After quite a few delays, Samsung finally announced the Galaxy S21 FE on January 4. That handset was originally expected to arrive back in August last year. The chip shortage manage to affect Samsung’s plans, as the company decided to use the Snapdragon 888 in some other devices (its foldables). The Galaxy S21 FE was a bit late to the party, but it’s finally here, and it’s already available, we’ll talk about that soon.
The Galaxy S21 FE is a successor to the Galaxy S20 FE, an immensely popular handset from Samsung. The Galaxy S20 FE was an all-around great phone, and was even dubbed “flagship killer” by some. The timing of the Galaxy S21 FE launch, in combination with its price tag, likely won’t see the device rise to the same heights. The Galaxy S22 series is launching next month, and the Galaxy S21 FE price tag may not be low enough to compel users. That doesn’t change the fact this is a compelling smartphone, though, not at all.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy S21 FE, before you buy one for yourself, in addition to information from our review, of course.
How much does the Galaxy S21 FE cost?
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is priced at $699. That is the price for an unlocked device straight up. That makes it only $100 cheaper than the Galaxy S21, in case you’re wondering. This price tag may be the Galaxy S21 FE’s most notable obstacle towards great sales. Not only does it make it only $100 cheaper than the Galaxy S21, but the Galaxy S22 is right around the corner, as already mentioned. The Galaxy S22 series is rumored to land on February 8, and based on rumors, the Galaxy S22 may start at $899. That is $200 more in comparison to the Galaxy S21 FE, but it still may not prevent some of you from getting it.
The Galaxy S22 will come with the next-gen SoC, and various other improvements compared to the Galaxy S21 FE. It will also be considerably smaller, though, so the Galaxy S21 FE will be more comparable to the Galaxy S22+, which will be a bit more expensive. If that’s the way you look at things, then the Galaxy S21 FE may yet prove to be a good purchase. To be quite honest, if you’re looking to get a phone now, the Galaxy S21 should be your direct comparison when it comes to Samsung smartphones. The Pixel 6, at $599, is a great alternative in the non-Samsung world.
Should I wait for a price drop?
Honestly, probably not. If you can get a decent trade-in offer, which we’ll talk about soon, you can take advantage of that. We doubt the Galaxy S21 FE will get a straight-up discount anytime soon. What you can get is a $100 gift card if you get it from Amazon, for example, by clicking here. You’ll spend $699 straight-up, but you’ll also get $100 to spend on anything else on Amazon, so essentially you’ll save up $100. So, even if you pay $699 now, regardless of whether you get it from Amazon or not, you’ll be getting a great phone that is still very much relevant, and really good in every way. It has the potential of serving you well for years to come.
What trade-in offers are available at launch?
Are there any trade-in offers? Well, yes, there are. You can get up to $375 off for the device, so you can save a lot of cash with the right trade-in. That’s for a single phone. Via the enhanced trade-in program, that is only for flagship devices, you can actually send two devices in order to get $560 in credit. That goes for smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. What’s great is that you can even send a phone with a cracked display. So, as an example, if you send in the Galaxy S20, you can get $400. If its display is cracked, you’ll get $275. Those are some decent offers, so you really don’t have to pay the full $699 price tag, or $769 in the case of the 256GB storage model.
Where can I buy the Galaxy S21 FE?
You can buy the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE directly from Samsung in the US. You can also get it from basically every of the four largest carriers, and a ton of retailers as well. The same goes for many markets outside of the US, the phone is readily available in many markets. You can get it from:
What carriers support the Galaxy S21 FE?
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is supported by basically every carrier in the US. As you can see in the list above, pretty much everyone sells the device, so… there you go. If you buy it unlocked, you shouldn’t have problems using it, regardless of the carrier you’re with.
What colors are available?
The Galaxy S21 FE comes in four color options, at least for now. Those color options are Graphite, Lavender, Olive, and White. The Graphite and White color variants are what you’d expect, regular colors. Lavender and Olive are a bit flashier, though they’re all pastel colors, in a way. There’s enough to choose from here, though Samsung will likely add another color or two as time goes by, though those colors may be limited to some markets. So, if I were you, I wouldn’t hold out for a different color, this is what you get.
