This Galaxy S21 FE has been desired, and not a little, but in the end, it has arrived. It was not at all obvious – let’s say that we had absolute certainty when we managed to get our hands on it in preview – because several times Samsung, complicit in chip scarcity and pandemic, has retraced its steps by canceling and then restoring the project. Until today, the day when the smartphone made its official debut. Just to get an idea of its troubled history.
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Its biggest flaw, as we reported in our freshly released review, is that it’s the right smartphone that arrived at the wrong time – read: too late. Galaxy S21 FE is out of breath, because the Galaxy S22 range is really close and, at a list price starting from 769 euros, it might be worth waiting another month to get your hands on the base model of the next top of the range. or rather look a little further back and rely on that Galaxy S20 FE that has been loved so much in the past months. Of course, it will not be a first-hair smartphone, but the street price at which it is offered ( it is found for less than 500 euros) could make us turn a blind eye.
So let’s see how the two Galaxy S20 FE and Galaxy S21 FE devices differ, and what they are really similar, if not identical, instead. In short, let’s try to understand how big this generational leap was, leaving you the final judgment on the actual convenience to buy one or the other.
From the point of view of materials, nothing changes: the back of the Galaxy S21 FE is made of polycarbonate, just like the S20 FE. To change is the module that houses the three rear cameras, in glass on the previous model and now in plastic: a choice consistent with the intention of giving the user the feeling of one with the rest of the body.
The design that we find on the S21 FE actually resumes that of the Galaxy S21 range: you may like it or not, we will also find it on the next Galaxy S22 and Plus variant ( but not on the Ultra ). In addition, the Galaxy S21 FE is lower and thinner than the S20 FE 5Gwhile maintaining the same width. And it also loses a few grams: from 190 to 177 grams.
And if regarding the display the differences between the two smartphones are almost imperceptible – 6.5 “S20 FE, 6.4” S21 FE, both with 120Hz refresh rate – it is in the processor that we find a (understandable) change: Samsung has chosen the Snapdragon 888 for the latest arrival, a generational leap compared to the Snapdragon 865 of the S20 FE but which would perhaps have made even more sense if the less energetic Snapdragon 870 had been inserted in its place. What affected the difficulty in finding components? Likely.
In terms of memory we are on the same line, with S21 FE which is officially proposed in three denominations of 6 / 128GB, 8 / 128GB and 8 / 256GB (the first and the third are available on the Samsung Italia website – the latter an online exclusive), while the S20 FE was marketed only in the 6 / 128GB version. An important difference between the two models is the presence of a MicroSD slot for memory expansion on Galaxy S20 FE (up to 1TB), absent on S21 FE.
The positioning of the fingerprint sensor remains unchanged (in both cases below the display), as well as the resistance to water and dust (IP68). Both smartphones do not have a 3.5mm audio jack.
Battery chapter: 4,500mAh for both, as well as 25W fast charging. It is difficult to make a comparison with closed eyes regarding autonomy: here various factors come into play, first of all the processor. We will put the latest arrival to the test over the next few days as well, for now, we can limit ourselves to saying that in the evening we get there, no more (and fortunately no less). We also remind you that the software is still “immature”, in the sense that it will be optimized with the next updates: we hope that autonomy can also benefit from it.
The photographic sector is identical: 12 + 12 + 8MP is the solution chosen by Samsung also on the new Galaxy S21 FE, the same as we find on the Galaxy S20 FE. There is only one small (but quite significant) difference: the main sensor of the Galaxy S20 FE is 1 / 3.0 “, that of the Galaxy S21 FE is 1 / 2.8”.
The result – on paper – are slightly better images, especially in low light conditions. Both models push video recording up to 4K @ 60fps. There are no differences however with regard to the 32MP front camera.
Last, but certainly not least, concerns the selling price. Obviously, we are talking about the list price, waiting for the market to do its part by lowering it to levels more consistent with its positioning.
- Galaxy S20 FE 5G: 769 euros
- Galaxy S21 FE 5G: 769 euros (839 euros for the 8 / 256GB model)
In short, the same price at a distance of 15 months from each other. However, the timing of the release of the second, or of S21 FE, turns up your nose: we are in January, one month after the debut of the Galaxy S22 range.
S20 FE, on the other hand, was announced when the next top range – Galaxy S21 and related variants – was still far from being announced. Needless to reiterate, as already mentioned in the review, that the smartphone unveiled today by Samsung is to be promoted, yes, but not at this price.