OnePlus 8T Cyberpunk 2077 edition hands-on: This phone is awesome – CNET

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-5
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

OnePlus has teamed up with upcoming game Cyberpunk 2077 to create a version of the OnePlus 8T that looks like it's been pulled straight from the game. The special-edition handset will be available in limited numbers and will only be on sale in mainland China, so we were super excited to get hold of a model to unwrap and photograph ourselves. 

Physically, the phone is pretty much unchanged from the regular OnePlus 8T. It's a phone we gave a superb score to in our full review thanks to its great performance, fast charging and 120Hz display. All of those features are on the Cyberpunk edition, but they're all wrapped up in this awesome body.

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-9
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The rear of the phone combines a glossy glass back that appears to have been sand-blasted to give a frosted effect that looks a bit like like carbon fiber.

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-3
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You'll find the Cyberpunk logo etched in blazing neon yellow at the bottom of the phone, as well as yellow streaks around the bottom edge of the phone. It certainly stands out.

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-8
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The 6.55-inch display is unchanged, so the phone doesn't feel any different to hold than the regular 8T. However, with such an awesome design you're unlikely to want to hide this one away inside a case -- take extra care if you're carrying it outside!

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-6
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

As part of the special-edition package, the phone comes with these pin badges. I haven't played Cyberpunk yet, nor am I familiar with the lore of the game, so "Valentinos" and "The Mox" don't mean a lot to me. I believe that Night City is the main locale in which the game is set.

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-14
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The phone runs a China-specific version of OnePlus' software, which has been given a Cyberpunk overhaul, with cool new icons and backgrounds. 

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-12
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The phone looks really awesome, and I personally think it's a shame that it's only going to be available in China. It'd certainly be on my wishlist if a global edition went on sale.

Now playing: Watch this: OnePlus 8T review: 5G phone with a stunning 120Hz display

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OnePlus 8T Cyberpunk 2077 edition hands-on: This phone is awesome – CNET

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-5
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

OnePlus has teamed up with upcoming game Cyberpunk 2077 to create a version of the OnePlus 8T that looks like it's been pulled straight from the game. The special-edition handset will be available in limited numbers and will only be on sale in mainland China, so we were super excited to get hold of a model to unwrap and photograph ourselves. 

Physically, the phone is pretty much unchanged from the regular OnePlus 8T. It's a phone we gave a superb score to in our full review thanks to its great performance, fast charging and 120Hz display. All of those features are on the Cyberpunk edition, but they're all wrapped up in this awesome body.

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-9
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The rear of the phone combines a glossy glass back that appears to have been sand-blasted to give a frosted effect that looks a bit like like carbon fiber.

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-3
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You'll find the Cyberpunk logo etched in blazing neon yellow at the bottom of the phone, as well as yellow streaks around the bottom edge of the phone. It certainly stands out.

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-8
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The 6.55-inch display is unchanged, so the phone doesn't feel any different to hold than the regular 8T. However, with such an awesome design you're unlikely to want to hide this one away inside a case -- take extra care if you're carrying it outside!

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-6
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

As part of the special-edition package, the phone comes with these pin badges. I haven't played Cyberpunk yet, nor am I familiar with the lore of the game, so "Valentinos" and "The Mox" don't mean a lot to me. I believe that Night City is the main locale in which the game is set.

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-14
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The phone runs a China-specific version of OnePlus' software, which has been given a Cyberpunk overhaul, with cool new icons and backgrounds. 

cyberpunk-2077-oneplus-8t-review-hero-12
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The phone looks really awesome, and I personally think it's a shame that it's only going to be available in China. It'd certainly be on my wishlist if a global edition went on sale.

Now playing: Watch this: OnePlus 8T review: 5G phone with a stunning 120Hz display

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5 features iPhone 12 lacks that would have been pretty great – CNET

apple-iphone-12-9902
Angela Lang/CNET

The iPhone 12 has hugely impressed in our review and comes with some awesome features like 5G support, a fresh design and support for Apple's new MagSafe chargers. But there are some things missing that in an ideal world we'd like to see. No, they're not deal breakers, and aren't even features we'd find on any iPhone, but they may be worth keeping in mind, particularly if you're thinking of making the switch from Android

1. Expandable storage 

Apple has never allowed you to expand the storage with a microSD card on any of its phones and the new generation, including the iPhone 12 is no exception. While it may not be a problem for many of you, you will need to think hard in advance about how much space you're likely to need, and how much built-in storage you can afford. Apple charges a premium for more storage space with the base 64GB iPhone 12 clocking in at $829, with the 256GB model costing $979.

sandisk-400gb-microsd-card-mwc

Being able to pop in a tiny microSD card would provide endless room for storing more photos and videos. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you're switching from Android it may not have been something you'll have considered much, as many Android phones let you pop in a microSD card to expand the base storage. If you plan on shooting a lot of 4K video or downloading a lot of large, graphically demanding games then you should look at the higher capacities. 

