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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G First Impressions

We recently received the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE for review. These are our thoughts and first impressions of the new smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G First Impressions
In the Olive colorway

After months of speculation, Samsung has finally officially launched the Galaxy S21 Fan Edition 5G. It has a large 6.4-inch 2.5D curved Dynamic AMOLED 2X with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 240Hz touch Sampling rate, and 2400 x 1080 resolution. 

It features the 5nm Exynos 2100 5G octa-core processor, Mali-G78 MP14 GPU, 8GB RAM, 128GB/256GB of storage, and a 4,500mAh battery with 25W Fast Charging via USB-C and 15W wireless charging.

At the back is a 12MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide camera, and an 8MP telephoto camera while in front is a 32MP selfie camera.

In the Philippines, the Galaxy S21 FE 5G starts at PHP 38,990 for the 8GB/128GB model.

Is it worth it? Let's dive in!

Disclaimer: Samsung Philippines sent the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G unit only without the box and box inclusions.

Build Quality/Design

Rear polycarbonate back
Rear polycarbonate back

At first glance, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G looks a lot like the standard S21 5G but with key differences. The back panel is made of polycarbonate while the frame has a less pronounced matte finish.

Over PHP 30K phone with a plastic body

Even though the back panel is no longer glass, the polycarbonate back is still slippery. We recommend wearing a case right away to avoid slipping.
120Hz Dynamic AMOLED display
120Hz Dynamic AMOLED display

Samsung hasn't mentioned of it has any sort of glass protection though. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

IP68 rating for water and dust resistance

One good thing about this device is Samsung included the IP68 water and dust resistance which should make your phone survive quick drops on water and prevent dust from entering it.
SIM tray with rubber gasket

Our only gripe is its use of plastic materials (even if it feels quite good in the hands). Higher-end materials like glass should be a standard on smartphones with over PHP 30K price tag.

As mentioned earlier, it is similar to the standard S21 5G in terms of design. But, it comes in new colorways called Olive, Lavender, White, and Graphite.

In front, it is using the aforementioned 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 240Hz touch sampling rate, and a 2400 x 1080 resolution. Around the panel are slim bezels. Although the chin bezel is slightly thicker than the top and side bezels.

On the upper side of the display is the punch hole that houses the 32MP f/2.2 81-degree wide selfie camera.
Top and bottom
Top and bottom

On top are an antenna line and a microphone port while at the bottom are more antenna lines, USB-C port, speaker grill, and SIM tray.

The aforementioned SIM tray can carry up to two nano-SIM cards. The SIM tray also has rubber gaskets that confirm the water resistance feature.
Left and right side
Left and right side

On the left side, you will see a smooth surface and antenna lines while on the right side is the volume rocker and the power button.

In comparison the S21 FE 5G features a larger 4,500mAh battery and a weight of 177 grams compared to the S21 5G's 4,000mAh battery and 171 grams.

To be exact, the Galaxy S21 FE 5G measures 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm. This is a reasonably handy size for a device with a 6.4-inch screen size.
Rear cameras
Rear cameras

For cameras, it uses a 12MP f/1.8 main camera, 12MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra-wide-angle camera, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto camera with an LED flash.

We will try this setup and update you guys if it is any good.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G Specs

Display: 6.4-inch 2.5D curved Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen w/ 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 411 ppi
CPU: 2.9GHz 5nm EUV Exynos 2100 5G octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G78 MP14
ROM: 128GB/256GB
Back Camera: 12MP f/1.8 w/ Dual Pixel AF, OIS + 12MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra-wide-angle camera + 8MP f/2.4 telephoto camera + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 32MP f/2.2 81-degree wide
Battery: 4,500mAh w/ 25W SuperFast charging + 15W wireless charging + reverse wireless charging
OS: Android 12 w/ One UI 4
Connectivity: WiFi 6E 2x2 MIMO, 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.1, UWB, MST, OTG, NFC, dual-band GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, IP68 water, and dust resistance, stereo speakers, Colors: Olive, Lavender, White, Graphite
Dimensions: 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 177 g
Price: PHP 38,990 (128GB), PHP 41,990 (256GB)

As of the moment

One UI 3.1

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G is full of flagship specs and features that make it attractive for budget-conscious buyers who are in or who want to enter the Samsung ecosystem.

Out of the box, we love the flat 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED display, wireless charging/reverse wireless charging, 32MP selfie camera, 12MP triple cameras, IP68 water resistance rating, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, and an optical fingerprint scanner.
AnTuTu score
AnTuTu score

In the AnTuTu benchmark, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G scored over 637,657. During the test, the battery was reduced by 5 percent. This is a pretty strong score for the price, just a little below its SD888 rivals.

These features make it outstanding for its price especially with the 5nm Exynos 2100, 8GB RAM, and 4,500mAh battery.

However, we cannot ignore that the competition in this price range is fierce. The Xiaomi 11T Pro and OnePlus 9 come into mind. Even the vivo X70 could beat or compete with it. 

Otherwise, the S21 FE 5G is a great option for Samsung fans. See you guys in our full review.

What do you guys think?

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