmi Note 10 Pro that much more enticing. Xiaomi has made a lot of changes on the software front as well. MIUI 12 comes with Android 11 out of the box, and the UI is cleaner than earlier iterations. You get more customization options than you’ll end up using, and there are genuinely useful features here.
Ultimately, the main drawback is that the phone isn’t available officially in the U.S. You can pick up the global version of the Redmi Note 10 Pro from Amazon, but you miss out on the warranty.
How to pick the best Android phone
Android phones have never been better than they are right now. So regardless of how much or little money you can spend, you can go out and buy a phone that you’ll be thoroughly happy with. Out of every single phone on the market in 2021, however, we have to give our top recommendation for the best Android phone to the Samsung Galaxy S21.
Samsung makes amazing phones every year, but you need to pay out the nose for the privilege of owning one more often than not. With the Galaxy S21, you get a top-tier Samsung experience for less than previous years, and that makes it a better overall value.
Compared to a more expensive Galaxy handset like the S21 Ultra, the standard S21 does an admirable job of holding its own. It has a 120Hz AMOLED screen, excellent performance, great battery life, and the same One UI software experience. Even wireless charging and an IP68 rating are here, and the only area it misses out on is the Quad HD+ display and a glass back.
There are plenty of other options on this list if something about the Galaxy S21 just isn’t clicking for you, but we think it’s easy to see why it has our highest recommendation at the end of the day.
1. What size screen should I get?
You should consider many different things when buying a new Android phone, and it all starts with the display. This is the component you interact with more than anything else, so you must get one that you’ll enjoy using. Things like the resolution and refresh rate of a screen are worth talking about, but more so is the size.
Smartphones come in different shapes and sizes, and the biggest determining factor for that is the display. A 6.8-inch screen results in a much larger phone than one with a 5.8-inch one, and because of that, you need to know how big or small you’re willing to go.
Take the Galaxy S21 Ultra, for example. It has the largest display on this list (outside of the Z Fold 2, but that’s different), and because the screen is so huge, it’s a phenomenal canvas for watching movies, playing games, and browsing the web. Basically, any kind of content consumption you do looks better on a larger display because the more room you have, the bigger and easier to see your media is. The downside to this, however, is that phones like the S21 Ultra can be rather unwieldy. Especially if you’re someone with smaller hands, managing a phone like that can be a pain in the butt.
Then there are smaller-sized phones, such as the Pixel 4a. It’s substantially easier to manage and can actually be used with one hand, but you have less room for your movies and games on the flip side. It also means you can fit less content on the screen at one time, and if you’re someone who likes to increase your font size, things are easier to read, which could result in you having to do a lot of scrolling.
And, of course, there are plenty of phones that fall somewhere in the middle between these two extremes. If you’re really concerned about whether or not a phone will be too big or small, your best bet is to honestly go hands-on with it yourself at your local carrier store or Best Buy before making your purchase.
2. Are software updates important?
It’s easy to compare displays, processors, and cameras, but something that’s just as important to talk about is software updates. Android is constantly evolving and getting better, and unfortunately, only certain phones are backed by a few years of software support.
As it currently stands, Google, Samsung, and OnePlus are the best in the business when supporting their phones with long-term updates. All of the Pixels, Galaxy devices, and OnePlus phones mentioned on this list are backed by three years of major OS updates from their initial release, which is by far the best support any Android phone maker has to offer. Google even goes a step further with three years of guaranteed monthly security patches, and while Samsung does the same for its flagships, it is now starting to follow suit for its mid-range devices.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you have a company like Motorola. Take the Motorola G Power, which is only promised to get a single update to Android 11. Security patches are even worse, with Motorola having a track record of falling multiple months behind on updates.
So, how important is it that your phone gets software updates? That ultimately depends on how much you care about new Android features. Google releases a new version of Android every year, and while these updates don’t tend to be that drastic from year to year, they give your phone important features and security settings that help keep it running in tip-top shape for a long time. It also ensures that your phone stays compatible with all the apps and games on the Play Store because as Android versions become too outdated, app developers eventually drop support.
A phone like the Motorola G Power won’t be unusable two years down the road just because it’s running Android 11 and not Android 13, but it’s also a bit disheartening to buy a product and know it’s backed by such a small window of post-purchase support. This divide in updates is something Android has been faced with for years, and while companies are gradually getting better in these regards, we still have plenty of room to grow.
3. How many cameras and megapixels do I really need?
Over the last couple of years, there’s been a trend going on with certain phone companies where they throw as many cameras onto their devices as possible. As it’s become more common for phones to ship with two, three, or even four cameras, there’s something of an expectation that phones have to have multiple camera sensors to be any good.
Spoiler alert — this isn’t true.
Let’s look at the OnePlus Nord 9, for example. It has a 48MP primary camera, 50MP ultra-wide, and a 2MP monochrome portrait camera. Compared to the single 12.2MP camera on the Pixel 4a, one would assume that the OnePlus 9 takes better photos, but that’s not always the case.
Having those extra camera sensors can be a lot of fun, but only if they’re high-quality. Far too often, we see companies throw in a bunch of extra cameras on their phones only to have these secondary lenses not be very good. The primary camera sensor is always the most important, so that’s the one you want to be concerned about the most.
On a similar note, more megapixels (referred to as MP) don’t always mean you’re getting a better camera. As mentioned above, the 48MP camera on the OnePlus 9 sometimes takes photos that aren’t as good as those taken from the 12.2MP camera found on the Pixel 4a. There are so many other factors that come into play with phone cameras, so don’t let the megapixel count be your only factor for judging them when you’re out shopping. Read reviews, look at camera samples, and you’ll have a much better understanding of what kind of camera you’re dealing with.
4. What size battery should I get?
Battery life isn’t the most fun thing to talk about with smartphones, but ultimately, it’s one of the most important components. Your phone can have the best display and processor around, but if it’s constantly dying throughout the day, what’s the point?
There are many different battery capacities for all of the phones on this list, and if you don’t regularly keep up with them, it can be difficult to know what a good size is and what isn’t. So, here’s a general rule of thumb. If you’re buying an Android phone in 2021, the ideal capacity is 4000mAh or larger. As phones move toward larger displays with faster refresh rates, more battery is needed to keep them powered throughout the day.
Of course, this can vary a bit depending on the type of phone you’re buying. The Pixel 4a, for example, only has a 3140mAh battery but can still get through a full day of use without a hitch. What gives? It has a small display by 2021 standards and only has a 60Hz refresh rate, resulting in substantially less power use.
These are factors you’ll need to consider when shopping for your phone, but generally, more mAh means more battery life.
