The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE was unveiled globally recently as the second iteration in the company’s growing ‘Fan Edition’ series. This phone is meant to be the toned-down version of the Samsung Galaxy S21 flagship. It is the successor to the Galaxy S20 FE that received praises for offering very good value for money when it came out.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is yet to launch in Kenya but that will happen soon. I happen to have the unit in for review and thought I should share my first impressions on it before the full review. I have had the phone for a couple of days so this is not a comprehensive review but just my first impressions.
Since the Galaxy S21 FE is in the S21 family, it does come with some of the high-end specifications and features you would find on the flagship variant. There are some key features missing obviously to keep the price slightly lower.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Pricing
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is yet to officially launch in Kenya but when it does, it will be available for:
- Ksh 88,299 for the 128GB variant
- Ksh 96,999 for the 256GB variant
Galaxy S21 FE Impressions
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is the first ‘FE’ device from Samsung so I will not be comparing it to the previous version. I will approach it like any new smartphone I get and see if it offers any value for money.
Interacting with the phone for the first time, it is clear that it does get some inspiration from the Galaxy S21 base model. The triple camera setup is at the back. Speaking of the back, it is made using polycarbonate and this makes the phone light and comfortable to hold. It does take away the premium feel I was expecting but overall it is still a nice one. It is the same build we have seen on most Samsung devices recently especially those in the A series.
There are different colours available but I got the Olive green one that I have to say looks the best.
The Galaxy S21 FE feels like it is meant to fly under the radar from the design perspective. It is not too flashy and not much about the design besides the colours make it stand out. This can be a good or bad thing depending on what you like on your smartphones. I have no quarrels with it as the design and build do it for me. I like what the phone has to offer.
Flipping the phone to get to the display is where you will get to appreciate the Galaxy S21 FE. The display is really good as you’d expect from Samsung. This is a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with HDR 10 support.
This display has very thin bezels for a modern and premium look. It produces punchy colours with deep blacks that make any form of media consumption great. It looks really sharp with no dimming whatsoever. I cannot stress how much I love this display even though I have had the phone for just a few days. It is what I was expecting from a smartphone within this price range and is exactly what I am getting.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE’s display supports 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling. I was not expecting anything less on this. The whole display gives the phone a flagship look and feel.
There is an under the display fingerprint scanner that is very fast and accurate. This is not an ultrasonic scanner but I am sure not that may people will care much about it.
The Galaxy S21 FE also has a set of great cameras. They produce high quality shots that look natural with just the right amount of saturation. The photos do not seem over processed as is with the case with other smartphones. I have taken a few shots and have been impressed. The quality of shots is not on the same level as the Galaxy Z Flip 3 that I have been using since last year but it is still good enough.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Software
Straight out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE comes with Android 12 and One UI 4. The phone does deliver a smooth experience with no software or performance issues. This may be because it is still new but to be honest, I do not expect this to change even as I use the phone for a few more weeks.
Samsung has taken time to optimize One UI and you do notice when interacting with the phone. It feels snappy and the processor underneath is powerful enough to handle anything you throw at it. I will get into the details of the software and actual performance in the full review to be shared soon.
Even though I have just used the phone for a few days, I have a feeling that I will love the experience. The build quality is good and the polycarbonate back makes it light to hold and use.
The display is what I really love as it does produce accurate colours that are punchy. Samsung does make its own AMOLED displays and have been for years and this is evident here. It is probably the best display you can get at this price.
The display is also responsive and the haptic feedback you get makes for a good overall user experience.
Performance has been good as you would expect. Switching between multiple applications does not present any issues. I got to use this phone and really felt that Samsung did put in the work on it and did not just release another phone for the sake of it.
So far so good, this is a phone worth considering if you ask me.