Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review: Great phone, bad price


Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos reviewSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The Galaxy S20 FE used to be a large hitter for Samsung in 2021. In a 12 months the place the Galaxy S21 collection sells anyplace just about in addition to its predecessors, the S20 FE pulled in $10 million gross sales by itself. A large a part of the phone’s good fortune used to be right down to its worth. It presented identical {hardware} as the usual Galaxy S20 at a decrease price level, propelling Samsung to ship one of the most very best Android telephones of the 12 months.

Samsung is now seeking to emulate a identical stage of good fortune with the Galaxy S21 FE. The phone includes a new design that mimics the Galaxy S21 and springs with up to date internals within the Exynos 2100. Other than that, Samsung hasn’t actually modified a lot right here, with the S21 FE providing the similar digicam modules as its predecessor, in addition to the similar battery and charging tech.

Still, there may be one house the place the S21 FE stands proud: tool. The phone is the primary from Samsung to supply One UI 4 in keeping with Android 12 out of the field, and that’s the reason a large deal for a couple of causes. The first is that you are getting the most recent model of Android proper out of the field, and the second one, is the phone will obtain 3 Android model updates, as much as Android 15.

There’s a brand new design too, and the Exynos 2100 model guarantees to ship a lot better efficiency over the S20 FE. So if you are excited by purchasing a price flagship in 2022, this is why you will have to take note of the Galaxy S21 FE.


Galaxy S21 FE

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos

Bottom line: The Galaxy S21 FE has the makings of a wonderful worth flagship: A shocking 120Hz AMOLED panel, stereo sound, and the Exynos 2100 platform are well-suited for intense gaming periods. The battery even lasts all day, its cameras are nice, and also you get Android 12 out of the field. There’s just one factor the S21 FE will get incorrect, and that’s the reason the price.

The Good

  • Good 120Hz AMOLED display
  • Android 12 out of the field
  • Excellent inside {hardware}
  • Cameras take shiny pictures
  • IP68 and wi-fi charging
  • Comfortable to carry and use

The Bad

  • Unreasonably pricey for what you get
  • No microSD slot
  • No bundled charger

About this evaluate

Before scripting this evaluate, I used the Galaxy S21 FE for 2 weeks in Hyderabad, India. The phone got here with One UI 4 in keeping with Android 12 out of the field and were given a steadiness replace halfway in the course of the trying out window.

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos: Price and availability

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The Galaxy S21 FE used to be unveiled on Jan. 4, 2022, and went on sale in world markets beginning Jan. 11. While Samsung gives the Qualcomm-powered model of the S21 FE in North America and South Korea, different world markets get the Exynos 2100-powered type. Other than this alteration, the instrument is the same to the Qualcomm variant.

The S21 FE Exynos is on sale within the U.Okay. for £699 ($950) for the 8GB/128GB type, with the 8GB/256GB variant coming in at £799 ($1,087). You stand to rise up to £150 ($204) off while you industry in an current instrument, however the retail price within the U.Okay. makes the S21 FE a deficient selection.

The phone is slightly priced in India, with the 8GB/128GB model debuting at ₹54,999 ($735) and already right down to ₹49,999 ($670) discovered on Amazon India. On the opposite hand, the 8GB/256GB version used to be offered at ₹58,999 ($790) and is now to be had on Amazon for ₹53,999 ($723). So, for some context, the 8GB/256GB model of the S21 FE in India is more or less $225 much less than what the 8GB/128GB type retails for within the U.Okay. In reality, India is now essentially the most reasonably priced marketplace for purchasing the S21 FE, with the ₹49,999 ($670) not up to the U.S. retail of $700.

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos: Design and show

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The Galaxy S21 FE borrows the design aesthetic from the common S21, making it glance placing, in particular on the again. Samsung calls the rear digicam design contour lower, with the housing mixing seamlessly into the phone’s body. The design may be very minimalist, and in contrast to different telephones on this class, the digicam housing does not have any extraneous branding, simply 3 modules ensconced by means of massive rings.

The S21 FE has a minimalist design that appears nice, and it’s lighter and extra relaxed to make use of.

One of my major concerns when switching to a brand new phone is how relaxed it’s to make use of. After the use of the Mi 11 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 — two of the heaviest telephones to be had — for lots of the latter part of 2021, my function this 12 months is to take a look at out lighter telephones, and the S21 FE suits the invoice on that entrance.

