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Samsung’s Galaxy S21 The smartphone family S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra has been expanded to include a new entry point: the Galaxy S21 FE.

As with the Galaxy S20 FE In late 2020, Samsung is grabbing some of the best features from the S21 range and packing them into this smaller, cheaper device. Samsung is introducing the S21 FE at CES 2022, a show that normally focuses on televisions and monitors.

the Galaxy S21 FE will be available on January 11th for $ 699.99 for the 128GB model and $ 769.99 for 256GB of storage. We were allowed to spend a weekend with the S21 FE and then choose it as a finalist for the best mobile phone at CES 2022.

The Galaxy S21 FE looks familiar, but it’s a bit bigger than that S21 without eye-catching design elements such as a metal border. It’s also highlighted with a camera bump sticking out from the edge of the phone.

Samsung calls this a contour cut frame, and the subtle design gives the back of the phone a uniformity. The framework of the S21 FE is made of aluminum, although, as you’d expect with this cheaper option, the back of the phone is a smooth polycarbonate. It’s not shiny, but it shows some fingerprints. With a weight of 177 grams, the S21 FE lies comfortably in the hand and is available in the color options olive, lavender, white or graphite.

The front of the device is made up almost entirely of a screen with a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel, and it’s nice to see minimal bezels everywhere for the price. We also appreciate how well it handles color and supports a refresh rate of 120Hz for smoother images than you’ll see on many phones at this price point. Samsung also tucked a 32-megapixel selfie camera in the top, which is great for video calls and quick shots. They also have a fingerprint sensor built into the lower half of the display.

All of this is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, the same one used in the others Galaxy S21 family. This means that photos can be processed quickly, games can be played locally or from the cloud and multitasking is made easy by smoothly switching between apps. However, the RAM is less than in other S21s and this can slow down more intensive tasks or just leave a large number of apps open. The $ 699 S21 FE has 6 GB of RAM (which we tested) and the $ 769 variant has 8 GB. Android 12 and Samsung’s One UX 4.0 are preinstalled on the S21 FE.

Battery life was strong all weekend too, probably thanks to the 4,500 mAh battery inside. We easily lasted a whole day on one charge, and even two with less use. When it’s time to charge, you’ll need to plug in the included USB-C cable or place it on a Qi-enabled wireless charging pad. Samsung does not contain a wall plug in the box, but we would recommend an Anker Nano II.

While Samsung’s S21 FE comes with a bigger battery and a faster processor inside, the same treatment was not given to the main camera array on the back. Here’s what the Galaxy S21 FE packaged.

  • 12 megapixel ultra wide angle lens: The ultra-wide angle lens offers a field of view of 123 degrees and is ideal for capturing a large area in one shot. In our early tests, we captured a ton in the image without seeing much blur or fish-eye effect around the edges.
  • 12 megapixel wide angle lens: The main shooter of the S21 FE does admirably. It’s best for portraits and more traditional shots.
  • 8 megapixel telephoto lens: This is the same zoom lens as the S20 FE and we are surprised that it hasn’t been improved. It is an 8-megapixel lens with 3x optical zoom. 30x Space Zoom is supported here, but without the physical periscope lens on the S21 Ultra. It’s just a combination of physical and digital zoom along with upscaling which at a full 30x can cause serious distortion. We found the 10x zoom function to be the most practical.

Samsung’s different modes are also included here – including Night Mode, Single Take, Portrait, Pro, Food, Portrait Video, Dual Recording, and Slow Motion, and all of them work well (examples below). Single take is still one of our favorites. You can press the shutter button and move the phone. Then the S21 FE uses the AI ​​to figure out which shots to capture and if any effects need to be applied.

Camera performance will be crucial here as the Pixel 6 is only $ 599 and offers excellent photography. You lose the physical telephoto lens there, but Google’s processing is second to none in the Android space.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE is emerging as an excellent new entry point into the Galaxy S21 family. It starts at an interesting time, however, as we are only a few weeks away from the rumored successors Galaxy S21 family, also known as the Galaxy S22. For those looking for a cheaper Samsung device, the $ 699 S21 FE will likely fill the bill. As long as you’re cool with a cheaper design and not the most impressive telephoto lens.

The Galaxy S21 FE is also one of the few cell phones that is causing a sensation at the CES. Because of its feature set and affordable positioning, it’s a finalist for Best Mobile Phone in CES 2022. We’ll be announcing our full finalists later this week before the top picks in each category.

Ordering starts for the Galaxy S21 FE on January 11th for $ 699.99 for 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM or $ 769.99 for 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Either way, you will also find support for 5G mmWave and Sub-6, which is great news – especially if either network exists in your area. Those looking for ultra-fast speeds that can rival home networks will want to find mmWave connectivity, even though it’s not being rolled out nationwide. Sub-6 is more common, but doesn’t provide a crazy speed boost.

We also recommend taking a look at that Standard Galaxy S21 or, if you are fine without a telephoto lens, the cheaper one Pixel 6.

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