Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21: What do you get for an extra 0?

Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21: What do you get for an extra $100?

Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21: What do you get for an extra 0?


Fan Edition (FE) Galaxy devices are all about giving customers more for less. And although Samsung hasn’t always remained true to this philosophy — hint, hint, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE — the company wants to do fans justice with the unveiling of the new Galaxy S21 FE at CES.

The Galaxy S21 FE is a late newcomer to the Galaxy S21 family of devices. Its closest point of comparison is the standard Galaxy S21. These two phones look almost alike, but their similarities go well beyond the exterior design.

Galaxy S21 FE vs S21: They’re close, but not the same

The Galaxy S21 FE looks almost the same as the base Galaxy S21 model, except the Fan Edition phone has a uniform matte color covering the back panel and camera housing, unlike the 2021 flagship. The latter has a distinctive metallic finish around the three main cameras.

This small yet obvious difference in design is reflected on the inside, meaning that the Galaxy S21 FE and Galaxy S21 share a lot of hardware components, but differ in a few key areas — cameras being one of them.

Both phones have an IP68 rating, stereo speakers, 25W super-fast charging capabilities, and similar memory options, save for the fact that the Galaxy S21 FE also includes a 6GB RAM option in addition to 8GB. They also have the same Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 SoC, though, Galaxy S21 FE customers in Europe actually get the Snapdragon chipset this time around.

The two phones also offer similar camera tools, including Dual Recording mode, Night Mode, and Object Eraser.

Brighter display or bigger battery? Better telephoto sensor or selfie shots?

In some ways, for everything good the Galaxy S21 FE does, the Galaxy S21 appears to be doing something else better.

On one hand, the Galaxy S21 FE has a slightly dimmer 1,200 nits display compared to the Galaxy S21 panel, the latter of which can achieve 1,300 nits of peak brightness. On the other hand, the Galaxy S21 FE has a larger 4,500mAh battery. Combined with the lower peak brightness, the Galaxy S21 FE will probably have more charge at the end of the day than the standard S21 model.

Both the Galaxy S21 FE and the Galaxy S21 use 12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide sensors. But while the base S21 model features a 64MP telephoto shooter with 3x hybrid zoom, the Galaxy S21 FE has a lower- resolution 8MP telephoto sensor, but one that has 3x optical zoom, which should be superior.

The Galaxy S21 FE has a higher-resolution 32MP selfie camera, too, while the Galaxy S21 has a 10MP shooter. But don’t let these numbers fool you. Only the 10MP sensor has autofocus, which means it’s likely superior in most lighting conditions, despite the lower pixel count.

Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21: It’s a tough choice to make, prices considered

The Galaxy S21 FE ships with Android 12. This means that it will eventually leap ahead of the rest of the Galaxy S21 series with one additional Android OS update by the time Samsung stops supporting them.

However, it’s worth considering that even if the Fan Edition model will get one extra Android OS update, the Galaxy S21 will have easier access to future beta firmware releases. If you like testing pre-release firmware, the Galaxy S21 should be a better choice. But outside the scope of beta testing, both phones should offer a similar software experience, up to a point.

The Galaxy S21 FE will be cheaper at launch than the Galaxy S21. This, along with the bigger battery, the 3x zoom camera, and (slight) software differences, will be the deciding factors for most customers.

Can the Galaxy S21 FE carry the torch forward and take the Galaxy S21’s place? Well, in some cases, the Galaxy S21 FE does offer more (features) for less (money), so it may have very well achieved what Samsung set it out to achieve. But it doesn’t necessarily make it a Galaxy S21 replacement in every area. It is, however, a strong contender and an interesting addition to the lineup, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on its evolution. Stay tuned for our upcoming reviews.

Join us in the comment section and let us know whether or not you’d pick the Fan Edition device over the 2021 flagship model.

Galaxy S21 review

Samsung
Galaxy S21 FE

  • Graphite (Graphite)Lavender (Lavender)Olive (Olive)White (White)
    Violet (Violet)Pink (Pink)Gray (Gray)White (White)
  • Bar: 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm
    Bar: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm

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