The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and Galaxy S20 FE 5G were a huge success for the company and Samsung reportedly sold over 10 million devices worldwide. Naturally, Samsung wants to continue this wave, and what better way to follow them with a new version.
Samsung has just launched the Galaxy S21 FE 5G in India, a highly anticipated smartphone that follows the same formula as before, offering flagship specs and features similar to those of the premium S21 series, but long after their launch and without the premium price. … Samsung sent us the device for review, and while it continues, here’s what you can expect from Samsung’s latest flagship.
The premium experience starts with packaging, which is a minimalist thin box, just like the siblings of this phone. Inside, you get a phone, a USB Type-C to Type-C cable, and a SIM eject tool. In the current flagship mod, there is no power adapter in the box, as was the case with last year’s FE models.
Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, the Galaxy S21 FE 5G doesn’t change things in any significant way, mainly because the previous phone was already packed with features. Instead, we get a few evolutionary changes like design and SoC.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G has a contoured camera module design just like the Galaxy S21 series, but this part is made of plastic, not metal, and is not an extension of the frame. The back panel is also plastic, but the display is covered with Victus Gorilla Glass for better protection from scratches. The metal body feels solid, with the power and volume buttons on the right and the USB port and dual SIM tray on the bottom. No headphone jack.
The S21 FE 5G is quite thin (7.9mm) and definitely lighter (177g) than the 190g Galaxy S20 FE 5G. The graphite color I have makes the design a little boring, but luckily there are brighter shades as well, such as olive, lavender and white. The phone is available in two storage options, 128GB and 256GB, with the same 8GB of RAM in both. However, the SIM tray is not the hybrid type that we saw in the Galaxy S20 FE 5G, which means you can’t expand the internal storage.
On the front, we have a large and bright 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The display is flat on all sides and has relatively thin bezels. There is a 32MP selfie camera in the notch and an in-display optical fingerprint sensor. The display looks great in the short time I’ve been using it with good colors and sharpness. The fingerprint sensor works well too, and the high refresh rate makes it quick to use.
The next big change is SoC. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G is powered by the Exynos 2100 processor, which is the same chip found in the flagship Samsung S21 series. We were hoping to see the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC in the version of this phone sold in India, as that is what some of the global variants have, and especially because the Galaxy S20 FE 5G was based on the Snapdragon 865 SoC. However, the Exynos 2100 is still the flagship SoC and we’ll check it out in a full review.
In terms of software, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G ships with OneUI 4 based on Android 12. The new version has minor changes to the interface and menus, but overall it looks and feels familiar.
Many features of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G have been carried over to the Galaxy S21 FE 5G. It has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, stereo speakers, Samsung Pay with NFC, and Wireless Dex mode. It even has the same 4500mAh battery capacity, with 25W fast wired charging, 15W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.
It’s the same story with cameras. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G has three rear cameras with the same resolution as the Galaxy S20 FE 5G. It is a 12MP main, 12MP ultra wide-angle and 8MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. There is still a lot of testing to be done, but so far the cameras seem to be quite competent.
At first, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G doesn’t seem like a big step up from its predecessor, and as far as I can tell, the only big changes are the design and SoC. The lack of microSD support is also a bit disappointing. Official prices for the Galaxy S21 FE 5G are Rs. 54,999 for the 128GB option and Rs. 58,999 if you want 256GB of storage, but Samsung has announced a temporary money-back offer that costs Rs. 5,000 off those prices if you use HDFC bank cards, which makes this phone a little more attractive. But how does the Galaxy S21 FE 5G stand out from its competitors, the largest of which is the Galaxy S20 FE 5G? We’ll answer this question and more in our full review, so stay tuned.
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