Samsung Galaxy Fe 5g Review – Bigger and (slightly) cheaper than the original S21, could the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE be the first smartphone to buy in 2022?
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Samsung Galaxy Fe 5g Review
With the Samsung Galaxy S22, it seems like an odd moment to launch a phone based on last year’s Galaxy S21 flagship, but Samsung clearly thinks it’s the right time to launch the Galaxy S21 FE 5G. .
Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe 5g Review: Might Be Worth Waiting
Aimed at serious Samsung fans – the FE brand stands for, rather oddly, “Fan Edition” – the S21 FE 5G follows closely in the footsteps of the S20 FE, a phone we reviewed at Budget Was reviewed. On the Galaxy S20 full-feet.
Like last year’s FE, this year’s edition features similar interiors and specifications to Samsung’s 2021 flagship, albeit with a slightly lower list price than the original when it launched. Overall, you get flagship-level features at an affordable price.
The Galaxy S21 FE shares the standard model’s 120Hz, FHD+ display, although it measures 0.2in taller (6.4in). It also has a triple rear camera, with a 12-megapixel main sensor paired with an 8MP 3x zoom camera and a second 12MP 123-degree ultra-wide. The same 32MP selfie camera sits on the front of the handset.
The most notable difference, however, is that the Galaxy S21 FE opts for Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon 888, rather than Samsung’s in-house equivalent Exynos 2100 (found in the standard S21 in the UK). . Structurally, these two chipsets are very similar, so there’s a good chance you won’t notice any difference between the two in general use anyway – but we’ll find out in this review.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fe Review: The Fan Edition Is The S20 To Buy
Then what will happen to this price? The Galaxy S21 FE will be available in the UK from January 11, starting at £699 for the 128GB model and rising to £749 for the 256GB model. The standard Galaxy S21, which launched 12 months ago, costs £769 or £819 with the same storage options, meaning you’re only getting a small discount of £50 or £60 here.
Of course, since it’s a year old now, you can pick one up for the same price (or a bit cheaper) than this year’s FE if you shop around. However, the Galaxy S21 seems to be out of stock at most retailers at the time of writing this review, so there’s a good chance it’s nearing end-of-life.
As for contract pricing, the S21 FE starts at £35 per month at Carphone Warehouse, giving you 20GB of data per month with iD Mobile.
The S21 FE’s most obvious competitor is the Google Pixel 6, which starts at just £599. That £100 saving gives you one of the most impressive camera arrangements to date, paired with a well-defined software experience unlike any other on the market. . Basically, the Pixel 6 is a smartphone that beats a bit – the S21 FE has a tough job ahead of it.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fe 5g Review: Samsung’s Best Phone Of 2021 Is From 2020
On the other side of the smartphone coin, you’ll find Apple’s iPhone 13. If you don’t mind ditching Android and are willing to pay the Apple tax, expect to pay at least £779 for the base model with 128GB of internal storage. .
At first glance, the S21 FE 5G looks very similar to the original S21. It has cutouts around the three cameras at the back and comes in the same pastel shade. In this case, you’ll be able to pick up the S21 FE in a choice of four colors: White, Graphite, Olive or Lavender.
Like last year’s FE and S21, the back is made of matte finish plastic, which is surprising for a phone that costs around £700. However, it doesn’t feel particularly cheap in the hand. And it has the benefit of being light for such a large phone, weighing just 177 grams.
The phone supports wireless charging speeds of up to 15W, with a 25W cable charging the bottom USB-C port. The S21 FE, like its predecessor, is also able to replace supported wireless charging devices, such as the Galaxy Buds 2 – you simply place it on the back of the mobile phone and activate the phone settings display.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe 5g Review: Software, Performance
Like the rest of the range, the Galaxy S21 FE is IP68 rated for protection against dust and water, and the display sits under a layer of Gorilla Glass protection. On the unlocking side, it supports facial recognition and adds an in-display fingerprint scanner, which is useful if you’re wearing a mask and want to use your phone to make contactless card payments. .
In a surprising development, the S21 FE’s display is actually slightly larger than the S21’s, but with similar capabilities. It’s a standard 120Hz refresh unit – not adaptive – but with the same 2,400 x 1,080 resolution and 2x dynamic OLED tech, measuring 6.4in (the S21 is “only” 6.2in).
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Apart from the difference in dimensions, the S21 FE’s display quality remains unchanged. You still have the option to switch between two display modes – Natural and Wide – with the former being the more colorful of the two. In our tests, the S21 FE’s panel covered 90% of the sRGB color gamut in this mode, for a total coverage of 91%. And with a Delta E rating of 1.73, you really can’t do better.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fe 5g
Brightness increases to 634cd/m² with the flash on in ambient light mode, and reaches 1,000cd/m² when displaying an HDR scene. On that note, HDR movies and TV shows looked great, impressively elevating highlights from the second season of Netflix’s The Witcher TV show.
Inside, the Galaxy S21 FE comes with the same lineup of core components as the regular S21, with a 5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, 6GB of RAM for your apps, photos and movies, and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. at home
This means the S21 FE delivered the same results as the S21 in our tests, matching Geekbench 5’s single-core speed, slightly better than the full-fat S21 multi-core. This is as pretty as it gets, at least until the first Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagships start arriving.
It’s a similar story when it comes to sports. The S21 FE beats the Pixel 6’s Tensor chipset in the GFXBench Manhattan benchmarks, matching last year’s S21 scores. It’s worth noting that while the iPhone 13’s screen resolution looks impressive, unlike the S21 FE, you’re limited to a 60Hz display. High-end gaming is definitely on the S21 FE cards if the game supports it.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Fe Review: Just The Right Ingredients Make The Fan Edition Really Likeable
Unfortunately, while the battery capacity is 4,500mAh, the S21 FE’s capacity is the worst. Achieving just 15 hours and 42 minutes in the video rundown test, the S21 FE falls three hours behind the S21 and nearly five hours behind the iPhone 13 under the same conditions.
The cameras on the S21 FE 5G are very close to what you get on the larger Galaxy S21. In fact, the main camera specifications are the same, capturing 12MP images at 1/1.76in, f/1.8 with 1.8um pixels and optical image stabilization (OIS).
Only telephoto and ultrawide cameras are different, both come with slightly smaller sensors and telephotos with smaller apertures. Meanwhile, the telephoto camera features are unchanged from those of the S20 FE, with a 1/4.4in f/2.4 lens, 3x optical zoom and OIS.
Unsurprisingly, photos taken with the S21 FE are exceptional. It has more detail, more contrast and less visual noise – although some colors look too vibrant for my taste. Night shots are also impressive, with the phone’s HDR algorithm working well to control light exposure as well as enhance dark areas.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe Review: Fan Edition Again, But In A Different Sense
The same cannot be said for the S21 FE’s ultra-wide sensor. This mode has very little detail – even in bright environments – with zero distortion in video images. Thankfully, the 3x telephoto zoom camera works well even in low light levels. The maximum 30x optical zoom is adequate, but as always it’s more of a gimmick than anything else.
The graphics are also very good. Sure, the Pixel 6 is still top dog – its complex background is a step up – but there’s more detail on the face, and subjects contrast well with the background.
As for video, the S21 FE can capture 4K video at up to 60fps, which is completely stable. In old mode, you have to lower the frame rate.
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