Samsung today introduced another entry to its S20 smartphone lineup, a budget-priced $699 edition that has many of the features of the top of the line $1,399 Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The new FE, which stands for "Fan Edition," has two big differences: a cheaper plastic body and fewer camera features than the Ultra.
Additionally, while there is connectivity to the new speedy 5G wireless networks, consumers will be charged have to pay $50 more for the edition that works with Verizon Wireless. (However, the carrier has thrown in a $50 discount at launch.) The phone will released on Oct. 2.
With four new editions of the Apple iPhone expected in October, Bob O'Donnell, an analyst with Technalysis, calls Samsung's move a "preemptive strike," against Apple to keep in the spotlight. "It's a logical way for them to make a statement about 5G before Apple does," he says.
The S20 lineup was first introduced in March, with a range of three, 5G-capable phones starting at $999.
Beyond Apple, Google is also slated to introduce a new edition of its flagship Pixel 5 phone on Sept. 30, which is also expected to connect to 5G networks.
While Samsung is positioning the FE as a budget phone, it's considerably more expensive than Apple's lowest-priced iPhone, the $399 SE, or Google's $349 Pixel 4A. However, neither connects to 5G.
Samsung also has the A series budget lineup of phones. But the top-of-the-line A71, which sells for $599—and works with 5G—has a less powerful processor than the new FE and a higher refresh rate of 120Hz versus 60Hz, which means that video and games load quicker. The FE camera has 3X optical zoom, compared to 5X on the Ultra. Optical is true zoom, compared to lower-resolution digital zoom, which basically just crops the image and blows it up.
The FE also has a smaller screen, 6.5 inches, compared to 6.9 inches on the Ultra and comes in six colors: red, orange, lavender, mint, navy and white.
Beyond the S lineup additions, Samsung recently released a new edition of the full-size Galaxy Note 20, starting at $1,299 and the Galaxy Z Fold 2, selling for $2,000. The Fold phone, when un-folded, becomes like a quasi tablet, and the Note20 has a giant 6.9 screen and a companion stylus.
As we are deep into the fourth quarter and electronics selling season, other new additions include Facebook's Oculus Quest 2, an updated virtual reality gaming system, announced last week, and new editions of the Xbox and PlayStation gaming systems, which have quickly sold out in pre-orders. Thursday Amazon will unveil its holiday lineup on Alexa devices.
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