A Cheatsheet

  • The Galaxy S21 FE 5G is a follow up to the S20 FE that debuted in 2020
  • It is powered by the same Exynos 2100 processor as Samsung’s top-of-the-line S21 series
  • The 6.4-inch display is one of our favourite features and comes with a 120Hz refresh rate (it is not adaptive; you have to manually adjust it)
  • Lowlight photography is impressive on the triple rear cam but zoom photography is not as sharp as the S21
  • Olive is our choice of color for the S21 FE 5G

If the rumour mill is anything to go by, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 flagships might drop slightly later than the S21 trio that debuted in January 2021. That, however, is not the only reason the S21 FE assumes significance. It sticks to the Samsung FE (Fan Edition) playbook with a compelling price: value equation. Our usage case scenarios have changed in the post-pandemic world and flagship challengers have come to define this trend. This is why the S20 FE that debuted in the last quarter of 2020 hit a sweet spot and why Samsung might be on to a winner with the S21 FE 5G.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G

 

The S21 FE makes a big first impression. We checked out the Olive colour variant. It’s one of the most subtle shades of green on a smartphone that exudes a premium vibe (despite a plastic back) thanks to the elegant haze finish. The contour-cut frame that seamlessly integrates with S21 FE 5G’s camera housing is the standout design feature. It’s the same design element that caught our attention with last year’s Galaxy S21+. Comparisons with the S21 and S21+ are inevitable, given that both these devices have seen price drops and are still available on online and retail channels. As always, this is a decision that depends on what features are crucial for you. 

 

The design is a blend of the S21 series and the premium variants of the Samsung Galaxy A Series. I like the fact that it feels lighter in your hand (it weighs 177 gm) than the S21+ but you do get an extra 0.3 inches of screen real estate here. The S21 FE is powered by the same Exynos 2100 processor as the S21 trio but opts for 6GB RAM for the base version (instead of 8GB on the S21). The FE comes in 6GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB options; we checked out the 8GB/128GB variant. It’s all the firepower you need. The device clocked an impressive score of 3178 (multi-core) on our Geekbench benchmark test. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G

 

The S21 FE builds on the S20 FE’s value proposition with an immersive display. This is probably the device’s biggest strength. The S21 FE boasts a 6.4-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display with a 120Hz refresh rate (it’s not adaptive though), and up to 240Hz touch sampling rate. The colors are vibrant, making it the perfect screen for your binge-watching. Samsung’s custom One UI has made huge improvements over the last couple of years, and this device comes with the latest iteration (One UI 4), and Android 12 out of the box. This is a good move by the company. 

 

I tested the S21 FE rear cam across multiple shooting scenarios and it didn’t disappoint. This is a solid all-round camera with an improved performance in low light over the S20FE and is great for portrait images as well. The rear cam combines a 12MP wide-angle cam (f/1.8) with a 12MP ultra-wide cam and an 8MP telephoto camera with 30x space zoom. A 32MP selfie camera completes the package. When it comes to zoom photography, the S21 and S21+ have an edge in this department, but otherwise, the S21 FE holds its own.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G

 

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is the flagship most of us will need at a time when global travel patterns haven’t gone back to pre-pandemic levels. It ticks the key boxes that matter for most users including battery performance – the 4500mAh battery comfortably lasted us through a whole day with extensive videos, camera usage and about 2-3 hours of calls. There are other handy add-ons like an IPS68 certification for dust and water resistance, and Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare feature for wirelessly charging other devices. 

 

The Galaxy S21 FE has its work cut out for it given similarly priced rivals and upcoming launches scheduled for the next couple of months. 

 

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G starts at an effective price of Rs 49,999 (including a Rs 5,000 cashback on HDFC cards) and is available in olive, lavender, white and graphite colors.