Two-minute review

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE really challenges the idiom ‘better late than never’: arriving around five months after it was expected – and 11 months and one week after the other phones in the Galaxy S21 family – the S21 FE is finally here only a month or so before the next-gen Galaxy range.

This is purportedly the budget member of the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, offering features and specs from the main S21 family, but at a lower asking price because of a few select downgrades that average phone users likely won’t notice. This phone is also not the first Fan Edition phone from Samsung (it should be noted that the Galaxy S20 FE proved rather popular).

Right off the bat, the price is a problem. The S21 FE is supposed to be the budget member of its family (a fact denoted by the FE in the name) but arriving so long after other phones in the S21 range, it is full price whereas others have been discounted. You can pick up the Galaxy S21 – a now older phone with more impressive specs and features – for less (assuming you find a good, sub-$600 deal). As Rick Rossovich says in Top Gun: “no points for second place.”

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE’s price problem is a shame, because the mobile could be a tempting buy at a more competitive price point. Nowadays, you can get phones with the same processor, screen specs and camera capabilities for less.

But the price is not the mobile’s only issue. The phone – even with its wireless charging – is rather slow to charge, and it also doesn’t last long enough between charges. We sometimes had to curtail our standard usage to ensure the phone lasted a full day.