The Galaxy S21 FE got announced quite recently, and the first phone we’ll compare it to is its sibling. In this article, we’ll compare the Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. Needless to say, these two smartphones have a lot in common. The vast majority of their internals are the same, and they also look very similar. Is the Galaxy S21 FE worth getting over the Galaxy S21 at this point? Well, we’ll try to help you reach a conclusion for yourself… but, spoiler alert, they’re really, really similar.
We’ll kick things off by listing their specifications, and then we’ll compare them across a number of different areas. We’ll talk about their designs, displays, performance, batteries, cameras, and audio performance. The Galaxy S21 FE is actually a bit pricey considering the competition, and considering that the Galaxy S22 is right around the corner. It’s still more affordable than the Galaxy S21, unless you can get it at a discount, of course. That being said, let’s get started.
|Samsung Galaxy S21||Samsung Galaxy S21 FE|
|Screen size||6.2-inch FullHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate, LTPS)||6.4-inch FullHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate, LTPS)|
|Screen resolution||2400 x 1080||2400 x 1080|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100|
|RAM||8GB (LPDDR5)||6GB/8GB (LPDDR5)|
|Storage||128GB/256GB, non-expandable||128GB/256GB, non-expandable|
|Rear cameras||12MP (f/1.8 aperture, 1.8um pixel size, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF)|
12 MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.4um pixel size, 120-degree FoV)
64MP (f/2.0 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, OIS, PDAF, Hybrid Optic 3X, 30X 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 cameras||10MP (f/2.2 aperture, 1.22um pixel size, 80-degree FoV, Dual Pixel AF)||32MP (f/2.2 aperture, 0.8um pixel size, 26mm lens)|
|Battery||4,000mAh, non-removable, 25 fast wired charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, Wireless PowerShare||4,500mAh, non-removable, 25W wired charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, Wireless PowerShare|
|Dimensions||151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm||155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm|
|Weight||169 grams||177 grams|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C||5G, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C|
|Security||In-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)||In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)|
One UI 3.0
One UI 4.0
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Design
When it comes to the design, these two phones are very similar. Both devices include flat displays, with thin bezels, and a centered display camera hole at the top. Both come with a plastic backplate, and an aluminum frame. Even their camera housings are similar, though the one on the Galaxy S21 FE is matte and possibly even made out of a different material. Both include three cameras inside those camera housings, though.
Even the shame of the two devices is extremely similar. Those with a keen eye will be able to set the two phones apart, but most people would probably see the same phone here. The Galaxy S21 is a bit smaller, though. It is shorter, narrower, and has the same thickness as the Galaxy S21 FE. The Galaxy S21 is a bit lighter, though. Both devices do offer IP68 certification for water and dust resistance.
The two phones are quite slippery in the hand, while the Galaxy S21 is earlier to operate. That is not surprising considering it’s smaller, both vertically and horizontally. Most people will want to use a case due to how slippery these phones are. They’re not too heavy at all, but have enough weight to feel premium. The Galaxy S21 FE basically borrowed the Galaxy S21’s design, and that’s not a bad thing.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Display
The Samsung Galaxy S21 features a 6.2-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. That is a 120Hz panel, and it’s flat. This display does support HDR10+ content, and it has a peak brightness of 1,300 nits. We’re looking at a 20:9 display aspect ratio here, and there’s Gorilla Glass Victus protection on top. The Galaxy S21 FE comes with a larger display in comparison.
The Galaxy S21 FE features a 6.4-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. This is also a 120Hz panel, which has support for HDR10+ content. It’s flat, and it comes with the same display aspect ratio. To cut the long story short, these are the same displays, but at different sizes. So you can expect this panel to be just as bright as the one on the Galaxy S21, or at least close to that, which is good.
Are these displays any good, though? Well, yes, they are. These are some of the best fullHD+ panels you can find in the market, if not the best ones. They’re very sharp, and very vivid as well. On top of that, viewing angles are excellent, and the content that comes sliding on them ends up really smooth thanks to that refresh rate. Truth be said, for the vast majority of people, these displays will look like QHD+ panels, even though they’re fullHD+. They’re excellent.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Performance
What about the performance? Well, spoiler alert, it’s really good on both phones. That is not surprising at all considering their internals. In fact, the performance is about the same, as their internals are really similar, especially ones related to performance. The Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 are included on the inside, depending on where you get your device. They’re both quite powerful SoCs
On top of that, Samsung included plenty of RAM in both phones. The Galaxy S21 has 8GB of RAM, while the Galaxy S21 FE starts at 6GB, but it’s also available in an 8GB RAM model. Even the 6GB Galaxy S21 FE variant performs admirably. The Galaxy S21 FE ships with Android 12 out of the box, while the Galaxy S21 received it via an update. So, both have the latest version of Android, and One UI 4 skin. On top.
They do great when it comes to performance, and that goes for lighter, everyday tasks, and more advanced tasks. You can easily play games on either phone without a problem, and do some video editing as well. The two phones can handle pretty much anything you throw at them, even the 6GB RAM Galaxy S21 FE. It will reload apps in the background a bit more than the 8GB RAM model, but that’s not something that will bother many of you.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Battery
The Galaxy S21 comes with a 4,000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S21 FE includes a 4,500mAh battery. Both phones offer 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, and even reverse wireless charging. The reason why the Galaxy S21 FE has a bigger battery is its display size, it has a bigger display than the Galaxy S21. So, it should all even out in the end. Does it? Well, more or less.
Neither of these two phones offers spectacular battery life. Their battery life is good, though. Also, do note that your battery life will differ between the Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100 variants. We’ve used the Snapdragon 888 models. We were able to get around 6 hours of screen on time, without much gaming. That goes for both phones. The battery life did vary from one day to the next, though. Using the camera a lot affects it, though that is to be expected. Your numbers may vary considerably, as your usage will be different, and your location as well. All that affects battery life quite a bit, so we can only provide you with our experience.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Cameras
Both of these phones have three cameras on the back, and one on the front. The Galaxy S21 features two 12-megapixel, and one 64-megapixel camera. The Galaxy S21 FE, on the other hand, also has two 12-megapixel units, and a single 8-megapixel camera. The main 12-megapixel camera is the same on both phones, while the ultrawide cameras are different, as is the telephoto unit. Speaking of which, the Galaxy S21 includes a 10-megapixel selfie camera, while the Galaxy S21 FE has a 32-megapixel one.
What is the camera performance like? Well, you won’t see much difference when it comes to the main sensor, though both phones provide nice pictures. These images may be slightly overprocessed to some, but they’re not, at least not a lot. Samsung devices from the past were far worse at this. The Galaxy S21 and S21 FE do a great job of adding some flair to images, but don’t push them over the line. Images during the day are sharp and vivid, and they perform well even when the light goes away.
Ultrawide cameras are slightly different, but they both provide great pictures. The Galaxy S21’s ultrawide camera does a better job in low light, though, if that’s something you’re interested in. Selfie cameras are also different, but they both do a good job overall. The same can be said about video recording, it’s not the best out there, but it’s really good.
First and foremost, it’s worth noting that neither of these two phones includes a 3.5mm headphone jack. They both have stereo speakers, though, as you’d expect. They both can produce 32-bit audio output, and the sound coming from both phones is really good. Truth be said, there’s not much difference in comparison, the output is very similar. You will get some bass as part of the package, while the vocals sound really clear. The sound output is well-balanced, which is quite important. Even if you hook up a pair of headphones you’ll get good output, as long as your headphones can handle it, of course. So, audio output is not something you should worry about on either of the two devices.