2. Fingerprint scanner

Apple retired the classic home button with its built-in fingerprint scanner several generations ago (not counting the iPhone SE, of course) replacing it instead with FaceID, which uses facial recognition to secure your phone. For the most part it works well, and we haven't really missed it. That is until the coronavirus pandemic hit, and wearing face masks became the norm when we're out and about in public places. FaceID doesn't work with face masks so we're back to typing in PIN codes to access our phones. 

oneplus-8t-product-promo-hoyle-10

An in-screen fingerprint scanner would still provide biometric security, but wouldn't take up any extra space on the phone.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

While we wouldn't want to see a return of a big button on the front of the phone, squashing the screen in, many Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and even affordable phones like the OnePlus Nord have built the fingerprint scanners into the display itself. They're invisible and take up no additional space on the phone, making them an elegant solution to biometric security when face scanning is impossible. 

3. 120Hz screen refresh rate 

All iPhone 12 models have screen refresh rates of 60Hz, which was a disappointment to many who hoped Apple would up this to 120Hz. A faster refresh rate gives a smoother look and feel to the phone when you're using it, with no motion blur as you're moving between screens and everything feeling that bit snappier. It's a feature that's increasingly common on Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S20 and OnePlus Nord

oneplus-nord-product-16

The OnePlus 8T has a 120Hz screen, which makes things look buttery smooth as you scroll around.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's likely that Apple opted to stay with 60Hz to help improve battery life, particularly as the addition of 5G makes the phones even more power-hungry. Does it matter? Personally, no. If you hold the iPhone 12 next to the OnePlus Nord with its 120Hz display (as I have done), you can maybe tell a bit of difference but I honestly don't think it's anything you'd ever notice in day to day use. 

The powerful processors inside the iPhone 12 models means performance always feels snappy which makes for a smooth experience, despite the lower refresh rate and I'd take a better battery over a faster screen any day.

4. Telephoto lens 

The iPhone 12's camera can take some superb images with its default wide view and with the superwide lens. What it can't do is zoom in with the telephoto lens found on the iPhone 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max or on previous generations like the iPhone 11 Pro.

Read more: iPhone 12 vs. Pro and Pro Max: The features that might convince you to go Pro

Whether that matters to you will depend on how seriously you take your photography and how often you find yourself needing to get closer in a scene, or whether you prefer to capture as much in front of you as possible. 

apple-iphone-12-pro-1753

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have a telephoto lens that lets you zoom further into the action.

James Martin/CNET

For me, photography skills are my No. 1 priority in phones so I want to have that telephoto lens to give me additional shooting options when I'm out and about. If you're a more casual shooter, you might not miss it and will be perfectly happy with the superb shots you can get from the other two lenses. 

5. ProRaw 

Apple's upcoming ProRaw is an image format that uses some of the computational photography capabilities of the cameras (including HDR merging) but allows for deeper editing options, much like a raw image file taken on a professional DSLR. It's potentially a great compromise between full raw and the standard JPEG the camera spits out, but it's a feature reserved for the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. 

iphone-12-edit-before

Apple's ProRaw may be a big help for professional editing of images after they've been taken. It's not available yet, so this image was taken in standard JPEG mode, which still allows for plenty of editing options.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It's arguably a pretty niche feature that'll only appeal to the most dedicated of photographers (of which I count myself a proud member), so as with the telephoto lens, the more casual of shooters among you will likely never give its absence a second thought. There is a chance that Apple could bring the feature to phones beyond the Pro line, but it seems more likely that it'll reserve it as a more elite feature to help justify the upgrade cost. 

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Here’s what photos taken on the iPhone 12 look like – CNET

apple-iphone-12-9941
Angela Lang/CNET

The iPhone 12 has already earned a glowing review from CNET due to its new design, great performance and handy MagSafe charging pad compatibility. But we also loved its great camera, so I was particularly keen to take my model out for a test run and see what the camera is capable of. 

All images throughout this piece have been taken with the standard camera mode, in Apple's HEIC format, which have been converted to JPEG via Adobe Lightroom as our image uploader doesn't support HEIC format. No adjustments to the look of the image or the resolution have been made. Enjoy!

iphone-12-camera-test

This morning shot of Dean Village is vibrant and well exposed. Its colors are on the cooler side of the spectrum, but that was accurate for the time of day. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-2

Switching to the super-wide lens, I'm pleased to see that there isn't a white balance shift when using the different zoom options.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-6

A great balance of bright sky with darker shadows.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-15

Here. though, the phone's attempt to balance the shadows looks a bit unrealistic, particularly on the statue.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-11

I love the rich blue of the sky in this shot using the standard lens.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-35

The sky is just as rich here, too, with vibrant colors on the trees as well. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-36

The super-wide lens has let me capture all of this impressive fountain without having to move to get the shot. As with the standard shot, colors are spot on.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-55

A self portrait in front of the Forth Bridge, shot with the phone on a tripod using the 10-second self timer.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-43

Extremely accurate color tones here, as well as a brilliant balance of the exposure, with a controlled sky and plenty of details in the shadows.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-19

A masked-up selfie; check out those vibrant colors!

