Given the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE’s long running on-again, off-again saga, you’d think that the rumored specs would be well and truly settled. That’s apparently not the case, as a WinFuture (opens in new tab) report highlights two small but potentially significant changes: one positive and one negative.
While the majority of the listed specs are what we can recite by heart at this point — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 6/8GB RAM and a 6.4-inch 1080p 120Hz screen — there are two surprises.
First, the positive. While a previous leak pointed to a 4,370mAh battery, WinFuture claims it’ll actually contain a 4,500mAh cell. Granted, the difference is less than you’d find in the battery of your average smartwatch, but every little helps.
The same earlier leak also suggested that a photographic upgrade was on the cards, with a triple-camera array comprising a 32MP main snapper, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor and an 8MP telephoto lens.
However, the WinFuture listing says that’s not the case, and the camera array will basically be unchanged from the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE — which is to say a triple array with a f/1.8 wide-angle 12MP main sensor, supported by a f/2.2 12MP lens and a f/2.4 optical telephoto 8MP camera.
Of course that doesn't necessarily mean the camera won't be improved over the S20 FE anyway — you only have to look at the Google Pixel 6 to see that upgraded software can also make a massive difference. With that in mind, we'd expect the Galaxy S21 FE to have better computational photography, better image quality and better camera features as part of One UI 4, even if the bare specs are unchanged.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE a tough sell?
That said, while the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE has a perfectly respectable camera, it would still be a little disappointing if the S21 FE didn't get the hardware upgrade we’d been expecting. But that’s likely the least of the phone’s problems.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is set to be announced and released in January, and anybody who follows these things knows that the Galaxy S22 is set to follow in short order, likely in February. It goes without saying that it will be the superior handset for those who care about having the latest and greatest, albeit at a premium price.
But the even bigger problem for Samsung is that, historically, its high-end handsets don’t really hold their value very well. At the time of writing you can buy a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S21 for around $550 (opens in new tab). The S21 FE is set to be an objectively weaker phone, yet will reportedly launch at $699. That’s a decent price, but hard to justify for those looking for the most bang for their buck. Although a new rumor suggests it might be more expensive.
Not everyone looks that deeply into the phones they buy, of course, so it may not matter. All the same, now squeezed between the discounted S21 and all-powerful S22, Samsung may end up regretting not just cancelling the whole thing once it became clear that the S21 FE couldn’t match the S20 FE’s October launch window. We shall hopefully find out next month — and in the meantime, here's our guide to the 5 biggest upgrades we expect to see on the Galaxy S21.