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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE release date, price, specs and leaks

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE could follow in the S20 FE's footsteps
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE would be the logical next step for the Galaxy S21 series, now that the dust is settling after its release. A more affordable "Fan Edition" could take the best bits of the Galaxy S21 range and put them in a model that straddles the line between mid-range phone and flagship handset. 

The Galaxy S20 FE launched as a cheaper alternative to the Galaxy S20 in 2020, and was a great success, so we'd not be surprised to see Samsung continue with the FE approach this year.  

Adding fuel to the fire, trusted leaker Max Weinbach tweeted in November that an S21 FE was in the works and due for a release in 2021. So it seems likely that an S21 Fan Edition handset is in production. 

Currently, information is thin on the ground. But for now, here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, as well as a few things we want to see from the device.  

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE release date 

Samsung hasn’t made a regular habit of releasing a FE follow-up model to its flagship Galaxy phones. So unfortunately we don’t have years of historical data to draw from when making an educated guess as to when the Galaxy S21 FE will launch. 

However, SamMobile reported that the company is planning to release a new one each year. As such, we can be fairly confident that Samsung plans to replicate the strategy it employed with the Galaxy S20 line. 

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE launched on Oct. 2 last year. The Galaxy S21 FE will likely follow the same release schedule (Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy S20 FE was unveiled on September 23, 2020, and then launched just over a week later on October 2. Assuming the release schedule is roughly the same, we can expect to see the S21 FE in early fall.

However, there is a wrinkle — the Galaxy S21 launched earlier than usual. Typically Samsung flagships launch a few months into the year. Both the Galaxy S10 and S20 launched in March, but Samsung released the S21 in mid-January. This could have a knock-on effect on the release date of the S21 FE, with its launch also being bumped up a couple of months into late summer.

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.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE specs

The Galaxy S21 FE's specs remain a mystery. But looking back at the S20 FE compared to the S20, the S21 FE is likely to only be a modest downgrade on the S21 — with a price tag to match.

Thanks again to SamMobile, we know Samsung is currently plugging away on a Galaxy device bearing the model designation SM-G990B, internet speculation has pegged this as the Galaxy S21 FE. 

Assuming this model number is the S21 FE, then we know it’ll 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, grey/silver, pink, and violet. 

Of course, it could also improve on the S21 in some areas. The S20 FE had a bigger battery than the standard S20 despite it being the entry point of the range. So hopefully, the S21 FE will add in some features we felt the S21 was lacking a little.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: What we want to see 

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE colors

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE made a few subtle improvements over the Galaxy S20, we hope the Galaxy S21 FE follows suit.  (Image credit: Samsung)

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.