What are the specs of the Galaxy S21 FE?
|Samsung Galaxy S21 FE||Samsung Galaxy S20 FE|
|Display||6.4-inch FullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz adaptive refresh rate, LTPS)||6.5-inch fullHD+ Super AMOLED display (120Hz)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|RAM/Storage||6GB/8GB (LPDDR5); 128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1)||6GB (LPDDR5); 128GB|
|Camera||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)
|12MP (f/1.8 aperture, 1.8um pixel size, Dual Pixel AF, OIS)|
12MP (f/2.2 aperture, 123-degree FoV, 1.12um pixel size, ultrawide)
8MP (f/2.4 aperture, 1.0um pixel size, telephoto, 3x optical zoom, OIS)
|Audio||Stereo speakers||Stereo Speakers, Dolby Atmos|
|Authentication||In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)||In-display fingerprint scanner (optical)|
|Dimensions||155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm||159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4mm|
|Weight||177 grams||190 grams|
|Software||Android 12 with One UI 4.0||Android 10, One UI 2.5 (upgradable to Android 12)|
|Price||Starts at $699||$599|
What new features did OnePlus unveil / what features does it offer?
The Galaxy S21 FE doesn’t bring any new features we haven’t seen on other Galaxy flagships, as Android 12 and One UI 4.0 brought those features to other phones. So we can’t exactly say these are new. The Galaxy S21 FE is, however, feature-rich, that’s for sure. Samsung’s One UI skin is always packed with features, which on top of Android 12 features, make for a really nice list. Let’s talk about some of them, shall we.
One of the Galaxy S21 FE’s main selling points are its powerful internals. This handset is fueled by the Snapdragon 888 SoC, which was Qualcomm’s flagship SoC until recently. If the Galaxy S21 FE launched in time, this fact would be far more appealing. The Snapdragon 888 is still an immensely powerful processor, and the most powerful in Samsung smartphones, at the moment.
In addition to that, Samsung also included LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 flash storage here. Even the 6GB RAM model will work just fine for you, and the vast majority of people won’t have any complaints. In addition to that, a 120Hz display is included, and it’s plenty sharp at its fullHD+ resolution. This is one of the best fullHD+ panels out there. Compelling camera hardware is also worth noting, and much more.
Samsung has one of the best Portrait Mode implementations for its cameras out there. Portrait Mode is now even better. Samsung made a number of improvements compared to the Galaxy S20 FE, mainly on the software side of things, so if you enjoy taking portrait mode pictures, you’ll be right at home where.
Dual Recording Mode
The Dual Recording Mode is also worth noting. It basically allows you to utilize both the front and back cameras at the same time, so you can capture some interesting shots. This feature has been around for a long time as well, but it makes a comeback on the Galaxy S21 FE, and it does that in style.
Samsung improved the camera night mode here as well. The Galaxy S21 FE is more than a solid performer in low light situations, and it does a great job in good lighting as well. The phone has a reliable camera, and while they may not be the best in the market at the moment, they’re still up there.
One UI 4.0’s Material You
With Android 12, Google introduced a new UI as well, called Material You. Samsung implements that in One UI 4.0, but it goes a step further, as it offers more customizability. That is something you’d expect out of Samsung, and surely something many people will appreciate. Google limits you quite a bit.
Personalized widget recommendations
With One UI 4.0, Samsung also brought something called Personalized widget recommendations to every app. Yes, you heard that right, even if a widget is a non-Samsung one, you can get it to have rounded corners for design consistency, for example.
New privacy features
Google boosted privacy with Android 12, so Samsung did the same in One UI 4.0. When an app decides to ask for your device’s location, you’ll be able to share either your precise or approximate location. That, of course, should boost your privacy, and is a great feature to have, for sure.
These are only some of the things that come to mind. As already mentioned, the Galaxy S21 FE doesn’t really bring any brand new features, but it refines well-known ones, and gets all the One UI 4.0 goodies other Galaxy phones already enjoy.
Which Galaxy S21 FE variant should I buy?
There are two Samsung Galaxy S21 FE variants that you can consider. One comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the other includes 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Now we’ve reviewed the 6GB RAM model, and that will be enough for the vast majority of people, but not everyone. You’ll get reloads of apps in the background more frequently, so if that’s something you want to avoid, get the 8GB RAM model. That variant also brings more storage, so that’s a plus as well. Having said that, those refreshes are not big of a deal at all, unless you’re heavy on multitasking. In which case, get the 8GB RAM model.