The instrument is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, coming in at simply 7.9mm and 177g. The width of 74.5mm additionally guarantees the S21 FE is not unwieldy for one-handed use, and the lighter design is best possible for my use case. What I love essentially the most concerning the design is the matte end on the again. It’s nice to carry, does not divulge smudges, and makes the phone glance upmarket. In quick, it’s the most efficient phone in its class in relation to ease of use.

The digicam housing protrudes quite from the frame, nevertheless it does not motive a wobble when the use of the phone on a flat floor. Elsewhere, you’ll be able to in finding the ability and quantity buttons at the proper and the SIM card tray on the backside subsequent to the charging port. You can slot two SIM playing cards into the tray, however just like the common S21 collection, there is no choice so as to add a microSD card right here.

While I needless to say that is the course Samsung is taking for its flagship collection, it might have retained the microSD slot and a three.5mm jack making an allowance for the phone is aimed toward fanatics. But that’s not to be, so in case you completely desire a microSD card slot, you’ll be able to wish to select up the S20 FE.

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

With a 6.4-inch display, the S21 FE slots in between the 6.2-inch S21 and the 6.7-inch S21+. The AMOLED panel is going as much as 120Hz and has contact polling of 240Hz for gaming, and the FHD+ answer is same old fare on this class.

The panel is implausible, with exceptional colour vibrancy and viewing angles. There’s stereo sound right here, however you aren’t getting an identical channels on the most sensible and backside. Instead, you’ll be able to in finding some stage of stereo separation, however no longer anyplace just about the constancy that you just get on Xiaomi’s telephones just like the Mi 11.

There’s HDR10+ and a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus, and Samsung hasn’t actually unnoticed a lot in options right here. The 120Hz mode is enabled out of the field, and the phone feels elegant in day-to-day use, whether or not it is gaming, streaming movies, or scrolling thru textual content.

You’ll in finding respectable quantities of customizations, together with schedulable darkish mode, the facility to tweak colour stability and heat, and an always-on mode that is the most effective within the business.

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos: Performance and battery

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

This model of the S21 FE is attention-grabbing as a result of it’s powered by means of the Exynos 2100. While there is not a lot to say at the {hardware} entrance with the Qualcomm model, that isn’t the case with the Exynos type.

Specs Galaxy S21 FE Exynos
Software One UI 4, Android 12
Display 6.4-inch (2400×1080) 120Hz AMOLED
Chipset 2.90GHz Exynos 2100
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB/256GB
Rear Camera 1 12MP ƒ/1.8 (number one), OIS
Rear Camera 2 12MP ƒ/2.2 (wide-angle)
Rear Camera 3 8MP ƒ/2.4 (3x zoom), OIS
Front Camera 32MP ƒ/2.2
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, BT5.0
Battery 4500mAh | 25W
Security Optical in-screen fingerprint
Colors White, Lavender, Olive
Dimensions 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm
Weight 177g

With the 5nm Exynos 2100, Samsung switched again to the use of off-the-shelf Arm cores, and the variation is in an instant noticeable. The S21 FE feels simply as rapid as gadgets powered by means of the Snapdragon 888, and I did not see any of the throttling problems that plagued the Exynos 990.

Samsung’s determination to not use its semi-custom cores used to be the appropriate name, and in case you’ve used the S20 FE with the Exynos 990 or an older Samsung phone, you are going to see a tangible distinction when switching to the S21 FE. There’s a degree of fluidity and function that used to be sorely missing in earlier generations, and whilst the Exynos 990 wasn’t gradual by means of any measure, it struggled with consistency — in particular when gaming.

Thankfully, the ones issues are up to now, and the sense that I were given whilst the use of the S21 FE for 2 weeks is that the {hardware} can care for anything else you throw at it. Samsung says it selected the Exynos 2100 in nations like India as a substitute of the Snapdragon 888 model on account of all of the certain comments from the Galaxy S21 collection.

I did not see any problems with overheating or lag even throughout prolonged gaming periods, and in my use, the Exynos 2100 feels simply as dependable because the Snapdragon 888 for many duties.

The Exynos 2100 is solely as dependable because the Snapdragon 888 for gaming and on a regular basis use — in the end.

As for the remainder of the {hardware}, you get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of garage as same old, and there may be an 8GB/256GB variant if you want further garage. Samsung gives a tight choice of 5G bands for each and every marketplace, so there will have to be no problems on this house. There’s Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC, and I had no issues pairing the phone to Bluetooth audio gadgets or my Wi-Fi 6 router.

