Forget Samsung Galaxy S21: A cheaper Galaxy S21 FE just leaked

Galaxy S21
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is a fantastic phone, but it is a little pricey. Even though it costs $200 less than the Galaxy S20, $799 is still a lot of money these days. But it sounds like there’s good news on the horizon.

According to sources speaking to SamMobile, there’s a new Samsung phone on the way sporting the model number SM-G990B. Apparently, this could be the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, the low-cost alternative to the regular S21. 

While it’s not certain that this is the S21 FE, the fact that the regular S21’s model number is SM-G991B suggests that this new device is in the S21 range and somewhere below the current model.

SamMobile points out that similar model numbers have applied to LTE versions of Galaxy flagships in the past. But that doesn’t seem to be the case this time. We have already heard rumors about an LTE-only Galaxy S21 that could be available outside the U.S., but that phone was SM-G990F. 

That single character difference could be the indicator of a big change, but it means that this model probably isn’t just a Galaxy S21 without the 5G antenna. Plus, after Samsung’s success with the Galaxy S20 FE, it seems like making a cheaper version of its latest flagship would be a no-brainer.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: What to expect

Unfortunately, this leak doesn’t reveal a whole lot of information about the potential Galaxy S21 FE. SamMobile says that it will feature 5G, 128GB and 256GB storage variants, Android 11, and will be available in gray, pink, violet and white.

In terms of pricing, the Galaxy S20 FE costs $699, which is $100 less than the Galaxy S21. But we've also seen it on sale for $599. We would expect the Galaxy S21 FE to cost $699 at the most.

If it follows the example of last year’s Galaxy S20 FE, we can also expect the S21 FE to have most of the same flagship features as the standard Galaxy S21. But Samsung would need to cut corners somewhere. 

The Galaxy S21 already has many of the same “downgrades” Samsung featured in the S20 FE, including the plastic back and lower screen resolution. Samsung could make other trade-offs, such as the processor, RAM or less powerful cameras. 

But right now we can only speculate. Considering we’re not likely to see the S21 FE until the second half of the year, we’re just going to have to be patient and see what Samsung has planned.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.