The Fan Edition of the Samsung Galaxy S series started in October 2020 with the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. Hence, in embracing the same trend for the S21 family of Galaxy smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE was released in January 2022. The company was supposed to release this device in October 2021 but the global chip shortage delayed its production and official market introduction.
Nonetheless, this device from Samsung features some of the notable features and advantages of the flagship-grade Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21+, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra albeit with some tradeoffs to keep it within the mid-range product category and compete against other mid-range smartphones from other consumer electronics manufacturers.
Pros of Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Reasons Why You Should Buy
The biggest selling point of the Galaxy S21 FE is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G. This flagship-grade system-on-a-chip powers most of the flagship Android smartphones and tablets introduced in 2021. These include the entire Galaxy S21 smartphone and Galaxy Tab S7 tablet families. Of course, note that the fan edition is still a mid-range device.
Below are the advantages, key features, and reasons why you should buy this smartphone from Samsung:
• Powerful Smartphone: Remember that the Snapdragon 888 5G powers this smartphone. This means that it is capable of running resource-demanding applications such as graphics-intensive mobile video games. However, it is important to note that in some regions, this device ships with the flagship-upgrade Samsung Exynos 2100.
• 120Hz Refresh Rate: Some mid-range phones come only with a 90Hz refresh rate. The iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 also come with a 60Hz refresh rate. Another one of the notable pros of Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is its 120Hz screen refresh rate that enables a buttery smooth scrolling and browsing experience.
• Dynamic AMOLED Panel: This device also sports a bright 6.4-inch OLED display at 1080×2400 resolution and around 401 ppi density to support HDR10+ and a more immersive content consumption experience. The screen-to-body ratio is around 89 percent which adds to the modern and sleek aesthetics of the device.
• Better Rear and Front Cameras: The three-camera arrays on the rear perform better than other Samsung mid-rangers such as the Galaxy A53 5G and Galaxy A73 5G, and compete head-on with the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13. The front or selfie camera is a 32-megapixel shooter that supports 4K recording at 30fps and 60fps.
• Android 12 and One UI 4.1: Other key pros of the Galaxy S21 FE center on the fact that it ships with Android 12 and One UI 4.1. Samsung also promises to provide operating system and software updates and upgrades for four years—similar to its 2022 Galaxy A series line and the Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8+, and Tab S8 Ultra devices.
• Respectable Battery Life: This device also comes with a 4500 mAh lithium-ion battery. Note that the Galaxy S21 only ships with a 4500 battery. Tests showed that the device lasted around 16 hours and a couple of minutes under a single charge while real-world use showed that it can go through a day with around 30 to 40 percent charge left.
Cons of Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Reasons Why You Should Not Buy
Of course, the fact remains that the Snapdragon 888 5G is an older SoC compared to the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 used in several flagship Android smartphones and tablets for 2022. The device is a bit outdated but remains capable for a mid-range smartphone. The main disadvantage of the Galaxy S21 FE lies in its price point in comparison with other mid-rangers.
The following are the drawbacks, limitations, and reasons why you should not buy this device from Samsung:
• Comes With Limited Memory: One of the reasons why this device is not a flagship-grade smartphone is that its base model only comes with 6GB of RAM while the more expensive ones come with 8GB of RAM. A 6GB of RAM might not be enough for heavy users who often switch between applications.
• Not Adaptive Refresh Rate: Another drawback or disadvantage of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is that users need to manually switch from 60GHz to 120GHz refresh rate. The screen is not adaptive. Using this device at a 120GHz refresh rate can take a significant toll on battery performance since higher refresh rates consume more power.
• Low-Res Telephoto Cam: Remember that this device has decent camera systems that can outperform other mid-range smartphones. However, the particular telephoto camera shoots only at 8 megapixels. Images taken using this lens would not look as sharp as those taken in S22 or other devices with better telephoto cameras.
• No SD Card and Headphone Jack: Two more cons of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE are the absence of removable SD card for storage and a headphone jack. Users would be stuck with the internal storage configuration of either 128GB or 256GB. They should also purchase wireless headphones for hands-free calls and private content consumption.
• Samsung Galaxy S22: One reason one should not buy the Galaxy S21 FE is the price. The timing of its launch is awkward. Samsung has also launched the Galaxy S22 which retails for around USD 799.00. Of course, the Galaxy S22 FE is still cheaper at around USD 650.00 but those with extra bucks to spare should go for the S22.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Review Verdict: Why You Should or Should Not Buy
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is a flagship-grade Android smartphone at a mid-range price. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G is undeniably its biggest selling point. This device sports most of the best features of its more premium siblings. However, the device becomes less appealing considering that the Samsung Galaxy S22 is already out in the market, as well as the availability of cheaper mid-range Samsung devices such as the Galaxy A53 5G and A73 5G.