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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE tipped to launch alongside Galaxy S22

smasung galaxy s21 fe specs
(Image credit: Evan Blass)

When it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, it's tricky to tell if and when the rumored phones is coming, with the latest rumor noting the budget take on the Galaxy S21 will launch alongside the rumored Samsung Galaxy S22

That's going by a now-deleted tweet from often reliable tipster Ice Universe who claimed that the Galaxy S21 FE could launch in either December or January, outside of the launch window established last year. However a different leak from SamMobile tells a similar but different story: that the Galaxy S21 FE will arrive in January, with the Galaxy S22 coming afterwards at a separate event.

"Galaxy S21 F£ will be released together with the S22 series, at the end of December or January," Ice Universe tweeted. 

The fate of the Galaxy S21 FE has been up for debate for some time. There have been multiple rumors of cancelation and delays, with the ongoing global chip shortage and Samsung's burgeoning foldable phone portfolio both named as potential reasons. While the two leaks disagree as to when the new FE (short for "Fan Edition) will make its debut, they both agree it's still coming.

We have been hoping that Samsung would continue the good idea it started with the Galaxy S20 FE. The budget take on the Galaxy S20 made a lot of sense given how expensive the basic Galaxy S20 was, while the generous amount of features made it a great value purchase. However with the Galaxy S21 series starting at a lower price, the S21 FE needs to find a new way to justify its existence, as we've argued before.

But beyond that, let's consider that release date. We're expecting the Galaxy S22 to arrive next January, since that's when the Galaxy S21 series was launched this year, although there have been previous rumors of Samsung bringing up the launch to December, perhaps in reaction to the iPhone 13 and the upcoming Google Pixel 6

Separating both phones like SamMobile suggests would let them have some space in the limelight, although at the expense of holding one of Samsung's biggest 2022 phone releases back from the market. Doing them as one event, possibly as early as December, would mean they go on sale earlier to better compete with other new devices, although the Galaxy S21 FE would no doubt be sidelined in favor of the Galaxy S22 during Samsung's presentation.

The Galaxy S21 FE is rumored to use the same Snapdragon 888 chipset as the Galaxy S21, but with less RAM, reflecting its status as a cheaper, less powerful phone. The design should look similar, although from unofficial renders it appears the phone will offer a fresh batch of colors, and won't offer any two-tone options to highlight the rear camera, as the Galaxy S21 does.

Other rumors have claimed that the Galaxy S21 FE should have a 32MP selfie camera, which is notably higher resolution than the 10MP camera in the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus. The battery is said to be a 4,370 mAh model, which is larger than the Galaxy S21's cell, but smaller than the Galaxy S21 Plus'. In terms of overall size, we're anticipating the Galaxy S21 FE to measure 6.4 inches, which again puts it between the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus.

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. He's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.