By Andrew Romero & Ben Schoon
The intention of developing the Galaxy S21 FE seems to be in order to give users a break when it came to choosing among the many overpriced smartphone options out there. While prices have gotten a little better as of late, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE still seems to be a solid crowd-pleaser ready for inevitable discounts. Here are the highlights of our review...
Hardware & display
While the Galaxy S21 has a metal frame along with a "glasstic" back panel, the S21 FE is all plastic. That isn't all bad, considering the result of dropping this phone a couple of different times resulted in no notable damage. Under the Gorilla Glass Victus front glass panel is a 6.4-inch FHD display. This is a brilliant AMOLED panel with great colors, smooth 120Hz scrolling, and excellent touch response. Contrary to the Galaxy S20 FE, this touch screen is completely solid.
One thing we did notice was that the pair of mmWave antenna cutouts were very eager to pick up dust and hair. While this isn't a huge deal, getting a case for the S21 FE would be well-advised. Another way price-cutting tactics were used on the S21 FE is the fingerprint sensor tech. Instead of the ultrasonic sensor used in the rest of the series, Samsung decided to opt for an optical sensor. Even though that's the case, we saw no difference in performance and reliability.
Software & perforamnce
The specs that drive the S21 FE are absolutely rooted in 2021 tech, rather than launching into 2022. The sheet includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. Generally, the performance of the S21 FE feels identical to the S21 in all but the most intense scenarios. Another great bonus is that the S21 FE ships with Android 12 out of the box in the form of Samsung UI 4.0. This means right off the bat, all of Android's new features are at your disposal.
Endurance on the S21 FE isn't exactly impressive, but it's not unbearably bad. The 4,500 mAh cell results in decent battery life, allowing the phone to last a day on moderate use. The battery downsides are partially made up for by quick charging. Over USB-C, a 25W power brick can top off this phone in what feels like no time.
The cameras on the Galaxy S21 FE are virtually identical to the array on the Galaxy S21. The 12MP primary sensor captures overall pleasing shots with vibrant colors and acceptable depth. That being said, it isn't the most reliable camera out there. The 12MP ultrawide is fine but isn't especially impressive. Overall, the camera setup is good once you get the hang of it
Coming in at only $100 less than the Galaxy S21, the S21 FE sits in a weird spot. For $100 less than the S21 FE, you can grab a Pixel 6 which offers essentially the same package. That being said, the S21 FE makes sense in a couple of situations. When it's inevitably discounted, the S21 FE will be a steal. Second, The Galaxy S22 is rumored to start at $899. That suddenly makes this phone a lot more reasonable at it's current price. If you want more details on our take of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, you can read the full review on 9to5Google.com.