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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G vs Galaxy S21 5G: 5 key differences

Samsung announced the S21 Fan Edition 5G to go along with their last flagship, the S21 5G, on Monday. The new phone delivers fan favourite versions from the flagship in a more affordable package. 

The new phone goes on sale starting January 11 2022. It will be available through Samsung’s website, carriers and multiple online retailers for about $699 for the 6GB and 128GB variant or $769 for the 8GB and 256GB variant.

In this article, we’re looking at the key differences between the two phones to help you figure out which is the better choice for you. 

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Performance

The S21 FE 5G boasts the same processor as the S21 series. While Samsung has listed the processor as a 5nm 64-bit Octa-Core processor in the phone spec sheet as of now, as compared to S21’s Snapdragon 888 5G available in the US and China markets and the Exynos 2100 everywhere else, we can expect the S21 FE 5G to follow suit. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G vs Galaxy S21 5G: 5 key differences
The S21 FE 5G will have the same processor as the S21. | Source: Samsung

On the RAM and storage front, the FE variant will be available in two variants — 6GB with 128GB storage and 8GB with 256GB storage compared to the S21’s 8GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB variants that come with UFS 3.1 storage. You can expect the FE variant’s performance to be on par with the S21.

The S21 5G comes with Android 11 and One UI 3.1 out of the box, while the S21 FE 5G comes with Android 12 and One UI 4. However, that shouldn’t be an issue as the S21 has already received its Android 12 update. 


Display

The S21 comes with a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED display that runs at 1080 x 2400 and goes as high as 120Hz with HDR10+ capabilities. On the other hand, the FE has a slightly bigger screen coming in at 6.4-inches while running at the exact resolution and refresh rate. 


Cameras

The S21 FE 5G comes with three cameras on the back and one on the front. The rear cameras are as follows:

  • 12MP wide angle sensor with Dual Pixel AF and OIS.
  • 12MP ultrawide with 123 degree field of view.
  • 8MP Telephoto with 30x digital zoom.

The front gets a 32MP hole-punch camera positioned in the centre. When you compare this to the S21 5G, there are a few differences — most notably in the telephoto camera, which is 64MP on the flagship compared to the FE’s 8MP.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G vs Galaxy S21 5G: 5 key differences
The S21 FE 5G gets a lower-res telephoto lens | Source: Samsung

The other notable difference is in the front camera, only 10MP on the S21, while 32MP on the Fan Edition. 

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Battery and Charging

The S21 has a 4000mAh battery with 25W fast charging. On the FE variant, the battery capacity gets bumped up to 4500mAh with 25W fast charging and 15W wireless charging. The wireless charging is Qi-compatible on both phones.

Both phones support reverse wireless charging as well. So apart from the battery capacity, there aren’t any major differences here. Although Samsung does note that the rated minimum capacity for the S21 FE 5G is 4370mAh.

Both phones don’t come with a charger in the box, so if you don’t already have a capable power brick lying around, you probably have to order one as well. 


Availability and Pricing

Both phones are available on Samsung’s website and third-party online retailers.

The S21 starts at $799 and can go as high as $999 for the S21+ version. On the other hand, the S21 FE 5G edition starts at $699 for the base variant and goes as high as $769 for the top variant. 

While the S21 is already available on Samsung’s website, the S21 FE 5G will go on sale starting January 11.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G vs Galaxy S21 5G: 5 key differences
The S21 FE 5G starts at $699 for the base variant | Source: Samsung

Hardware specs

Here are the hardware specifications for both phones. 

SpecificationsS21 5GS21 FE 5G
Display6.2-inches Dynamic AMOLED
2400 x 1080 FHD+
120Hz,
6.4-inches Dynamic AMOLED
2400 x 1080 FHD+
120Hz,
ProcessorSnapdragon 888 5G (US and China)
Exynos 2100 (International)
Snapdragon 888 5G (US and China)
Exynos 2100 (International)
Memory and Storage8GB/128GB
8GB/256GB
6GB/128GB
8GB/256GB
Rear Cameras12MP wide-angle
12MP ultrawide
64MP telephoto
12MP wide-angle
12MP ultrawide
8MP telephoto
Front Cameras10MP hole-punch32MP hole-punch
Battery and charging4000mAh
25W fast charging
15W wireless charging
4500mAh
25W fast charging
15W wireless charging

What does paying more for the S21 5G get you?

Well, more RAM (the S21 5G starts at 8GB) and a higher resolution telephoto camera (64MP). Apart from that, both phones are quite similar in just about every aspect. The S21 FE 5G, in fact, gets a bigger screen and battery. 

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