Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T: Which budget flagship will win? – Tom’s Guide

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Flagship phones might be getting more expensive, but some companies are making a concerted effort to release high-end devices at relatively more affordable prices. Samsung and OnePlus are among those leading the charge, as the recently-unveiled Galaxy S20 FE (that stands for Fan Edition) and upcoming OnePlus 8T look to offer top-tier specs and compelling feature sets for around the $700 mark.

While Samsung has completely revealed the Galaxy S20 FE ahead of its Oct. 2 ship date, the OnePlus 8T won’t officially launch until Oct. 14. Of course, that hasn’t stopped leakers from sharing a wealth of rumored (and in some cases, confirmed) specs surrounding the highly-anticipated device. 

Our Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T face-off will tell you exactly what buyers can expect to get from each reasonably-priced, soon-to-be-released Android flagship.

Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T: Price and release date

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Image credit: Samsung)

The Galaxy S20 FE costs $699 and is available to preorder now; you can find it in stores Oct. 2, either unlocked or through most carriers. The phone comes in a single configuration with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, though owners can expand that storage capacity by up to 1TB with a microSD card. The S20 FE also comes in six colors, from orange to lavender to navy, which is likely more shades than the OnePlus 8T will be sold in.

OnePlus hasn’t revealed the price of its upcoming device, though we expect it to cost either $699, like the OnePlus 8 before it, or perhaps as much as $749, given that OnePlus typically tacks on a slight premium for its “T” versions of phones. OnePlus doesn’t allow for expandable storage in its devices, and so we assume a higher-capacity, 256GB variant will be offered in addition to a base model, perhaps for an extra $100 as was the case with the OnePlus 8. We’ll know more when the OnePlus 8T is revealed at OnePlus’ Oct. 14 launch event.

Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE OnePlus 8T (rumored)
Price $699 $699-$749
Display 6.5-inch OLED (2400×1800; 120Hz) 6.55-inch OLED (2400×1800; 120Hz)
Processor Snapdragon 865 Snapdragon 865 or 865 Plus
RAM 6GB 8GB, 12GB
Storage 128GB 128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras 12MP main (ƒ/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2), 8MP telephoto with 3x zoom (ƒ/2.4) 48MP wide, 16MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 2MP depth
Front camera 32MP 32MP
Battery 4,500 mAh 4,500 mAh
Size 6.29 x 2.93 x 0.33 inches TBA
Weight 6.7 ounces TBA

Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T: Design and display

OnePlus 8T render

OnePlus 8T render (Image credit: Pricebaba/Steve Hemmerstoffer)

From a size and display standpoint, the Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8T appear to be quite similar. Both have full-HD OLED screens measuring about 6.5 inches from corner to corner — a detail OnePlus has already confirmed about its phone.

To be more precise, the OnePlus 8T’s panel will measure 6.55 inches, unchanged from the OnePlus 8. There will also be a slight curve to the left and right sides of the display glass that you won’t find on the flatter Galaxy S20 FE.

We also know that both the Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8T have 120Hz refresh rates, for smoother animations that will be especially evident when scrolling or playing games.

While OnePlus hasn’t shared official images of the OnePlus 8T quite yet, leaked renders from Steve Hemmerstoffer (@OnLeaks) and Indian tech retailer Pricebaba illustrate a device that looks quite similar to the Galaxy S20 FE across the front and back. One slight difference is the location of the phones’ respective hole-punch front-facing cameras — the Galaxy stashes its selfie shooter in the top center, while the OnePlus 8T has it lodged in the top-left corner.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Image credit: Samsung)

Turning to the rear, it seems the OnePlus 8T will echo the Galaxy S20 FE’s vertical rectangular camera module, though OnePlus’ device may feature an extra lens compared to Samsung’s (more on that later).

One critical design difference, however, concerns the materials employed. While we expect the OnePlus 8T to utilize a glass back, like the OnePlus 8 before it, the Galaxy S20 FE employs reinforced polycarbonate for the back encircled by a metal frame. Having extensively used the plastic-clad Galaxy Note 20, I can say that I personally don’t expect this to be a huge loss on Samsung’s newest device.

The Galaxy S20 FE, like Samsung’s pricier Galaxy flagships, happens to be rated IP68 water resistant. History tells us we shouldn’t expect to see a similar designation on the OnePlus 8T, as OnePlus claims it tests all its products for water resistance, but doesn’t usually cite an official IP rating, supposedly as a way of keeping costs down for its phone. The OnePlus 8T also will not support wireless charging, while the Galaxy S20 FE can both charge itself and other Qi-compatible devices wirelessly.

Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

(Image credit: Samsung)

Whether you opt for the Galaxy S20 FE or OnePlus 8T, you’ll get a multi-lens rear camera. However, the type of the optics themselves differ.

The Galaxy S20 FE goes with the tried-and-true approach of incorporating a primary 12MP wide-angle lens, a 12MP ultrawide lens and an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom.

Conversely, the OnePlus 8T is rumored to continue along the path the OnePlus 8 started, according to specs shared by Pricebaba. That means we could see a 48MP main lens and 16MP ultrawide once again, alongside new 5MP macro and 2MP depth sensors. A 32MP camera is expected to handle selfie duties up front, which happens to be exactly the same resolution of the Galaxy S20 FE’s selfie cam.

At the outset, having one telephoto lens with a true optical zoom advantage seems more useful than a pair of macro- and portrait-focused cameras that you’ll probably use less often. Nevertheless, we’ll reserve final judgment until we’ve gotten our hands on both phones.

While Samsung’s camera software has seen marked improvement over the last year or so, OnePlus still has some work to do, as evidenced by the cool, washed out photos we captured using the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro when those devices launched in the spring. It’s not something that can be solved with more megapixels or optics alone — computational photography has just as much to do with it, and ultimately we’ll have to wait and see if OnePlus has found a way to extract better looking images from the OnePlus 8T’s wealth of sensors.

Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T: Performance

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Image credit: Samsung)

Here’s another area where the Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8T look to match each other. Both of these phones are sure to feature top-line processors in the form of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 CPU.

What’s unclear is whether OnePlus will go a step further with the 8T, and incorporate the slightly-newer, slightly-overclocked Snapdragon 865 Plus. This is the chipset found inside Samsung’s more recent premium handsets, like the Galaxy Note 20, though it’s absent in the cheaper Galaxy S20 FE.

The gulf in power between the standard 865 and 865 Plus isn’t massive, though OnePlus has made a habit of living on the bleeding edge of hardware with its product releases. Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 865 Plus make its way into the OnePlus 8T.

To get an idea of how the two processors compare in terms of raw performance, the 865-toting Galaxy S20 notched 3,147 points in the multi-core portion of the system-wide Geekbench 5 test, while the more recent 865 Plus-equipped Galaxy Note 20 Ultra hit 3,294 points. A difference of 150 points in a test like Geekbench 5 typically doesn’t translate to a noticeable discrepancy in day-to-day performance. In other words, whichever 865 silicon OnePlus selects, we’re not too concerned.

In terms of RAM, the Galaxy S20 FE features just 6GB, which is admittedly on the low end for modern Android flagships. The OnePlus 8 came with 8GB standard, which was increased to 12GB in the pricier variant that also offered 256GB of storage. We expect the OnePlus 8T to at least continue the 8GB RAM trend, perhaps with the higher capacity configuration also carrying a similar bump in memory.

Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T: Battery

OnePlus 8T Warp Charge 65

A teaser image from OnePlus advertising the OnePlus 8T’s new Warp Charge 65 capability. (Image credit: OnePlus)

If the OnePlus 8T has any advantage over the Galaxy S20 FE, it could be down to the battery. While both of these devices have been confirmed to pack 4,500-mAh batteries, only the OnePlus 8T supports and comes with a 65-watt charger. The Galaxy S20 FE supports 25W peak charging speed, yet ships with a humble 15W brick in the box.

Using OnePlus’ Warp Charge 65 technology, the company claims the 8T can reach a 58% charge in just 15 minutes and a full charge in 39 minutes. That’s impressive, considering some of the most expensive phones on sale today can’t even reach 58% in a half hour. On the flip side, if you prefer to charge without being tethered, only the Galaxy S20 FE supports wireless charging between the pair.

Galaxy S20 FE vs OnePlus 8T: Outlook

The Galaxy S20 FE and OnePlus 8T are certainly similar in more ways than they’re different. It’s those few differences that will decide the outcome of this Galaxy S20 FE vs. OnePlus 8T face-off, once we’ve had the opportunity to use both phones.

The OnePlus 8T could end up being slightly more powerful than Samsung’s offering, particularly if OnePlus opts for that newer Snapdragon 865 Plus processor. It’s also likely to charge considerably faster. However, the Galaxy S20 FE should be more widely available through carriers, and we know it’ll offer expandable storage, wireless charging and certified water resistance. Plus, given Samsung’s recent track record, we expect the Galaxy S20 FE to win the camera round as well.

At least, those are our predictions for this battle among modestly-priced Android flagships. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for our final verdict.

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