Samsung Galaxy S21 FE hands-on: Entering the twilight phone


Eric Zeman /

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (“fan version”) is a telephone that feels out of time and position. Many anticipated the instrument to debut months and months in the past. Now, in January 2022, it in the end arrives bearing closing 12 months’s title, closing 12 months’s specifications, and closing 12 months’s design, leaving it fairly out of step with Samsung’s lineup. Samsung hasn’t explicitly mentioned why the telephone didn’t display up in 2022, regardless that it most probably has one thing to do with the continued world chip scarcity. Regardless of the causes, the S21 FE is right here now at CES 2022.

This mid-range instrument features a first rate set of features packed into a shockingly easy piece of {hardware} that’s priced to promote. In‘s Samsung Galaxy S21 FE hands-on, you’ll learn our first impressions of Samsung’s newest smartphone.

Extra data: Your entire Samsung Galaxy S21 FE purchaser’s information

Design: Extra vanilla than killah


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The Galaxy S21 FE blends the most efficient sides of the (*19*)S20 FE and S21 design components in some way that makes it a extra sexy and cohesive smartphone than its predecessor.

As anticipated, the S21 FE has a Gorilla Glass Victus entrance panel, a steel body, and a plastic rear panel. The back and front panels are principally flat, whilst the body is rounded generously. Those elements are formed to resemble the bolder Galaxy S21 however in some way that’s fairly muted. As an example, the digicam module of the S21 is nearly garishly massive. Samsung toned it down for the S21 FE, and the digicam bump has a miles decrease profile.

Additionally, the Galaxy S21 includes a two-toned glance (on some colorways) because of the contrasting colours used for the body and the rear panel. The S21 FE is more practical because of the only colour of the body and panel. Talking of colours, Samsung will promote the S21 FE in Olive, Lavender, White, and Graphite. Samsung lent us the Graphite colour. I just like the matte end.

The S21 FE is a relaxed measurement and form that balances out well.

The dimensions is moderately sudden. Samsung lowered the display screen’s size via 0.1 inches in comparison to the S20 FE, permitting it to shrink the S21 FE’s footprint in each size. It’s shorter, narrower, and thinner, in addition to lighter, which all make it a excitement to carry and use. This is a relaxed measurement and form that balances out in a pleasant style.


Eric Zeman /

Samsung did neatly with the fabrics and construct high quality. The entrance and rear panels are fitted into the body snugly. Not anything in regards to the telephone feels reasonable, regardless of the plastics used for the again floor. This turns out like the correct time to say that the telephone meets the IP68 ranking for cover towards mud and water. It might maintain a 30-minute dunk in about five toes of water.

Purposeful components constructed into the body are stored to a minimal. The ability button and quantity toggle at the left edge are somewhat skinny, however they ship excellent motion. There’s a USB-C port at the backside edge, which may be the place you’ll in finding the SIM card slot. Unfortunately, the S21 FE loses microSD beef up. Consider it or now not, the telephone has stereo audio system, and so they sound beautiful respectable on first go. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.

Extra studying: Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S20 FE

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is a little more vanilla than the standout S21, however that’s to be anticipated for a mid-range instrument. It’s a forged smartphone, despite the fact that it borders on uninteresting.

Show: Function to overcome


Eric Zeman /

Samsung fitted the S21 FE with a very good reveal. In accordance with what our eyeballs see, it’s a category chief for the fee.

The S21 FE’s Dynamic AMOLED reveal measures 6.4 inches around the diagonal, a hair smaller than the S20 FE’s 6.5-inch panel. It carries over the similar FHD+ solution at 2,340 x 1,080. It boasts a 120Hz refresh price for easy scrolling motion and a quick 240Hz reaction price for gaming. There’s a punch-hole cutout for the selfie digicam focused close to the highest edge.

Additional studying: Show specifications and phrases defined

Although those specifications are in large part carried over from closing 12 months’s fashion, the display screen is spectacular. The dimensions and backbone mixture works neatly, which means on-screen components akin to icons and textual content glance crisp and sharp. Colours are boosted somewhat, which is standard for a Samsung panel, however you might have quite a lot of choices to customise the reveal’s vividness, brightness, and tone to fit your personal tastes.

Final analysis, you’re getting a forged panel right here from Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Scorching or now not?

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Efficiency and tool: A small bump


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Lots of the core specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE are carried over from the S2o, regardless that there’s one massive exception. The place the S20 shipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, the S21 will depend on Qualcomm’s more moderen Snapdragon 888. The 888 is identical chip discovered within the S21 circle of relatives. It was once additionally the most well liked SoC for flagships and high-end mid-range telephones right through 2022. Qualcomm has changed the 888 with a more moderen chip, regardless that that silicon has but to send in any client merchandise.

Past the processor, on the other hand, the S21 FE provides the similar reminiscence and garage choices as its predecessor. That implies 6GB of RAM paired with 128GB of garage or 8GB of RAM paired with 256GB of garage. In our restricted time with the telephone, it felt fluid and speedy.

