Galaxy S21 FE Impressions: Great Phone, Odd Price!
, New intro and new phone.. This is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Fan Edition, even though now its 2022 and were probably like a month away from the new Galaxy S22. But we have a new S21 huh., So Ive had my hands on this phone for a couple days now since last year. Actually., But really I feel like this – is a super safe bet of a phone.. Its very tame doesnt really make any mistakes, maybe even a little bit boring, but this is something a lot of people are gon na like.. So this is the second Fan Edition now that weve seen so were kinda learning the formula of how Samsung likes to do this and basically its kind of the same way Apples been doing the SE and a lot of other phone manufacturers do this, but its a Lot of one year old parts that get put back together and in a cheaper phone. And the biggest repeated part of that formula is the price. So theyre launching with this phone at 699.. Now the S20 Fan Edition secured my Phone of the Year Award back in 2020. It won a trophy and everything for launching at that price and standing out, but now now well, the landscape has changed a lot since then. Theres a lot more competition at this medium flagship, tier price, and so this phone isnt as much of a standout win as It was over a year ago.. I think youll see what I mean.
So inside its the high end, stuff., Not over the top bleeding edge, but right at the flagship, level. Snapdragon 888 and either six or eight gigs of RAM a 4500 milliamp hour. Battery triple cameras and up front featured is a 6.4 inch. 1080P 120 hertz AMOLED display – and this is a nice screen. Its flat for one I like that.. It has thin even bezels with a slightly thicker chin, and then it has a fingerprint reader down low here. At the bottom, underneath the display plus a selfie camera cutout at the top middle for the 32 megapixel selfie camera.. I think this is a win for Samsung. The display company. Theyre, just still so damn good at screens that this is right up among the best brightest ones, youll find in phones in this class.. It has a 240 hertz touch sample rate. Its super responsive., I mean yeah. This screen is flagship for sure. And the design is just super safe.. It obviously looks just like the regular S21, but this is a new matte dark gray. Look with the camera module again pushed right up to the corner and curving over the side of the phone.. Its got IP68 water resistance, 15 watt wireless charging., Its got reverse wireless charging., All pretty much flagship stuff., But from this exact moment on you can see the Fan Edition formula kick in here, where they start to cut a few corners and drop a few things down To save that price, and so the real question will be: do you care about those sort of minor tweaks So with the design, and you might have been able to see this already its a plastic back and also they didnt quite fully commit to matte black.
So its this dark gray that unfortunately picks up a bit more fingerprints than I would like and theres also these metal rails all the way around, which is more durable and less likely to crack when you drop it – and it explains these little cutouts on either side For your antenna pass through for millimeter wave. Now, the regular S21 was also plastic with metal rails. But the Fan Edition cuts that back even a little bit further where the camera cutout isnt, actually a part of the rail anymore., So theres a seam between that.. So you can see here on the regular S21 metal. Rail includes the camera bump. Here on this new Fan Edition thats, an all plastic back.. So I still like the camera bump design.. This is probably the least impressive version of it.. You might not ever notice any of this stuff if you put the phone in a case, but that is a real difference. And then theres. Even smaller things like this phone is even though it has a larger battery than the S21, its super light, and I think that was you know. I first took it out of the box and it felt kinda like one of those fake dummy phones where its really big but doesnt have much weight., But yeah thats, probably just cause Im coming from phones that have more metal and glass.. Also, the fingerprint reader underneath the display its right around the same spot as the regular S21 pretty low on the display here, but its an optical fingerprint reader instead of the ultrasonic ones on the rest of the S21 line.
. So you can see it shining the light on your finger before unlocking.. Now again this is minor and this one still does seem to be pretty quick.. I registered both my thumbs., Its definitely still faster than the Pixel 6s optical fingerprint reader, but it might not work with some moisture on my hand or some wear and tear on the screen, as well as the ultrasonic ones, in Samsungs, more expensive, phones. Theres, a single Speaker at the bottom, which is part of a stereo system with the earpiece speaker, but its definitely still pretty easy to block this one and youll notice when its blocked, even though the earpiece is still putting out sound. And the haptics are overall, a small step down From the other flagships, the S21s, the Pixels, even the OnePlus 9 Pros of the world, not quite as tight and precise. And then the triple cameras back here you got one 12 megapixel primary, a 12 megapixel ultrawide and an 8 megapixel 3x telephoto, and they are very Solid. Youve got OIS on that main camera.. It puts out sharp images with a shallow depth of field. Great dependable shots in good light, as youd expect., Sometimes a bit noisy or blurry in low light, but seriously not bad. Id give this easily a B camera hanging with a lot of flagships, but not really Beating any. And then maybe most importantly, is the fact that this S21 series will be outdated or old.
The second, the S22 series comes out which is like right around the corner and they typically also drop the prices of the S21 series. When the S22 series comes out., Also on a sustainability note, there was no charger in the box. Its that small box again that basically just comes with the phone, a cable and some paperwork., So I guess thats even more flagship experience stuff. If you wan na, look at it that way, but certainly nothing better., So the real question with the Fan Edition again is: do any of these little shortcomings. Take away from the flagship experience that its getting you Do they matter to you Like the little extra bit of plastic on the back? Does it make a big difference? Not really.. Does the optical fingerprint reader on the front versus the ultrasonic mean anything to most people No.? Does the 8 megapixel telephoto camera on the back versus the previous 64 megapixel with a bigger max zoom? Actually matter 9 out of 10 people probably wont notice., And so honestly, this would all be totally fine with me in this phone, if the S21 wasnt literally just sitting at 699 for most of the past few months and right now, refurbished ones are going for 599. On Amazon. So thats, the crazy part of this phones existence. Now, in 2022., Its like the S21 Fan Edition, was lighting the market on fire with basically giving us all this flagship stuff for like 300, less than expected.
But now in this new landscape, youve got ta fit somewhere between Pixel 6, which is an incredibly good value at 599, with an arguably better camera and software experience, and then the higher up phones, some of which are even in Samsungs own lineup.. So the fact that this FE is so similar to the S21 but is launching so close to the S22 thats the swing and a miss in my opinion. Like. I think this phone would have obviously killed that 549 or even 599, or something like that, but it didnt. This launch price and timing is what sort of just blends it in with the rest of the market.. This has happened to Samsung before., The Note20. You might remember, was the recipient of the Bust of the Year trophy because it was just a phone that was, it was fine, but it just priced itself out of where it was supposed to land in the market, and it was actually not a bad phone at All., This is not a bad phone at all and I think lots of people who buy it with the blinders on theyre gon na really like this phone.. But if you take your blinders off theres a lot more around in this landscape around this price, which is a much more interesting decision., So great performance, familiar software, really nice cameras, a battery upgrade and, of course, Samsungs awesome display.. This is a great phone., But you know at this price people are gon na, be cross shopping.
, They might wan na take a risk on a Pixel or on a OnePlus, 9 or I dont know an iPhone SE for that matter. Theres, a whole bunch more happening In this region. Balls in your court., What do you think of the S21 Fan Edition? Let me know. Either way. Thats been it. Thanks for watching. Catch, you guys in the next one. Peace.