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-57

Even though I was shooting directly into the sun, the camera was able to control that bright sky and keep loads of details in the foreground.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-58

The iPhone 12's camera is superb for landscape photography.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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Here’s what photos taken on the iPhone 12 look like – CNET

apple-iphone-12-9941
Angela Lang/CNET

The iPhone 12 has already earned a glowing review from CNET due to its new design, great performance and handy MagSafe charging pad compatibility. But we also loved its great camera, so I was particularly keen to take my model out for a test run and see what the camera is capable of. 

All images throughout this piece have been taken with the standard camera mode, in Apple's HEIC format, which have been converted to JPEG via Adobe Lightroom as our image uploader doesn't support HEIC format. No adjustments to the look of the image or the resolution have been made. Enjoy!

iphone-12-camera-test

This morning shot of Dean Village is vibrant and well exposed. Its colors are on the cooler side of the spectrum, but that was accurate for the time of day. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-2

Switching to the super-wide lens, I'm pleased to see that there isn't a white balance shift when using the different zoom options.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-6

A great balance of bright sky with darker shadows.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-15

Here. though, the phone's attempt to balance the shadows looks a bit unrealistic, particularly on the statue.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-11

I love the rich blue of the sky in this shot using the standard lens.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-35

The sky is just as rich here, too, with vibrant colors on the trees as well. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-36

The super-wide lens has let me capture all of this impressive fountain without having to move to get the shot. As with the standard shot, colors are spot on.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-55

A self portrait in front of the Forth Bridge, shot with the phone on a tripod using the 10-second self timer.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-43

Extremely accurate color tones here, as well as a brilliant balance of the exposure, with a controlled sky and plenty of details in the shadows.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-19

A masked-up selfie; check out those vibrant colors!

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-57

Even though I was shooting directly into the sun, the camera was able to control that bright sky and keep loads of details in the foreground.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
iphone-12-camera-test-58

The iPhone 12's camera is superb for landscape photography.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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Galaxy S20 FE: This stellar phone is the best Samsung buy in 2020 – CNET

samsung-galaxy-s20-fe-5g-8023
Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra might be packed to the hilt with the latest, greatest tech, but they also come with sky-high prices to match. That makes them a tricky sell at a time when purse strings are tightening and rivals like Google and OnePlus are making great phones at more affordable prices. But the Galaxy S20 FE, which stands for "fan edition," packs many of the great features of its flagship siblings, including a solid triple camera, a powerful processor, IP68 waterproofing and 5G connectivity, all for a much more affordable price.

Like

  • Great performance
  • 5G-enabled
  • Realistic price

Don't Like

  • Camera white balance can be hit and miss

At $700 in the US, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the Note 20 Ultra, which retails for $1,300 (£1,179, AU$1,849). In the UK and Australia, a 4G version of the S20 FE is available for £599 or AU$999, with the 5G version going for £699 or AU$1,149. Even better, the street price for an unlocked model in the US is currently hovering around $600 at major retailers like Amazon and Best Buy -- no activation required, no strings attached. Trade-ins and other activation options available at Samsung and elsewhere might get that price down to an even lower level.

Read more: The best phone to buy for 2020

Even if you're paying $700, that's the same US price as the recently announced Google Pixel 5 (which is a little cheaper in the UK and Australia). But the S20 FE does offer benefits over the Pixel in the form of an additional telephoto lens, expandable storage and a more potent processor. We'll have to wait to get the Pixel in our hands to work out exactly how these two stack up. 

Now playing: Watch this: The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is the midrange phone to beat

3:20

But overall, the Galaxy S20 FE is not a revolution in mobile technology, but it's not designed to be. What it is is a solid all-round phone at a more affordable price. While it's still more expensive than phones like the iPhone SE and the OnePlus Nord, its better spec list makes it the phone to go for if you've got your heart set on a flagship, but just can't quite stomach emptying your entire bank account to get one.

samsung-galaxy-s20-fe-5g-8013
Angela Lang/CNET

A great screen and powerful processor

There's a 6.5-inch, 2,400x1,080-pixel super AMOLED display which is bright, vibrant and pin-sharp. Is it as high definition as the Note 20 Ultra? No. Will you notice the difference? I certainly couldn't. It has a 120Hz refresh rate too that just makes swiping around the Android interface feel that bit smoother. It stretches all the way to the edges, with only a small punch hole for the front-facing camera.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra performance chart

Galaxy S20 FE

Galaxy S20 Ultra

Legend:

Geekbench 5 (Single core)

Geekbench 5 (Multicore)

3D Mark Slingshot

Note:

Longer bars equals better performance

Inside is a lightning-fast Snapdragon 865 processor (for the 5G models, an Exynos 990 chip in the 4G models -- the same one found in the Note 20 Ultra and S20 Ultra), which performed very well on our benchmark tests (check out the comparison chart above). Photo editing in Snapseed was a breeze and demanding racing games Asphalt 9 and Grid Autosport played perfectly well.