Call high quality used to be additionally just right due to Wi-Fi calling, and for no matter reason why, Samsung bundles Google’s dialer along with its personal. Other manufacturers have switched to Google’s choice as same old, however Samsung hasn’t adopted go well with. That mentioned, you get the facility to select.

The vibration motor does a very good process of handing over comments for keyboard strokes and gesture navigation. Samsung went with an optical in-screen fingerprint reader for the S21 FE, so it’s sooner and works higher than the ultrasonic ones that you’ll be able to in finding within the common S21 collection. Finally, the S21 FE has IP68 mud and water resistance, so that you would not have to fret about the use of the instrument close to water our bodies or within the bathtub.

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

3Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

Battery lifestyles is greater than good enough. I constantly were given an afternoon’s value of utilization and did not run into any problems on this house. Even after I hung out outdoor and had to depend on cell knowledge and navigation, there used to be a minimum of a 20% price by means of the top of the day.

When it involves charging, the Galaxy S21 FE is nearly unchanged from ultimate 12 months. The phone has the similar 4500mAh battery that fees over 25W, and also you get wi-fi charging in addition to the facility to price different gadgets.

The 4500mAh mobile is going as much as 50% in simply over half-hour with a 25W charger, however you will have to purchase a wall charger with the phone as a result of there is not one bundled within the field — similar to the common S21 collection. I will perceive Samsung’s rationale, however the transfer feels shortsighted and no longer in keeping with the ethos that this can be a phone intended for fanatics.

A complete price takes over 80 mins, and Samsung is firmly at the backfoot for charging tech. With the likes of Xiaomi providing 120W stressed charging in mainstream gadgets just like the 11T Pro, Samsung’s 25W charging same old is beginning to glance antiquated.

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos: Cameras

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

As for the cameras, Samsung hasn’t modified the {hardware} itself: the principle shooter is a 12MP f/1.8 Samsung S5K2LD lens joined by means of a 12MP f/2.2 wide-angle lens and an 8MP zoom module with 3x optical zoom. The number one and zoom lenses get OIS, and on the entrance, there is a 32MP digicam that saves pictures at 8MP.

Samsung wiped clean up the interface somewhat with the transfer to One UI 4, however the structure is largely unchanged. You can simply in finding all of the capturing modes and toggles for the timer, flash, movement pictures, and settings. Video recording is the same to the S20 FE, with the S21 FE providing the facility to shoot 4K video at 60fps.

There’s additionally the strategy to shoot photos from each the entrance and rear cameras without delay, and Samsung says it made tweaks to its Night mode to ship higher photographs in low-light eventualities. So whilst the S21 FE does not get new {hardware}, the inherent adjustments to Samsung’s digicam tuning algorithms result in a noticeable distinction over the S20 FE.

Shots taken in sunlight prerequisites are implausible. HDR guarantees a variety of element, and also you get saturated colours that glance nice at the phone. The wide-angle lens additionally does an excellent process, serving up pictures of the similar caliber as the principle lens.

The S21 FE excels in low-light eventualities, managing to ship superb colour vibrancy and a variety of element whilst minimizing noise ranges. The Night mode brightens shadows and does a a lot better process eking out extra element in low-light eventualities, and it really works simply as effectively at the wide-angle lens.

Similarly, the 8MP zoom lens holds up in opposition to the usual S21, providing photographs with minimum noise and lens distortion at as much as a 3x zoom stage. The S20 FE bought so effectively as it had a standout digicam, and Samsung is constant that during 2022 with the S21 FE.

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos: Software

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

Samsung is doing all of the proper issues at the tool facet of items. The Galaxy S21 FE comes with Android 12 out of the field, and it’s going to get 3 assured Android model updates at the side of 4 years of safety patches. Like the usual S21 collection, the S21 FE gets per thirty days safety patches.

With Android 12 out of the field, the Galaxy S21 FE will get so much proper at the tool entrance.

One UI 4 integrates all of the new options constructed into Android 12. For instance, you get recording signs on every occasion the digicam is accessed, granular location sharing, and a privateness dashboard.

Samsung additionally wiped clean up the interface, in particular round toast notifications and the pane. There’s additionally a greater interface for selecting out widgets, and whilst Samsung hasn’t built-in Google’s Material You colour picker characteristic, it gives a spinoff that works simply as effectively.

You nonetheless get a large number of extraneous services and products out of the field, together with a large number of Samsung “utilities” that are not well worth the trouble. However, Samsung’s collaboration with Microsoft way you additionally get the Office suite and ConnectedIn pre-installed, and fortunately, you’ll uninstall all of those services and products.

