Samsung Galaxy S21 FE-test the long-awaited successor to the Galaxy S20 FE
Last year's Galaxy S20 Fe turned out to be a market shot-it had a decent Super AMOLED screen, a powerful Snapdragon 865 chipset, a waterproof case, a capacious battery, a solid camera and a price that in this class of equipment was still to be swallowed. No wonder, then, that the announcement of its successor, the Galaxy S21 Fe, has effectively electrified the i market over the past few months... we can finally buy it. Does the Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe also have a chance to become a hit? Let's see.
- The heart of the smartphone is a powerful chipset Snapdragon 888, which, however, and in this design is prone to thermal throttling
- In the Galaxy S21 FE appeared 120-Herc screen made in the latest technology available from Samsung Dynamic AMOLED 2X
- In terms of build quality, the FE model this year is probably already a little closer to the A series than the S. fortunately, the aluminum frame and waterproof housing remained.
It's time to meet the Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe 5G-the most long-awaited smartphone of recent months. We have been waiting for him almost since the summer of last year, and we saw him only now-in January 2022. Did the wait pay off?
In terms of style, we have here a clear inspiration from the previous flagship Samsung, namely the Galaxy S21 series. Once again we will see the matte back and the characteristic frame of the camera. In the model I tested with graphite color, although it is not very conspicuous, but fortunately the smartphone is also available in three other, definitely more interesting color variants.
Good plastic is not bad
The smartphone is based on a metal frame, but this is finished with plastic. For my taste, that's very good. I'm an old man now, and I'm not a man of skill, so my phones often fall out of my hands. Tell yourself what you want, it does not bother me that plastic is not "premium" - I prefer it to a glass case that increases the risk of breakage.
Having plastic instead of glass on the back, galaxy S21 Fe reduces the risk by half - because we can beat at most the screen. And this is not certain, because the screen protects the glass Gorilla Glass Victus. Although glass is still glass, so full resistance to breakage it will not guarantee you, but at least the screen is not scratched easily.
It is also not easy to drown-with IP68 waterproof, the smartphone will survive not only rain, but even temporary immersion, so you will be able to safely rinse it, and there will be no tragedy if you accidentally fall into the water.
In terms of ergonomics, there is nothing to cling to, the buttons fit well under the finger, the fingerprint reader also. The reader, as befits a modern smartphone, is hidden under the display, and works like a typical screen reader - not bad, but records in terms of speed and reliability does not beat. I personally still prefer the convenience of classic, side readers. For the sake of order, I will add that there is also face recognition based on the front camera, which also works quite quickly and efficiently.
Coming back to the screen, resistance to scratches is just the beginning of the good news - here we have a diagonal of 6.4 inches, Full HD+ resolution, and best of all, it is a dynamic AMOLED 2 Mix display. So we have great color reproduction, very deep black, high brightness (up to 1200 nits) and 120 Hz refresh.
As you might guess, there is also none of the typical options-is eye protection, the ability to adjust the color balance and dark mode interface. Here, Samsung did not miss anything, and as a result, the screen is one of the most powerful points of this smartphone.
You'll settle in easily
Not worse is also the interface, one UI 4. I do not hide-I use Samsung phones privately, so here I feel at home. If you have not even had to deal with this interface, then I highly recommend it, because it is really well polished-very friendly and easy to grasp.
The Smart Switch tool will make it easier for you to switch - the application is compatible with many models, and it will help you to transfer a lot of data (such as previously downloaded applications) even if your previous device was an iPhone. However, the smart switch is most effective when switching from another Samsung model-you clone everything, including settings.
Samsung does not spare additional applications, but you can easily uninstall them all-if you want, because there is no garbage in the preinstalled kit-it is possible that most of them will be useful to you. In addition to Apps, Samsung adds a wide range of personalization to Android-there is a typical set of gestures, there is also a sidebar on which you can throw shortcuts.
The last noteworthy element of the software is an ecosystem solution that allows you to easily connect accessories to operate them from your phone. In this way, a Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Buds headphones, or even a washing machine or oven will be compatible, as long as they are equipped with smart technology.
