SO MANY OPTIONS, SO MUCH TIME
Samsung has a ton of phones out right now, but the two you should keep in mind are the Galaxy S20 FE 5G and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra ($1,299). These two models offer flagship and super-flagship performance; the S20 FE will satisfy most people, while the Note 20 Ultra adds an even better screen, an S Pen stylus, and the best phone camera we’ve tested.
They’re also a reset from Samsung’s strategy earlier this year. While we recommended the $1,199 Galaxy S20+ as our Editors’ Choice for several months, the $999-and-up S20 lineup is overpriced for our struggling pandemic economy. The FE gives you more value for less money.
At 6.29 by 2.93 by 0.33 inches (HWD) and 6.67 ounces, the S20 FE is almost exactly the same size as the S20+. That means it isn’t a small phone, but it’s on par with most of the flagships on the market.
The phone comes in six colors—lavender, mint, navy, orange, red, or white. Overall, there’s a humble feel to it. With its flat front and matte-metal surfaces, the S20 FE doesn’t try to scream “luxury object” the way curved-glass phones do. It’s also a bit more usable, and you don’t have the accidental-touch problem people often have with curved-screen phones. In addition, the matte back does a much better job of repelling both fingerprints and scratches than the S20’s glass back does.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
Fast processor. Excellent cameras. Long battery life.
No Space Zoom. Not the absolute best lowlight camera performance.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G delivers all the phone performance most people need at a price more people can afford.
The S20 FE has a 6.5-inch 2,400-by-1,080, 120Hz screen that should always be kept in 120Hz mode for smooth scrolling. There’s really no downside; the frame rate makes scrolling much smoother. Also, I tested battery life in 120Hz mode, and it’s excellent. As this is one of Samsung’s recent AMOLED displays, colors are gorgeous and the screen is bright. While the S20 series is capable of going up to a higher 2,560-by-1,440 resolution, it can do so only at 60Hz, and I’ve found the smooth scrolling is worth the difference from the higher resolution.
ALL THE PERFORMANCE YOU NEED
The S20 FE has the same Snapdragon 865 processor as the S20 line does, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, plus a microSD card slot.
Its score of 12,705 on the PCMark Work 2.0 benchmark is on par with the S20 series, and its Geekbench scores of 862 single-core, 3,069 multi-core are slightly below the S20 series but not enough to matter. GFXBench graphics benchmark scores are also on par with the other S20 phones, running at 45fps for the Car Chase onscreen benchmark.
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Boston Dynamics' Spot Robodog Finds Work on a BP Oil Rig
Boston Dynamics’ four-legged canine-inspired Spot is by no means an old dog, but that doesn’t mean it can’t learn new tricks. The 55-pound robot, unveiled in 2016, has boarded BP’s Mad Dog oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, where it will master tasks including reading gauges, finding corrosion, mapping the facility, and sniffing out methane, according to Reuters.
CAN THIS AI HELP SMOKERS QUIT?
While COVID-19 remains an occupying force in our world, and a viable vaccine is still out of reach, dealing with the pandemic comes down to mitigating health risks while coping with stress. If you’re a smoker, that’s going to be tough on both accounts. This isn’t the Mad Men era; everyone knows the risks of tobacco use, but cessation of addictive substances isn’t easy.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla (for PC): Another Winner
The Assassin’s Creed series has taken us to numerous historical settings since its 2007 debut, including Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, and Revolutionary War-era America. The newest installment, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, details the Viking invasion of 9th Century England from the perspective of history’s most notorious raiders. Though Valhalla doesn’t introduce anything wholly new to the series, it’s an excellent PC game that follows in the footsteps of its equally exceptional predecessors, Origins and Odyssey.
Microsoft Xbox Series X: An Impressive Console
The newest Xboxes are here, packing plenty of power into boxier frames than ever. Microsoft’s entries into the latest console generation are the Xbox Series X, reviewed here, and the Xbox Series S ($299).
2020's Most Common Passwords Are Laughably Insecure
Chances are that if a password is easy for you to remember, a hacker can easily crack it. And despite years (and years) of tech companies warning consumers to use hard-to-crack passwords, plus two-factor authentication, people are still using laughably insecure codes.
THE BEST PRODUCTS OF 2020
It’s been a weird year.