5. What smaller features should I look out for?
Last but certainly not least, there are a few smaller features and specs that can be easy to overlook when doing your shopping — a prime example being NFC. NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and it’s the chip in most phones that allows you to pay with your smartphone with Google Pay at grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Most of the phones on this list support NFC, but many cheaper Motorola phones often lack the feature. You may not care about Google Pay, but if you do, it’s worth double-checking that the phone you want to buy does, in fact, have NFC.
Another spec to check for is an IP68 rating. This is a seal of protection many phones have, and it ensures they’re protected from a certain amount of dust and water. If you happen to get caught outside in the rain or take your phone to the beach, an IP68 rating is nice peace of mind that your phone should survive just fine.
Some phones lack this IP rating yet boast water resistance or have a water-repellent coating. Those devices are also probably fine to get splashed with water here and there, but you don’t have that same guaranteed protection. The best-case scenario is to avoid getting your phone wet whenever possible, but if you happen to be around the water a lot, it’s probably worth getting something with that IP68 protection.
We should also address a trend that’s been going through the smartphone space for a few years now — the death of the headphone jack. The vast majority of new phones coming out these days no longer have the port, but few holdouts continue to offer it. It’s certainly nice to have if you’re someone that primarily uses wired headphones or earbuds, but if you’ve moved on to the wireless bandwagon, it’s not something you need to be all that concerned with.
This one’s for the fans! Or for the chemistry students with a penchant for iron alloys? It’s not ‘lite,’ that’s for sure. This is the Galaxy S20 FE 5G (or Fan Edition). The latest member of the S20 family comes with some spec changes to meet a lower price point, while still maintaining important bits to qualify for the S-series badge.
One of those is the high-end chipset, and that’s a good point to clarify that not all FEs are the same – there is a 5G-capable version and an LTE-capped one. The 4G-only model follows the usual regional differentiation with some parts of the world getting the Exynos 990 while others have their FEs equipped with the Snapdragon 865.
On the other hand, the 5G model is Snapdragon-only this time, regardless of locale. It’s this version that we’re reviewing, though we may be dropping the ‘5G’ when referring to the phone for the remainder of this review.
Placed in between the S20 and S20+ in terms of screen size, the Fan Edition packs a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display. This one’s not HDR10+ compliant and has a FullHD resolution next to its QHD brethren, but Samsung did keep the 120Hz refresh rate.
As part of the tri-set of cameras on the FE, it gets to keep the S20s main big-sensor 12MP shooter. The ultra wide-angle cam takes 12MP shots too, but from a smaller imager than on the non-fan editions. And the telephoto is different too – fans will be shooting with an 8MP almost-3x zoom unit, as opposed to the slightly odd 64MP non-tele tele setup on the S20 and S20+. Meanwhile, the selfie camera on the FE is a 32MP Tetracell unit, which may sound like an upgrade compared to the 10MP modules of the S20 and S20+, but there’s more to that as you go deeper. We’ll be doing all sorts of camera comparisons later on, of course.
Tere are some other less apparent downgrades here and there. Like the as-yet unspecified type of glass on the front instead of Gorilla Glass 6 and the plastic back where the non-fan S20s have more Gorilla Glass 6. The Fan Edition also tops out at 8GB of RAM (6GB in the base version), while the regular S20s start at 8GB and can be had even with 12GB.
Whether it’s an upgrade, a downgrade, or simply a side-step, the Fan Edition gets an optical fingerprint reader, not the controversial ultra-sonic reader of the other phones in the Galaxy S and Note roster.
Filed strictly under downgrades, however, is the retail bundle.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G unboxing
The S20 FE‘s box is Fan Edition too – it’s not the black packaging of the true flagships. It’s still the same thick cardboard, only white, and the S20 name is printed on the front, just like on the non-FEs. There are many emoji-looking imprints, something you don’t get on the regular S20 or Note20 boxes.
There’s special treatment on the inside too, but not the good kind. The accessories package is rather sparse, and besides the phone, you’re only getting an adapter and a cable to go with it. Even worse, it’s the plain old Adaptive Fast Charging unit that’s Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 compliant – 15W max, USB-A out – lame. Non-fans are treated to a 25W adapter and earphones, but the budget cuts for this one didn’t allow for such frivolous expenses.
With the Galaxy S20 FE context is really important, more important than with most other phones. It’s got a flagship chipset inside and a 120Hz Super AMOLED display with battery life that’s spectacular for the combo, plus a hugely capable camera system, all in an IP68-rated body. Okay, that’s no big deal, there are a lot of phones that can squeeze into the above description. But the key bit is that they’re either a lot more expensive, or have regional appeal. The S20 FE? You can have that everywhere, for well under the price of a true flagship.
For example, in the US, the S20 FE is only available in 5G trim, and while its MSRP is $700, it’s been going for $600 since launch, unlocked. An S20 5G, meanwhile, is $1000 (by the way, so is the S20+ 5G, because US).
In Europe, a 4G-only Fan Edition starts at around €630, with a €100 premium if you want the 5G variant. For the S20+ those numbers are €700+ and €900+ – from reputable retailers, that is. And if you have your eyes set on getting a Snapdragon in a Galaxy S20 on this continent, for one reason or another, it’s really just the Fan Edition 5G.
In India, you can’t officially get the 5G version, but the LTE flavor has a list price of INR50K. Compare that to INR78K for an S20+ and INR70K for an S20.
Yes, we meant pricing when we said context.
The closest you can get to the S20 FE’s price (and get it globally) is the OnePlus 8 – that one goes for $600/€650/INR45K. The Galaxy’s display goes up to 120Hz (90Hz on the OP) and it has a telephoto camera plus a microSD slot. The 8 has longer battery life and faster charging capability, but it’s not like the Galaxy is lacking in this respect.
If you’re in Europe and exploring the possibility for an S20 FE 5G, that puts the Asus Zenfone 7 on the table and it’ll get you wider 5G band coverage. More importantly, it’ll come with a flip up mechanism that brings unmatched main camera versatility to selfies.
A case could be made for the brand new Mi 10T Pro 5G. With a 144Hz display, 108MP main camera and a 5,000mAh battery it’s looking really promising on paper, and early impressions from the ongoing review process indicate it can deliver. This one, with 5G capability, is more affordable than the Galaxy S20 FE with no 5G.
A very smart buy if you’re in India is the iqoo 3. Starting at INR35K for a 4G variant (since there’s no 5G Fan Edition in India anyway), the iqoo 3 matches the S20 FE’s 8GB/128GB and has spectacular battery life, a headphone jack and a decent camera. The Galaxy does counter with other niceties like a microSD slot, IP68 rating, 120Hz display, and… well, overall superior camera. Hm, but you could grab the iqoo 3 5G and have next-gen connectivity, 12 gigs of RAM and 256GB of storage for 10% less than a 4G Fan Edition.
