First smartphone of the year 2022, Samsung hits hard with the new Galaxy S21 FE. Here is our opinion on the new S21 from the Korean manufacturer and spoiler alert, we think a lot of it!
We will not hide it, if some had doubts when it was announced at the end of 2020, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE was and still is a success for the Korean manufacturer. Also, with the shortage of components, we thought that Samsung would ignore a potential successor and finally, it is at CES 2022 that Samsung formalized its new Galaxy S21 FE.
For those who have not followed everything or who might be wondering, FE stands for Fan Edition. Also, with this new smartphone Samsung is trying to offer newcomers, and with a more aggressive price, a Galaxy S21 with everything that could seduce the first consumers of S21 last year. In any case, we spent this last week with this new Galaxy S21 FE and yes, we liked it.
The characteristics of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
As a reminder of the characteristics, the new Samsung Galaxy S21 FE offer you :
|Galaxy S21 FE|
|Screen||– 6.4 inch Super AMOLED
– Flat screen in 20: 9 format
– Full HD + definition
– HDR10 +
– Gorilla Glass Victus
– Hallmark in the center
– 120Hz refresh rate
– 240Hz touch sampling rate
|Design||– Aluminum surround
– Plastic back with matte finish
|SoC and GPU||– Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 + Adreno 660 GPU|
|Memory||– 6GB or 8GB of RAM
– 128GB or 256GB of storage
|Camera||– 12 MP main sensor
– Aperture f / 1.8 and Optical Stabilization
– Dual Pixel autofocus
– 8 MP 3x telephoto sensor
– F / 2.4 aperture and Optical Stabilization
– 12 MP ultra wide-angle sensor
– FoV 123 ° and Aperture F / 2.2
– Automatic HDR photo
– Night Mode on 30 images
– Hybrid Optic Zoom 3x
– Space Zoom 30x (digital)
– UltraHD video capture at 60fps
– Single Shot Mode
– 32 MP front sensor
|Audio||– Stereo speaker
– Dolby Atmos
– No 3.5mm jack
|Drums||– 4500 mAh
– Super Fast Charging 25W
– USB-C port
– Fast Wireless Charging 15W
– Wireless Powershare
|Connectivity||– Ultrasonic fingerprint reader under the screen
– Bluetooth 5.0
– WiFi 6
– 2x nano-SIM
|Software||– Android 12
– One UI 4
|Height and weight||– 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm
|Price||– 759 € (128GB + 6GB)
– 256 € (256GB + 8GB)
|availability date||04 January 2022|
On the packaging side, we find the rectangular cardboard box with a USB-C cable and AKG in-ear headphones / hands-free kits as well as user manuals for a first start. Nothing very original in itself.
The biggest difference this year with its predecessor is the disappearance of the MicroSD port, which some may blame the Korean manufacturer. Now, with 128GB or 256GB memory, that’s more than enough on its own. Note that this year, there are no more 4G versions. Also, the price is 759 euros for the 128GB version and 829 euros for the 256GB version.
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Base price: 759 €
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Because it is a Galaxy S21 above all, we obviously find a design inspired by the series. But this year, the S21 FE is found to be more compact than its predecessor. If the difference in size remains minimal, we appreciate this new size mainly due to a slightly smaller screen but also thinner screen edges which give a more upscale general impression. Suddenly, the grip is better this year while it remains a great smartphone in itself.
The back is still plastic with a so-called “soft touch” finish and we can tell you that it is very pleasant in everyday life. The photo block is integrated on the back and allows a very specific rendering in terms of the general design. In addition to a more compact size, we will also note a lighter weight, which is clearly not to displease us. Of course, if the overall finish of the Galaxy S21 FE does not compete with the other Galaxy S21s, it remains high-end and you get what you pay for.
We liked the colors of last year and we find it unfortunate that Samsung has calmed down somewhat this year while the smartphone is still intended for a young and trendy audience. After that, nothing will prevent the user from acquiring a case with the desired colors. On the front side of the smartphone, if the screen is smaller, it will be noted that the punch no longer offers the small silver circle present on the S20 FE.
Finally, as we can imagine, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE offers an optical type fingerprint sensor under the screen. If we have not noted any particular concerns with use, we would have liked Samsung to place it higher. On the S21 FE, it is found particularly low. With the volume buttons, the power on and / or standby button is found on the right edge, which leaves the left edge of the smartphone completely blank.
Screen and Audio
Unsurprisingly, we find everything that has always made the success of the screens of Galaxy S smartphones. Also, the Galaxy S21 FE is equipped with an Infinity-O AMOLED screen with Full HD + definition. No Quad HD + like its big brothers, but do we really need it on a daily basis? If this is not the best screen of the Korean manufacturer, the screen of the S21 FE is nonetheless excellent. The blacks are deep and the colors are obvious. Once again, the colorimetry is under control, the viewing angles are good and we had no problem with visibility in direct sunlight.
In addition to all this, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE offers a screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz. For those who have not followed everything, the main interest of a 120Hz screen is the overall fluidity of the display and as we spend our days scrolling through pages or timelines, the interest is seen quite quickly on web pages, Twitter or Instagram. Afterwards, to be honest, this is not an obligation either and going back to smartphones with “simple” 60Hz screens is not really a problem. But it is a significant comfort and once you have tasted it, it is difficult to go back.
Samsung offers stereo speakers and with Dolby Atmos support. Obviously, we are talking about loudspeakers and the uses that result from them. Still, the speakers are pretty standard in themselves and that’s enough for small content. Finally, as expected, the Galaxy S21 FE does not offer a 3.5mm jack port. Note that the S21 FE comes with good quality AKG headphones.
Android, One UI, Performance and Autonomy
Android side, no surprise in itself, we obviously find the OneUI 4 overlay that we always find pleasant and super complete. The version of Android is obviously 12. The contribution of 120Hz is always a significant plus on a daily basis. Overall, the experience is quite similar to Android Stock with a few small feature additions and still a few third-party publisher apps. In any case, we are on familiar ground and there are not really real revolutions insofar as all manufacturers now offer an experience close to Android Stock. Note that we are always entitled to DeX which can work as well on its own as on a PC or a Mac.
On the performance side, the Galaxy S21 FE offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC. It is currently one of the best SoCs for an Android smartphone if it is not the best while waiting for its successor, it is a racehorse. Obviously, we tried all the recent and greedy games like Genshin Impact, Call of Duty Mobile, LOL Wild Rift, Rocket League SideSwipe or even Dead Cell (in 120Hz) and there is not much to say if not. is that it was fluid. Here are some benchmarks with fairly standard results in themselves.
The Galaxy S21 FE, like its predecessor, offers a 4500mAh battery, which is in itself a minimum given the size of the screen, the screen refresh rate or the onboard Snapdragon SoC. After the first few days, the S21 FE has settled into our habits, which allows me to very easily last a whole day. In our uses, the smartphone offered between 5h and 6h of screen per day with an end of the day around 35% -40%. It’s clearly not the best in the business, but the Galaxy S21 FE provides the essentials. There is fast charging as well as wireless charging. For fast charging, you can recharge your smartphone from 0 to 100% in just over an hour.
Photo and Video
Because it’s a Galaxy S all the same, the photo part of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE obviously remains one of its strengths. So yes, we do not reach the new features offered by its big brothers, especially the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but we still find, to put it simply, a quality that is quite sufficient for a large majority of us. The Galaxy S21 FE’s photo unit is similar to the Galaxy S21 / S21 + with the famous photo unit made up of three cameras, a main wide-angle, an ultra-wide-angle and a telephoto.
Regarding the photos themselves, we will not lie to each other, Samsung continues to offer quite contrasted photos but it must be said that the Galaxy S21 FE is doing quite well with results very similar to what the brand offers with its Galaxy S21 . The colors are still quite a bit warmer than normal, and we will again note this tendency at Samsung to slightly underexpose the photos, which causes some detail to be lost in the dark areas. But in reality and in good light conditions, there is no need to worry, the photos are good. We find an ultra wide-angle rather powerful and consistent with the main camera. This year, Samsung has made some efforts on the telephoto and more particularly its rendering more clear, which compensates for the lack of sharpness of the lens.
In low light conditions, Samsung’s Night mode does well with photos that are inherently more natural than some competitors and to our surprise, we did not use the Night mode so much since the basic capture was sufficient. more often.
Better than words, concrete examples:
On the front, the Galaxy S21 FE offers a 32 Megapixel sensor. If we have not noted any major flaws, Samsung still has this tendency to smooth and somewhat “interpret” the clichés. While this may please fans of beauty selfies, those looking for more realistic results will be disappointed.
Regarding the video, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE takes up what the other premium smartphones of the Korean manufacturer offer, and therefore, is doing well. The stabilization is effective and there is an action-cam mode with stabilization quite close to GoPro’s HyperSmooth technology. The videos are rich in detail and offer good dynamics, we just regret a very strong cropping on the video which causes the video focal length to be lost.
Galaxy S21 FE at the best price
Base price: 759 €
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