Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: What we know

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Samsung Galaxy S20 FE back 2

David Imel / Android Authority

Update, November 9, 2021 (12:25 AM ET): We’ve updated our Galaxy S21 FE hub with additional leaked launch and release information. Scroll down to the “name and release date” section for more details.

Original article: In 2020, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (which stands for “Fan Edition”) surprised us all with how good it was. In fact, it was so good that it ended up walking away with our 2020 Best of Android Editor’s Choice award. With that kind of pedigree behind the phone, it’s no surprise that we are very excited about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE.

See also: A history of the Samsung Galaxy S series

The problem Samsung faces this year is the existence of the regular Galaxy S21. It’s only $100 more than the Galaxy S20 FE and offers a lot of very similar specs. It’s possible Samsung painted itself into a corner, and the Galaxy S21 FE could end up simply being a Galaxy S21 with only very subtle changes.

With all that in mind, below, you’ll find everything we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. Be sure to keep this page bookmarked! We will update it with new rumors and confirmed info as we get closer to the launch date.

Name and release date

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE rear and center

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung has not formally confirmed that it would launch a device this year called the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. However, there have been multiple bits of info that make it a sure bet.

First, in 2020, Samsung committed to releasing “Fan Editions” of its major flagships every year going forward. Obviously, the company could go back on that promise, but that heavily suggests we’ll see a Galaxy S21 FE. Next, Samsung’s website did briefly reference a phone by that name. This could have been a simple typo, but it lends more weight to the idea that this phone is on the way.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review second opinion

Finally, we saw a leaked roadmap of Samsung’s plans for product launches in 2021, and the Galaxy S21 FE is on the list. It’s clear that Samsung plans on releasing the phone — but when? That’s something pretty much no one can figure out.

A tip on August 27 suggested the Galaxy S21 FE could debut on September 8. That never happened. We expected the phone to launch even earlier than that, but that didn’t happen either. Then in late September, rumors were swirling that the phone wasn’t going to launch at all. The ongoing global chip shortage was cited as the cause.

However, we’ve heard two other rumors that the Galaxy S21 FE will launch in January 2022. On October 15, leakers Max WeinbachRoss Young, and Jon Prosser all said Samsung was gearing up to launch the S21 FE in January, with Prosser citing a January 11 launch date. Prosser later claimed that the phone would actually launch on January 4 and be released to market on January 11. He asserted that there wouldn’t be a pre-order period.

Finally, the working theory from SamMobile is that Samsung will launch the Galaxy S21 FE a few days earlier than expected at CES 2022. The trade show takes place January 5-8, though Samsung has yet to announce the date of its yearly keynote.

Reporting from South Korea echoes this. Per Digital Daily on November 8, which directly cites a Samsung official, the phone will debut at the Las Vegas event and may launch in Europe from mid-January 2022. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Design

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE in hand 1

David Imel / Android Authority

Last year, the Galaxy S20 FE looked a whole lot like the Galaxy S20 lineup. This year, we expect to see Samsung do the same thing with the 2021 iteration.

Notably, it looks like the phone’s overall size will be slightly larger than the Galaxy S21. At 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm, this phone should sit comfortably between the sizes of the Galaxy S21 (151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm) and the Galaxy S21 Plus (161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm).

A few weeks after the Hemmerstoffer leaks, serial leaker Evan Blass chimed in with some more renders. These images show off the varied colorways that might be available:

Do note that the Galaxy S20 FE received six colorways, and we’ve only seen five so far for the follow-up.

Blass also shared a short video clip of the Galaxy S21 FE from all angles. Check it out below:

Aside from the color palette, the Galaxy S21 FE looks pretty much exactly like the Galaxy S21 lineup (barring the Galaxy S21 Ultra, of course). Unfortunately, it does not appear that Samsung is bringing back the headphone jack, which is disappointing but not surprising.

Interestingly, Samsung may have leaked the Galaxy S21 FE in a since-deleted Instagram post on August 10. The phone in the promo seemingly matched the leaked images of the phone we’ve seen thus far.

On August 20, a 3D model of the Galaxy S21 FE left little doubt about the phone’s design. Check it out above.

Leaker Rolan Quandt tweeted four images showing the rear cover of the Galaxy S21 FE in grey, pink, white, and green colorways.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE cameras macro 2

David Imel / Android Authority

As far as specs go, we heard the Galaxy S21 FE might not get the same battery as this year’s Plus model, which is what happened last year. Instead, it looks like it could have a 4,500mAh cell. That makes it 500mAh bigger than the Galaxy S21 but 300mAh smaller than the Galaxy S21 Plus. That FCC listing we mentioned also suggests 45W wired charging could be included, which would be a huge change for the series (the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the only phone with those charging speeds).

Related: The best Android smartphones with the best battery life

A big question is whether or not the Snapdragon 888 processor would be included with the Galaxy S21 FE. Thankfully, the previously mentioned FCC listing suggests that it will be onboard.

Most recently, a listing on the Chinese certification site TENAA confirmed a lot of these rumors. It also gave away the camera specs, which appear to be largely the same as the Galaxy S20 FE and Galaxy S21: a 12MP main, a 12MP ultra-wide, and an 8MP telephoto.

Finally, one curious rumor is the Galaxy S21 FE’s relation to the Note line. Samsung confirmed that there wouldn’t be a Note phone in 2021, but Evan Blass posits that the S21 FE could be what lands in place of a Note. Now, this could just mean that Samsung is going to put the same resources behind the S21 FE that it would have for a Note phone. But it could also mean that the S21 FE is a pseudo-follow-up to the Note 20. Lots of questions with this one!

Pricing and availability

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Box

David Imel / Android Authority

The price of the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will be one of its most important features. It needs to be cheaper than even the vanilla Galaxy S21. With the Galaxy S21 starting at $799 — and the Galaxy S20 FE starting at $699 — Samsung doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room this year.

We have seen one price-related rumor so far. According to The Korea Herald, Samsung might price the S21 FE at 700,000 to 800,000 won (~$630 to ~$720) in its home market. If true, that would be a significant price drop from the Galaxy S20 FE’s 899,800 won (~$809) Korean launch price. Of course, there’s no guarantee that other markets could see a similar price drop. Although it certainly suggests Samsung is doubling down on the value-driven approach it introduced last year.

As for availability, Samsung is usually really good about making its high-profile devices available globally. However, the ongoing global chip shortage could throw a wrench into Samsung’s plans. In fact, there’s a rumor that the company could only launch the Galaxy S21 FE in the US and Europe. Another rumor suggested there could be production delays, too. Hopefully, this doesn’t cause too many problems.

Those are all the credible rumors we’ve seen so far for the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE! Be sure to bookmark this page to stay up-to-date on the latest leaks.

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