Samsung Galaxy S21 FE first impressions: The missing link


The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE grabbed everyone’s attention a year ago for the premium features it offered at an affordable price. Keeping this aspect in mind, Samsung has brought its sequel Samsung Galaxy S21 FE at an effective price of Rs 49,999 in the Indian market.

With a vibrant and crisp display, pro-grade camera, premium silicon and a decent battery backup, the specs look promising. Furthermore, the device comes pre-loaded with the latest Google Mobile software. While the Galaxy S21 FE borrows some premium aspects from its older sibling the Galaxy S21, it has a bigger role to play considering its arrival on store shelves of late. And as Samsung gears up for the launch of its Galaxy S22 flagship series of the year, the question arises whether to go for this premium and mid-range mix handset or wait for a new product. Here is our review of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE smartphone.

Early impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

The new Galaxy S21 FE packs a slew of premium features at a slightly lower price tag than the flagship Galaxy S21 smartphone. The phone gets a bigger screen on the S21 while offering additional screen real estate to consume content. If one is to compare with the previous iteration, the new Galaxy S-series phones get a crisp, bright Dynamic AMOLED panel that provides a pleasant viewing experience.

Samsung has integrated the same 5nm Exynos 2100 chipset which means faster overall performance without any lag or stutter. We tested a few casual and graphic-intensive games on the device, and it managed to deliver satisfactory results without a hitch. But we will still reserve our judgment until we cross its limits.

In terms of looks, the phone takes design cues from the premium Galaxy S21 with a taller form factor and camera blending into the side rails. The device is lightweight, and the matte finish ensures that it doesn’t attract unnecessary grease and fingerprints. The plastic rear panel screams mid-range pricing, so although Samsung tried to keep a simple design, we loved the Galaxy S21’s dual-color accents that had design flair. The left edge of the frame has been left untouched, while the right side houses the physical keys. Samsung has abandoned the microSD slot for good and you only get the option to put two SIM cards on the device.

While the back panel doesn’t offer a premium feel, the front-facia makes up for the missing part. The flat panel resembles the Galaxy S21 with slim side bezels and a centered punch-hole cutout. The 1080p display is bright and beautiful, and the 240Hz touch sampling rate ensures fluid and smooth scrolling animation that takes us to the next bit—interface. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is one of the affordable handsets that offer Android 12. While the presence of custom One UI 4.0 can be felt in every corner, the good thing is that it didn’t feel cluttered. However, we’d like to bring an overview, the large icons on the home screen and app drawer, which leave a mark on the mind for a second until you launch the app. Nonetheless, the interface is silky smooth and launches apps in a matter of seconds.

Moving on, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE gets the same trio as its predecessor. Even the front camera has the same resolution. This is a bit frustrating especially for anyone planning to upgrade. However, the phone delivers slightly better imaging performance, courtesy of the new chip and software. An array of camera modes are on deck as well—the notable addition is dual mode recording. The camera performs well in a variety of lighting conditions, although if we compare it to the iPhone, the output exaggerates colors rather than sticking to the natural profile (okay! That’s the signature of the Samsung phone camera).

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Camera Samples

Image resized for web

Image resized for web

Image resized for web

Image resized for web

The device packs a slightly larger 4,500mAh battery with a wired charging speed of 25W. We haven’t tested battery life yet, but we’ll put in a detailed report in our review.


There are no surprising elements to talk about on the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. The same set of cameras, consistent design coupled with a year’s worth of launch delays make us question whether to buy this phone or wait for a new batch to hit the market. On the positive side, the phone’s vibrant and fluid performance, premium silicone, new software and a bigger battery make it a compelling package for the price. However, in the span of a year dozens of high-end smartphones were offered under similar prices, for example, OnePlus 9, Asus ROG Phone 5, etc. Incremental upgrade of the phone over the previous iteration and some key features at a reasonable price. Samsung with a sophisticated suite of features can make it a good proposition for someone planning to get a handset. But we would recommend that readers wait for our full review before making a final buying decision.

The post Samsung Galaxy S21 FE first impressions: Missing link first appeared on BGR India.

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