A potent triple camera

The camera is one of the main areas that's seen some compromises to keep the cost down. The rear camera setup includes a 12-megapixel standard zoom camera, a 12-megapixel 3x optical zoom and an 8-megapixel ultrawide-angle camera. Those are lower resolutions than you'll find on more premium Galaxy phones. The FE also lacks features such as the 100x "Space zoom" and 8K video recording that you'll get from the S20 Ultra. 

While I certainly don't think you'll miss 8K video or the 100x zoom (the quality at that zoom level is so poor you'd never want to do anything with those images) I really enjoyed using the 5x and 10x zoom options on the S20 Ultra, and loved the creative shooting options it provided. Would I spend hundreds more to have it though? Absolutely not. 

Shots from the S20 FE are punchy with a good exposure balance between bright skies and dark foregrounds, helped by the auto HDR mode. It's by no means the best camera around -- I find the white balance can be a bit hit and miss at times -- but for drool-worthy shots of coffee and cake to make your Instagram followers jealous, it'll suit just fine. 

s20-fe-dean-view-normal

With the standard zoom lens, the phone has done a good job balancing the very bright sky with the more shadowy ground below. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
s20-fe-dean-view-3x

Using the 3x optical zoom, I've been able to get closer up on the buildings, achieving a more interesting composition. Again, exposure is great, with nice vibrant colors, too.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
s20-fe-dean-view-wide

Activating the super-wide lens let me capture a huge amount of the scene in front of me. The exposure is good, but the colors are a touch drab. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
s20-fe-gallery-wide

The colors are anything but drab in this super-wide shot of one of Edinburgh's art galleries. It's vibrant, punchy and would look great on Instagram.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
20201001-102230

I like how close up I've been able to focus on this flower, but the white balance is slightly shifted to the magenta side, giving it a cooler, purplish tint overall that I don't love. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
s20-fe-tower-3x

The 3x zoom has come in handy again to let me focus more on this beautiful clock tower. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
20201001-102256

You can digitally zoom all the way up to 30x, but as you can see here, the quality takes a serious hit. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The front camera has a 32-megapixel resolution which produces crisp shots that are more than good enough for Instagram -- depending on the face you pull, that is. 

Classy design

Samsung offers the S20 FE in a wide range of vibrant hues, but I think the deep navy blue of my review model is much more "classy" than it is "cool" -- it's a nice sport coat instead of a neon parka; a steak and glass of chianti instead of a burger from a van; an HBO drama instead of WWE highlights. It's much more attractive than the sinfully dull gray of the S20 Ultra, but then just about anything is. 

Its rear panel is made from plastic, but its frosted finish makes it look and feel more like glass to me (Samsung even calls it "glasstic"). There's toughened Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and aluminum on its edges. It feels sturdy and comfortable to hold and the matte texture of the back means fingerprints aren't much of a problem.

There's no headphone jack, so hopefully you've invested in some bluetooth headphones by now (you won't get any headphones in the box) but the phone does have IP68 waterproofing, which will keep it safe from spilled drinks or heavy rain. 

samsung-galaxy-s20-fe-5g-7999
Angela Lang/CNET

A beefy battery

Samsung has stuffed a 4,500-mAh battery inside the S20 FE, which is 500 mAh more than the battery it put in the regular S20. It's no surprise that it has a lot of power to offer. I haven't yet been able to do our full suite of battery-drain tests on the phone, but after an hour of YouTube streaming at full brightness, the phone had only dropped by 7%, which is very good. 

Anecdotally, I found that it had well over half its battery left after a day of photographing, playing videos and doing bits of gaming. I have no doubt that it'll comfortably get you through a full day of mixed use and probably well into the next. It also supports wireless charging as well as 25-watt fast charging to give it a quick juice up if you're about to head out. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE specs comparison chart


Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra OnePlus 8 Pro Apple iPhone SE (2020)
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch super AMOLED; 2,400x1,080 pixels 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.78-inch AMOLED; 1,440x3,168 pixels 4.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334x750 pixels
Pixel density 405ppi 511ppi 513ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (inches) TBA 2.99 by 6.57 by 0.35 in. 6.51 by 2.93 by 0.35 in. 5.45 by 2.65 by 0.29 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 159.8 by 75.5 by 8.4mm 76.0 by 166.9 by 8.8mm 165 by 74.4 by 8.5mm 138.4 by 67.3 by 7.3 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 190g 7.76 oz.; 220g 199g 5.22 oz.; 148g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 iOS 13
Camera 12-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto) 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), time-of-flight camera 48-megapixel main, 8-megapixel telephoto, 48-megapixel ultrawide, 5-megapixel "color filter" 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera 32-megapixel 40-megapixel 16-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video capture 4K 8K 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5GHz + 2GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 128GB 128GB, 512GB 128GB, 256B 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 6GB 12GB, 16GB 8GB, 12GB Not disclosed
Expandable storage 1TB Up to 1TB None No
Battery 4,500 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,300 mAh Not disclosed, but Apple claims it has the same battery life as iPhone 8
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen In-screen Home button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Special features 120Hz screen refresh rate, support for 30W fast charging and 15W fast wireless charging 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom; water resistant (IP68) 5G enabled, Fast-charging, fast wireless charging, 120Hz display Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD) $699 $1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB) $899 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)
Price (GBP) £599 (4G), £699 (5G) £1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB) £799 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)
Price (AUD) AU$999 (4G), AU$1,149 (5G) AU$1,999 (128GB), AU$2,249 (512GB) AU$1,435 converted AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)

