Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G is an updated “fan version” of the smartphone from Samsung. The previous model S20 FE was a success: it was relatively inexpensive and in many respects was not inferior to the flagships.
However, in 2021, premium smartphones have come down in price and now the S21 FE doesn’t seem to be such a good deal anymore, you can add quite a bit and buy a full-fledged Galaxy S21 .
Read Also: Motorola Moto G200 5G review: a smartphone with flagship performance at an affordable price
Also, the processor here is last year’s Snapdragon 888, not the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that all 2022 flagships will run.
Although the Galaxy S21 FE 5G has several advantages that will appeal to fans of the brand, in my opinion, it is very late.
Specifications Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
|6.40″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 2400×1080 pixels (441ppi), 20:9 aspect ratio; always-on display
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G SM8350 (5nm) octa-core (1×2.84GHz Kryo 680 + 3×2.42GHz Kryo 680 + 4×1.80GHz Kryo 680) or Exynos 2100 (5nm) octa-core (1×2.9GHz Cortex-X1 + 3×2.80GHz Cortex-A78 + 4×2.2GHz Cortex-A55)
|Adreno 660 or Mali-G78 MP14
|128/256 GB, no expansion
|System and software
|Android 12 with One UI 4
|32 MP, f/2.2, wide-angle, 26mm, 1/2.74″, 0.8µm
|12 MP, f/1.8, wide-angle, 26 mm, 1/1.76-inch, 1.8 µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS + 12 MP, f/2.2, ultra wide-angle, 13 mm, 123˚, 1 /3.0″, 1.12µm + 8MP, f/2.4, telephoto, 76mm, 1/4.5″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
|Main: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, Gyro-EIS Front: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, EIS Gyro
|Communication and connections
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE, NFC, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, USB Type -C, USB On-The-Go
|GSM/CDMA/HSPA/EVDO/LTE/5G 2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900 – SIM 1 and SIM 2 CDMA 800/1900 and TD-SCDMA 3G HSDPA 850/900/1700(AWS)/1900/2100 CDMA2000 1xEV-DO 4G bands LTE 5G bands SA/NSA/Sub6 – International SA/NSA/Sub6/mmWave – USA
|Sound and audio
|Stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos, 32-bit/384kHz, no 3.5mm
|IP68 (at a depth of up to 1.5 m for 30 minutes)
|Sensors and features
|Fingerprint scanner (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, compass
|25W Fast Charge, 50% in 30 min, 15W Fast Wireless Charging, Reverse Wireless Charging, USB Power Delivery 3.0
|White, graphite, lavender, olive
|Gorilla Glass Victus front, plastic back, aluminum frame
|Dimensions and weight
Unpacking and packaging of Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
In the box with the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G, there is not even a charger, like the Galaxy S21 models.
There are no headphones either, we get:
- Smartphone S21 FE
- USB-C to USB-C cable
- Documentation and SIM tray eject key
The box itself is small and thin. The trend of recent years – the more expensive the smartphone, the less accessories in the kit.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G Design and appearance
The appearance of the new Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G is noticeably different from the previous model.
The bezels around the display have become thinner, the corners are more rounded, and the design itself looks neater. You can choose the color of gray, green, purple or white. However, the case is made of plastic, so in the hands of the device does not seem premium.
On the other hand, plastic is harder to break than glass and weighs less. The Galaxy S21 FE 5G is one of the lightest 6.4-inch phones at just 170 grams.
There is protection against water and dust IP68 – the device will survive any rain and even falling into the water. But the 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card slot are gone.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G Screen
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has a 6.4-inch flat Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The maximum brightness of the panel is 740 nits, the minimum is 1.6 nits, it is suitable for use in any environment. Under the screen is a fingerprint scanner, but not ultrasonic, like the S21, but optical. Works slower, but copes with its functions.
Unlocking can also be done using face recognition.
Like the Galaxy S20 FE , the S21 FE's screen can support a 120Hz refresh rate if you set it to "High" in the settings.
