It was one of the best phones of 2020 when it came out. This isn’t because it had great cameras or unique hardware features. It was because it had some of the best features of the Galaxy S series at a much lower price than they normally would have been sold for. Galaxy S20 FE: At launch, it cost $699, but it often dropped to $550. The main Galaxy S phones cost over $1,000.
Flagship-class phones aren’t that cheap in the United States, but Samsung’s decision to make the Snapdragon-powered model available in a lot of places where Exynos-powered Galaxy phones were already available made it a big hit around the world. This means that for the first time, people in those places could get an S-series phone from Samsung with a Snapdragon processor, which meant that they could play games better than they could on the main S-series phone in that area.
A lot of people were excited about the Galaxy S21 FE when it came out, but it didn’t last long, so it was almost impossible for it to repeat that success. The phone did make it to the finish line, but with a year’s worth of hardware and the Galaxy S22 coming out soon, there aren’t many good reasons to buy it for $699.99.
Design and Hardware
The Galaxy S21 FE is a little bigger than the Galaxy S21 but smaller than the Galaxy S21 Plus. It is 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm (and Galaxy S21 Ultra). There are a lot of phones that are bigger than this one, but this one isn’t one of them.
It has a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen on the front, except for the hole-punch selfie camera at the top and a small chin at the bottom. The Galaxy S21 FE has a screen resolution close to the Galaxy S21’s (2340 x 1080 on the Galaxy S21 FE vs. 2400 x 1080 on the Galaxy S21). It also has the same maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. My only complaint about the Galaxy S21 FE screen is that it doesn’t have a lot of space for apps. It doesn’t have as many apps as the regular Galaxy S21.
The back of the phone is made of plastic, just like the Galaxy S20 FE and the regular Galaxy S21, which are both made of plastic as well. Instead of those two phones, this one has a shell with cameras on both sides that blend in with the rest of the shell. I don’t spend much time looking at the backs of my phones, but some people seem to like the slight change. I’m not one of them. One thing I don’t like about the back casing is that it’s easy to get fingerprints on. Even on the dark “Graphite” model I have here, smudges can be seen in the daylight. If you’re going to buy a case anyway, that won’t matter much.
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE: Performance and Apps
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC in the United States, and a Samsung Exynos 2100 SoC most of the time. That’s the same chip that was used in the Galaxy S21 series, which is more than a year old by now. There isn’t any doubt that paying $700 for a year-old piece of hardware isn’t the best deal.
This is less than the 8GB of RAM on the base model of both the Galaxy S20 FE and the Galaxy S21 FE. If you switch between a lot of apps, this phone still has enough memory to do that. But again, this phone costs just as much like the one that had 8GB of memory a year and a half ago.
Moving on to the software, the Galaxy S21 FE has the same One UI software package as every other Samsung phone in the last few years. You can get One UI 4 (based on Android 12) for free with this phone. It was Samsung’s first phone to come with it out of the box. You get everything that Android 12 has to offer, like the new Material You themes for the whole system. You also get a custom system design and a lot of Samsung-made apps and services.
People might not like One UI as much as I do, but I have very few complaints about it at this point. Samsung said last year that it would start taking ads out of One UI, and at least on our US model, I didn’t see any.
Galaxy S20 FE is part of Samsung’s promise of three Android OS updates and four years of security updates. If the phone runs Android 13, 14, and 15, it should be able to get the new versions as soon as they’re released. You should get important security updates until at least 2026 at the earliest.
Galaxy S21 FE: The cameras
This phone has three rear-facing cameras: a 12MP ultra-wide lens, a 12-MP main camera with flash, and an 8MP telephoto lens. If you have a regular Galaxy S21, you’ll have almost the same set-up, but there’s one big difference: The telephoto on the regular Galaxy S21 has a much higher resolution of 64MP, which is very important. Check out our comparison post if you want to see how the two cameras work. Read also; IPAD MINI 2021 REVIEW: A LITTLE DIFFERENT
In fact, this is almost the same camera setup as the Galaxy S21. Because the Galaxy S21 usually takes great photos, you won’t have any problems with the Galaxy S21 FE either. Colors are sometimes a bit over-saturated, and night performance isn’t the best in the business, but the overall photo quality is great. Another camera on the top of the phone is a 32MP selfie camera. It’s in a hole-punch cutout, like the most recent Samsung flagship and mid-range phones.
When you look at the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Fan Edition on its own, it’s a great phone. I wouldn’t have a problem using this as my main phone. Samsung’s promise of three major Android OS updates is the best in the Android world right now. Performance is great, the screen is big and vivid, and the photos aren’t bad. I’ve had a lot of fun with the base model Galaxy S21 over the last year, and this is almost the same phone.