Samsung Galaxy S21 FE just popped up again — what's keeping this new phone?

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE light violet
(Image credit: Future)

For a phone that's not yet been announced, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE keeps popping up in places. And usually, it's Samsung doing the leaking.

The latest installment in the "Where in the World is the Galaxy S21 FE" was spotted by Sammobile, which found a promo offer on the Samsung France website. In that promo, Samsung promises four months of YouTube Premium when you buy an eligible device.

Listed devices include the Galaxy S21 models, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 — all of which have been announced — as well as the S21 FE — which most certainly has not been.

We paid a visit to the Samsung France website ourselves, and as of Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 24), the YouTube Premium offer continued to include the unannounced Galaxy S21 FE.

Galaxy S21 FE ad

(Image credit: Samsung)

This is actually the latest in a series of appearances by the Galaxy S21 FE, suggesting that the lower-cost version of this year's Galaxy S21 flagship phones is nearing a launch. Two weeks ago, a back-to-school promo published by Samsung included a phone that doesn't appear to be part of Samsung's current lineup. That fueled speculation that Samsung was teasing the existence of the S21 FE.

We have additional evidence that the rumored phone is about to arrive. It's shown up in Bluetooth SIG certification listings and leaker Evan Blass posted renders of the phone over the weekend.

At one point, the Galaxy S21 FE was expected to appear at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event earlier this month. Instead, Samsung opted to focus on its new foldable phones as well as the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Buds 2.

There was likely another reason for the Galaxy S21 FE's omission from that event, though. Back in June, reports surfaced that the S21 FE was in limbo due to chip shortage that's plagued most of the consumer electronics industry this past year. Speculation suggests Samsung pushed back the S21 FE launch to buy more time — and to possibly use Samsung's own Exynos processors instead of relying on Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips.

What processor will power the Galaxy S21 FE is one of the few mysteries surrounding the phone, as leaks have filled in other potential details. Like last year's Galaxy S20 FE, the S21 FE sounds like it will adopt many of the capabilities found in the S21 flagship phones, with some features cut to lower the price by $100 to $200 from the $799 Galaxy S21

The Galaxy S21 FE is rumored to be coming in different colors than the rest of the S21 lineup, and it's likely to keep the 120Hz refresh rate on its display.

Rumors now point to the Galaxy S21 FE arriving some time in the fall, and it certainly makes sense that Samsung would want to have a more affordable version of its flagship phone on the market. The Galaxy S20 FE proved to be a popular model, and Samsung's new batch of foldable phones — while less expensive than before — still start at $999 for the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

We shouldn't have to wait very long to see if there's any fire to the ongoing smoke surrounding the Galaxy S21 FE online. We'll keep an eye peeled for any additional hints as to a possible release date.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.