Scrolling on the Galaxy S21 FE display will appear smoother, resulting in a better overall phone experience. However, you will only be able to switch between 120Hz and 60Hz manually; other models in the Galaxy S21 lineup have adaptive refresh rate displays that adjust on the fly.
It may be a minor difference, but it helps explain the difference between the two.
The Galaxy S21 FE 5G handles colors quite well as it renders 119.8% of the sRGB color spectrum in natural mode. This compares to 109.2% for the Galaxy S21.
Both Samsung devices have a Delta-E of 0.29, so the colors are just as accurate here as they are on the more expensive model.
Galaxy S21 FE 5G Cameras
Looking at the specs alone, it might seem like the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G cameras haven’t been updated much.
There are three main lenses on the back: a 12MP main lens, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. There is a 32MP selfie sensor on the front.
The camera module itself looks better – it seems to be a continuation of the back cover and looks organic, like on the S21 models.
Daylight photography is typical of Samsung: colors are vibrant and rich, and the Galaxy S21 FE 5G makes it easy to capture beautiful shots. The hues are a little unnatural, but this does not spoil the image.
A telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom provides high detail when zoomed in, this is one of the features of Samsung smartphones.
The Galaxy S21 FE 5G cameras have improved white balance over their predecessor. Indoors, the S20 FE had a distinct shift towards orange hues, with the S21 FE able to recognize the scene and give photos a more natural feel.
Video can be shot at 4K/60 fps, but only on the main lens – the ultra-wide angle and telephoto lenses are limited to 4K/30 fps. Optical stabilization helps, in the dark the camera captures more light.
However, in terms of video shooting, the Galaxy S21 FE is clearly not a flagship, because the Google Pixel 6 and Apple iPhone 13 do it much better.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G Software
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G uses Android 12 with One UI 4 as the operating system, which is a great solution.
Samsung promises three years of operating system updates, so smartphone owners should catch Android 15. Of course, these are not Pixels that receive updates at the time of their release, owners of Samsung devices usually need to wait another 3-4 months.
One UI 4 offers multiple ways to customize the look of your home screen, icons, wallpaper, and more. Widgets have received a new design, so they are more customizable.
Samsung has also adopted many of the privacy features Google built into Android 12 so you can get alerts when an app tries to use your microphone or camera. Overall, this is one of the best shells.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G Component performance
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G smartphone can be attributed to the flagships, if only because of the Snapdragon 888 processor.
But, most premium smartphones in 2022 will be powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, so we’re dealing with last year’s CPU here. The RAM is 6/8 GB, and the internal storage is 128/256 GB.
In the GeekBench 5 performance test, the gadget scores 1096 points in single-core mode and 3049 in multi-core mode. The results are ok but marginally better than the Galaxy S20 FE, I was expecting more.
In everyday use, no lags occur, because the software has also been slightly optimized.
The problem is that the Galaxy S21 FE 5G processor is prone to throttling, especially noticeable during games. After just 5 minutes, you will experience a significant drop in performance. In games, last year's S20 FE behaves better.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G Sound quality
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll need wireless or a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter.
There are two dynamics here: the main, directed downwards, and conversational. The sound quality is good, although not the best in the segment, compared to some competitors, the sound lacks depth and bass.
Autonomy Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
The new Galaxy S21 FE is equipped with a 4500 mAh battery, which is quite a standard figure for the size of a smartphone.
One charge is enough for a day of intensive use, but you will have to recharge the device at night or in the morning. The charging speed is limited to 25W, and the adapter must be purchased separately.
In this case, the process will take 1 hour and 10 minutes. Supports S21 FE 15W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.
The timing of the release of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G to the market is not the best – Samsung should have done this a few months ago. Now the smartphone seems not as profitable option as it used to be.
Although it is not much cheaper than the flagships, the S21 FE has no advantages over them. Moreover, Pixel 6 at the office. The site costs even less.
Is it worth buying Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G ?
In many ways, the Galaxy S21 FE 5G is superior to last year’s S20 FE: it looks more stylish, shoots well, and is fast. But given the imminent release of the Galaxy S22, there is not much point in buying the S21 FE, it is better to wait.