First published Oct. 4

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Galaxy S20 FE: This stellar phone is the best Samsung buy in 2020 – CNET

samsung-galaxy-s20-fe-5g-8023
Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra might be packed to the hilt with the latest, greatest tech, but they also come with sky-high prices to match. That makes them a tricky sell at a time when purse strings are tightening and rivals like Google and OnePlus are making great phones at more affordable prices. But the Galaxy S20 FE, which stands for "fan edition," packs many of the great features of its flagship siblings, including a solid triple camera, a powerful processor, IP68 waterproofing and 5G connectivity, all for a much more affordable price.

Like

  • Great performance
  • 5G-enabled
  • Realistic price

Don't Like

  • Camera white balance can be hit and miss

At $700 in the US, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the Note 20 Ultra, which retails for $1,300 (£1,179, AU$1,849). In the UK and Australia, a 4G version of the S20 FE is available for £599 or AU$999, with the 5G version going for £699 or AU$1,149. Even better, the street price for an unlocked model in the US is currently hovering around $600 at major retailers like Amazon and Best Buy -- no activation required, no strings attached. Trade-ins and other activation options available at Samsung and elsewhere might get that price down to an even lower level.

Read more: The best phone to buy for 2020

Even if you're paying $700, that's the same US price as the recently announced Google Pixel 5 (which is a little cheaper in the UK and Australia). But the S20 FE does offer benefits over the Pixel in the form of an additional telephoto lens, expandable storage and a more potent processor. We'll have to wait to get the Pixel in our hands to work out exactly how these two stack up. 

Now playing: Watch this: The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is the midrange phone to beat

3:20

But overall, the Galaxy S20 FE is not a revolution in mobile technology, but it's not designed to be. What it is is a solid all-round phone at a more affordable price. While it's still more expensive than phones like the iPhone SE and the OnePlus Nord, its better spec list makes it the phone to go for if you've got your heart set on a flagship, but just can't quite stomach emptying your entire bank account to get one.

samsung-galaxy-s20-fe-5g-8013
Angela Lang/CNET

A great screen and powerful processor

There's a 6.5-inch, 2,400x1,080-pixel super AMOLED display which is bright, vibrant and pin-sharp. Is it as high definition as the Note 20 Ultra? No. Will you notice the difference? I certainly couldn't. It has a 120Hz refresh rate too that just makes swiping around the Android interface feel that bit smoother. It stretches all the way to the edges, with only a small punch hole for the front-facing camera.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra performance chart

Galaxy S20 FE

Galaxy S20 Ultra

Legend:

Geekbench 5 (Single core)

Geekbench 5 (Multicore)

3D Mark Slingshot

Note:

Longer bars equals better performance

Inside is a lightning-fast Snapdragon 865 processor (for the 5G models, an Exynos 990 chip in the 4G models -- the same one found in the Note 20 Ultra and S20 Ultra), which performed very well on our benchmark tests (check out the comparison chart above). Photo editing in Snapseed was a breeze and demanding racing games Asphalt 9 and Grid Autosport played perfectly well.

A potent triple camera

The camera is one of the main areas that's seen some compromises to keep the cost down. The rear camera setup includes a 12-megapixel standard zoom camera, a 12-megapixel 3x optical zoom and an 8-megapixel ultrawide-angle camera. Those are lower resolutions than you'll find on more premium Galaxy phones. The FE also lacks features such as the 100x "Space zoom" and 8K video recording that you'll get from the S20 Ultra. 

While I certainly don't think you'll miss 8K video or the 100x zoom (the quality at that zoom level is so poor you'd never want to do anything with those images) I really enjoyed using the 5x and 10x zoom options on the S20 Ultra, and loved the creative shooting options it provided. Would I spend hundreds more to have it though? Absolutely not. 

