Our first look at the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE recently emerged thanks to rendered images based on leaked specifications. They show that Samsung’s combination of budget price and high-end specifications can cause problems for rivals Apple and Google.
The renders (via LetsGoDigital and OnLeaks) show us that the new handset will look like most current Samsung models, which are not foldable. There’s a full-screen display, a glittery body (plastic instead of the S21 Ultra glass), and three rear cameras with a punch-hole selfie snapper on the front.
However, the specs provide a glimpse into Samsung’s plans with a rumored Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 chipset, up to 8 GB of RAM, and a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a high refresh rate. If so, it would deliver on Samsung’s promise of high performance at a low cost. The S20 FE has largely achieved this with a high-quality Snapdragon 865 chip at the time, premium design, and excellent camera hardware adopted by Samsung’s best.
Where the FE fell was the persistent touchscreen issues that apparently affected thousands of users. Samsung has released several updates to fix the problem which it did to some but not everyone. A repair professional I spoke to said this could be a hardware calibration issue that software updates cannot fully resolve. If you are generous, you can attribute it to the problems of the first generation. Therefore, I generally recommend buying the next device in a new product line. The S21 FE could be that phone.
Samsung is in good shape when it comes to perfecting its technology and troubleshooting its second-generation devices. The Fold 2 has significantly improved the conceptually impressive, but fundamentally flawed, original Fold. The S21 Ultra solved the S20’s long list of problems, especially in terms of cameras. I am therefore confident that the Korean company will follow suit on its second attempt at the FE.
What kept me from recommending the S20 FE correctly was the touchscreen responsiveness, which was a fatal flaw. However, the FE range is a constant threat to competition. Google’s Pixel line has long been recognized for the best photography at a reasonable price. Apple’s iPhones offer stability along with top-notch photography and a top-notch user experience. The S21 Ultra has beaten both phones in these areas, and that’s the first time I’ve said that about a Samsung phone in years.
Additionally, the Pixel 5 was dealing with a screen gap issue when it was released, and thousands of iPhone 12 owners have complained that their screens are green. The Samsung S21 series, on the other hand, has not (yet) had any serious problems.
Can Samsung transfer this stability and consistency to the FE? Or, more importantly, can Samsung find a way to include its industry-leading S21 Ultra camera technology – specifically its optical zoom capabilities – in the VU? If there isn’t a Note phone this year, you can. The Korean company’s year-end lineup – Fold 3, 21 FE, and S22 – will be an enticing prospect for any buyer. However, an affordable FE with Samsung’s best camera technology can be irresistible. Before doing this, however, Samsung needs to smooth out the previous model’s display issues.