The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE could be one of the best Android bargains of the year. 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.
Based on the rumors, the Galaxy S21 FE could pack a fast Snapdragon 888 chip and 120Hz display for a price that's even cheaper than last years's $699 model. You can also expect a sleek design with multiple color options.
It's possible that the Galaxy S21 FE could be delayed due to the global chip shortage, so pinning down a release date isn't easy. Here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, as well as a few things we want to see from the device.
Latest Samsung Galaxy S21 FE news (Updated June 13)
- A new report says that the Galaxy S21 FE production has been suspended, but Samsung has responded by saying no decision has been made.
- The Galaxy S21 FE is being tipped to launch at a cheaper price than the Galaxy S20 FE by media outlets in Korea.
- The Galaxy S21 FE leaked on Geekbench, revealing a Snapdragon 888 and 6GB of RAM.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE release date
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.
That may not be too far off from the truth. Leaker Ross Young claims that the S21 FE will enter production in July, with a possible release in August or September.
It's possible the Galaxy S21 FE could be delayed. A since deleted report from ETNews said that production of the phone had been suspended. Samsung responded by saying:
“While we cannot discuss details of the unreleased product, nothing has been determined regarding the alleged production suspension."
So at least for now, the S21 FE's release date is very much up in the air.
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.
Eight new renders from Evan Blass 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.
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, 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, though the single- and multicore scores were low.
We don't know about the rear camera yet, but 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.
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
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.