The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Samsung rolls out touchscreen fix for fan-favorite phone

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE has been plagued by a "ghost touch" glitch since it was introduced last year.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE has been plagued by a "ghost touch" glitch since it was introduced last year.

Samsung is rolling out a firmware update that certain customers hope will solve an aggravating problem with a popular mid-range smartphone.

The device, called the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition), was well-received by reviewers who praised the company’s decision to offer a mid-range smartphone with a somewhat premium build, a good camera array and access to the next-generation 5G wireless network.

The phone has gone on sale several times since it debuted last September, including a deep discount around the holiday shopping season that saw the device going for as little as $500 unlocked.

Shoppers who took advantage of that deal and others have been agonizing over a little-covered glitch with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE’s screen, with hundreds of customers complaining on Reddit and other web forums about touch sensitivity issues that have plagued the device since it was introduced last year.

The glitch happens when a person uses two or more fingers to perform  a “gesture,” like swiping up and down on the screen or pinching in and out on a video. The bug becomes more apparent when a user swipes, scrolls or pinches with two or more fingers in a rapid, consecutive manner, with the screen recognizing inputs that are never made.

The problem is known as “ghost touch,” and Samsung is not alone in experiencing the bug: Occasionally, devices made by other manufacturers — even Apple — suffer the problem. Typically, the issue is isolated in a small handful of devices that, for some reason, passed through quality control measures despite obvious defects in the screen.

But the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE stands out in that it has an unusually high number of complaints about ghost touch. The large number of complaints strongly suggests a more-serious quality control problem, one that potentially impacts most or all of the devices on the market.

For its part, Samsung has tried to fix the issue with several firmware updates released since last year. The firmware updates are met with varying degrees of success: Some customers say the updates resolved many of their issues with the screens, while others say the ghost touch problems persist.

Earlier this month, Samsung released another firmware update — G781BXXU2CUD1 — that specifically cited improvements to the quality of the touch screen on the 5G variant of the device. In international markets, Samsung also offers a version of the S20 FE phone that works on the older LTE network, and Samsung fans are speculating that the firmware update could eventually be pushed out to those devices in the near future.

Despite the glitch, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE remains available to buy from Amazon and Best Buy for around $700, though the phone often sees significant discounts.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).