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Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

AH Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE comparison
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We’ve already compared the Galaxy S21 FE to both the Galaxy S21 and S21+, and it’s not time to do the same with the most powerful S21 phone out there. In this article, we’ll compare the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. The Galaxy S21 FE launched earlier this month, and it’s a bit late to the game. It was supposed to arrive back in August last year. Still, this is a very compelling phone.

The Galaxy S21 FE has a lot to offer, though some of you are probably wondering if it’s worth getting over the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Well, the Galaxy S22 series is right around the corner, but that’s a completely different discussion. In any case, we’ll compare the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S21 FE in this article, across a number of categories. Based on that, feel free to make your judgment call, if it’s worth saving some cash on the Galaxy S21 FE. Let’s get started.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraSamsung Galaxy S21 FE
Screen size6.8-inch WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X curved display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate)6.4-inch FullHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate, LTPS)
Screen resolution3200 x 14402400 x 1080
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 888 / Samsung Exynos 2100Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100
RAM12GB/16GB (LPDDR5)6GB/8GB (LPDDR5)
Storage128GB/256GB, non-expandable (expandable in some countries)128GB/256GB, non-expandable
Rear cameras108MP (f/1.8 aperture, OIS, 0.8um pixel size. Produces 12MP images with 2.4um pixel size)
12MP (ultrawide, Dual Pixel AF, 120-degree FoV, f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel size)
10MP (telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/2.4 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, optical zoom 3x)
10MP (telephoto, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, f/4.9 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 10x optical zoom, 100x Space Zoom)
12MP (f/1.8 aperture, 1.8um pixel size, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF)
12 MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.12um pixel size, 123-degree FoV)
8MP (telephoto, f/2.4 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, OIS, PDAF, 3x optical zoom)
Front cameras40MP (f/2.2 aperture, 80-degree FoV, 0.7um pixel size, PDAF)32MP (f/2.2 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, 26mm lens)
Battery5,000mAh, non-removable, fast battery charging (USB PD 3.0), Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare4,500mAh, non-removable, 25W wired charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, Wireless PowerShare
Dimensions165 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm
Weight227/229 grams177 grams
Connectivity5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C
SecurityIn-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)
OSAndroid 11
One UI 3.0
Android 12
One UI 4.0
Price$1,199.99$699
BuySamsungSamsung

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Design

It is clearly noticeable that these two phones are related, judging by their designs only. They do use slightly different build materials, while they do look a bit different as well. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is made out of metal and glass, while the Galaxy S21 FE combines metal with plastic. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has more cameras on the back, and its camera housing protrudes from the frame, it’s made out of metal. The Galaxy S21 FE’s camera housing only looks like it’s protruding from the frame.

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The Galaxy S21 Ultra also has a curved display, while the S21 FE utilizes a flat one. Both do include a centered display camera hole, and their buttons are in the same spot. All of their physical keys sit on the right-hand side. Samsung’s branding is also included in the same spot on both devices, in the bottom portion of their back sides. Those camera housings on the back protrude on both phones, but more on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is taller, wider, and thicker than the Galaxy S21 FE. On top of that, it’s also considerably heavier. It does include a larger display, so the size difference is a given. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is quite a bit taller than the Galaxy S21 FE, by around 10mm, while it’s just a little bit wider and thicker. It does weigh 50 grams more in comparison, though, and that’s a difference you’ll feel. Both phones are quite slippery, though the Galaxy S21 FE is easier to use with one hand. Both feel premium in the hand.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Display

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a 6.8-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. That display offers a 120Hz refresh rate, which is adaptive, and supports HDR10+ content. It also gets quite bright at 1,500 nits of peak brightness. This display is curved, as we’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph, and it’s well-protected. Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus protection is included on top of it.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE AM AH 25

The Galaxy S21 FE, on the other hand, includes a 6.4-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. This is also a 120Hz panel, though it’s not an LTPO panel, so it doesn’t offer an adaptive refresh rate. It does support HDR10+ content as well, though, and it gets quite bright, even though not as bright as the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s display. This panel is also protected by the Gorilla Glass Victus.

