After a hit of the last year Galaxy S20 FE by offering all the flagship features at a much more affordable price, Samsung relaunched the program with its one of most famous flagship lines Galaxy S21; Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. Being late on its launch when the new Galaxy S22 has already started to create heat around, people have expressed very mixed feelings about the new Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. Well, we have used this device for quite a time, and this is our honest opinion on it.
Starting off with its availability, only a single variant of Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is available in Nepal i.e. 8GB RAM with 256GB internal storage at the price of Rs. 89,999. Although globally four colors are launched, in Nepal, only three shades which are Graphite, Lavender, and Olive are available, putting the white shade currently to uphold. But, still, no matter what your taste is either shuttle and simple or colorful, there is one for you.
Design and Build
There is no surprise that when a brand is providing a flagship device at a comparatively affordable price, they have to cut down on a few aspects to reduce the cost. In this case, it’s the build quality. We had been using Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra for quite a time and after getting our hands on the Galaxy S21 FE, we didn’t get the premium feel just like its big brothers had provided.
The device is made up of plastic giving it a weight of just 177 grams making it pretty light. So, if you are a fan of devices that are small, light, and compact then you might get quite impressed with the Galaxy S21 FE. Despite having a plastic buildup, we found the phone sturdy. Along with that, the device has a similar design at its rare camera that you find in all S21 lines, except for this one the contour cut bump blends smoothly. Just like Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy S21 FE also comes with an IP68 rating making the device dust and water-resistant.
One of the features that we are a fan of in the new Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is its display. You can get a 6.44-inch Dynamic Amoled 2X screen with HDR10+. For the display protection just like in the Galaxy S21 plus Corning Gorilla Glass Victus is provided. Along with that, it has FHD+ resolution and 120 HZ of refresh rate. Definitely, having a 120 Hz of refresh rate would provide you a very smooth feel while using UI to elevate your experience even more.
Overall, what we can say is that this screen of Galaxy S21 FE at this price range is one of the best screens that you can find in the Nepali market. The display is bright and vibrant and is very enjoyable to watch movies and videos. So, for the content consumption purpose, it’s perfect and we also didn’t find that hard to look at the screen under bright sunlight. Summing up the display department, what we would like to say is, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE provides you with an immersive experience with the quality and consistency of the display.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE also comes with an under-display fingerprint scanner but, in order to cut down the cost, Samsung has used an optical scanner instead of an ultrasonic but still, we found it accurate and fast.
When it comes to the camera, there is a huge similarity between Galaxy S21 plus and S21 FE. We didn’t find much difference in the photos of these two devices. Both of them come with a 12 MP of the main camera and ultrawide camera. But, you would get 8 MP of the telephoto lens in S21 FE where S21 plus had 64 MP. Also, with the difference in telephoto lens, Samsung has also made a change in the front camera where previously S21 plus had just 10MP, but now has upgraded to 32MP on S21 FE.
Apart from the specifications, talking about the picture quality, the photos of Galaxy S21 FE were impressive and pretty similar to S21 plus. Due to the fact that it has an 8 MP Telephoto camera compared to a 64MP on the S21 Plus, the telephoto lens doesn’t seem to produce very clear and sharp results, as similar to S21 plus but is still decent to work with. The photos taken from Galaxy S21 FE are colorful and sharp and are perfect to get you on your social media game. The pictures are a little sharp and saturated but you would be familiar with this if you have clicked anytime before from any Samsung device.
When it comes to the front camera, the selfies taken from Galaxy S21 FE are not something breathtaking. Although the S21 FE has a significantly higher MP front camera, we somehow loved the selfies taken from the S21 plus since the photos were much more lively and vibrant in our opinion.
When it comes to its video, you can record 4K up to 60fps from both the front and back camera of the Samsung Galaxy S21FE which is very stable. So, if you are looking for a phone expecting good camera results we would highly recommend Galaxy S21 FE. You can check out all of our samples and also express your views about them in the comment section below.
In this region of the world, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 SoC, like its big brothers from the S21 series. This is an octa-core SoC built under the 5nm fabrication process. Here we get 1×2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3×2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A55 CPU cores along with Mali-G78 MP14 GPU. We have already tested this SoC last year with the S21 + and S21 Ultra and didn’t find any specific issues with the chip itself.
The device performs excellent when it comes to day-to-day tasks and it can even handle gaming really well, though not the best. The device can push up to 60fps on PUBG Mobile, with some frame drops here and there. Talking about the benchmarking scores we tested GeekBench 5 and the device scored 3500+ Multi-core score and the single-core reached 1086.
Talking about graphics we did a While File graphics test with an overall score of 5852 and was able to push an average frame rate (FPS) of 35.00. While running the CPU throttling test, we did it for 15 minutes and the device throttled to 85% of its max performance, with not such a significant heating issue. So, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE provides almost the flagship experience, even though it’s not equipped with the fastest SoC in the market.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE comes with Android version 12 with One UI 4 which is the newly launched software. The new One UI 4 is definitely very impressive and has got new features like privacy alert and control, more personalized widgets, UI customization, app block features, etc. Along with that, the merit of having a Samsung device in hand is that you get 3 major software updates and 4 years of Android security updates increasing the longevity of the device on a software basis.
After what happened to Oxygen OS, One UI is definitely the best Android skin currently in the market and we have a lot of expectations from Samsung on this one.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE has a 4500 mAh battery supporting wired charging of 25 watts and 15 watts when it comes to wireless and similar to other flagship devices the company doesn’t provide any charging head in the box making you spend almost NRP 1900 extra in the market to purchase a 25-watt charger. The device takes an hour and extra 10 minutes to reach from 0-100% when charged by a 25-watt charger.
Talking about the battery life, we found it to be decent and lasted me(who is a normal user) for a day. I usually used the device for basic social media surfing, slightly for taking some pictures here and there only. By the end of the day, the battery was left around 47%. But, if you are a heavy user, who uses their smartphones for playing heavy games, constantly clicking pictures and recording videos, heavy editing, etc. the battery life wouldn’t be for a day.
Summing it up, what we would like to say is, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is a Jack of all trades but master of none, or in other words, it’s an all-rounder device capable of providing you the flagship experience with not so flagship price. But as the S20 FE, last year was priced almost NRs.15,000 cheaper and was powered by a flagship Snapdragon SoC, people are a bit concerned about getting S21 FE at this time of the year when we are so close to the launch of the S22 series. And We all know after its launch the S21 and S21 + will receive a significant price cut and we don’t know if even after that it would be relevant or not to buy the S21 FE.