Almost a year after Samsung launched the Galaxy S21 series, the company is now unveiling the Galaxy S21 FE. It’s releasing this month for $699.
Following months upon months of repeated leaks, Samsung has finally announced the Galaxy S21 FE as the company’s latest entry in the value flagship niche. One of 2020’s best smartphones was the Galaxy S20 FE. It launched six months after the regular S20, touted many of its same specs, and retailed for $200 less. It was a nearly perfect package for many shoppers. The S20 FE looked good, had almost all of the big flagship features, and came in at a price that was widely accessible.
As expected, it didn’t take long for rumors of its successor to begin circulating. Ever since the Galaxy S21 series made its debut in January 2021, there’s been rising anticipation of when the inevitable S21 FE would release. Specs started trickling out that May, renders were widely available in July, and the S21 FE was anticipated to launch that August. August came and went, as did the rest of 2021 — still with no sign of the Galaxy S21 FE. Now in January 2022, Samsung’s ready to fix that.
On January 3, during CES 2022, Samsung took the wraps off the Galaxy S21 FE. As the rumors suggested, the phone looks almost identical to the regular S21. It has a plastic construction, a centered hole-punch cutout in the display, and the rear camera housing flows right into the frame. It’s also the same width as the Galaxy S21, coming in at just 7.9mm. The S21 FE ditches the two-tone colors of its older sibling, but there’s hardly any physical difference other than that.
The Galaxy S21 FE Has All The Specs Of A 2021 Flagship — In 2022
The display on offer is a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel. It has a 2340 x 1080 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and a 240Hz touch sampling rate (just like the S20 FE). Powering the phone is last year’s Snapdragon 888, with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. There’s also a 4500 mAh battery and support for both 25W wired and 15W wireless charging.
On the camera front, the S21 FE delivers a very familiar setup. The main sensor is 12MP with optical image stabilization and an f/1.8 aperture. It’s joined by a 12MP ultra-wide camera and an 8MP telephoto camera — the latter of which enables 3x optical zoom and 30x ‘Space Zoom.’ The rest of the spec sheet is also stuff everyone should be familiar with. There’s an IP68 dust/water resistance rating, NFC support for Samsung Pay, stereo speakers, and Android 12 with One UI 4 available right out of the box.
In a bubble, the Galaxy S21 FE is an excellent package. It has a modern design, a capable processor, proven cameras, and a whole lot more. The problem is the timing of its release and the price. The $699 MSRP means the S21 FE is only $100 cheaper than the regular Galaxy S21. Even worse, the S21 rarely sells at its full $799 price these days — often retailing for $699, $649, or even less. Combine that with stiff competition from Google, Apple, and the looming release of the Galaxy S22 series next month, and it puts the Galaxy S21 FE in a strange place. For folks interested in the phone, it’s launching on January 11 through Samsung’s website and third-party carriers/retailers.
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