Then there’s the battery. It’s a right away carry-over from the outgoing telephone. The battery has a capability of 4,500mAh. It helps stressed out charging speeds of 25W (brick now not incorporated) and wi-fi charging speeds of 15W. We haven’t had a chance to evaluate the S21 FE’s battery existence, so keep tuned to our complete overview for the ones main points.

Comparable: The most productive wi-fi chargers

5G is on board as neatly. Samsung says a unmarried world model of the S21 FE is being bought, and it helps each sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G. The latter is usually best to be had in america, however the ones of you in markets with sub-6GHz carrier will have to be neatly coated. We additionally be expecting to completely take a look at the S21 FE’s 5G efficiency in our imminent overview.

Cameras: Similar similar however other


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Similar to the core efficiency specifications of the telephone, the S21 FE carries over the S20 FE’s trio of cameras. It has a 12MP number one digicam, a 12MP wide-angle digicam, and an 8MP telephoto digicam. The 32MP selfie digicam is a duplicate as neatly. In accordance with the specifications sheet, the digicam association is strictly the similar because the outgoing telephone, right down to the aperture, field-of-view, and have set, akin to 3X telephoto and 30X (*18*)Area Zoom. That’s somewhat disappointing. I don’t want extra pixels, however it will had been great to look a change-up within the sensors or the lens features, akin to advanced apertures or altered fields of view.

The one facet of the S21 FE that are supposed to be offering it fairly larger imaging efficiency when in comparison to the S20 FE is, in fact, the upgraded processor. The Snapdragon 888 has a more in-depth symbol sign processor on board, giving the S21 FE an edge over its predecessor. Additionally, the S21 FE provides one further characteristic: Twin recording. This lets you seize content material the use of the entrance and rear cameras concurrently.

We’ll be offering a complete evaluation of the S21 FE’s cameras within the days forward.

Tool: A forged improve


Eric Zeman /

If there’s one merit the S21 FE has out of the field, it’s the instrument revel in. The telephone is one of the primary from Samsung to send with Android 12 and its One UI 4 pores and skin from the get-go.

After the use of the telephone for only some moments, we will be able to say that the fundamental instrument and its efficiency are fast. No insects cropped up right through our time with the instrument, and most of the core components of Android 12, such because the robotically generated colour palettes, are provide and accounted for. There’s additionally the brand new Privateness Dashboard, which provides safety and privateness controls collected in one spot.

Comparable: The whole lot new in Android 12

What’s extra, Samsung guarantees three years of OS updates and four years of safety updates for the telephone. Samsung has one of the most efficient improve commitments available in the market, and that’s excellent information for the Galaxy S21 FE.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE specifications

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
Show6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED
FHD+ (2,340 x 1,080)
120Hz refresh price
240Hz contact sampling in gaming mode
Fabrics“Glasstic” again
Gorilla Glass Victus entrance
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 888 (US)
Unnamed Exynos processor
Garage128GB or 256GB
No expandable garage
25W stressed out charging
15W wi-fi charging
Opposite wi-fi charging
No charger in field
— 12MP number one (ƒ1.8, Twin Pixel AF, OIS, 79-degree FoV)
— 12MP ultrawide (ƒ2.2, 123-degree FoV)
— 8 MP telephoto (ƒ2.4, 3x optical zoom, OIS, 32-degree FoV)

— 32MP unmarried (ƒ2.2, 81-degree FoV)

AudioStereo Audio system
Dolby Atmos beef up
No 3.5mm headphone jack
SafetyIn-display optical fingerprint sensor
SturdinessIP68 ranking
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC beef up
Networks5G: Non-Standalone (NSA), Sub-6GHz, and mmWave
Enhanced 4×4 MIMO, as much as 5CA, LTE D/L Cat.19 (1.6Gbps)
LTE U/L Cat.18 (211Mbps)
ToolAndroid 12
One UI 4
Dimensions and weight74.5 x 155.7 x 7.9mm
ColoursWhite, Graphite, Olive, Lavender

Total, there’s quite a lot of promise


Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

Samsung’s 2022 flagship in the end will get a “fan version”

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is similar to the vanilla Galaxy S21. Then again, it pares issues down somewhat with the intention to slash $100 from the MSRP.

It’s arduous to not really feel a bit of let down via the Galaxy S21 FE. Certain, Samsung did a advantageous activity updating the telephone’s look to check the bigger S21 circle of relatives. It’s a better-looking telephone than its predecessor, indisputably. However the corporate obviously held again when it got here time to outfit the instrument with its defining options. As opposed to the processor, just about the entire inside specifications had been carried over from the older S20 FE telephone, which leaves the S21 FE coming throughout as old-fashioned and probably unprepared for soon-to-be-released competition.

First impressions apart, there’s quite a lot of room right here for the S21 FE to stretch its legs and turn out its mettle. Keep tuned for our complete overview of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE.

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