OnePlus 8 • Asus Zenfone 7 ZS670KS • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G • vivo iQOO 3 5G
Galaxy S20 FE money also buys you a Google Pixel 5, a flagship by name but a midranger at heart with an inferior chipset and a limiting camera system among other deficiencies. It does have wide 5G support, Google’s software and all that. We really wouldn’t, though. And we usually would or at least consider it.
This one is for the fans, isn’t it? But if you aren’t one already, the Galaxy S20 FE may very well convert you – a Samsung flagship at the core at a friendlier price.
A few concessions had to be made for the lighter price tag and it’s almost as if the least expensive one bugs us the most – the charger dates back to the Galaxy Note4 times. The plastic back isn’t as classy as the glass one on higher-end Galaxies, though this could be a con or pro, depending on where you stand. For whatever reason, we’re not finding the FE’s 4K recording up to the S20 standard. And lastly, the selfie camera isn’t the best Samsung can offer.
But that’s about it. The Fan Edition may not be a truly top-tier device by the book, but it’s got the key markings of one with just the right corners cut to meet a more appealing price point. It then represents amazing value – for a Galaxy in particular, but also against competing offerings. It’s got our recommendation.
IP68 rating for dust and water protection, variety of color options.
Smooth 120Hz Super AMOLED display.
Top-class battery life.
Getting the 5G version bags you a Snapdragon-powered Galaxy in Europe.
The ultra wide and tele cameras aren’t the downgrades they appear to be compared to the other S20s, the triple camera as a whole is mostly great.
Bundled with a slow 15W charger.
Plastic back looks fine but is the opposite of ‘premium’.
No AF for selfies, unreliable portrait mode on the front cam.
Almost as big as the Ultra, but not quite as camera-centric. Nearly identical to the vanilla, but with a plus-size screen, extra battery and a more premium touch. Yes, we’re talking about the middle option in the 2021 Samsung S-series roster, the Galaxy S21 Plus.
Plus stands for ‘more of it’, and the S21 Plus has a bigger display – at 6.7 inches in diagonal, it’s a lot closer to the Ultra’s 6.8 inches than it is to the S21 proper’s 6.2. Beyond the size, however, it’s more vanilla than it is Ultra – the resolution is 1080p, and the Adaptive refresh rate handling is the half-there variety, but Adaptive it is nonetheless.
There’s ‘more of it’ when it comes to battery capacity, and here, too, Plus aims for the Ultra – at 4,800mAh, it’s oh-so-close to the 5,000mAh of the top model. More importantly, perhaps, the middle option is the only one that’s gotten a battery upgrade this year.
The third area where the Galaxy S21 Plus differs from the S21 is the build. And here, from the vantage point of the S21 Plus, the choice of plastic for the S21’s back makes sense – this way, the Plus has one more thing going for it. Maybe.
Video capture:Rear camera: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps.
Battery: 4800mAh; Fast charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W, Reverse wireless charging 4.5W.
Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, ultrasonic); NFC; FM radio (Snapdragon model only; market/operator dependent); Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support), Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified), ANT+, Bixby natural language commands and dictation.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus unboxing
The Galaxy S21 Plus arrives in the same half-height box as the other high-end Galaxies for 2021 and, likely, from here on. When you don’t pack a charger and headphones, there’s no point in wasting cardboard, is there?
We’re not strictly against the disappearing chargers trend. There are charging stations in the office with QuickCharge 3.0 outputs, and those have been serving us well for several years now and will continue to do so. Additionally, between us, we’ve bought an assortment of USB Power Delivery adapters for personal use and the bulk of us likely fall in that group of people who won’t be needing new chargers with their next phone purchase. So there could be actual benefits to this, eventually. Perhaps the way the marketing teams have been sugarcoating the process is what’s been most annoying. Anyway, on to the design.
Samsung‘s early Galaxy release this year means the bulk of Android makers don’t have their 2021 offerings out yet. While the smaller S21 is more uniquely placed, for the Plus, it’s a bit harder to make comparisons in this transitional period since we can’t know how an upcoming Oppo Find X3 will perform, for example, plus its launch will lower the prices on the existing lineup. Same with the OnePlus 9/8 and Xiaomi Mi 11/10.
Still, we’ll try to figure out where the Galaxy S21 Plus stands in this current state of the market – say, you absolutely must buy a flagship smartphone by the end of the week.
At a cool $1000/€1050/£950, the Plus is anything but cheap. Next to it, the OnePlus 8 Pro looks almost like a bargain at $800/€800/£700. Sure, it may have last year’s chipset, but if you’re faced with an Exynos 2100 Galaxy, it’s not a massive leap over the OP’s SD865. Believe it or not, the 8 Pro has a better display in a more premium-looking body. Neither has industry-leading camera performance, but both will take great shots, battery life is a little better on the Galaxy, and charging is quicker on the OP. With Samsung dropping the expandable storage, the two are a tie, too. We wouldn’t get an OP8P today on account of the new generation being just around the corner, but it’s certainly looking a better deal than the S21 Plus right now.
The Zenfone 7 Pro isn’t as close to a replacement, and it’s great value at €700 – not available globally, though. Its unique rotating camera remains a central selling point, bringing main-camera-grade selfies, vlogging capabilities and whatnot. It’s plenty capable outside of the flipping mechanism, too – a large 90Hz OLED, one of the better implementations of the SD865+, solid battery life, and expandable storage. This would be tough to settle if they were the same price, but with the prospect of 30% savings, our money would be on the Zenfone. If you can get one where you reside, that is.
Normally more of an Ultra competitor, the Find X2 Pro’s approaching expiry date makes it a viable alternative to the S21 Plus, price-wise. It’ll get you a periscope for more reach than the Galaxy’s non-telephoto, but also a higher-res ultra-wide with AF – may be a better option for photography this one then. It’s got a better display, too, same as the OnePlus 8 Pro’s (don’t quote us on this one). The Find can’t match the Galaxy’s battery life, but it does charge twice as fast, so there’s that.
Seemingly the most obvious rival, however, and this is as up to date as it’s going to be, is the iPhone 12 Pro. Priced identically in the US and a bit more expensive in Europe $1000/€1150/£1000, the 12 Pro is in a similar position – one down from the best in the lineup. The Galaxy wins for battery life; the iPhone is a bit more compact and is rated to survive deeper water dives. Insert all the usual ecosystem considerations here.
OnePlus 8 Pro • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro ZS671KS • Oppo Find X2 Pro • Apple iPhone 12 Pro
But really, though – the Galaxy S21 Plus has so many rivals within the family that it doesn’t need outside competition. The smaller S21 is 20% cheaper and is essentially the same phone (well, smaller, which can be a good thing), only not quite the marathon runner in terms of battery life.
