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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE hands on: keeping the Galaxy S21 alive

The Galaxy S20 series was one of Samsung’s largest selling phone ranges, and part of that success was down to the Galaxy S20 FE. Dubbed the Fan Edition (or FE for short) – a throwback to the rebuilt Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition – Samsung sold over 10 million Galaxy S20 FE units in the past year since its launch in Q4 2020. At CES 2022, Samsung launched the next generation of the Fan Edition – the Galaxy S21 FE.

The Galaxy S21 FE brings the best of the Galaxy S21 range at a lower starting price than the Galaxy S21 range, and crucially, unlike its namesake series, this will be a phone that is sold for the next year at least. Available in four colorways with a premium matte textured feel, the Galaxy S21 FE will likely offer everything you could want in a Galaxy smartphone, and especially if the upcoming Galaxy S22 series doesn’t cut it for you.

At an exclusive event earlier at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, we went hands-on with the Galaxy S21 FE.

If you know anything about the Galaxy S21 series, chances are you’ll know most of the specs and features found in the Galaxy S21 FE. That said, one thing that’s immediately clear is how nice this phone feels in the hand. The matte textured rear offers grip, is ergonomically friendly, and looks fantastic, especially in the lavender color which is slightly more saturated than the namesake color found on the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

The design language of the Galaxy S21 FE is almost identical to the Galaxy S21 series, with the same contour-cut design resulting in a slightly raised camera hump – albeit, less so than the main phones in the series. The frame of the phone is an aluminum build but it still retains the premium feel that the Galaxy S21 series offered.

There are four color options for the Galaxy S21 series, and by far my favorite is the lavender. It is virtually the perfect shade of purple and it’s a better colorway than the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The other color options include an Olive green, which is very similar to the same in the Galaxy Buds 2, Black and White. If you’ve seen the Galaxy Buds 2 colors, you’ll know the Galaxy S21 FE colors.

Beyond the design similarities, the Galaxy S21 FE features many of the same specs found on the Galaxy S21 series. On paper, it’s best described as a combination of the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus, and given it’ll replace these two devices in Samsung’s ongoing lineup, it makes sense that Samsung would build a hybrid device featuring the best of these two phones.

It features a 6.4-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display which is bigger than the Galaxy S21 (6.2-inches) and smaller than the Galaxy S21 Plus (6.7-inches), albeit with the same resolution and display technology. Like the rest of the Galaxy S21 series, the Galaxy S21 FE display supports a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling, HDR10+, and an Always On Display. It also features the latest protection from Corning – Gorilla Glass Victus.

In the US, the Galaxy S21 FE is powered by a Snapdrag0n 888 processor whilst in some countries, it’s likely to use an Exynos processor. There are two storage and memory options; the base model comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, whilst the premium variant features 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The triple camera setup features the same wide and ultra-wide cameras from the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus, although the telephoto camera takes a fairly substantial hit. The main camera is a 12MP wide sensor with dual pixel autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization, whilst the ultra-wide is a 12MP sensor with 120° field of view, f/2.2 aperture, and 1.4µm pixel size. The telephoto camera is cut from the 64MP sensor found previously to an 8MP sensor, albeit it still supports 30x digital zoom.

The rest of the specs are fairly standard with a 4,500 mAh battery powering the entire package, which can be topped up using either 25W wired charging or 15W wireless charging. There’s also reverse wireless charging to recharge your accessories, a range of 5G bands and sensors, and IP68 water and dust resistance. The Galaxy S21 FE also launches running One UI 4 on top of Android 12.

The Galaxy S21 FE launches next week for $699.99 for the base variant, whilst the premium variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will cost you $769.99. It’ll be available from a range of carriers and from Samsung directly, and presumably, there’ll be plenty of trade-in deals to further reduce the cost of the phone.

Overall, the Galaxy S21 FE is designed to replace the existing Galaxy S21 range in Samsung’s lineup, especially as the latter is mostly out of stock already. With Samsung planning to launch its next range of phones in the coming months at a higher price, the Galaxy S21 FE is designed to be the phone that keeps the legacy of the Galaxy S21 series alive, and in this, it seems to deliver. Stay tuned as we’ll have a full review of the Galaxy S21 FE going live in the coming weeks.

The post Samsung Galaxy S21 FE hands on: keeping the Galaxy S21 alive appeared first on xda-developers.

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