Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Galaxy S21 FE officially joins Samsung’s crowded midrange lineup

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After a yr of will-they-or-won’t-they hypothesis, Samsung has, eventually, introduced the Galaxy S21 FE. Like the 2020 Galaxy S20 FE (the FE stands for Fan Edition), this system options a lot of the flagship-level specs of the Galaxy S21, together with a Snapdragon 888 chipset and 120Hz show, at a lower cost: $699 for the 128GB base mannequin. With the S21’s practically midrange price ticket and a compelling upper-midrange possibility within the Galaxy A52 5G, it’s yet one more addition to an already crowded spot in Samsung’s lineup.

The Galaxy S21 FE affords a 6.4-inch show, barely bigger than the S21’s 6.2-inch panel. Outside of that measurement distinction, the S21 FE has an entire lot in frequent with the S21. Its display is a 1080p OLED panel with 120Hz just like the S21’s. Even the design language is constant, with the digital camera bump mixing into the telephone’s aspect rails.

The digital camera bump is matte plastic reasonably than metallic just like the S21’s.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

The FE features a flagship-worthy 5nm chipset (Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 within the US, Samsung’s personal Exynos elsewhere) and a 12-megapixel f/1.8 predominant digital camera with optical stabilization, similar because the S21. It even does one higher on battery capability, with a 4,500mAh cell in comparison with the S21’s 4,000mAh (although its barely greater display probably evens out battery efficiency). Fast 25W wired charging, 15W wi-fi charging, an IP68 weather-resistance ranking, and each flavors of 5G (sub6-GHz and speedy mmWave) are all carried over from the S21.

So what does paying extra for the S21 get you? More RAM — 8GB within the base configuration versus the S21 FE’s 6GB — and a higher-res telephoto digital camera. Aside from the beforehand famous display and battery measurement variations, that’s about it. The Galaxy S21 FE will promote for $699 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or $769 for 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It ships with Samsung’s Android 12-based One UI 4.0 put in.

I’ve had the S21 FE in my arms for a couple of days, and it feels to me like a tool that rides the ever-muddled line between a flagship and a midrange telephone. The again is composite plastic with a matte end, which feels midrangey to me, however the display is large and vibrant with all of the buttery smoothness of its 120Hz refresh fee — flagship territory for certain. Overall efficiency feels flagship-worthy, too, excluding slightly lag within the digital camera’s portrait mode stay preview. Oh, and there’s no charger within the field, which is a flagship factor now, too.

The S21 FE ships with Android 12.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

Samsung launched the S20 FE final yr as a lower-cost, full-featured different to the S20. Also priced at $699, there was a much bigger hole between it and the $999 base mannequin S20, which made it a heck of a deal. Things are slightly completely different this time round, with the S21 coming down in worth to $799. There’s additionally the Galaxy A52 5G, one among Samsung’s higher-end finances telephones for $499. And don’t overlook that Samsung lowered the worth of admission for its foldables — with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 priced at $999, it’s a part of the dialog, too.

The S21 FE contains a gently curved metallic rail.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

It’s greater than slightly complicated, but it surely’s not a brand new technique for Samsung. As Dieter famous in his overview of the S20 lineup, Samsung takes this “a phone at every price point” strategy as a result of it could actually. It additionally occurs to be actually good at mixing and matching options for various worth factors, and a strong assist coverage backing most units makes its finances and midrange telephones powerful to beat. With the S21 FE, Samsung is taking yet one more lower right into a market that it’s fortunately slicing thinner and thinner.

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