The S21 Ultra is bigger and more expensive but comes with a state-of-the-art camera setup and display. And if you’re dead set on the 6.7-inch diagonal, last year’s S20 Plus is in most ways as good as the S21 Plus and better in a bunch of areas (higher-res display, MicroSD slot, cheaper and lighter).
The extremes seem to make more sense than the middle option – S21 Plus between the S21 and the S21 Ultra
So you’ve probably figured out where this is leading us. The Galaxy S21 Plus is a great all-round package and has the smartphone pillars well propped up. Ultimately, however, it lacks a standout selling point. In our opinion, if you want a Galaxy, there are no less than three that each build a stronger case for themselves than the S21 Plus.
Nice color options, standout design, IP68 rating.
Bright AMOLED display with adaptive refresh rate handling.
Class-leading battery life.
Versatile triple camera setup (though essentially the same as last year’s).
Improved selfie camera performance.
Scant retail package – no charger or headphones.
Flat screen and thicker bezels lack a premium vibe, though some of you may find ergonomically nicer.
2021 chipsets aren’t meaningfully more powerful than last year’s.
No generational advancements in the camera department – lack of AF on the ultra wide stands out in particular, since the S21 Ultra has that.
Unpacking 2021 with a bang, we have the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G for you today. Samsung has rearranged its yearly release schedule to pull its high-end S-series reveal for January, and could there be a better way to kick off the year?
We did say ‘bang’, but it’s hardly the most thunderous of those – out of the trio of Galaxy S21 5G phones announced, we’ll now be presenting you the smallest, vanilla one. We also have the Ultra at the office, but you’ll need to wait a bit more for that – no event starts off with the headliner anyway.
For the second year in a row, Samsung unveils three phones as part of the spring flagship roster (even though it’s very much winter this time around, at least where we are). And, much like last time, there’s a very clear divide between the ultimate uncompromising Ultra and the two more restrained and down-to-earth ‘regular’ S phones. If anything, the gap has even widened.
The examples are plenty, some of them more significant than others. Take the displays for example. Unlike last year when all three phones had 1440p resolution panels, now only the Ultra gets the higher resolution, the ‘mainstream’ S21s stand at 1080p. All three screens were curved in 2020, now it’s just the Ultra. All three S20s had the same high-refresh rate implementation, now the Ultra gets a more advanced Adaptive mode than the other two.
How about the cameras? The S20 Ultra had a vastly superior setup than the other two, regardless of issues it might have had with realizing the full potential of all of its impressive hardware. Well, the S21 Ultra builds on top of that and comes with further improved internals in the imaging department. The S21 and S21 Plus, meanwhile, reuse last year’s bits. Hmm.
But there’s more. In the case of the small Galaxy S21 we have here, a final blow hurts the most – it’s got a plastic back. It’s hardly the end of the world, and we’ll go on to rationalize how that’s actually a good thing on the next page. But it goes to emphasize the further differentiation between the one true flagship and the others that stand below it. And then further down below it.
Some genes are shared among all in the family, after all. The chipset is the same on all three (still different from region to region, but that’s a whole other topic), all have the second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint reader from Qualcomm, as well as stereo speakers and IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. And no, none of them has a microSD slot, that one was most surprising.
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G specs at a glance:
Body: 151.7×71.2×7.9mm, 169g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), plastic back, aluminum frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins).
Video capture:Rear camera: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30fps.
Battery: 4000mAh; Fast charging 25W, USB Power Delivery 3.0, Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W, Reverse wireless charging 4.5W.
Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, ultrasonic); NFC; FM radio (Snapdragon model only; market/operator dependent); Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support), Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified), ANT+, Bixby natural language commands and dictation.
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G unboxing
Here it is, the high-end Galaxies’ new and improved (read ‘smaller’) retail box. Following in the footsteps of Apple, Samsung has chosen to remove the charger and headphones from the retail bundle, resulting in a more compact box.
Yes, yes, you’re supposed to already have chargers at home, so not including one with every phone should help reduce waste, plus the decreased shipping volume will lower the carbon footprint along the logistics chain. It’s a noble concept though somehow saving the environment still doesn’t feel like the key driving factor.
Having said that, at the S21 keynote, Samsung mentioned that adapters will now be sold at a reduced price, and this seems like a step in the right direction.
Anyway, what you are getting in the box is the phone itself and a USB-C-to-C cable. That sort of means you need to have a moderately contemporary USB PowerDelivery charger lying around, or a USB-A-to-C cable if you intend to use an adapter that doesn’t have a Type C out.
As it came to light around the iPhone 12 launch days, local regulations in France specifically mandate that all phones sold in the country come with a headset. So S21s in France will indeed ship with the usual set of AKG-branded earbuds we’ve gotten used to from Galaxies in recent years. Still no charger, though.
Galaxies like to compete with iPhones but with the ever-growing Apple lineup, which is the correct counterpart? Let’s say you like the smallest S21 5G for its size in particular – then perhaps the iPhone 12 mini could be even better being a full 2cm shorter and 30+ grams lighter, not to mention actually cheaper (by $70/€50/£70 for base storage).
Too diminutive? Then the iPhone 12 proper, at virtually the same size and weight as the S21, is a bit more expensive (€50/£30, actually the same price in the US). Now, at these prices, the iPhones will come with half the storage and one rear camera short but with a more powerful chipset. For most other things, it’ll be a toss-up.
Which is where the 12 Pro comes in, adding a zoom camera and matching the Galaxy for base storage. There’s but a nominal price premium to be paid over the Galaxy, to the tune of $200/€300/£230 – nah, we didn’t think so either.
Galaxy S21 5G money can buy you a OnePlus 8 Pro, and that’s looking like a solid deal if you can live with the added bulk – the OP is a full-size offering. Going that way, you’ll obviously get a bigger display, but also a superior ultra-wide camera and blazing fast charging (with adapter in the box too) and you really won’t be sacrificing anything.
Normally, around this time of the year, we’d be advising that you wait for whatever P-series handset Huawei might have in store, but at the present time, it’s telephona-non-grata in the Western world, so that’s a no-go. Google practically exited the smartphone master race with the Pixel 5, which is pretty much LG’s standing too.
That’s not really the end of the list, though. We’d argue that at this point, a Galaxy S20, not S21, is the one to get. A year older chipset is still easily powerful enough, the cameras are virtually the same, and its display is, in a way, better. The S20 got the latest Android/OneUI combo too, so it’s not trailing in this respect. It’s better in other ways, too – it’s got a microSD slot and a non-plastic back. Perhaps in day-to-day use, the S21 could return marginally better battery life, but the S20 comes with a charger, doesn’t it? Ah, it also comes with a 15-20% lower price tag, maybe even cheaper depending on where you are and how lucky you get.
