Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review, It's a Good Start for 2022
phone delays are nothing unusual, but few phones have been as delayed as the samsung galaxy s. 21 fe first tipped by leakers to launch as early as august 2021, the phone instead didnt launch until january 2022. When samsung unveiled the new handset at ces in las vegas over 11 months after the other s21 phones arrived that delay hasnt had a direct impact on the phone itself, but does change where it sits in the market. The tech here is a few months older than it should be. The rivals it would have had last summer have since had price cuts, as has the regular s21 lest we forget – and it arrives right as were about to see the launch of the galaxy s 22 series due in february. So, while theres nothing wrong with the galaxy s, 21 fe per se, its a pretty great phone, really its trickier to recommend right now, as at full price, there are better buys elsewhere from the front. It looks almost identical to the other s21 phones, with a slim, bezel and central punch, hole, selfie camera, while on the rear, youll spot the trademark, contour cut camera in the corner, the main differences in color and finish like the s20 fe before it. Samsung has opted for more colorful hues for this phone theres black, well graphite and white, but also an olive, green and a pastel purple. This time around. The camera is wrapped in the same color as the rest of the phone too, rather than a contrasting reflective finish.
A nod to the design were expecting to see in next months, s22 ive got to say. I actually think this leaves the s21 fe looking better than its more expensive sibling in terms of size. This phone sits in a sweet spot between the s21 and s21 plus and is only a little heavier than the regular model at 177 grams. Its got basically the same: build quality too gorilla glass victus over the screen, an aluminium frame and plastic back with an ip68 rating to protect from water and dust. The 6.4 inches display used here is just a little larger than the 6.2 inches screen on the regular s21, but not so much as to make this feel like a big phone, its still comfortable to hold helped by the curved body and lightweight material with a 120 Hertz refresh rate full hd plus resolution and in a mold panel, this is essentially just as good a display as youll, find in the other phones in the series, which is to say its about as good as you could hope, to get at this price. In most parts of the world, the s21 fe is powered by qualcomm snapdragon 888 chipset, which is paired with either six or eight gigabytes ram and 128 or 256 gigabytes storage. Some markets, including australia, instead get samsungs own exynos 2100, but the majority get the 888, which is what ive been testing thats a powerful chip, and if the phone had launched last summer thats all there would have been to say about it.
Unfortunately, since then, qualcomm has launched the 888 successor, the snapdragon 8 general one and were already seeing the first phones launch with that chip. Again, it doesnt make the s21 fe a worse phone, but does raise the specter that most buyers would be better off waiting. Another month or two to buy a new phone with the next gen chip in any case benchmarks reveal predictably impressive performance from the 888, though not up there with the fastest phones using that chip ive noticed the phone getting hot during benchmarks and other demanding applications, which Is no doubt holding it back a little, so it looks like samsungs heat management leaves a little to be desired. Ive actually been testing the model with just six gigabytes ram, so anyone buying an eight gigabytes model should expect slightly better results, though thats unlikely to help with the overheating. The snapdragon 888 provides 5g support too, of course, and youll also get wi fi 6 and bluetooth. 5.0 to round out the wireless connectivity, the camera is perhaps the chief area where the s21 fes on paper a slight downgrade from the regular galaxy s21, though the gap is small and in some specific respects the fe may even have the edge. The main camera is in fact the same as the s21s main shooter, a 12 mp f, 1.8 sensor with dual pixel autofocus and optical image. Stabilization ois, its pretty excellent truth, be told. Samsung doesnt quite make the best cameras around right now, but its not far off, and this is a good example of why shots are routinely crisp and vivid with vibrant colors and excellent dynamic range thanks to the ois.
It holds its own in the dark, too light sources still tend to get a little blown out and theres a softness to some of my night mode photos that suggests more stabilization is needed, but few phones at this price would do much better. Its joined by a 12 mp ultrawide and 8mp telephoto, the former, is not quite to the same standard as the s21s, thanks to a smaller sensor, which especially holds it back at night. In good lighting, though this is still better than the average ultra wide. The telephoto offers 3x zoom and thanks to ois shots, stay crisp and clear, even in the dark. This lens is trickier to compare to the s21s as that phone actually uses a regular 64 mp camera instead of a true telephoto and crops in digitally. To surprisingly good effect, those who follow the specs may appreciate that the fe features a true telephoto camera, but in practice the results are pretty similar. Battery and charging are two areas where samsung phones tend to be fine, but nothing special, certainly not compared to devices coming from the likes of oppo and xiaomi. The same is true here. The 4 500 milliamp hours battery will last a day of normal use, but not loads more than that thats – probably good enough for most people, but if you know youre a heavy user, you might want to look at other phones with better battery life. Samsung is shipping. The s21 fe, with android 12 out of the box running the companys own one ui 4.
0 skin on top samsung, has incorporated some, but not all of android, 12s biggest features, most notably googles material utec, which pulls color tones from wallpaper images and use them to set The colors of the phones, whole interface, is here, but given a somewhat narrower implementation than on the pixel 6, you wont see the custom colors appear in as many places, so the effect is a little more muted. Importantly, the main android 12 privacy features are included. Theres, a tweaked version of the privacy dashboard here called permission usage which lets you know, which apps have used, which of your phones, security, permissions, recently alert icons when the microphone and camera are in use also feature here. Protecting you from unwelcome apps, activating features they shouldnt be and heres the rub. The s21 fe is out now and widely available and itll set you back six gigabytes plus 128 gigabytes 699 pounds for 699 dollars for 749 euros, eight gigabytes, plus 256 gigabytes 749 pounds for 769 for 819 euros.