The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a “premium” price, just like the iPhone 13 Pro. The Galaxy S21 FE (the FE stands for Fan Edition), and although it is a high-end smartphone, costs less than that of the Galaxy S21. The raison d’être of the Galaxy S21 FE is simple: to sell a phone that offers the same level of exclusivity you expect from a high-end device, but at a price that attracts ambitious customers who are willing to shell out. more for this premium offer. This formula has worked wonderfully for Samsung in the past with the Galaxy S20 FE, but the S21 FE comes at an odd time, especially as the Galaxy S22 launch is just around the corner.
Having used the Galaxy S21 FE for 5 days, I developed a fondness for this phone while being aware of its drawbacks. Here is my review of the Galaxy S21 FE.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE price in India: from Rs 54,999
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: Design and aesthetics
The Galaxy S21 FE is a typical Samsung phone. The design has an vibe that reminds me of the Galaxy S21. It’s fresh and modern, but familiar. The sides of the phone are all metal, while the back is plastic. The glass front and plastic back are high quality and durable, like the Galaxy S21.
But holding the Galaxy S21 FE makes you feel like a very expensive item. The back has this matte finish as if it were glass and not polycarbonate plastic. My exam unit is all gray and resistant to fingerprints. It’s still a big phone, considering its 6.4-inch screen size, and it takes two hands to get to the top of the screen.
The phone is rated IP68 for water resistance which means it can withstand rain. As we have seen in the case of the Galaxy S21, here too the camera module has been neatly integrated into the corner of the phone.
The Galaxy S21 FE is a fairly clean phone. The power and volume rocker lives on the right side, while the bottom of the device has a USB-C port sandwiched between the speaker and the SIM card. The antenna bands and microphones are etched into the frame.
Unfortunately, Samsung has removed expandable storage. So choose the internal storage capacity accordingly. You can opt for 128 GB or 256 GB storage with 8 GB of RAM. Overall, the Galaxy S21 FE lives up to the quality we’ve come to expect from Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: screen and speakers
The S21 FE has a 6.4 inch screen. This is a 2X Full HD Dynamic AMOLED display, similar to the Galaxy S21. The colors seem precise, while the blacks and contrast are impressive. Photos, videos or reading texts look great on the Galaxy S21 FE display. It also supports an adaptive switch refresh rate, ranging from 60Hz to 120Hz. The idea is to intelligently ramp up to 120Hz when movement is needed and slow down slowly when not. used to save battery.
The high refresh rate makes your phone more responsive and its benefits are clearly visible when scrolling through your Facebook feed. The screen has no curves around the edges, a hallmark of Samsung’s high-end smartphones. The point is that a screen with curved edges doesn’t make the experience different when consuming content. Yes, it looks cool, but these screens are more likely to crack easily.
You’ll also find an in-screen fingerprint reader and facial authentication to unlock the device, which I found reliable. The S21 FE’s stereo speakers are loud and clear, good enough for casual watching videos or listening to music.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: performance and battery life
For the Indian variant of the Galaxy S21 FE, Samsung uses the Exynos 2100 processor. The chipset is more or less equivalent to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor. The Exynos 2100 is fast enough and capable of running all the apps I typically use in a day, be it Twitter, Microsoft Teams, Linkedin, Apple Music, WhatsApp, or Chrome. I also launched games like Dragon Ball Z Legends and Final Fantasy: The First Soldier on the S21 FE, and the experience was comparable to any flagship-level Android smartphone.
The phone comes with One UI 4.1, built on Android 12. The One user interface is less clunky and highly customizable. The interface is visually familiar, but has all the features that make Android 12 so user-friendly, including new theme options and privacy changes. With the S21 FE, Samsung promises three years of guaranteed Android updates, a step in the right direction.
The 5G-capable phone has a 4,450mAh battery and it easily passed a full day before it needed to be recharged. That’s not bad considering I used the phone with the 120Hz display option all the time. You get up to 25W of wired and 15W wireless charging. However, you won’t get a charger in the box. It applies to all the flagship smartphones that Samsung sells in the market. It also supports reverse wireless charging, a feature that comes in handy when you have truly wireless headphones like the Galaxy Buds 2.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: cameras
There are three cameras on the back, a 12MP sensor for main and ultra-wide lenses, and an 8MP telephoto lens with 30X zoom. The ultra-wide lens has a 120-degree field of view, while the telephoto lens supports 3X optical zoom. The camera experience is on par with the Galaxy S21. Images are crisp and detailed, and the camera performs well in different lighting settings. Colors are saturated, as usual, but images are still true to life.
Details are crisp, but there have been times when the camera tends to exaggerate the subject. The Galaxy S21 FE can zoom in closer with up to 30x digital zoom, although it’s still not worth the effort. I noticed a lot of noise in these images. While the standard S21 can also record 8K videos, unlike the S21 FE, which achieves maximum 4K UHD videos. 8K videos don’t make a difference to average users, no matter how smartphone brands market them.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: should you buy it?
I clearly remember that the Galaxy S2O FE was a steal, and Samsung nailed the price. The Galaxy S21 FE is a solid phone that is in line with the best Samsung phones on the market. Yes, the Galaxy S21 FE is no different from the Galaxy S21, but the phone ranks at the top of all the parameters needed to make a great phone. Is this an exceptional phone? Depends on how you see it.