This story is part of , where CNET covers the latest news on the most incredible tech coming soon.
Samsung’s newis kicking off with a sequel to 2020’s popular . The S21 FE will start at $700 (£699 or approximately AU$1,300) for the base model, which has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, then step up to $770 for the 8GB/256GB variant. International prices weren’t available for the step-up model, but $770 converts to about £570 or AU$1,070. For reference, last year’s 5G version of the Galaxy S20 FE was also priced at $700 (£699, AU$1,149).
The S21 FE is designed to be an affordable alternative to the $800 S21 series, which Samsung says will gradually get phased out this year, as it makes way for the S22 lineup. It’s a similar position as 2020’s Galaxy S20 FE, which also offered a lower $700 price compared to the $999 Galaxy S20 while retaining many of its features.
The phone, which looks nearly identical to the Galaxy S21, has a crisp 6.4-inch AMOLED screen, a powerful Snapdragon 888 processor and a triple-camera module on the rear, which boasts a telephoto lens to zoom in on faraway subjects. Compared to last year’s popular S20 FE, Samsung hasn’t made many changes to the S21 FE, at least based on the specs. There’s no bundled charger, again. And battery size as well as charging speed support haven’t changed.
There are a few differences to keep in mind. One hard-to-miss one is the elimination of the microSD slot for expandable storage, but this doesn’t come as a surprise. Samsung has routinely nixed the expandable storage feature, doing so in 2020 with the Z Flip foldable phones since it says “usage has markedly decreased.”and
The S21 FE is also slightly lighter than the S20 FE: The new phone is specced to weigh 177 grams, which comes in at 13 grams less than its predecessor. It’s hard to tell without actually using the phone day-to-day whether you’ll notice any meaningful difference, but we’ll be sure to update that when we get to review the phone.
For more details on the differences between the S21 FE and the S20 FE, you can also have a look at our specs chart below for a side-by-side comparison.
Galaxy S21 FE vs. S20 FE
|Samsung Galaxy S21 FE||Samsung Galaxy S20 FE|
|Display size, resolution||6.4-inch AMOLED screen; Full HD Plus resolution (2,340×1,080 pixels); 120 Hz||6.5-inch super AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||177g||190g|
|Mobile software||Android 12||Android 10|
|Camera||12-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 8-megapixel (telephoto)||12-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto)|
|Processor||Snapdragon 888 (in the US)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G)|
|Battery/Charger||4,500 mAh (No bundled charger)||4,500 mAh (No bundled charger)|
|Special features||5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave), 120 Hz display, IP68 rating, 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging||5G, 120Hz screen refresh rate, support for 25W fast charging and 15W fast wireless charging, IP 68 rating|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$700 (128GB/6GB); $770 (256GB/8GB)||$699|
|Price (GBP)||£699 (128GB/6GB), likely £770 (256GB/8GB)||£599 (4G), £699 (5G)|
|Price (AUD)||UK price converts to AU$1,300 (128GB/6GB)||AU$1,020|
This 2020 model takes the main features of the Galaxy S20 line and pus them in a more affordable model.
New for 2022, the S21 FE, which starts at $700 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of nonexpandable internal storage, is designed to be an affordable alternative to the $800 S21 series, which Samsung says will gradually get phased out this year. The $770 step-up model will offer 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.