S21 5G proper, the S-series Galaxy for compact phone lovers is predictably a very nice package. It’s got a display that’s hard not to love, battery life that won’t keep you tied to an outlet, and cameras that capture great images, all of it packaged in what’s Samsung‘s most daring design lately. Seemingly, however, that’s no longer enough.
It’s not that we don’t like the Galaxy S21 5G. On the contrary, we’re quite fond of its looks, and there’s proven substance beneath them. But maybe that’s the issue – it’s a little too proven. Last year’s S20 is in many ways superior, and even though the S21 launches at a lower MSRP, the year-old S20 can still be found for less while arguably offering more.
Nice color options, standout design, IP68 rating.
A fairly compact high-end device, not too many of those out there.
Bright AMOLED display with adaptive refresh rate handling.
Very good battery life.
Versatile triple camera setup (though essentially the same as last year’s).
Improved selfie camera performance.
Scant retail package – no charger or headphones.
Plastic back is at odds with the upmarket position.
Flat screen and thicker bezels lack a premium vibe, though some of you may find ergonomic benefits in them.
Benchmark numbers from the new chipset leave us wondering, we’ll need a 2021 Snapdragon for context.
No generational advancements in the camera department – lack of AF on the ultra wide stands out in particular, since the S21 Ultra has that.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is like a breath of fresh air in a world of behemoth smartphones with enormous displays. To be honest, we didn’t expect Samsung or any other manufacturer for that matter to release a compact flagship. Especially since even Sony dropped their compact lineup. But here it is – a small flagship phone for a little less than you’d expect from a normal flagship these days.
It’s nice to see Samsung keeping most of the high-end features in this little guy but for around €700, some corners had to be cut. For starters, you don’t get the telephoto lens, the bezels are a tad thicker and the under-display fingerprint has moved to the side frame. If you are willing to live without those, than the Galaxy S10e might be the right choice for you out of all three phones Galaxy S10s.
Samsung Galaxy S10e specs
Body: 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm, 150 grams, metal side frame, Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back.
Front camera: 10MP f/1.9, up to 2160p@30fps video recording.
Battery: 3,100mAh, adaptive fast charging 15W (9V/1.67A).
Connectivity: Single-SIM, Dual-SIM available in certain markets (hybrid slot); LTE-A, 7-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.20/13 (2Gbps/150Mbps); USB Type-C (v3.1); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/ax MU-MIMO; GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0.
Misc: Stereo loudspeakers, wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, IP68 rating dust and water protection.
But don’t mistake the Galaxy S10e for an upper-mid-range device. It’s still a flagship phone with a corresponding price tag although, a lot lower than the S10 or S10+ for that matter. You still get the flawless screen experience – as long as you don’t mind the punch-hole camera – the great camera, powerful Exynos 9820 (or the Snapdragon 855 depending on your region) and tons of proprietary Samsung features.
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S10e
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a retail unit so the phone didn’t come in its original box. However, we did receive the proper charger supporting fast charging output of 15W. We also got the AKG-branded buds, which sound great, by the way. It seems that all three Galaxies come with those AKGs. Kudos for that.
Competition in the mid-range might be tough, but the high-end segment has its difficulties too. And the Galaxy S10e doesn’t make it easier for some as well. We can even say it’s a rare beast to some extent – it’s one of the few compact flagships and it doesn’t break the bank too. To be honest, it was quite hard for us to think of adequate competitors, aside from the iPhone XR, which is the main rival here.
However, the Galaxy S10e fills a couple of niches – it’s a decently-priced compact flagship with the essential high-end features at hand. Almost all of its competitors are more expensive but let’s start with the most obvious one.
Samsung‘s answer to the “budget” iPhone XR is definitely the Galaxy S10e. Of course, the iPhone XR is a tad more expensive than the S10e in the US but asks considerably more in Europe or other parts of the world. But if you’ve reached a point where you have to decide between the iPhone XR and the Galaxy S10e, you probably don’t have a single clue on how big your phone should be. Both handsets look similar, but once you hold them in your hand, the Galaxy S10e just feels tiny. Mostly because of the skinny bezels. It’s just way easier to handle.
Battery life on the XR is about the same and raw performance is measurably higher, but that’s all. The S10e impresses with one the best in class AMOLED displays, it has a pretty good ultra-wide camera, while the iPhone XR relies on one unit, and the Galaxy S10e still offers the option to unlock it with a fingerprint. And when you weigh in the factor of ever-declining Android prices, the gap between the Galaxy S10e and the iPhone XR will just grow bigger over time. One would argue that if the iPhone XR is in your price range, the Galaxy S10 is actually the better choice.
But if you are strictly in the Android camp, or more specifically, in Samsung‘s party tent, you should consider the Galaxy S10. The price difference is around €100 (or slightly more depending on your region), but you get the fancy in-display ultrasonic fingerprint reader, a third telephoto camera and a bigger and curvier display.
For a little less, Xiaomi has two offers that can go under the “affordable flagship” label – the recently released Xiaomi Mi 9 and last year’s crowd favorite – the Pocophone F1. The Mi 9, despite being bigger in size and considerably less expensive, is closer to the Galaxy S10e than you’d think – a premium build, great AMOLED screen, long battery life, heavily-customized UI and powerful up to date hardware.
And as for the Pocophone F1, it’s the definition of “affordable flagship.” Although still rocking a Snapdragon 845, it can do almost everything the S10e can but lacks the sharp AMOLED screen and the excellent camera experience. But for the less pretentious users, the Pocophone F1 will save you a couple of hundred dollars.
If you are one of the old-school users looking for something new, and compactness is on the top of your list, you should also consider the Pixel 3 – a powerful stock Android alternative to the Galaxy S10e and depending on the current Google promotions, it can be less expensive or slightly above the Galaxy S10e. There’s also a big “if” with availability – Pixel availability is notoriously limited. But if all is good and you are willing to go with the Pixel, you should consider the bare bones Android experience and the single-camera module. That doesn’t mean it can’t do awesome shots, though.
Surely, there are better value propositions from flagship phones, but the Galaxy S10e packs the latest and greatest and it’s easy to handle with one hand. It has one of the best screens in the industry combined with a stellar camera experience, tons of cool software and hardware features and it’s still rocking that beloved 3.5mm audio jack. It’s one of the most feature-complete flagship devices out there, but there are a couple of things you’d have to deal with.
For example, the One UI might not be to everyone’s taste – it’s heavily-customized, and the navigation has changed a lot since the last Samsung UX iterations, and the high fingerprint reader placement requires too much of a thumb stretch. Even for a phone with this size, unlocking the handset using the side-mounted scanner feels like a chore.
Speaking of displacement, the punch-hole camera is an OCD-inducing design choice. Also, we still think that the hole is better off in the left corner, like the Honor View 20. We are still unsure how screen cutouts are any better than a notch, but we guess we are a step closer to full-screen design with sensors and cameras under the display.
And what’s with the ancient fast charging Samsung? Every other phone maker offers a more advanced fast charging system, regardless of whether proprietary or not.
So this phone is not without its shortcomings. But do we recommend the Galaxy S10e? In a heartbeat. We see it becoming one of the best value high-end smartphones shortly, once the price starts to drop. As long as you don’t care about those over-the-top fancy features like the in-display fingerprint reader, the Galaxy S10e could be your trusty sidekick for years ahead.
One of the few compact flagships out there.
Impeccable build quality, premium materials, great colors.
Stellar camera experience with a few minor exceptions.
Decent battery life, better than the Galaxy S10
Fingerprint reader is placed inconveniently high.
The ultra-wide angle camera needs autofocus.
The camera Night mode is lackluster.
Samsung’s fast charging tech is not competitive in speed.
A recent trend we’re seeing with flagship phones is that they now come in threes. So whereas in the past a Plus model was the best of the litter, now it’s either a Max or in the case of the S20 – an Ultra. We already reviewed this one and now it’s time for the S20 Plus which is the middle option for a high-end Samsung in 2020.
Being a middle option, it misses out on the Ultra’s unique camera system and shares the same setup with the vanilla S20 – okay, the Plus adds a ToF module. Other than that small detail, the S20 Plus is essentially the same phone as the S20, only bigger.
Which isn’t a bad thing – if you’re a fan of large screens and find the S20 too small but the Ultra too expensive and camera focused, the Plus is here for you. At 6.7 inches in diagonal, it’s closer in size to the ultimate flagship than it is to what could be called the ‘compact’ 6.2-inch S20.
With the bigger display, a bump in battery capacity is another difference in the S20 Plus vs. S20 specsheets – not many of these, but the ones that are there matter.
Here’s a quick refresher on the hardware and some of the key features of the S20 Plus before we move on.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus Specs
Body: 161.9×73.7×7.8mm, 186g; curved Gorilla Glass 6 front and back, metal frame; IP68 rating; Cosmic Grey, Cloud Blue, Cloud Pink, Cloud White, Aura Red color schemes.
Video recording: Rear camera: 8K 4320p@24fps, 4K 2160p@30/60fps, FullHD 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps. Front camera: 4K 2160p@30/60fps, FullHD 1080p@30/60fps.
Battery: 4,500mAh, 25W fast charging support over Power Delivery 3.0 (25W charger supplied in the box).
Misc: Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging 15W; Power bank/Reverse wireless charging 9W; Ultra-sonic under-display fingerprint reader; NFC; FM radio (USA & Canada only); Stereo loudspeakers; Samsung DeX support (desktop experience).
As is commonly the case, we’re reviewing the Exynos version of the Galaxy S20 Plus. It’s also in 4G-only spec – a 5G-capable variant is also available, but since we don’t have access to a 5G network anyway, it makes little difference to us and to the findings in this review.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus unboxing
The Galaxy S20 Plus comes in the standard Samsung flagship-grade packaging. That means a sturdy black box with not much in terms of frills. There is a bold S20, spilling over to the sides if that counts as an accent.
What certainly counts are the contents. You get a 25W charger that is USB PowerDelivery compliant and a USB-C-to-C cable to go with it. A headset is also included and it too has a USB-C port – there’s no 3.5mm jack on this Samsung.
We were pleasantly surprised when we unboxed the Galaxy S20 Ultra to find a silicone protective case. Well, that’s not the case with the S20 Plus, as it wasn’t with the S20 proper – you’ll need to provide your own protection.
In this year’s Samsung high-end trio, the Ultra is the no-compromise option with a camera system unlike any other on the market. At the same time, the other two S20s downgrade to a different setup but keep virtually everything the same. In these new circumstances where it isn’t the absolute best, the S20 Plus has little more than sheer size going for it over the S20 so your choice boils down to screen size preference.
At some €100 more than the vanilla model, the Plus’s better battery life, and the larger display may well be worth it for the right audience. The Ultra, on the other hand, would require a significant stretch of your budget compared to the S20 Plus – some €300+ extra will buy you the ultimate camera setup, and… that’s about it. And €300 can get you an extra phone – a pretty good midranger at that.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G • Samsung Galaxy S20
Looking outside of the S20 family, it’s probably the iPhone 11 Pro Max that is the S20 Plus‘s immediate competitor. Of the things you can objectively compare between the two, the Galaxy has the better display, leads in the camera department, is more compact and lighter, and is less expensive by about 20% (in Europe and most of the world, but not in the US, where prices are mostly comparable). Going into the intangibles, the iPhone’s software experience and the ability to command a certain brand loyalty can overcome all of the above.
Two important new releases are due any day, which will likely increase the S20 plus‘s competitor count. One of these is the Huawei P40 Pro (maybe even Pro Premium) – it will be missing Google support, and that’s its major drawback from a western perspective, but you’re not reliant on the Google suite for one reason or another it could be a viable alternative. The other would-be rival is the OnePlus 8 Pro, which we’re expecting to feature similar hardware to the Galaxy S20 Plus but at a lower price.
Samsung‘s 2020 flagship roster seems easy to figure out. If you want the ultimate phone and money is no object, you go for the Galaxy S20 Ultra. If you’re looking to spend a more sensible amount of money and you can live with an excellent camera, yet knowing there’s a better one, the Galaxy S20 is your phone. The S20 Plus doesn’t appear to fit into any of these straightforward recommendations.
After a little extra consideration, the Plus can still make a compelling case for itself against the S20. The significantly larger display may be enough for the right customer, while carrier subsidies could shrink the price difference from the nominal $200/€100 to something more appealing. And as is usually the case, if you’re not in a hurry, you could wait for a month or two, and the prices are very likely to come down a little, perhaps the Plus more so than the
Excellent build quality and bill of materials. IP68 rating.
Familiar, yet modernized design and control layout.
Superb 120Hz AMOLED display.
Best battery life of the trio, speedy charging solutions, incl. a 25W charger in the box.
Very good stereo speaker setup.
Excellent flagship performance.
Versatile triple camera setup, with impressive image quality and consistency.
The fingerprint sensor performance is behind the competition.
The body gets hot under load and the CPU throttles considerably.
Zoom camera is not as sharp as the S20 Ultra’s at 4x or 10x.
Up to this point, OnePlus has climbed its way up from the high-end budget phone to the fully-fledged flagship. The brand once called its phone the “Flagship Killer”, and the OnePlus 8 Pro has become the very thing that the company initially aimed to dethrone.
Surely, the smartphone landscape has changed over the past several years. There are now so many contenders in the sub-$500 and sub-$400 price that the company has shifted its focus to creating a more prestigious brand name. With this iteration, the company has presented itself with an updated all-CAPS “ONEPLUS” typeface and tweaked “1+” logo.
