Samsung 21 FE 5G‘s entry to the market came at a rather awkward time. Even as it served as the first phone release in the mobile smart devices industry for 2022 in the Philippines, this Fan Edition (FE) model arrived a while after the release of its hero models from the much-loved Galaxy S21 series, and a bit close to the highly-anticipated release of the smartphone giant’s newest flagship devices this month.
But while many may have questioned the timing of this release, there’s still much to appreciate from the device that makes this edition worth the wait for fans of smartphone brand or to any mobile device user who are looking for a creative partner for work and recreation, all in the concept of making every pursuit as epic as possible.
Fan Edition (FE) phones in the Samsung ecosystem of releases is driven by one simple mission of providing fans with an affordable alternative while maintaining some of the most favored features enjoyed from its more pricier flagship counterparts. We have seen it to great success among consumers with the entry of the Galaxy s20 FE in the market and this same goal pervades with the S21 FE 5G and so, the long gap that came before its release aside, what you get from this latest FE model is as good as it gets.
Artwork by Bhernn Saenz.
As is expected, Galaxy S21 FE 5G delivers select fan-favorite S21 premium features from its modern design and impressive performance made even greater with its professional-grade camera features, that of course, creative professionals crave for packed in an easily handled device. What’s more is that it seamlessly fits right in on the Samsung’s ecosystem of devices.
One look at its design, from the front, S21 FE 5G resembles that of the S21’s earlier models with its slim bezels and a central punch hole for its front camera, a power button and volume controls on the right, and at the bottom, its USB-C port for data and charging.
The back of body design spells the difference. Its signature design featuring the iconic, fan-favorite contour-cut frame now seamlessly integrates with the camera bump dropping the metal rails that its predecessors had, with a plastic matte finish. Suffice to say, that these small design tweaks allowed for it to be a lightweight buddy at 177g and a thickness at 7.9mm that makes for it to be comfortably held when you are on the go. It also comes with an IP68 water resistance rating, which is always a plus, making it safe from slashes, drips, and up to 1.5 meters of water for around 30 minutes.
Photographed by Christina Zabat
Of the four colorways available, we got our hands on the lavender option, which to be honest looks very much like the ones we see used by the characters in our favorite Korean dramas. But I digress. Other color options include white or graphite, and olive which, like the lavender, comes in pastel hues—all of which give a haze finish, which personally look and feel more contemporary and easier to handle.
For the S21 FE 5G to be more of a creative partner than just a sleek, good-looking device, Samsung’s thrust is all about keeping it as high-powered as possible—as it should, given today’s lifestyle demands.
First, on its display, even to a non-tech trained eye, S21 FE 5G gives crisp visuals with its high-quality graphics and picture quality on its 6.4-inch AMOLED 2x display showing vibrant images and deep blacks and details that truly make the viewing experience as dynamic as ever. This comes paired with the highest resolution of 120Hz refresh rate, which means every screen motion comes very smoothly, as well as its “lightning-fast” reaction capabilities that is, of course, a major come-on for gamers and content producers, and just binge-watchers alike.
As impressive as it is for consuming content for its sharp and vibrant display, S21 FE 5G positions itself in the same ranks of its very abled forebears with its camera capabilities, as it comes equipped with tech that allows for vivid photo and video captures. If you are a photography enthusiast or if you are looking for a mobile creative ally, the device fits the bill, with high-powered pro-grade camera that almost resembles the quality of more heavy-duty, bulky cameras in the market.
Photographed by Christina Zabat
Its triple camera module at the back features a 12 MP primary camera, 8MP telephoto camera with up to 3X optical zoom, and a 12-megapixel camera with ultra-wide lens.
When you try taking photos during the day, on a well-lit condition, you, of course get the best results, with images coming out sharp and detailed with colors produced with good saturation. As Samsung noted, S21 FE 5G also includes an improved Night Mode setting compared to its earlier counterpart, where you can enhance low-light shots with dynamic and clear photos even in the darkest conditions.
Interestingly, Galaxy S21 FE 5G provides Samsung’s best selfie experience yet with a more 32MP front camera to snap selfie images when it matters most, which is an obvious upgrade from the S21. Of course, it comes packed with an enhanced AI Face Restoration capabilities, which is very much welcomed.
S21 FE 5G Normal Lens captured from a 12-story location.
S21 FE 5G 5x Optical Zoom
S21 FE 5G 4x Optical Zoom
S21 FE 5G Normal Lens in Fluorescent Lighting Condition
A 32MP selfie camera might seem excessively unnecessary, especially put in context to a 64MP telephoto lens to an 8 MP downgrade from its predecessor, but, in essence, you can trust that a selfie image from the device is as decent as it gets with significantly more contrast and more dynamic skin tone and details, particularly when you are transitioning from your day to day grind of work-from-home virtual meeting requirements to a casual meet-up with friends.
You can shoot up to 4k quality videos at 60fps. Super Steady stabilization, however, is available for 1080p at 30fps. The Pro Video is also available to give more control on different specifications in your video captures. The device is also packed with other Samsung features like the Single Take mode, Food Mode, Pro, AR Doodle, Super Slow-Mo, Panorama, Hyperlapse, and Dual Recording.
S21 FE 5G is powered by a 5nm 64-bit Octa-Core processor, in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset running smoothly on Android 12, paired with 8GB RAM, and 128 or 256GB storage iterations.
Samsung’s intuitive One UI 4 allows you to customize your mobile experience to service your needs. This only means that the customization options from your home screens, widgets, and notifications, down to your stronger privacy controls, gives you full control on how to navigate and enjoy the device’s features and capabilities the way you want it, and that is always a step to the right direction.
Packing all of these features up, off the box, the S21 FE 5G comes with a 4500mAh battery, which means the device can manage to get through the day on a single charge, an improvement from the S21. But on days of heavy usage, be it on gaming, streaming, and everyday photo shoots and video captures, as expected, the device would, of course, fare less.
According to Samsung, S21 FE 5G is capable of charging more than 50% in as fast as 30 minutes, which of course, is music to creatives who are always off to a next assignment. If we are to nitpick though, a brand new device doesn’t come with a charger in the package, except for its Type C cord. Having to buy a separate charger to use the cord with might be less than desired but it’s not a deal-breaker altogether.
Within a week of experiencing the power of a smartphone with premium features packed in a sleek, lightweight body, it’s easy to unpack that S21 FE 5G’s many capabilities allow you to venture into your multi-faceted daily lives from your profession to your diverse interests with uncompromising passion.
With all that it has to offer, there’s much to appreciate from this fan edition model and the fact that it comes at a more reasonable price compared to its flagship counterpart is always a good thing considering today’s uncertain lifestyle landscape, even considering that a new flagship tech from the brand is just around the corner. If anything, the flak that the device attracted from its rather odd release timing is already irrelevant to the kind of viable option the S21 FE 5G gives in finding and delivering a high-powered device that meet every creative’s epic daily needs.
The Galaxy S21 FE 5G is now available on Samsung.com, Samsung Experience Stores and Authorized Samsung Stores, Online and Telco Partners at Php 38,990 SRP for the 128GB variant and Php 41,990 SRP for the 256GB variant in Olive, Lavender, White, and Graphite colorways.