Berlin. Samsung friends are waiting for the Galaxy S22. But Samsung sent another little horse into the race for the CES technology fair. A version of the Samsung Galaxy S21 with the addition Fan Edition (FE) in the name, full name: Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G. As with the previous model, the S20 FE, it is a slightly modified version of last year’s flagship. Slightly changed? That means: In some places there is a little more, elsewhere less. For example, a slightly larger display (6.4 instead of 6.2 inches) and more battery (4500 instead of 4000 milliampere hours.) The selfie snaps now have 32 instead of 10 megapixels (MP). Slightly reduced: plastic instead of metal and fewer megapixels: the camera trio of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G. © Source: Till Simon Nagel/dpa-tmn
Camera and design: less is more?
There is less elsewhere. Take the camera, for example: at first glance, it is identical to that of the original S21. A wide-angle camera and a super wide-angle camera, each with 12 MP, the telephoto camera now uses a sensor with 8 MP resolution. In the S21 it still has 64 MP. But you don’t really notice it. Unless you want to go beyond the 3x optical magnification of the zoom lens. Then it becomes visibly crumbly. Visually there is also a little less splendor. The offset shiny metal frame of the S21 with metal-encased camera lenses gives way to a much simpler aluminum frame with a plastic back. The previous model already had a plastic back, glass was only available on the larger S21+ and Ultra. Since hardly anyone uses an expensive smartphone without a case anyway, one wonders why the manufacturers also provide the backs with expensive glass. In any case, the plastic back of the FE is not a barrier to purchase. Four cheerful colors from anthracite to lilac are available. © Source: Samsung/dpa-tmn
The fan edition passes the everyday test
As far as the most obvious differences. The FE does well in everyday use. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 is installed as the system chip. More speed is currently not possible. The camera shoots beautiful pictures, the bright display with either an energy-saving 60 or super-smooth 120 Hertz refresh rate looks good. The fingerprint sensor in the display works better than on previous Samsungs. However, its low placement is still an ergonomic challenge when operating with one hand. The camera doesn’t show any weaknesses either. The individual modes via night portrait or single take (a mixture of different recording modes and videos) are fun and usually deliver pretty good results. The storage versions are just under 128 gigabytes (GB) with 6 GB of RAM for 749 euros and a better sized 256 GB with 8 GB of RAM for 819 euros. If you want to make use of the numerous photo and video options of the FE, it is better to choose the larger storage option – there is no memory card slot.
Conclusion: The special edition is convincing – but was it necessary?
Great display, fast chip, good camera, good battery, up-to-date software. That’s all you need to say about the S21 FE. You really can’t go wrong with this if you like Samsung’s smartphones. Even after a year, the device actually meets all the requirements that are placed on a smartphone. Therefore, the question arises: Who needs this special edition a year later? Because: The “real” S21 from 2021 with a slightly better camera and slightly more valuable optics costs almost 100 euros less than the new FE a year after publication. And the competitors don’t sleep. Comparable smartphones are now available for significantly less money. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G (2 from left) has a lot of competition: Google’s Pixel 6 (left), the Honor 50 (2 from right) and the Motorola G200 5G have similar performance data. © Source: Till Simon Nagel/dpa-tmn About Google’s Pixel 6 with a very slim Android, fast updates and a pretty good camera (from just under 640 euros). Motorola’s Moto G200 5G from December also offers similar performance data and three cameras for around 450 euros. The Honor brand, which has risen from the Huawei shadow, is also competing with the S21 FE. The Honor 50 has a slightly weaker chip, but it has an interesting camera solution and lots of glitter on the back for just under 480 euros. Last but not least, Samsung’s own Galaxy A52 5G, for example, is not far behind in terms of performance, but is cheaper at just under 450 euros.
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