If you want a solid, efficient, and impressive 5G smartphone these days then you’re looking at well over $1,000. There are no two ways about it. Flagships come at a hefty price to justify all those premium specs, with smartphone companies stuffing their top-earners with the latest and greatest when it comes to software and hardware. Android frontrunner Samsung is currently charging $1,949 for its top-shelf flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, as a glaring example; that’s a tough pill to swallow for budget-conscious phone users. That’s where Samsung’s refined Fan Editions come into play, introduced with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE last year, and now flowing through to the newly announced Samsung Galaxy S21 FE.
Representing a more meaningful balance between price and performance, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will be the first time Android users are able to get their hands on a 5G Samsung flagship for less than $1,000. That’s big news for budget-conscious smartphone users, so it’s fitting that this device is the first major announcement to come out of CES 2022. Originally, the S21 FE was rumoured to be released late 2021, but a number of delays obviously pushed the announcement back to the new year.
Arriving in Australia on January 11, Samsung’s long-rumoured reprieve to users who find the S21 a bit too pricey will feature much of the same premium specs, finessed for a lower price point with only a few reasonable sacrifices. You’ll still be getting a beastly camera system, an all-day battery with fast charging, and one of the fastest processors in the game, and a body that looks almost identical to the base Galaxy S21 model with only a few small differences – like a colour-matched camera housing and a metal frame.
Locally, the Galaxy S21 FE will feature the Snapdragon 888 chipset, which should provide more than enough brains to ensure the phone zips through even the more demanding of tasks while maintaining ultra-crisp, high-quality graphics and picture quality on the Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. Samsung is clearly feeling generous when it comes to performance, and so the FE will also feature a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate for a more seamless, fluid experience across all aspects of the phone, from scrolling through social media to gaming.
Memory options range from 6GB to 8GB RAM and 128GB to 256GB of non-expandable storage.
Sticking the ‘more, for less’ philosophy of the FE variants, Samsung has also included a 4,500 mAh battery with 25W fast charging. However, the wall charger, like with the iPhone, will still be sold separately.
Of course, with these distilled FE variants, most of you are going to wonder if the cameras have been knocked back. They have, but not by much. You’ve still got an impressive 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 12MP wide sensor, and an 8MP telephoto sensor with 3x optical zoom on the rear. The selfie camera should be a reliable performer as well, with a resolution of 32MP obviously binned down, but bumped up by Samsung’s superior processing capabilities.
See below for the full specs of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, which as mentioned above will be available as early as next week in 4 colour options – white, lavender, graphite, and olive.
And if you’re planning on buying one anyway, we suggest grabbing one before January 30th. You’ll get a complimentary pair of Galaxy Buds2 for your efforts.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Full Specs
Security: Optical Fingerprint
Dimensions & Weight: 74.5 x 155.7 x 7.9mm, 177g
Camera: 12MP Ultra-Wide Camera, F2.2, FOV 123˚ 12MP Wide Camera, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.8 8MP Telephoto Camera 30x Space Zoom, F2.4 32MP Selfie Camera, F2.2, FOV 81˚.
Processor: 5nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor
Memory: 8GB RAM with 256GB internal storage; 6GB RAM with 128GB internal storage
Charging: 25W Wired; 15W Wireless; Wireless PowerShare
OS: Android 12
Payment: Samsung Pay with NFC
Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor
Water Resistance: IP68