The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has been one of the most leaked phones of the past year, but ahead of CES 2022 the device has finally been made official – could it be one of the best mid-range phones of the year?
We loved the Galaxy S20 FE when it arrived in the summer of 2020 and we’ve been eagerly anticipating the follow-up. It might have taken a little longer than expected, but the Galaxy S21 FE is finally a real product and here is everything you need to know.
For a deeper look at our experiences with the phone so far, check out our Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: hands on.
Price and Release Date
Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S21 FE will be available from January 11 in the UK. We’ll update this page when we know more about wider release plans. It’ll be available through Samsung’s own store, alongside other retail partners that haven’t been announced yet. We’d expect strong support from UK networks for a device like this.
Prices start at £699 (128GB), rising to £749 (256GB), UK customers can also receive a three-month subscription to the Disney Plus streaming service.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE colours
At launch, there will be four colours of the Galaxy S21 FE available. These might vary by region and, of course, more colours could be announced at a later date.
The first four colours include Graphite, Olive, Lavender and White. We have a review unit in the Graphite hue and it’s a dark black with a matte finish, while the Olive is a very nice shade of green.
All the colours are fairly muted, especially in comparison to more vibrant S21 hues.
Specs and Features
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is a slightly more accessible entry in the S21 series. It’s not wildly cheaper than the S21 at its current price, but it does have some different features.
Many leaks have suggested this device was meant to be released sometime in the second half of 2021 and there’s no doubt this release date is slightly odd, especially with a Galaxy S22 series (consisting of the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra) rumoured to be arriving as early as February.
Key specs include a Snapdragon 888 chipset (Qualcomm’s flagship 2021 chipset) with 5G support, 6 or 8GB RAM, a 4500mAh battery and a 6.4-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. These specs are fairly run-of-the-mill for a phone of this price. What’s not always a given at this price though is an IP68 rating and Qi wireless charging – thankfully you’ll find both on the S21 FE.
On the back there is a triple-camera array featuring a wide, ultra wide and telephoto camera. The main camera is similar to one of the Galaxy S21, with a 12MP resolution and an f/1.8 aperture. There’s a big difference with the telephoto zoom camera though, as here it only has an 8MP resolution rather than 64MP on the regular S21. Video recording tops out at 4K 60fps and there’s a 32MP camera for selfies.
Samsung says that it has improved the night mode when compared to the outgoing Galaxy S20 FE and there’s a new dual recording feature that’ll shoot from both front and rear cameras at the same time.
The big question here is what’s different between this FE (or Fan Edition) and the regular S21 that Samsung has sold for nearly a year. Well, the differences certainly are minimal. This has a 0.2-inch larger display at 6.4-inches, lacks an adaptive display that can ramp up and down to various refresh rates and, as we mentioned above, has fewer megapixels in the telephoto camera. The colour choices are different too, and the design has been tweaked slightly.
Samsung’s latest FE device is an interesting prospect that feels like it is being released a few months later than it should have. There’s a lot of good stuff here and it’s a nice phone to use, but with the Pixel 6 offering a better camera and cheaper phones from the likes of Realme, Xiaomi and OnePlus offer similar performance for less it could be a hard sell for some.