Now with the OnePlus 8 Pro, the company thinks it has what it takes to compete in the flagship category at the $1000 price mark. Well, technically – the OnePlus 8 Pro starts at $900. The OnePlus 7 Pro was a strong seller, but will OnePlus have just as much success in a higher price bracket?
The 8 Pro has an impressive spec sheet: high-end CPU, 10-bit high-end AMOLED screen, Warp Charge 30T, and for the first time from OnePlus: support for wireless charging and even reverse-wireless charging for sharing juice with an accessory or a to give some juice to a friend.
OnePlus 8 Pro specs:
Body: 165.3 x 74.35 x 8.5 mm; 199g; metal frame; “3D Corning” Gorilla Glass 5 back
That high-end display is of the 120Hz variety – and it’s a panel made by Samsung. OnePlus is promising near-perfect color accuracy, over 1 billion colors, and the brightest output of any display it has ever put in a smartphone. The smoothness of the still-higher refresh rate display is the company’s way of staying ahead of the trends – which could be an advantage in markets like the US where the company has a presence.
There’s a new camera system with the notable larger Sony IMX 689 sensor behind the quad-camera’s main lens. The ultrawide camera gets a larger sensor as well, but the telephoto camera remains pretty much the same as the OnePlus 7T. OnePlus has a new “Color filter camera” whose long-term usefulness remains to be seen.
OnePlus has further refined its Android skin, Oxygen OS with new icons, and its revamped its UI’s animations for the 120Hz experience. Oxygen OS offers a stock-Android like experience, close to that of a Google Pixel, and OnePlus is known for its speedy turnaround when it comes to firmware updates.
OnePlus is the only high-end Chinese brand available from three of the four major US carriers – and many American consumers might be clueless of the brand’s existence in a market where Apple, Samsung, and Google are the most known (and most advertised) brands.
We always praise OnePlus for its packaging. The high-quality cardboard materials, and soft-touch red finish make a very good first impression. Our review unit doesn’t have the new all-CAPS name on the side, but it does have the updated “1+” logo.
Taking the lid off the long red box, we’re greeted by the OnePlus 8 Pro in Ultramarine Blue with a pre-installed factory screen protector. A notice on the plastic wrapper recommends using official OnePlus screen protectors for best compatibility of the in-display fingerprint scanner.
The cardboard cradle that holds the 8 Pro in place is also a box where the phone’s documentation is held, along with a SIM tool, welcome letter, and quick start guide. The words “Never Settle” sit below the smartphone as you unbox it – reminding us of the company’s long-time motto. Beneath this phone cradle is an included clear case to show off that deep blue color, and the Warp Charge 30T adapter and cable.
Now that we’ve seen what’s inside the box, head to the next page where we’ll spend some time talking about the phone’s design, ergonomics, and build quality.
This is the first time OnePlus has ever made any of its devices this expensive. As such, we’ll try to pair it up against other flagships that are near or over a grand. In the US, the only way to purchase the 8 Pro is unlocked from OnePlus (the OnePlus 8 is sold directly from carriers) and that’s not a great strategy if it is trying to convince consumers that they should buy OnePlus over Samsung or Apple.
In any case, let’s look through alternative devices. Starting with the LG V60, both devices are priced similarly at $899, but the 8 Pro is more equipped with features than the V60. Both are about the same in video quality, but LG’s camera experience is certainly more polished and offers far more advanced video and audio controls.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the largest iPhone that Apple makes and the display on the 8 Pro is superior in almost every way. Of course, iOS is a completely different landscape with similar image quality – though the iPhone doesn’t use a high-resolution camera sensor. The iPhone’s ultrawide camera doesn’t have autofocus either.
Cameras and software aside, it would be difficult to convince an iOS user to switch to a OnePlus device, unless they are already looking outside of the iOS ecosystem from boredom or desire for something more exciting.
The Galaxy S20+ might be a worthy alternative for the 8 Pro, though it’s certainly more expensive. Ironically, Samsung’s flagship no longer has a dual-curved display while the 8 Pro has the curviest display yet. Samsung’s One UI Android skin can be an acquired taste for some who might prefer a more stock-Android appearance like that of a Google Pixel phone.
Though they are distant cousins, the Oppo Find X2 Pro and the 8 Pro have similar DNA (the two brands are sister companies, after all). Although its more expensive, the Oppo Find X2 Pro has a stronger emphasis on photography prowess with its periscope telephoto camera. There’s also the luxurious Vegan leather option, as well.
If you’re in the US, chances are you’ve never heard of Oppo before – since the company has no presence in the American market.
Another device you won’t find the US, the Huawei P40 Pro is the latest flagship from Huawei, also with an emphasis on photography and imaging. Still cursed with last year’s US-Huawei ban, the brand makes a compelling phone that can’t be used with Google Services – which could be a deal breaker for many consumers in Western markets.
Xiaomi’s latest flagship is in a similar situation as the 8 Pro: it has shed away its midrange, high-value image and presents itself as a proper flagship with a flagship price to match. The Mi 10 Pro 5G is certainly well-spec’d on paper and its 108MP camera rivals the 8 Pro‘s overall camera experience.
The OnePlus 8 Pro‘s predecessors are still worthy alternatives to the 8 Pro. Depending on the market, the 5G version of the OnePlus 7T Pro (McLaren Edition @ T-Mobile in the US) is just as expensive as the 8 Pro’s entry price, but if you’re looking for a much cheaper option, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a great smartphone that’s aged very well over the last year.
It can be found around half the price of the 8 Pro, which is a nice trade-off if 5G isn’t a priority. The 7 Pro was one of our favorite smartphones of 2019 around the office.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is now a fully featured flagship worth a pretty penny. This is certainly a departure from OnePlus‘ original image of high-performance for low cost. With every passing iteration, OnePlus continued to build on its previous device’s success and even if it did sometimes hype our expectations, it has consistently improved in many areas throughout the years.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is a solid smartphone packed with a well-improved camera and all the top features that you’d expect from a flagship like reverse wireless charging, stereo speakers, and a top-of-the-line display with 120Hz refresh rate. Top performance from the Snapdragon 865 and 5G connectivity are must-haves in this space, but where OnePlus is no longer competing is in the very space it began.
Bright and beautiful smooth display
Premium design and build quality with IP rating and soft-touch finish
Great camera all-around
It has the fastest Snapdragon chipset on board
Oxygen OS is snappy and gets frequent updates
Loud stereo speakers
Warp Wireless charging is super-fast
MEMC Motion smoothing feature is inconsistent
Warp wireless charger is expensive
Still no always-on display out of the box
No expandable memory
Not available directly from US carriers
Color filter camera is meh
Ultrawide camera’s low-light performance is not great
OnePlus is a perfect example of the notion: “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” and this is exactly what the company has done with the 8 Pro. It’s managed to become the very thing the company initially set out to defeat. It did call its phones “Flagship killers” for a while. These days, there is so much more competition in the category that OnePlus first started in, that it would rather compete at the flagship level with the big boys.
