Samsung Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 - PhoneArena

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21

1
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase from the links on this page.
Samsung's true value-for-money warrior came from one unexpected place in 2020, and was neither a member of the A-series, nor was it the previous year's flagship dropping down to a more palatable price. 

Instead, it cut just the right corners to produce a phone - the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition - that is as powerful as its then-flagship, and even added some features its non-FE edition didn't have like true telephoto zoom camera.

It only makes sense that Samsung now wants to repeat this success but will it shave off the right options with the Galaxy S21 FE to face its Galaxy S21 inspiration with equal success? 

Main Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 differences


  • Larger, 6.4" display vs 6.2" on the S21
  • Exclusive Olive green (S21 FE) vs Pink (S21) colors
  • Larger, 4500mAh battery on the Galaxy S21 FE
  • Faster charging on the S21 FE
  • True 3x telephoto camera vs crop zoom (S21)
  • $100 lower S21 FE price (for the 6GB RAM version)

Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 price, colors, and storage



As a result of said corner-cutting in all the right places, the Galaxy S20 FE proved immensely popular and was our go-to budget handset we recommended to friends and family when they asked about the best bang for their phone buck. Could the Galaxy S21 FE achieve the same fame given that Samsung dropped the starting price of the Galaxy S21 compared to its S20 predecessor?

Well, while rumors pointed to a lower base price for the Galaxy S21 FE than the S20 FE, its Snapdragon 888 processor, true telephoto camera, and a selection of jolly colors to choose from in a Glasstic housing you won't have to baby actually launched for the same $699 price, or $769 if you want the 256GB version. Considering that the 8GB RAM/256GB storage model of the S20 FE wasn't even available in the US, we'd say the S21 FE pricing is progress. 

As a reminder, the S20 FE blasted off at $699, too, but then again the S20 at $999 was way more expensive at launch than the $799 S21, too. Fan Edition this year indeed, for fans only, at least when it comes to pricing compared to the S21.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE with up to $375 OFF

Get the second Fan Edition Galaxy S21 with up to $500 off w/ trade-in, and another $75 instant rebate.
$324 99
$699 99
Buy at Samsung

Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 camera


Moving on to the major advantage the Galaxy S21 FE has over the Galaxy S21 - the true optical zoom camera - it's stayed and flaunts real 3x telephoto magnification compared to the crop zoom that Samsung uses courtesy of the larger 64MP sensor on the Galaxy S21. Score one for the FE, even though it's priced lower.

Other than that, except for the matching camera island color, Galaxy S21 FE isn't featuring many upgrades in the camera department save for those brought on by the new Snapdragon 888 image processing prowess and computational algorithms. We found the Galaxy S21 FE to produce excellent photos that matched or exceeded those of its more expensive siblings in the series, so no sweat. Its software churns out warm-colored images with more contrast than what the S21 produces, which has proven to be a crowd-pleaser.

 

Granted, the big 1.4 micron pixels of the 12MP ultrawide camera on the S21 beat the 1.1 micron ones of the Galaxy S21 FE's sensor there (the first car picture at night), yet the main 12MP cameras share great specs like whopping 1.8 micron pixel size and fairly wide lens aperture for pleasing camera samples.

Thus, despite the inevitable price difference, there is a negligible one in camera performance between the S21 FE and the S21 cameras. What the S21 FE may give up in the ultrawide camera prowess at night, it certainly gains in the zoom camera department, too. Check out one excellent S21 FE vs S21 4K video sample below, too, we dare you to spot the differences, save for the higher S21 FE exposure setting.


Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 specs and performance


Unlike last year when the S20 FE with the top memory and storage options was only accessible to folks in Europe and Asia, this year the top-shelf S21 FE with 8GB RAM is brought to the US public as well, for a slightly higher, $769 price. 

As you can see, even the 6GB RAM SM-G990U model destined for the US handily beats both the Exynos 2100 and the Snapdragon 888 versions of the Galaxy S21 in pure benchmark scores, too, for some reason, despite having the same processor.

AnTuTu is a multi-layered, comprehensive mobile benchmark app that assesses various aspects of a device, including CPU, GPU, RAM, I/O, and UX performance. A higher score means an overall faster device.
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S21
596684
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
573211
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
588087
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
524200
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
474536
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
456786


Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 displays and design


Here comes the fun part, the Galaxy S21 FE is actually smaller than its predecessor the S20 FE. Clocking in at 6.13 x 2.93 x 0.31 inches (155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm) it is much shorter than the S20 FE but still larger than the 5.97 x 2.80 x 0.31 inches (151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm) Galaxy S21, of course. What does that mean?

Samsung Galaxy S21
Dimensions

5.97 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
Dimensions

6.13 x 2.93 x 0.31 inches

155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Dimensions

6.29 x 2.93 x 0.33 inches

159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm

Weight

6.70 oz (190 g)

Samsung Galaxy S20
Dimensions

5.97 x 2.72 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.78 oz (163 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21
Dimensions

5.97 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
Dimensions

6.13 x 2.93 x 0.31 inches

155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
Dimensions

6.29 x 2.93 x 0.33 inches

159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm

Weight

6.70 oz (190 g)

Samsung Galaxy S20
Dimensions

5.97 x 2.72 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.78 oz (163 g)

Compare these and other phones using our Size Comparison tool.

Well, the S21 FE has a slightly smaller, 6.4" display diagonal than the 6.5" panel of the S20FE and is also thinner thus more compact to use and carry around in your pocket. Not as manageable as the Galaxy S21, though, but then again that one has a smaller 6.2" screen, too. Both displays sport 1080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate technology so we can call it a draw in the screen department.


Samsung's Glasstic design is what both phones use to arrive at their sweet $699 and $799 launch price points, respectively, and we don't mind as it still looks shiny and pretty, yet won't crack like a glass phone when you toss it around. Plus, it makes the phone lighter. The notable difference between the two phone's designs is the matching colors of the camera island and the rear of the Galaxy S21 FE, whereas Samsung went with a two-tone rear design for the S21.

Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 battery and charging speeds


Another big Galaxy S21 FE advantage over the regular S21 is its battery capacity. The 4500mAh unit is much larger than the 4000mAh in the S21 which showed pretty weak endurance during our battery test to boot.

hours Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
9h 39 min
Samsung Galaxy S21
7h 47 min

We already knew that the S21 FE will ship with faster 25W charging abilities than the S20 FE which maxed out at 15W, and such a charger was included in the box. In our Galaxy S20 FE review even the 15W charger was able to pump the battery up to 100% from a depleted state in less than an hour and a half, and to 50% in 30 minutes, so we can imagine what these approved chargers for the S21 FE listed below will be able to do when you run out of juice.


These are actually the exact specifications of Samsung's 25W EP-TA800 charger that ships with the S21 series and the 45W EP-TA845 brick that you can buy separately, provided that your phone has the circuitry to take it. Well, the Galaxy S21 FE is able to, and its 4500mAh battery would be full in about an hour when you are in a hurry. In short, the S21 FE lasts longer and charges at the S21 speed despite the larger battery, any takers?

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless