The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will enter a very different market than its predecessor did last year. The Galaxy S20 FE was and is a great phone that delivered the majority of the $999 and up Galaxy S20 lineup experience for just $699.
With Samsung dropping the starting price of the Galaxy S21 lineup to $799, the equation for the Galaxy S21 FE changes considerably. And while we know quite a bit about the Galaxy S21 FE already, some questions remain that could tip the scales on whether this will be another stellar value from Samsung.
It's easy to understand why Samsung's new foldables and wearables that may challenge the best on the market are overshadowing the Galaxy S21 FE. Still, it has the potential to outsell them all.
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Here's a look at everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, including the expected release date, pricing, design, specs and more.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE release date
The Galaxy S21 FE will most likely be among the slew of devices released at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event now expected for August 11. It was previously thought that a separate "Unpacked FE" event may be coming. However, a new leak from Evan Blass (@evleaks) indicates that the phone will launch alongside the rest.
If true, this will be a packed decent with the Galaxy S21 FE joining the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3, Galaxy Watch 4, and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. The Galaxy S21 FE should hopefully balance out the average pricing of the phones being announced. But it will be interesting to see how Samsung splits up the stage time among these devices.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE price
While there is of course nothing official yet, the expectation is that we see a price drop for the Galaxy S21 FE compared to last year's Galaxy S20 FE. That phone was $699 at launch, but frequently could be found for $599 or below within weeks. Coupled with the downward pressure from the $799 Galaxy S21, which itself is often $699 now, it's a safe bet that the Galaxy S21 FE comes in at $599.
SamMobile surfaced a number of reports from Korean media outlets suggesting exactly this, with a price reduction ranging from 99,900 to 199,900 won, which equates to $90-$190. The lower end of that range seems more likely as Samsung's own Galaxy A52 is available in the U.S. for $499 and it will want to leave a price gap between them.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE design
According to multiple leaked images, the Galaxy S21 FE will inherit many of the design elements from the Galaxy S21, but with a few notable cost-saving changes. The distinctive contour cut camera housing from the Galaxy S21 does make its way to the more affordable phone. However, rather than being an extension of the metal frame, it is part of the plastic back of the phone. While it is less visually striking as it lacks the two-tone finish, it maintains Samsung's distinctive new look.
Alleged official Samsung marketing materials posted by Android Headlines show that the housing is much smaller than the other Galaxy S21 models. The housing still features a triple camera array, and the flash moves outside of the housing just as it did on the Galaxy S21. The front-facing camera is still a centered hole-punch design.
The phone will match the thickness of the Galaxy S21 but will be 4mm taller and 3.3mm wider than the Galaxy S21. The larger size is attributable to the 6.4-inch display of the Galaxy S21 FE versus the 6.2-inch display on the Galaxy S21.
pic.twitter.com/ovz5bzR8meJuly 10, 2021
While the Galaxy S21 FE will get a reasonably wide array of color options, it appears they will be more subdued than the Galaxy S20 FE. The options include navy blue, white, black, lavender, and olive green. The red Galaxy S20 FE in particular was a bold choice that isn't coming back along with the orange, those are swapped for the very staid black option.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE specs
The core specs for the Galaxy S21 FE were revealed by Geekbench results spotted by 91Mobiles in May. As expected, the phone should feature a Snapdragon 888 processor, maintaining its position as an affordable flagship. It gets a slight downgrade on RAM to 6GB versus the 8GB in the Galaxy S21.
Another leak from GalaxyClub that the Galaxy S21 FE would once again feature the excellent 32MP front-facing camera from the Galaxy S20 FE. The trio of rear cameras remains unidentified, but should presumably give you the same versatile wide-angle, ultra-wide, and telephoto coverage.
Reports on the display suggest that it will be a 6.4-inch, Super AMOLED Infinity-O display with FHD+ resolution and an in-display fingerprint reader. Except for the size that all matches the Galaxy S21, it would be a surprise to see Samsung break from this.
MyFixGuide claimed to have uncovered some specs from a Chinese regulatory agency, including 25W fast charging, while another report from GalaxyClub pegged the battery size for the Galaxy S21FE at 4,370mAh. This could end up as 4,500mAh in the marketing, and either way would be an upgrade from the Galaxy S21's 4,000mAh.
One unique feature the Galaxy S21 FE could have over the standard Galaxy S21 is the inclusion of a microSD slot, a welcome advantage for last year's Galaxy S20 FE as well.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE outlook
Much like the rest of the devices that we are expecting at Galaxy Unpacked on August 11, we know virtually everything there is to know about the Galaxy S21 FE already, and it's looking like another fantastic affordable flagship so far.
The biggest outstanding question is on the rear cameras. Given the housing size, I expect it to feature a trio of 12MP sensors like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or a pair of 12MP for the wide-angle and ultra-wide with an 8MP telephoto. Given Samsung's improved computational photography and the AI-photography enhancements in the Snapdragon 888, that should be enough to make this a formidable camera in its price range again.
The price is the other massive difference-maker for the Galaxy S21 FE that current rumors leave unclear. Given what we know about the hardware, this would be a stellar value if it hits that $599 starting price. The Galaxy S20 FE was one of the best smartphones of the last year and one of my prime motivations for writing that you don't need to spend $1,000 on a flagship phone; let's hope Samsung can keep that going with the Galaxy S21 FE.