The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is an exciting potential option for anyone who wants some flagship-worthy features on their phone, but doesn't fancy paying the extra required for a Samsung Galaxy S21.
Like last years Samsung Galaxy 20 FE, the next "Fan Edition" phone is likely to have a less premium take on the Galaxy S21's design and have a slightly less powerful camera array. But it could still sport powerful components such as the Snapdragon 888 chip and 120Hz display for a price that's potentially cheaper than last years' $699 FE model.
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As we get closer to the rumored launch, here's what we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE latest news (Updated September 27
- A report from Korean site Digital Daily claims that the Galaxy S21 FE has been cancelled, because Samsung can't source enough components to produce it and the Galaxy Z Flip 3
- October 29 could be the day we see the Galaxy S21 FE appear, according to leaker Jon Prosser.
- Production for the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is tipped to start in September, which would make a launch date in the same month seem unlikely.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE release date
According to the latest rumors the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will enter production in September, and then debut at the end of the following month on October 29. This throws a bit of cold water on the rumor that the phone will launch as soon as September 8, as production for the Galaxy S21 FE would have started much earlier if that was the case.
An image of what could be the Galaxy S21 momentarily popped up on Samsung's own Instagram. It has since been taken down, but it hinted that the Galaxy S21 FE is likely coming sooner than later.
Unfortunately there has been a report from Korea's Digital Daily, citing an unnamed Samsung executive who claims that the Galaxy S21 FE has been cancelled. Apparently Samsung had planned a mid-October Unpacked event for the phone, but the ongoing global chip shortage meant they had to choose between it and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. Samsung didn't confirm or deny the speculation, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE price
While the S20 FE was positioned as a less expensive version of the Galaxy S20 in that lineup, it was by no means a cheap device. It launched with two varieties, a 4G and 5G model. The 5G Galaxy S20 FE cost $699 / £699 / AU$1,149, whereas Samsung priced the 4G model, which skipped out on a US release, at £599 / AU$999.
However, due to the fact that the S21 launched at a lower initial price point than the S20, we’d expect to see the S21 FE pitched at a comparatively smaller price in order to keep the continuity of the range. This theory has been backed up by reports from Korea suggesting the S21 FE will launch at around $100 cheaper than its predecessor.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE design rumors
According to OnLeaks, the S21 FE will look much the same as the Galaxy S21 — the same central pinhole selfie camera, and traffic light-style triple camera array — but the camera bump will be part of the phone's shell, rather than an extension of the phone's metal frame, as it is on the S21.
In addition, it looks like the S21 FE will be 4mm taller and 3.3mm wider than the S21, though the same thickness. This translates into a larger screen: 6.4 inches, compared to the S21’s 6.2-inch display.
Renders from Evan Blass, which he later followed up with 360-degree GIFs, also give us a look at the phone's potential design, including its color options. If accurate, these renders suggest the phone will be available in black, white, lavender and olive green versions.
A different leak from Android Headlines showed off marketing materials that appeared to come directly from Samsung.
Based on that Galaxy S21 FE leaked image, we can get a better sense of the colors Samsung is planning for this phone. That image shows off four colors — violet, light green, gray and white. Three of those options — everything but the light green — were Galaxy S21 colors as well.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE specs
The Galaxy S21 FE is tipped to feature a Snapdragon 888 chip in the U.S., and there could also be an international version with an Exynos chip, according to a Geekbench listing.
Specs found in the Google Play store have backed up the expectation that the S21 FE will use a Snapdragon 888, but with 6GB RAM instead of the 8GB, 12GB or 16GB found on the other S21 models. It also tells us the phone will have an FHD display.
It seem therefore that the S21 FE will be 5G-ready, run Android 11, and come with a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage. The phone is also tipped be available in multiple colors: white, gray/silver, pink, light green and violet. Ross Young says that there will be six colors: Navy, Lavender, Mint, Red, White and Orange. Recent Geekbench results point to a Snapdragon 888 and 6GB of RAM.
The front camera is set to pack in a 32MP sensor. That's the same resolution as the Galaxy S20 FE, and significantly higher than the 10MP front camera on the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus.
Based on regulatory filings in China, a listing for a phone thought to be the S21 FE indicates support for 25W charging.
Information found within the listings of Chinese regulator TENAA has apparently confirmed many of these previous leaks, if the SM-G990B device is indeed the S21 FE. It also claims that the rear cameras on the S21 FE will comprise of a 32MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide and an 8MP telephoto. However, it contradicts previous rumors with regards to the selfie camera, which it says will use a 12MP sensor.
The final important detail from TENAA is the battery capacity of the S21 FE: apparently 4,370 mAh. That's more capacity than the 4,000 mAh battery in the Galaxy S21, but quite a ways behind the 4,800 mAh battery in the Galaxy S21 Plus.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: What we want to see
No more plastic: While the Galaxy S20 FE's plastic back was far from bad, we'd have rather a glass or metal rear for the phone; after all other handsets in the same price range like the Google Pixel 5 manage that. This is one area we don’t expect the S21 FE to fix, but we can dream.
Better cooling: The Galaxy S21 range runs hot — potentially too hot. Some users are already complaining that their handset gets uncomfortably warm, especially when playing graphically intensive games. We’d love the S21 FE to keep things a little more chilled.
Faster charging: Samsung originally offered a 45W charger option on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but walked that back on the S21 range, which maxes out at 25W. A recent leak points to Samsung producing a 65W charger and we’d love the S21 FE to be the first device to support the accessory, even if you have to buy it separately.
More battery life: We might not need faster charging if the Galaxy S21 FE can improve on the Galaxy S21’s somewhat underwhelming battery. In our battery test, the standard S21 lasted for 9 hours 53 minutes, dropping to just 6 hours 31 minutes with the adaptive refresh rate enabled. The S20 FE improved on its predecessor’s battery, we hope the S21 FE does the same.
No 4G only model: It’s 2021 it’s time to ditch 4G-only devices in this category. The Galaxy S20 FE 4G model didn’t release at all in the U.S., and we expect that the Galaxy S21 FE will probably take that a step further and nix a 4G model completely. We know from the leaks that the phone is going to be 5G-ready, so this doesn’t seem like an especially outlandish request.