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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21

Is Samsung Galaxy S21 FE better than Samsung Galaxy S21?
By Aryan Suren January 4, 2022, 5:49 am
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and Galaxy S21

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has been in the rumor mill for almost a year now, with renders first appearing in April 2021. But on January 4th, Samsung officially unveiled the device in line with the opening of CES 2022.

For $699, the Galaxy S21 FE brings consumers an option with key features from the Galaxy S21 Series and boasts improved hardware. So, while it is a distinct upgrade from the Galaxy S20FE, how does this phone stack against the year-old Galaxy S21? A flagship phone, which in some cases is available for a similar or lower asking price. Read this article to find out.

Design and Display

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Source: Samsung

If you stack the Galaxy S21 FE next to the Galaxy S21, you will notice that the Fan Edition is slightly larger and sports a 6.4-inch display. The latter has a 6.2-inch panel. Now, both phones also use a flat display, covered with Gorilla Glass Victus, and avoid any curvature. But they do feature a minor difference in their bezel design and high refresh rate functionality. Also, under the screen, the Galaxy S21 FE features an optical fingerprint scanner, unlike the ultrasonic one on Galaxy S21.

S21 FE can switch between two modes, i.e., 60Hz and 120Hz, while the S21 can adapt its refresh rate between 48Hz and 120Hz, based on the content displayed on the screen.


And if you pay attention to the design of the two devices, you will notice the S21 has a higher level of fit and finish, apparent in the way its camera module appears flush with its aluminum frame. The S21 FE opts for a design that leaves its midsection disjoint from the camera array, which has polycarbonate material surrounding the lenses.

For colors, both phones are available in four options. The Galaxy S21 is available in Grey, White, Pink, and Lavender and has a two-tone look because of the metal frame, which features a contrasting shade. On the other hand, Galaxy S21 FE has a single color look with a palette that includes Graphite (a Grey shade), White, Lavender, and Olive.

What processor do these devices feature?

snapdragon 888 phone in hand

In North America, both Galaxy S21 FE and Galaxy S21 feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, meaning performance is a metric Samsung isn't compromising on, and both phones will perform at a similar level. Though, you may see an advantage with Galaxy S21 as it ships with 8GB of RAM, regardless of the storage variant you purchase -- 128GB or 256GB.

Other regions have seen Galaxy S21 feature the Exynos 2100, and we expect the same for Galaxy S21 FE.

For the Galaxy S21 FE, Samsung has three variants, two with 128GB of storage and 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and another 256GB model with 8GB of RAM. Availability may vary according to region, so keep an eye out for this!

How does the S21 FE's camera hold up against the S21?

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE display and camera Source: Samsung

Looking at their camera specifications on paper, both Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 FE seem to feature a level of similarity in their Wide and Ultrawide lenses. Both phones use 12MP sensors here, with an aperture of 1.8 on the wide lens and 2.2 on the ultrawide.

Where Samsung has cut corners is the Telephoto camera on Galaxy S21 FE. Here the Korean OEM uses an 8MP sensor instead of the 64MP unit found on Galaxy S21. They've also made a change in the front camera, as Galaxy S21 FE features a 32MP camera, whereas the Galaxy S21 has a 10MP unit.

Since both front cameras feature a similar aperture, the higher megapixel count could result in better photos, although you will have to wait for our full review to learn more.

How does the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE compare to Samsung Galaxy S21 in terms of battery life?

With Galaxy S21 FE, the increase in size has allowed Samsung to package a 4500mAh battery into the phone, which is 12.5% more capacity than the 4000mAh unit available in the Galaxy S21. This change has led to Samsung claiming the Galaxy S21 FE will last for 79 hours when used for audio playback compared to the 68 hours rating for the Galaxy S21.

While overall optimization of software can play a role in battery performance, it wouldn't be hard to presume that Galaxy S21 FE should provide users with a little more screen time.

Is Galaxy S21 FE the better pick?

At $699, the Galaxy S21 FE does offer a great package. It sports a great display, a highly capable set of cameras, and even ships with Android 12 out of the box. But in a market where the Pixel 6 exists, and there is a possibility of price cuts for Galaxy S21, this is a device that some might want to skip.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

The latest fan edition from Samsung offers a robust package of hardware that includes a 120Hz display, Snapdragon 888, and a triple camera array capable of capturing great shots.

Samsung Galaxy S21

Part of 2021's flagship lineup, the Galaxy S21 is a compact device that offers great hardware. With possible price cuts on the line, this is a great phone to buy in 2022.


Smartphone Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Samsung Galaxy S21
Operating System One UI 4.0 based on Android 12 One UI 4.0 based on Android 12
Dimensions 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm
Weight 177g 169g (Sub6), 171g (mmWave)
Display 6.4-inch, FHD+ resolution, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz 6.2-inch, FHD+ resolution, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 48-120Hz (Adaptive)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Memory 6GB RAM with 128GB storage
8GB RAM with 128GB storage
8GB RAM with 256GB storage
8GB RAM with 128GB storage
8GB RAM with 256GB storage
Expandable Storage No No
Rear Cameras - 12MP, ƒ/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel AF, OIS
- 12MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture, ultrawide with FOV 123-degrees
- 8MP, ƒ/2.4 aperture, 30x Space Zoom
- 12MP, ƒ/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel AF, OIS
- 12MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture, ultrawide with FOV 120-degrees
- 64MP, ƒ/2.0 aperture with Phase Detection AF, 30x Space Zoom
Front Camera 32MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture 10MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture
Security Under-display Optical Fingerprint scanner Under-display Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner
Connectivity Sub6/ mmWave 5G, Samsung Pay with NFC, Bluetooth Sub6/ mmWave 5G, Samsung Pay with NFC, Bluetooth 5.1
Battery 4,500 mAh
25W wired charge speed
15W wireless charge speed
Wireless PowerShare
4,000 mAh
25W wired charge speed
15W wireless charge speed
Wireless PowerShare
Water Resistance IP68 IP68
Colors Graphite, Olive, Lavender, White Grey, White, Lavender, Pink
Price $699.99 $799.99


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