Samsung mentioned it will curtail the choice of commercials on its telephones, which appears to be the case right here. However, instead of a couple of push notifications to take a look at out the Galaxy Store, I have not noticed a lot in the way in which of commercials.

Having converted from One UI 3.1 at the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to the S21 FE, there isn’t any lot that has modified from a user-facing viewpoint. Samsung obviously did not wish to overhaul the interface; as a substitute, it eager about a couple of spaces that wanted consideration. The result’s that One UI 4 feels polished, fashionable, and nice to make use of.

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos: The festival

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The Galaxy S20 FE is still on sale in 2022, and it’s nonetheless an excessively respectable strategy to believe. The phone has masses to supply at the {hardware} entrance, the cameras are nonetheless related, you do not fail to spot any extras, and on account of the cut price, the S20 FE is an exceptional worth in a large number of markets presently. The phone introduced with Android 10, so it’s going to most effective get up to date to Android 13, but when that isn’t a subject matter, the S20 FE is a standout selection that prices so much much less.

The OnePlus 9 could also be a powerful choice on this class. The phone has powerful {hardware} within the type of a Snapdragon 888, 120Hz AMOLED panel, stellar cameras, and all-day battery lifestyles with 65W rapid charging. The OnePlus 9 prices £629 ($857), and ₹44,999 ($604) in India.

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos: Should you purchase it?

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

You will have to purchase this if …

You need a worth flagship in 2022

Samsung nailed the basics as soon as once more, with the S21 FE providing a just right 120Hz AMOLED panel subsidized by means of powerful inside {hardware} and all-day battery lifestyles. So whether or not it is gaming, enjoying movies and films, or simply scrolling thru social media, the S21 FE is without difficulty fluid in daily use.

You’re searching for nice cameras

Although the digicam {hardware} hasn’t modified from the S20 FE, the S21 FE can take higher photographs in each lighting fixtures situation.

You want all of the extras

The S21 FE has an IP68 ranking, wi-fi charging, opposite wi-fi charging, and can get 3 platform updates. However, it is not lacking out on any of the extras you get at the common S21 collection.

You will have to no longer purchase this if …

You want the most efficient worth

The Galaxy S21 FE will have to preferably value as much as $100 much less to hit the worth candy spot, however you’ll have to shell out a top rate since this is a new release.

You desire a microSD slot or a charger within the field

Samsung has stayed too just about the common S21 collection with the S21 FE, and the result’s that you aren’t getting a charger within the field, and the instrument misses out at the microSD card slot.

Galaxy S21 FE 5G Exynos review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

Samsung displays that with the Galaxy S21 FE, it may ship a price flagship that ticks all of the proper packing containers. There is not a lot lacking right here; you get a colourful AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh fee, the Exynos 2100 platform holds its personal throughout extensive duties, the cameras are nice, the battery lasts all day, and it runs Android 12 out of the field.

The S21 FE is not missing relating to extras, with IP68 water resistance and wi-fi charging incorporated as same old. And with 3 Android model updates and 4 years of safety patches, the S21 FE shall be related for a number of years yet to come. Unfortunately, there may be just one factor the phone will get incorrect: pricing.

4
out of five








Retailing for the identical of $950, the Galaxy S21 FE isn’t a good selection within the U.Okay., which would be the case till the phone will get a considerable cut price. It is a lot more palatable in India at ₹49,999 ($670), however this is nonetheless somewhat too top; it must be promoting within the neighborhood of ₹45,000 ($602) to look anyplace just about the similar stage of gross sales figures that the S20 FE controlled to score.

If historical past is any indication, Samsung would possibly not wait too lengthy ahead of rolling out engaging gives for the S21 FE in maximum markets. The Galaxy S22 collection is at the horizon, and the S21 FE will indisputably get a cut price as soon as the common S22 is to be had on retailer cabinets around the globe. So if you are within the Galaxy S21 FE, my advice could be to attend a short while for it to move on sale.


Galaxy S21 FE

Galaxy S21 FE Exynos

Bottom line: The Galaxy S21 FE nails the fundamentals and delivers the extras that you are searching for. There is not a lot lacking at the {hardware} entrance, and while you believe that it comes with Android 12 out of the field and can get 3 assured updates, it is a nice total bundle. You’re paying a top rate right here, however the phone is likely one of the very best in its class.

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