Shots from the S20 FE are punchy with a good exposure balance between bright skies and dark foregrounds, helped by the auto HDR mode. It's by no means the best camera around -- I find the white balance can be a bit hit and miss at times -- but for drool-worthy shots of coffee and cake to make your Instagram followers jealous, it'll suit just fine. 

s20-fe-dean-view-normal

With the standard zoom lens, the phone has done a good job balancing the very bright sky with the more shadowy ground below. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
s20-fe-dean-view-3x

Using the 3x optical zoom, I've been able to get closer up on the buildings, achieving a more interesting composition. Again, exposure is great, with nice vibrant colors, too.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
s20-fe-dean-view-wide

Activating the super-wide lens let me capture a huge amount of the scene in front of me. The exposure is good, but the colors are a touch drab. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
s20-fe-gallery-wide

The colors are anything but drab in this super-wide shot of one of Edinburgh's art galleries. It's vibrant, punchy and would look great on Instagram.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
20201001-102230

I like how close up I've been able to focus on this flower, but the white balance is slightly shifted to the magenta side, giving it a cooler, purplish tint overall that I don't love. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
s20-fe-tower-3x

The 3x zoom has come in handy again to let me focus more on this beautiful clock tower. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
20201001-102256

You can digitally zoom all the way up to 30x, but as you can see here, the quality takes a serious hit. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The front camera has a 32-megapixel resolution which produces crisp shots that are more than good enough for Instagram -- depending on the face you pull, that is. 

Classy design

Samsung offers the S20 FE in a wide range of vibrant hues, but I think the deep navy blue of my review model is much more "classy" than it is "cool" -- it's a nice sport coat instead of a neon parka; a steak and glass of chianti instead of a burger from a van; an HBO drama instead of WWE highlights. It's much more attractive than the sinfully dull gray of the S20 Ultra, but then just about anything is. 

Its rear panel is made from plastic, but its frosted finish makes it look and feel more like glass to me (Samsung even calls it "glasstic"). There's toughened Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and aluminum on its edges. It feels sturdy and comfortable to hold and the matte texture of the back means fingerprints aren't much of a problem.

There's no headphone jack, so hopefully you've invested in some bluetooth headphones by now (you won't get any headphones in the box) but the phone does have IP68 waterproofing, which will keep it safe from spilled drinks or heavy rain. 

samsung-galaxy-s20-fe-5g-7999
Angela Lang/CNET

A beefy battery

Samsung has stuffed a 4,500-mAh battery inside the S20 FE, which is 500 mAh more than the battery it put in the regular S20. It's no surprise that it has a lot of power to offer. I haven't yet been able to do our full suite of battery-drain tests on the phone, but after an hour of YouTube streaming at full brightness, the phone had only dropped by 7%, which is very good. 

Anecdotally, I found that it had well over half its battery left after a day of photographing, playing videos and doing bits of gaming. I have no doubt that it'll comfortably get you through a full day of mixed use and probably well into the next. It also supports wireless charging as well as 25-watt fast charging to give it a quick juice up if you're about to head out. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE specs comparison chart


Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra OnePlus 8 Pro Apple iPhone SE (2020)
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch super AMOLED; 2,400x1,080 pixels 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.78-inch AMOLED; 1,440x3,168 pixels 4.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334x750 pixels
Pixel density 405ppi 511ppi 513ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (inches) TBA 2.99 by 6.57 by 0.35 in. 6.51 by 2.93 by 0.35 in. 5.45 by 2.65 by 0.29 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 159.8 by 75.5 by 8.4mm 76.0 by 166.9 by 8.8mm 165 by 74.4 by 8.5mm 138.4 by 67.3 by 7.3 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 190g 7.76 oz.; 220g 199g 5.22 oz.; 148g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 iOS 13
Camera 12-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto) 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), time-of-flight camera 48-megapixel main, 8-megapixel telephoto, 48-megapixel ultrawide, 5-megapixel "color filter" 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera 32-megapixel 40-megapixel 16-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video capture 4K 8K 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5GHz + 2GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 128GB 128GB, 512GB 128GB, 256B 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 6GB 12GB, 16GB 8GB, 12GB Not disclosed
Expandable storage 1TB Up to 1TB None No
Battery 4,500 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,300 mAh Not disclosed, but Apple claims it has the same battery life as iPhone 8
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen In-screen Home button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Special features 120Hz screen refresh rate, support for 30W fast charging and 15W fast wireless charging 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom; water resistant (IP68) 5G enabled, Fast-charging, fast wireless charging, 120Hz display Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD) $699 $1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB) $899 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)
Price (GBP) £599 (4G), £699 (5G) £1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB) £799 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)
Price (AUD) AU$999 (4G), AU$1,149 (5G) AU$1,999 (128GB), AU$2,249 (512GB) AU$1,435 converted AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)

First published Oct. 4

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iPhone 12 Pro Max camera: Why this pro photographer is super excited – CNET

iphone-12-pro-and-iphone-12-pro-max-apple-google-chrome-13-10-2020-19-47-14-2.png
Apple

As a professional photographer, I've been blown away by how the iPhone 11 Pro has been able to replace my DSLR on photo shoots. But Apple just introduced the iPhone 12 lineup, which includes the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the camera tech is even better this time around. (Here's everything Apple announced at the October event.) The iPhone 12 Pro Max's camera updates especially, both in hardware and software, have already got me buzzing about going shooting with this thing. Here's why I'm so excited.

