The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (Fan Edition) is the company’s first smartphone for 2022. The gadget was meant to be released later last year, but it was delayed owing to a global chipset shortage. So, since we’ve been using it for a while, we’ll go over all of its features as well as our detailed evaluation.
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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: Design and Display
Although it is lightweight at 177gms, holding the phone does not feel heavy. The reason it’s so light is that Samsung utilised polycarbonate back here, which feels a little inferior compared to a glass finish, which has become very common in this price bracket. The plastic rear is also more prone to scratches, although it does not collect fingerprints or smudges. As a result, a case or skin is strongly advised when using the phone.
Looking from the back, one can confuse the Galaxy S21 FE for the Galaxy A52. However, the design is slightly different and has been redesigned, making it a good-looking smartphone. We definitely adored the design and reviewed the Black colour variety, but we also adored the other colours, particularly the Olive one. The phone is also available in lavender and white colours. Thankfully, (as said) Samsung provides a matte surface rather than a glossy one here. It features an aluminium frame rather than a plastic frame, which makes it more robust.
Furthermore, the front of this phone has Gorilla Glass Victus protection, which protects against scratches and drops. Over that, the smartphone, like its more costly siblings, is IP86 dust and water-resistant.
In terms of audio, you have a bottom-firing two-speaker setup that generates a stereo sound effect via the speakers and the microphone unit on top. The sound quality is undeniably super; it’s loud and immersive. It is worth noting that the phone lacks a nice vibration, and the haptics are not as strong as we would have liked. The ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is also absent, replaced by an optical fingerprint sensor that is similarly excellent, quick, and reliable.
The display is a 6.4-inch full-HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X with a refresh rate of 120Hz and a touch sampling rate of up to 240Hz is on board. It has little bezels on the sides and looks fantastic. We mean, it’s been our everyday vehicle, and we think the screen is brilliant, with the fast refresh rate activating just when we’re playing games.
The refresh rate also does not adjust to the material being played, which means the battery would be depleted considerably faster than on the LTPO display. We’ll go into the battery life in greater depth later.
This is a good multimedia gadget with an almost flagship-level display that has excellent colours, contrast, and brightness levels. The nearly non-existent bezels improve the viewing experience. Although we are aware that it does not have a very high touch sampling rate, the quality and colour calibration it provides are extremely commendable. While the 120Hz refresh rate improves the user experience, we did not notice any jitters, delays, or touch response difficulties throughout our testing.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review: Performance and Cameras
In terms of performance, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is powered by the same Exynos 2100 SoC as the top S21 series. As a flagship chipset, it is not as powerful as the Snapdragon 888, which is used in other areas’ handsets. Its performance is adequate for the majority of its components, particularly when it comes to CPU-intensive applications.
So far, multitasking with the most resource-intensive programme has not been a problem. Call of Duty game, for example, can be played even on the maximum settings.
We didn’t notice any serious heating concerns during any of our gaming sessions, however, the phone did become somewhat warm near the camera module on a few occasions. Because we are not big gamers, the S21 FE is a routine day to day phone, and the gaming performance has been good enough for us. Our day-to-day tasks, as well as multitasking, gave us nothing to complain about during our usage.
Furthermore, this phone is the first to arrive with Android 12 and One UI 4 stacked on top. The 120Hz display has been effectively optimised, and the dark mode has been nicely integrated. We encountered no software issues or slow latencies, which is why Samsung OneUI is one of our favourite software interfaces.
The gadget will be upgraded for three years in terms of software and four years in terms of security. The S1 FE offers the same software experience as flagship models.
We were really intrigued before moving to the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. We wondered will it have a flagship-level camera because we were using the Vivo V23 Pro (Review), which has great photographic skills. It contains three rear cameras: a 12-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.8 wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor. The gadget also includes a 32-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.2 aperture for selfies and video calls.
It’s worth mentioning that the telephoto sensor on offer here isn’t as high-resolution as the one on the flagship S21, but it still offers 3X zoom and 30X digital zoom.
The photographs from the telephoto camera, as predicted, lack detail. While the colour optimisation, which we felt to be a little lacking, particularly in terms of exposure management. Except for the colour reproduction, which appears a touch toned down to our liking, both standard and extreme wide-angle phone images are practically identical.
Portraits are also captured using a 3X telephoto lens on the phone.
So, if you prefer zoom photography, you will get better-detailed zoom images. This also applies to portrait photos. The colour in the usual daylight photographs appears realistic, which we appreciated.
When it comes to nighttime photographs, the Galaxy S21 FE takes a little longer to process, but the results are fantastic.
Moving on, the selfie camera takes great selfies, however, they have a slight red tint to them.
In terms of video, there is no 8K recording option, however, you may capture 4K@60fps from both the rear and front. Because the front camera does not clip the footage for stabilisation, the selfies are a little unsteady.
Overall, this phone produces detailed and social media-ready photographs. The camera is also capable of retaining details and dynamic fury. However, while filming on a bright day, the highlights and exposure might have been better. The 4K recordings are unsteady in both 60 and 30fps modes, but the 1080p footage is consistent. In most cases, the S21 FE cameras perform admirably well.
Despite having a 4,500mAh battery, the battery life on this phone is quite average. We believe this is due to its energy-consuming display. It lasted a little less than a full day for us. However, if you are a moderate user, it will most likely last you the entire day. You will also need to purchase a suitable 25W charger separately. It takes one and a half hours to fully charge the battery from zero to 100 percent.
The price is comparable to that of last year’s Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. In India, the pricing starts at Rs 49,999. The gadget includes several premium features as well as a few sacrifices. In terms of design, we would have preferred a glass back than a plastic one. However, it makes it lighter, but the plastic back panels are more prone to scratches, whereas the frames are constructed of aluminium. We also appreciate Samsung’s integration of IP68 dust and water resistance.
The S21 FE is capable of 25W rapid charging. Unfortunately, it does not have an appropriate charger in the packaging. This is also the first time Samsung has bypassed a charger on a phone that isn’t a flagship. We also believe that the phone charges rather slowly in comparison to what other manufacturers give at even half the price. Aside from that, it has an excellent display and camera performance for the price. The dependable software and hardware performance results in a pleasurable smartphone experience.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Pros
- Excellent 120Hz display
- Android 12
- Snapdragon 888 5G chipset
- Stereo Speakers
- IP rate
- Good camera performance
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Cons
- No charger
- No 3.5mm jack
- No microSD support
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