Both displays are quite great, though. Even when put side-by-side the Galaxy S21 FE holds its own. That is one of the best fullHD+ panels out there, and it’s more than enough to have on a phone. It is plenty sharp, you definitely won’t miss anything in that department. Both panels offer great viewing angles, and are quite vivid as well. The blacks are as deep as you’d expect them to be on OLED panels. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s panel does handle battery consumption better, and it is sharper, even though that’s really difficult to notice.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Performance

These two phones are equipped with the same SoC, the Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100, depending on the market. On top of that, they both include LPPDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 flash storage. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does offer more RAM, though that’s not something many of you will notice when it comes to performance, well, at least if you get the 8GB RAM Galaxy S21 FE model. The Galaxy S21 Ultra should be able to hold more apps in memory because of it, but even 8GB of RAM is plenty for a phone, so… that’s not something that should worry you. If you do opt for a 6GB RAM Galaxy S21 FE, well, then that will become more obvious, as the phone will redraw apps more frequently in the background.

In fact, considering they also have similar software on top of all that hardware, the performance will be quite similar. Neither phone gets too hot in use, not even when you’re gaming, which is great. Do note that the Exynos 2100 variants do get a bit warmer at times, though, but never too warm. We’ve only used the Snapdragon 888 models, though, so we cannot really corroborate that.

Both phones perform great when it comes to everyday tasks. They can open and close apps really fast, they do a great job when it comes to multitasking, web browsing, taking images, consuming multimedia… and yes, gaming. We didn’t play that many games while we used the two phones, but the ones we did load, they ran perfectly fine. All in all, the performance is not something that should worry you.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Battery

Both of these phones have fairly large batteries to keep them going. The Galaxy S21 Ultra includes a 5,000mAh unit, while the Galaxy S21 FE sports a 4,500mAh battery. Those batteries are not huge compared to their display sizes, but they’re large enough. Both phones offer fairly good battery life, though the Galaxy S21 Ultra has more to offer in that regard, at least in our testing.

Both phones were able to provide us with at least 6 hours of screen-on-time, though battery life varied from one day to the next. The Galaxy S21 Ultra was able to go well beyond that on some days. Do note that gaming and other processor-intensive tasks will hinder battery life. Also, your usage will be completely different from ours, and the same goes for your location during the day, and cell reception in general. So, your mileage may vary considerably. The point is, both phones do offer good battery life.

Both phones offer fast charging as well. In fact, they offer the exact same charging support. Both phones support 25W wired charging, in addition to 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging aka Wireless PowerShare. Do note that neither of these two phones includes a charging brick, though. You will get a cable in the box, but you’ll need to provide the power adapter yourself.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Cameras

The camera setup on these two phones is quite a bit different in comparison. The Galaxy S21 FE is much closer to the Galaxy S21 and S21+ in terms of camera setup. The Galaxy S21 Ultra includes four cameras on the back, compared to three on the Galaxy S21 FE. The sensors and lenses are also quite a bit different. So, which one provides better pictures? Well, for the most part, it’s the ‘Ultra’ model, as expected.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra AH 05

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is still one of the best camera smartphones in the market. The device can provide excellent images during the day, with a lot of detail, good dynamic range, and punchy colors. Even when the light goes away it does an excellent job. If you want, you can lighten up the scene quite a bit thanks to the phone’s hardware and software. It preserves a lot of detail in low light.

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The Galaxy S21 FE also does an excellent job during the day, and it definitely holds its own against the ‘Ultra’. It does a good job in low light as well, but the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s pictures in such conditions are visibly better. Ultrawide shots are great on both phones, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra easily takes the cake in the telephoto department. You won’t go wrong with either phone when it comes to cameras, but if you want the better one, the ‘Ultra’ is the way to go.

Audio

Both of these phones come with a set of stereo speakers. They do not include an audio jack, though, so keep that in mind. Are their stereo speakers any good, though? Well, yes, they are. Both sets are actually really good and provide 32-bit/384kHz audio. The Galaxy S21 Ultra output does sound a bit richer in comparison, as if it has a wider soundstage than the Galaxy S21 FE .

The thing is, the difference is really small, and not something you should take into consideration. Both phones provide sound that is really good, and that goes for the sound via a set of good pair of headphones as well. The sound output is well-balanced overall, the vocals are clear, and you will get some bass on both phones too.

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