Virtual Movie Night: How to Watch Netflix With Friends Using Teleparty
Many of us are facing a long winter indoors, thanks to the ongoing pandemic. And though we have video streaming to distract us, watching shows and movies is more fun with friends. You could get everyone on Zoom and press play at the same time, but there’s an easier way: Teleparty (formerly known as Netflix Party).
Apple Mac mini (M1, Late 2020): Most Polished, Potent Tiny Desktop
The Mac mini doesn’t get upgraded often, but when it does, it makes an impact well out of proportion to its trim dimensions. The 2018 Mac mini was a PCMag Editors’ Choice pick for its pep, connectivity, build quality, and limited upgradability. A slight variation on the same sheet music, played with little fanfare earlier this year, pumped up the two base models’ SSD capacity. The real update of this iconic little desktop is this one, and it’s a big-band extravaganza. Apple’s own highly integrated system-on-a-chip (SoC), the M1 brings the Mac mini to new performance highs, and while a few fundamentals have changed, the peppy performance, the reasonable mix of connectivity, and a new lower $699 starting price combine to make it one of the best values in compact computers, period. It easily earns our Editors’ Choice nod.
Optoma HD39HDR: Bright, Low-Lag Projector
Designed for gaming and for watching movies and TV, the Optoma HD39HDR is one of a growing number of 1080p home projectors that can accept a 4K UHD (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) HDR signal and downconvert the resolution to 1080p. Some projectors in this category accept the input without really offering any of the benefits that high dynamic range promises for a wider color gamut or range of brightness levels. Others, including the Optoma, make good use of HDR. In my tests, the HD39HDR delivered more-vibrant color and far better shadow detail when I played the 4K HDR versions of movies on my Blu-ray player than when playing the 1080p SDR versions of the same titles.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G Review: Perfect Balance of Power and Price
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is everything you need and nothing else. Samsung pared down its flagship S20 series to a more palatable price, and the result is a value-minded standard-bearer to properly face up against the forthcoming iPhone 12 line. With fast performance, solid cameras, and often substantial discounts at major wireless providers, the S20 FE 5G becomes our default Android phone recommendation for 2020 as well as our Editors’ Choice.
SAMSUNG PROMISES NEW PHONES WILL DELIVER MORE FOR LESS MONEY
Samsung’s next crop of smartphones will boast bigger screens, better cameras, and longer-lasting batteries at lower prices than last year’s lineup that came out just before the pandemic toppled the economy.
WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD: Fantastic sustained write speeds via PCIe 4.0
This new PCIe 4 NVMe SSD is like-priced and about as fast as its mighty Samsung rival.
Brydge Stone Pro Thunderbolt 3 Hub
A rock–solid way to connect and power high–end devices
HUAWEI: A GENUINE COMPETITOR TO APPLE AND GOOGLE
Now considered the poster child of China’s technology sector, Huawei has defied the odds in recent years amidst growing pressure from political leaders in the US and Europe. But just how did the company climb to the top, and overtake Samsung to become the world’s biggest smartphone brand? Let’s pull back the curtain and reveal the secrets behind its success.
2021: PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
With the introduction of a 5G iPhone, a superfast M1 chip for the Mac, a bunch of hardware like AirPods Max, Apple Watch SE, and HomePod mini, and significant investments in its services division, Apple had a stellar year in 2020. But the future is just around the corner, and even greater innovations await.
Brydge Stone Pro Thunderbolt 3 Hub
A rock–solid way to connect and power high–end devices
Samsung Odyssey G7
LIGHT: It’s one of the few inherent constants in our universe. Those photons that continually bounce around at a meagre 186,282 miles per second allow us to experience this fantastic place we inhabit, in a way that no other sense truly can allow for.
BUSINESS: APPLE POSITIONS iPHONE 12 AS A CORPORATE MUST-HAVE
Critics labeled the iPhone 12 Apple’s biggest leap forward in years, with analysts suggesting that the Cupertino company will shift close to 70 million units before the end of 2020. As if the iPhone 12 range wasn’t popular enough, Apple has announced a partnership with carrier Verizon to make iPhone the most compelling business smartphone, offering 5G on the go.
REVIEW: iPHONE 12 PRO THE iPHONE THAT'S FUTURE-PROOF
THIS YEAR’S HIGH-END iPHONE IS FULL OF POTENTIAL THAT HAS YET TO BE FULLY REALIZED.
iPHONE 12 REVIEW: NON-PRO IN NAME ONLY
A FLAT-OUT WINNER