Samsung Galaxy A20e Review: A Great Bang For Your Buck
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Last week, my sister got herself a new smartphone: the Samsung Galaxy A20e. At first, I didn't bother to play with it. After all, it wasn't even the smartphone that I had recommended her to buy. But after helping her set it up, I began to change my mind about it. Nowadays, you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a decent smartphone. Here's why:
Let me start by stating that this is indeed an entry-level smartphone, and it lacks almost all those gimmick features that a flagship (or even a mid-range phone) can offer. Even so, you'll get an octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage (which is more than enough for most apps and games on the Google Play Store), although no AMOLED display. But at least it is arguably a nice looking smartphone with a 5.8-inch infinity display.
Galaxy A20e Price
Priced between $150 and $200, it usually sits between the A20 and the A30/A40.
Although being more focused on the European market, you can still find it in other countries like in the US.
Galaxy A20e Specs
Galaxy A20e Cameras
To my surprise, this entry-level smartphone comes with two main cameras: a 13-MP camera with an f/1.9 aperture and a 5 MP ultra-wide-angle (123 degrees) lens with an f/2.2 aperture. The selfie camera has a resolution of 8 MP and an aperture of f/1.9.
Photos mostly have good contrast and punchy colors for an entry-level phone, but the A20e is missing optical (and even digital) image stabilization, unlike its big brothers. However, it has an above-average camera for such an affordable phone, no doubt in part to the fast f/1.9 lens used. Samsung even went the extra mile of adding the ability to take photos in HDR.
You can also add AR stickers, stamps, and filters on your selfies.
If you stick to well-lit environments, this camera will not disappoint you. However, it's when the lights go out that we get to know what every camera is made of.
Have you ever been to a Christmas play at your kids' school?
That's the perfect scenario to test this boy out. Here's a photo with some crop, and about 2x of digital zoom:
And here's a 1:1 crop.
Here's a comparison from a 2018 mid-range Nokia 7 Plus:
I know what you are thinking: This low-end Samsung can beat a mid-end Nokia, right?
Well, let me bring you the specs: The 7 plus photo was taken with a shutter speed of 1/200 (f/1.75) @ ISO 1600 to avoid being ruined by any subject's movement, at the expense of some extra blur. The A20e photo is the best one out of twenty and was taken with a shutter speed of 1/15 @ ISO 400, which means that the slightest movement from my hands or any of the subjects would have ruined it (as it did with most of the other 19 photos). Plus, the Nokia has a 2x optical zoom, which is a blessing low light conditions.
Just for reference, this is what the 2017 flagship Samsung S8 plus can do with a shutter speed of 1/10 (f/1,7) @ ISO 320:
Here's another 1:1 crop example, now with no digital zoom. From the left to the right (or up/down): A20e, ISO 40, 1/100; S8, ISO 40, 1/100; 7 Plus, ISO 100, 1/112 with 2x optical zoom resized to 1x and then with no resize.
You can clearly see that it hasn't the sharpness of the S8, but it isn't too far behind the Nokia 7 Plus either.
When it comes to macros, Samsung didn't bother to provide a small depth of field, like on the S8 (which doesn't have a dedicated depth sensor either), but I leave that to everyone's personal taste.
If you want to check these macros out, click on them for a full resolution preview.
Galaxy A20e Battery Life
Its 3,000mAh battery should be able to get you through the day, but if you have to make a pit-stop for a quick charge, you can count on its 15W Fast Charging capability, allowing you quickly get a boost and be on your way.
You can theoretically get from a single charge, up to 61 hours of audio playback time, 13h of 3G internet usage time, 15h for LTE and Wi-Fi, 14h for video playback, and 19 hours for talk time in a 3G network.
What this means is that if you're not a heavy smartphone user, you'll effortlessly get 40 hours of battery life.
Galaxy A20e OS and Software
The new Galaxy A-series from Samsung all come with Android 9.0 Pie out of the box, so the A20e does not diverge all that much from its more expensive siblings in the software department.
Samsung added its One UI (1.1) launcher to the standard Android experience, and although it now has plenty of features, it still looks clean. There are some apps pre-installed too, like Galaxy Wearable, and Samsung health. While you generally can uninstall any app that you don't find useful, some of them (like Netflix or Onedrive) you are unable to remove without administrative privileges (root).
If you head to the Settings >> Application Manager >> App info, you will find the Uninstall button is grayed out, but you can still disable and then hide them from the apps list.
The A20e should receive major (and security) updates until 2021. We'll just have to wait and see to know for sure.
Galaxy A20e Design and Display
While nothing to write home about, these are clearly two of the strongest selling points of this device.
The body is made of nice-looking reflective plastic, but it seems very solid for regular use. The traditional volume and lock keys are easily reachable on the right side, while the fingerprint scanner is on the back, reasonably reachable too.
While not having an AMOLED display, Samsung still can pack a great-looking 5.8-inch HD+ edge-to-edge infinity-V IPS panel and a resolution of 1560x720 pixels. The aspect ratio is extra tall - 19.5:9, and the pixel density is around 296 PPI.
The biggest downside of this IPS screen is the unavailability of the always-on-display feature, but don't think for a moment that if you wait a couple more days to save a few extra pennies and then go after a mid-range Samsung that you'll be in luck because some of their more expensive siblings don't have it either, albeit having an AMOLED display. If that's something you truly value, you should go for the Samsung Galaxy A30 (not the A30s!) or the A50. Forget the A40 because, for some odd reason, Samsung opted to leave that feature out from this device too.
You can always mitigate the lack of always-on display and notification led by installing an app like Prof Reminder, so you can use the camera's flash as a notification led.
