The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictThe issue with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Fan Edition isn’t what it does or doesn’t do. It’s the wrong time to release a phone like this when the S22 already exists.
- Big, bright 120Hz screen
- Fast performance
- Good software support
- No MicroSD slot
- No headphone jack
- Released at an awkward time
- Disappointing battery life
It isn’t odd for a phone company to release a Fan Edition (FE for short) phone version. However, it is odd to release it right next to its successor, so why should you choose this one over the S22? Reviewers are weighing in!
The design isn’t anything to write home about so-to-speak. It’s very plain, and there’s a textured back made with what Samsung refers to as Glastic. You’ll also find an in-screen fingerprint scanner and a nearly unnoticeable camera bump on the back. However, the color options are decent, with your choices being blue, lavender, bronze, white, red, and graphite.
It has a 6.4-inch OLED screen. Reviewers were impressed by the display’s brightness. The 120Hz refresh rate adds to the experience making menus and other on-screen elements silky smooth to navigate.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE chipset is a little behind the times. Reviewers didn’t seem to notice, though. It did alright switching apps or multi-tasking, probably owed to that 120Hz refresh rate.
Software & Storage
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE comes with Android 12 enhanced with One UI. Reviewers liked the interface and customization options. Storage has two possibilities, 128GB and 256GB, and which you choose determines the amount of RAM. There’s no MicroSD expansion on this phone.
Reviewers stated that the cameras are not all that different from previous phones in this line. Going even further, they said that when compared to the Pixel 6, it was virtually impossible to pick which was which.
Typically when a consumer buys a phone, it’s with certain expectations of doing better than the previous version. With the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, the battery life is no better and possibly worse. When 120Hz refresh is enabled, the phone only lasts about 7 hours.
This phone doesn’t come with a headphone jack, so you’ll need Bluetooth. Reviewers stated that the sound out of the speakers was identical to the previous Samsung Galaxy S21 series. Okay, but better with Bluetooth.
Specs at a Glance
- Plastic chassis
- 6.4-inch OLED
- Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G processor
- 6/8GB of RAM
- Android 12
- 128/256GB of storage
- 64MP camera
- 4500mAh battery
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE other than the timing. With the S22 series on the market, it would be difficult to find a reason to buy this one with a lower chipset for around the same price.
Tom’s Guide states, “The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE offers many of the same features found in the Galaxy S21, but at a slightly lower price. With the Galaxy S22 available, this phone is a hard sell.”
The Verge says, “The S21 FE arrives very late in the S21 family’s product cycle, taking some of the shine off of the “this year’s flagship for less” appeal. It also offers just about everything you get from the standard S21, except a couple fewer gigs of RAM, a lower-quality telephoto camera, and a slightly larger screen. But at $699 it’s also not significantly cheaper than the $799 S21. Considering that the S21 is often discounted and that the S22 is likely to arrive soon, the S21 FE doesn’t look like much of a deal.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Vigneshwar SR, Fone Arena
Samsung Galaxy S21 Fan Edition as a device gets most of the things right just like its predecessor. Unlike S20 FE, the price of the S21FE is a bit on the higher side, making it tough to recommend. Let’s wait for the price cut.
Impressive specifications on the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G (Snapdragon), such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chipset, a 4500 mAh battery and wireless charging, could not help the device overcome an overall poor performance. The autonomy is low, and the charging time is quite long, whether wired or...
Getting a Fan Edition Galaxy series is like getting a worthwhile upgrade. All the functions and hardwares are from those requested by you, as a Galaxy fan. If you want image stabilisation on your camera, just let them know. If you want a bigger battery, tell them. And from all the requests and submi...
- Esmond Xu, Techgoondu
The device handled tasks we threw at it with confidence, as one would expect of the tier-one components under the hood. Battery life is a little middling, though, likely because the battery capacity was the same as what was on the Galaxy S20 FE. I also found the lack of variance in refresh rates od...
- Neerav Bhatt, Ausdroid
The Samsung’s S21 FE 5G doesn’t have any particularly cool hardware features but like other Galaxy phones it should be reliable and have a low number of software bugs, which is one reason Samsung sell the most Android phones of any brand. I’d say the S21 FE 5G suits a phone buyer who has a grand to...
Prices (Where to Buy)
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Samsung's suggested retail price is $699.99. You can compare Galaxy S21 FE prices from around the web here on The Informr.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE user manual here.
Samsung backs up the Galaxy S21 FE with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Galaxy S21 FE has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Samsung support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Samsung's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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