Snapdragon will not catch fire
What does the performance of this phone look like? First of all, in the role of the processor we have Snapdragon 888, known for being able to turn the phone into an oven. I expected that the Galaxy S21 Fe will share this flaw, and here's a surprise-in the role of a hand warmer this model will not work. Yes, it can warm, but within the limits of common sense. Throttling is also, but not scary. The performance, in general, is very good.
Memory and Ram are available in two variants, and I strongly suggest buying the latter-instead of 128 and 6 GB of memory and ram you will be equipped with 256 GB of memory and 8 GB of RAM. This is so important that this smartphone unfortunately no longer has a microSD card slot. A sign of the times? The same goes for the minijack, by the way. Until recently, it was the hallmark of the Galaxy FE series, now, apparently, this is unfortunately already a thing of the past.
Except for this one flaw, in terms of sound is not so bad. The headphone speaker delivers great call quality, and the multimedia speakers also do well. We have stereo sound here, but it is not stereo equal-the role of one of the speakers is played by this headphone, so there is no impression of perfectly balanced stereo. Despite this, it performs well, plays clean, although it could be louder. There was also one of the most necessary communication systems-NFC, WiFi, Bluetooth, everything works without a problem.
Where's my charger?
So far, the phone mostly praised, finding only minor flaws here and there, but in terms of battery is already worse-4500 mAh at a time when even the average midget has 5000 mAh, on average satisfied. In practice, this is enough for one day, and if you use refresh 120 Hz, as I have always on display, and generally a lot of phone use, it is possible that the battery is not enough for you until the evening. Speaking of refreshments-you can reduce them in the options to a less fluid, more energy-efficient pace, but unfortunately we have only these two options. The frequency is not adaptive, and we have to choose between fluidity and battery saving.
Charging, with a power of 25 watts, takes a little over an hour and a half. Of course, this should be from the initial level of charge and the charger we use... which you will have to take care of yourself, because it so happens that in the box with this phone charger neither seen nor heard. Of all the battery deficiencies, this annoyed me the most.
Three useful cameras
Maybe the quality of the photos will make us feel better... Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe 5G has a pretty nice photo set. On the front there is a selfie camera with a resolution of 32 MPX, on the back two 12 MPX and one 8 Mpx. None of them is superfluous, because in addition to the main camera, we have a wide-angle lens and a lossless telephoto magnification of three times.
In terms of quality is very good. In a big simplification, this is the level of flagships from last year-if you did not have time to buy a galaxy S21 or S21+, then the Galaxy S21 Fe will provide you with photos at a comparable level. So we can say that this is a truly flagship camera. There really is nothing to stick to, even at night, although in this case it is better to switch to the night mode of the main camera - these two additional lenses will also cope, but they will fall out worse than the main one in terms of Aperture or brightness.
In the daytime, the photos are just great, with great contrast, exemplary detail reproduction, quite well-functioning autofocus... I can cling at most to portrait effects - here, unfortunately, the software sometimes gets lost, especially when the model has a lush, bushy hairstyle, and the background behind it is a little more complicated. Selfies come out similarly-in the day super, after dark also quite well, with portraits-well, it depends on the beauty and complexity of the face of the model or model. In general, there is not much to criticize.
Movies also do not leave much to be desired-picture super, sound fine, fluidity too. Only a few strange software bugs caused me problems... such as losing frames when recording in the dark in full HD.
After switching to 4K quality, the problem disappeared, so it does not look like a hardware limitation. Another disturbing symptom was the loss of focus when we switch from a wide-angle or main lens to a telephoto lens during recording. After two or three seconds of filming, the focus disappears and you have to re-set it with your finger on the screen.
To make it funnier, it only happened to me in beautiful, sunny weather, and literally just one day. When I tried to repeat these conditions the next day, there was no problem anymore. You might expect these bugs to disappear after a few updates... unless it is actually software errors, and not just the result of very specific conditions that I have put on this smartphone. So I would not worry too much-in general, you will be satisfied with the films.
The choice of Samsung Galaxy S21 Fe 5G speaks primarily of a great display, very decent cameras and good performance. The advantage is also a waterproof case and a pretty good design, especially in brighter color variants. The disadvantage is the lack of a charger and sockets for microSD and minijacka, better could also be a battery and fingerprint reader, but in general it is quite ok... just the price.