More zoom with the 2.5x telephoto lens

I love the telephoto zoom lens on the iPhone 11 Pro, but at only 2x, it doesn't always provide quite the level of zoom I want. I often find myself digitally zooming in further to get the exact composition I want. The iPhone 12 Pro Max takes that further, to 2.5x, which might not seem like a huge upgrade, but I think will be noticeable for many shots. 

Would I have liked 5x or 10x? Sure, I love the bigger zoom on phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but as they're so big, I don't use them quite as often as the 2x on the iPhone . Maybe 3x would have been a good compromise, but I still think that the 12 Pro Max's upgrade will make a big difference to many of my photos. 

Bigger image sensor

Apple already manages to squeeze incredible image quality out of tiny phone camera sensors, and its great software allows for the awesome night mode shots we've already seen. But a 47% larger sensor captures more light, allowing for brighter shots with less noise and better dynamic range. It's why my professional camera (a Canon 5D Mark IV) uses a much bigger full-frame sensor. 

I'm very keen to see just what a difference this larger sensor might mean not just for my nighttime photos, but for capturing fine details in landscapes, or up close when taking macro images of flowers. A bigger sensor paired with Apple's image processing software is likely to be a potent combination. 

Apple iPhone12 Pro rear cameras

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have three rear cameras.

Apple

Improved, faster lens for better night mode

It's not just the sensor that can capture more light -- the lens itself can let in more light than before thanks to its wider, f/1.6 aperture. That number basically means that the hole that light passes through is bigger than before, allowing more light to pass through in the same amount of time. Together with the larger sensor, Apple reckons the 12 Pro Max has seen an 87% improvement in low light imagery from the iPhone 11, which itself was already one of the best at low-light photos.

The redesigned lens isn't just about letting more light in, though. Apple also explained in its launch presentation that it's improved the optical clarity of the lens, reducing the amount of image distortion, particularly at the edges of the image on the widest lens. All of which means better-looking, more professional images. Lovely stuff.

Apple ProRaw 

Many of my best images I've taken with the iPhone have been taken in raw, using third-party apps. Raw images don't save data like color information, or sharpening, allowing for greater control when editing in mobile apps like Adobe Lightroom Mobile. However, the downside of shooting raw in third-party apps is that you don't get to take advantage of the image processing Apple uses in its own camera app. The Deep Fusion processing for amazing HDR, for example, is only something you'd get when shooting with the iPhone's native camera. 

iphone-12-pro-pacific-blue
Apple

To appeal more to pros, Apple has introduced Apple ProRaw in its camera app, which takes advantage of many of its image processing capabilities, but doesn't permanently bake in data like white balance, allowing you to still make those changes in post production. Apple says it's the best of both worlds, and on paper, I'm tempted to agree, but I'll have to reserve my final judgment until I can not only shoot images in this new format, but also edit the images as well. 

It's worth noting that Google has done much the same already with its Pixel phones' "computational raw" feature, which CNET senior editor Stephen Shankland calls "tremendous." How the two compare remain to be seen.

HDR video and improved stabilization 

It's not just stills that have seen an improvement. The phone also now offers HDR with Dolby Vision at up to 60fps, which Apple says is the first time this has been offered on any device. In theory, this would help control bright highlights and help lift dark shadows, in just the same way that HDR does when you take still images.

The optical image stabilization has also been improved as well by moving the image sensor to counter movements and vibrations, rather than moving the heavier lens, as was the case before. How much difference this makes remains to be seen when I can take the phones out for a proper test, but with better image quality and better stabilization, I'm really excited about the sorts of videos I'll be able to produce with this phone.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple reveals iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max

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iPhone 12 Pro Max camera: Why this pro photographer is super excited – CNET

iphone-12-pro-and-iphone-12-pro-max-apple-google-chrome-13-10-2020-19-47-14-2.png
Apple

As a professional photographer, I've been blown away by how the iPhone 11 Pro has been able to replace my DSLR on photo shoots. But Apple just introduced the iPhone 12 lineup which includes the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the camera tech is even better this time around. (Here's everything Apple announced at the October event.) The iPhone 12 Pro Max's camera updates especially, both in hardware and software, have already got me buzzing about going shooting with this thing. Here's why I'm so excited.

More zoom with the 2.5x telephoto lens

I love the telephoto zoom lens on the iPhone 11 Pro, but at only 2x, it doesn't always provide quite the level of zoom I want. I often find myself digitally zooming in further to get the exact composition I want. The iPhone 12 Pro Max takes that further, to 2.5x, which might not seem like a huge upgrade, but I think will be noticeable for many shots. 

Would I have liked 5x or 10x? Sure, I love the bigger zoom on phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but as they're so big, I don't use them quite as often as the 2x on the iPhone. Maybe 3x would have been a good compromise, but I still think that the 12 Pro Max's upgrade will make a big difference to many of my photos. 