Galaxy A20e Performance
Let's be clear: you're not getting this device solely to fill your unsatisfying "need for speed." That's not to say that it can't defeat its direct competitors.
Powered with two A73 1.6GHz cores for performance and six A53 1.35 GHz cores for energy-efficience, this Exynos 7884 (based on the 14nm manufacturing process) can handle very well its regular work. Performance-wise, it has earned its spot between the Snapdragon 4xx and the 6xx (mid-range) series.
You can check here on www.tme.new how well the 439 and 450 compare against a 665.
And then you can check the A20e scores also on Antutu.
But before jumping into conclusions, remember that Antutu evaluates phones as a whole. That includes its graphics, its internal storage, its RAM, and so on.
Gaming on a Galaxy A20e
The way it handles its competitors in terms of performance, its safe to say that its an excellent buy if you want the best bang for your buck. Now, that doesn't mean you'll be able to smoothly play every game that's available on the Google Play Store.
It runs demanding graphic games like Need For Speed No Limits very well, with no noticeable lag. However, while testing the Dragon Mania Legends, I noticed that when going to settings and changing GFX quality to high, a slow scroll isn't as smooth as when at the lowest quality.
(Click to enlarge)
I believe its 3GB of RAM, the Exynos 7884 processor, along with the relatively low-resolution display that compensates for the not-so-great graphics unit.
Samsung A10 vs A20e
Starting at $150, the A10 is probably the cheapest Samsung smartphone around. Having that said, choosing between these two should be easy (unless the price is the main deciding factor). The A10 is missing 1GB of RAM (by only having 2), the 5MP ultrawide camera, the fingerprint reader, the 15w fast battery charging, and the USB Type-C charging port. It also loses 3MP on the selfie camera and packs an extra 0.96 oz / 27 g of weight.
The good news is an increase in the screen size of 0.4 inches (to 6.2 inches) and in the battery capacity with 400mAh of extra juice.
Samsung Galaxy A20 vs A20e
Depending on where you live, the extra HSDPA (3G) or LTE (4G) bands of the A20 may leave you with no choice but to buy it. If that isn't a deal-breaker, you'll have to decide whether you want a 5.8-inches or a 6.4-inches smartphone and a battery capacity of 3,000mAh or 4,000mAh.
You'll also have to consider the extra 0.99 oz / 28 g. of the A20 and its AMOLED display.
Its price tags are very similar, so it all depends on the deals that you'll find.
Samsung A30 vs A20e
If you ever get your hands on a Samsung Galaxy A30, don't think about the A20e ever again. For starters, the A30 is the cheapest Samsung smartphone with an AMOLED screen and an always-on-display. Then, there's the battery, with its additional 1000mAh, the 6.4 inches display, the increased screen resolution (1080x2340), the slightly better processor (Exynos 7904, 2x1.8 GHz + 6x1.6 GHz), cameras, Wi-Fi, and the extra RAM and internal storage (+32GB, +1GB).
All of this with a slight increase in its weight (+24 g / 0.85 oz), and in its price. If you can save up a bit longer and spend the extra $60/$70, I believe that you won't regret it.
Samsung A30s vs A20e
With roughly the same price and weight as the A30, the A30s doesn't have that much more to offer. If you don't mind losing the always-on-display and some screen resolution, you'll get better cameras and a fancy new fingerprint reader.
Comparing to the A20e, you'll get a bigger screen size (6.4 inches), a better display (AMOLED), a slightly better processor (Exynos 7904, 2x1.8 GHz + 6x1.6 GHz), the extra RAM and internal storage (+32GB, +1GB, market dependent), better cameras (25MP f/1.7 + 8MP ultrawide f/2.2 + 5MP depth sensor and 16MP f/2.0 front camera), better Wi-Fi, USB On-The-Go, Fingerprint sensor under the display and a 4,000mAh battery.
Again, you'll get a slight increase in its weight and in its price.
Samsung A40 vs A20e
You'll probably find the A40 at an extra $100. Should you go for it?
I didn't think twice when I recommended the A30. The A40 while being way better than the A20e, it's also way more expensive. If that isn't an issue, just go for the A40 (or maybe the A50). If you feel that you have to justify its price with its features, then you should know what else can you get on the A40.
They got their similarities on the size, battery capacity, and weight but the A40 offers an AMOLED display, 64GB of storage (vs 32GB), 4Gb of RAM (vs 3GB), more display resolution (1080x2340 vs 720x1560), a faster processor (Exynos email@example.comGHz + 6x1.6GHz vs firstname.lastname@example.orgGHz + 6x1.35GHz), 16MP f/1.7 (vs 13MP f/1.9), a selfie camera with 25MP (vs 8MP) and a faster Wi-Fi with 802.11 (2.4GHz + 5GHz) ac.
If you like (relatively) small form factors, then this is the next logical step (right after the A20e). Unfortunately, this also means getting the same battery capacity. Other than that, It's hard to find an improved feature when comparing with the A30.
Samsung A10 vs A20 vs A30 vs A30s vs A40 vs A20e
If you want to make all your pennies count, this is the Samsung you'll want to get. You can indeed save some extra pennies by going after the Samsung Galaxy A10, but I believe you'll end up with a not so future-proof smartphone and end up spending more than you foresaw.
That doesn't mean you should ignore the A30, the A30s, or the A40. If you're lucky, you'll probably find the A30 on a good deal and end up with a lot more of a "smartphone" for the price of the A20e. Nevertheless, if you set your expectations right, this device will deliver a pleasant user experience on day-to-day usage.
Please, don't leave with any unanswered questions because I may have an answer, and we'll probably be helping someone else too. Just leave them in a comment below or send me an email and I'll be glad to help.