And they have succeeded in this endeavor. The OnePlus 8 Pro is a high-end smartphone worth considering. The company’s attention to detail in software, packaging, and design make their brand worth being a fan of.
Launching at €599, the OnePlus 8T is shaping up as an excellent premium mid-ranger with a slew of flagship features – a 120Hz Fluid AMOLED, the latest Snapdragon 865 chip, a promising quad-camera with improved low-light performance, stereo speakers, and probably OnePlus best achievement yet – a larger battery with blazing-fast Warp Charge at 65W.
At the company’s fall event this year, a Pro model was a notable absentee. This is because the company keeps the 8 Pro as its ongoing flagship device, and it won’t be getting a refresh until 2021.
The OnePlus 8 needed the update, so we won’t object to this strategic move. We doubt many OnePlus 8 owners are thinking of switching, but it makes the two current offerings that much more desirable for anyone in the market for a new phone.
If we compare it with the OnePlus 8, the 8T is getting a 120Hz OLED vs. 90Hz. At the same time, its main camera gets a brighter aperture for the main camera, an even wider ultra-wide lens, and an additional depth camera. Finally, you get a 4,500mAh battery with 65W charging vs. 4,300mAh and 30W charging. Okay, these are not the wildest upgrades we’ve seen, but for they are enough to make the cheaper OnePlus devices in the duo desirable again.
The €600 smartphone segment is already oversaturated, and it is the place where the flagship killers come to win big or die trying. With the OnePlus being the company that coined the term, its cheaper non-Pro models are burdened with the impossible task to defend the title. As long as they don’t kill the company’s own flagship, of course.
The OnePlus 8T is the first phone to come with the OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11 out of the box. Many of the recent OnePlus phones are getting the update, too, but being first is a title that only the 8T can claim.
Let’s take a closer look at the specs sheet. There aren’t many changes, but it is a flagship-like list, and we like what we are seeing.
OnePlus 8T specs:
Body: 160.7×74.1×8.4mm, 188g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass), glass back (Gorilla Glass), aluminum frame; Colors: Aquamarine Green, Lunar Silver.
The OnePlus 8T is not water-resistant, not unless you are getting the T-Mobile exclusive OnePlus 8T+ 5G model, which is the same phone but with IP68 certification. Don’t sigh just yet – the OnePlus 8T does comes with many, if not all, seals and protections the T-Mobile model has. It will most probably survive a water drop, too.
The bright red Never Settle box is already here, and the excitement is building up. The OnePlus 8T may not be among the more interesting updates this year, but c’mon – look at this sweet reviewers’ package!
And now that you’ve seen what we got, here is what you are getting if you choose to buy the OnePlus 8T.
Unboxing the OnePlus 8T
The OnePlus 8T comes packed in what’s already a signature long red box. Inside, you will find your new 8T, be it the glossy Aquamarine Green or the frosted Lunar Silver, and a transparent Never Settle case.
Digging deeper, you will also see the 65W Warp Charger and its thick and red USB-C-to-C cable. The charger also supports USB-PD, so you can use it to charge other devices such as laptops, consoles, tablets, and smartphones.
Finally, there is this paper compartment, where you’d find some paperwork and a bunch of OnePlus stickers.
The OnePlus 8T has enough novelties to be worthy of the T insignia. We are impressed with the new 65W Warp Charge, and we love the new 120Hz screen. The Fluid AMOLED is 100% worthy of its name, and the new Oxygen 11 is truly a feast for the eyes. Once you see how smooth and fast it runs, you just can’t go back.
And that’s about it. The rest is pretty much OnePlus 8 material – same chipset, speakers, fingerprint scanner, camera. Indeed, even with the minor updates, the camera isn’t on par with the recent premium mid-rangers we’ve seen, let alone the flagship crop. It is a good setup, yes, but the quality hasn’t been improved that much since the Series 7, and the lossless zoom is probably the only thing that deserves praise.
The OnePlus 8T is a terrific deal – it is reasonably priced at €600, and there is a good chance many will choose an 8T (€600) instead of the 8 Pro (€780). But we don’t see many OnePlus 8 owners switching to the T. And that’s fine. The T series are mid-season updates that usually targets last-year buyers.
The recently launched Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro is the biggest threat to the OnePlus 8T and vice versa. Both devices cost €600 and offer HRR screens, the latest Snapdragon 865 chips, UFS3.1 storage, high-end cameras, and large batteries. The Mi 10T Pro has a 144Hz display, but it’s an LCD unit. It also offers a higher-resolution main camera with 8K video capturing and better quality across the board. Meanwhile, the 8T has a 120Hz OLED and faster charging. MIUI or Oxygen? LCD or OLED? 33W or 65W? It’s up to you, but we can bet you will be happy with either.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is also a great alternative with an equally impressive 120Hz OLED, similar performance, and battery life. However, it is IP68-rated for dust and water resistance and offers better camera quality and a proper 3x tele camera. The FE may not be that fast to charge, but it also trumps the 8T with wireless charging and reverse charging options (both wired and wireless). The 4G Galaxy S20 FE is priced like the OnePlus 8T, while its 5G version is €100 more.
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
The OnePlus 8T is one of these offers we usually call a smart choice. It is a premium mid-ranger at an attractive price that offers a superb pick of flagship features – the screen, the SoC, the charging. The camera may not seem like a winner – it is not disappointing, but it’s not ideal either.
OnePlus has just started offering IP68-rated designs, but this is reserved only for its Pro flagships for now. At least the 8T has some protection, which will give you some peace of mind.
Our only real issue is that OnePlus is forcing a 60fps cap on most of the games and all video players and services. Whether this is done for performance, or heat protection, or battery saving – it doesn’t matter – the user should have had more control over this high refresh rate feature.
Other than that, while not perfect, the OnePlus 8T is easily likable. It might even be love at first sight if you spent 10 minutes with its fluid Oxygen and fluid screen. We can’t recommend it to any OnePlus 8 user, but we can encourage everyone else looking for a €600 or so phone – it is definitely among our top three picks, along with the Mi 10T Pro and the Galaxy S20 FE.
Excellent 120Hz AMOLED display
Incredibly fast charging, versatile bundled fast charger
Dependable battery life
Versatile camera, good day and night quality
Excellent UI performance
No water/dust resistance rating
No wireless charging
Most games locked to 60Hz
The camera processing could benefit from some improvements