Read more: The best phone to buy for 2020

Bigger image sensor

Apple already manages to squeeze incredible image quality out of tiny phone camera sensors, and its great software allows for the awesome night mode shots we've already seen. But a 47% larger sensor captures more light, allowing for brighter shots with less noise and better dynamic range. It's why my professional camera (a Canon 5D Mark IV) uses a much bigger full-frame sensor. 

I'm very keen to see just what a difference this larger sensor might mean not just for my nighttime photos, but for capturing fine details in landscapes, or up close when taking macro images of flowers. A bigger sensor paired with Apple's image processing software is likely to be a potent combination. 

Apple iPhone12 Pro rear cameras

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max have three rear cameras.

Apple

Improved, faster lens for better night mode

It's not just the sensor that can capture more light -- the lens itself can let in more light than before thanks to its wider, f/1.6 aperture. That number basically means that the hole that light passes through is bigger than before, allowing more light to pass through in the same amount of time. Together with the larger sensor, Apple reckons the 12 Pro Max has seen an 87% improvement in low light imagery from the iPhone 11, which itself was already one of the best at low-light photos.

The redesigned lens isn't just about letting more light in, though. Apple also explained in its launch presentation that it's improved the optical clarity of the lens, reducing the amount of image distortion, particularly at the edges of the image on the widest lens. All of which means better-looking, more professional images. Lovely stuff.

Apple ProRaw 

Many of my best images I've taken with the iPhone have been taken in raw, using third-party apps. Raw images don't save data like color information, or sharpening, allowing for greater control when editing in mobile apps like Adobe Lightroom Mobile. However, the downside of shooting raw in third-party apps is that you don't get to take advantage of the image processing Apple uses in its own camera app. The Deep Fusion processing for amazing HDR, for example, is only something you'd get when shooting with the iPhone's native camera. 

iphone-12-pro-pacific-blue
Apple

To appeal more to pros, Apple has introduced Apple ProRaw in its camera app, which takes advantage of many of its image processing capabilities, but doesn't permanently bake in data like white balance, allowing you to still make those changes in post production. Apple says it's the best of both worlds, and on paper, I'm tempted to agree, but I'll have to reserve my final judgment until I can not only shoot images in this new format, but also edit the images as well. 

It's worth noting that Google has done much the same already with its Pixel phones' "computational raw" feature, which CNET senior editor Stephen Shankland calls "tremendous." How the two compare remain to be seen.

HDR video and improved stabilization 

It's not just stills that have seen an improvement. The phone also now offers HDR with Dolby Vision at up to 60fps, which Apple says is the first time this has been offered on any device. In theory, this would help control bright highlights and help lift dark shadows, in just the same way that HDR does when you take still images.

The optical image stabilization has also been improved as well by moving the image sensor to counter movements and vibrations, rather than moving the heavier lens, as was the case before. How much difference this makes remains to be seen when I can take the phones out for a proper test, but with better image quality and better stabilization, I'm really excited about the sorts of videos I'll be able to produce with this phone.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple reveals iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max

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Amazon Prime Day 2020 UK: Last deals still available on phones, cameras, headphones and more – CNET

Deal

Savings

Price

This story is part of Amazon Prime Day, CNET's guide on everything you need to know and how to make sure you get the best deal.

Amazon Prime Day has officially come to an end, but there are some deals still available, which we've rounded up here, including the Samsung Galaxy S20, the Fujifilm X-A7 mirrorless camera and smart toothbrushes from Oral-B. 

Note that this article was last updated at 11:30am UK time on Friday October 16 and will not be updated further.

The pricing below assumes you have an Amazon Prime membership (£8 a month or £80 a year). Pricing was accurate at the time of publication but may fluctuate without warning. We'll be updating this story with the best UK Prime Day deals we find throughout the week.

Best Prime Day smartphone and tablet deals

Best Prime Day 4K TV and home entertainment deals

Best Prime Day camera and photography deals

oneplus-8-pro-0605
Angela Lang/CNET

Best Prime Day wireless headphone and speaker deals

Best Prime Day home and kitchen appliances deals

Angela Lang/CNET

The Galaxy S10 5G saw bigger discounts during the main two days of Prime Day, but even at this price it's still a good price and a good entry into the superfast speeds of 5G.

David Carnoy/CNET

The JBL Boombox's beefy size means it's great for kicking out a big sound when you're partying in the park, on the beach or just in your back garden. Its battery lasts up to 24 hours on a charge and its handle and sturdy build make it well-equipped to handle a life on the move.

Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's Galaxy S20 packs great specs and a superb camera into a water-resistant body. It's an all-round high performance phone and well worth a look at this price. 

Oral-B

The Oral-B 6 6000N electric toothbrush connects to an app over Bluetooth to give real-time feedback on your brushing, promising a superior clean over manual brushes.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The Echo Dot is Amazon's smallest and most affordable smart speaker, making it a great option for adding Alexa voice control to any -- or every -- room in your house.


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