S21 FE hands-on (13)

Samsung may fix the Galaxy S21 FE’s biggest problem with some new hardware

It’ll be cheaper, but even that comes at a cost

We spent the better part of last year relishing in the rollercoaster that was the Galaxy S21 FE launch. Initially leaked in the spring, Samsung’s mid-range successor to the S21 series was hit with delay after delay, even getting hit with rumors of its cancellation. It took until January of this year for the S21 FE to hit store shelves, but with its steep price tag, it was a hard recommendation over the Pixel 6. Samsung might want a second shot, as rumors of an even cheaper variant are picking up steam.

The folks at Galaxy Club spotted listings for a more affordable, less powerful version of the Galaxy S21 FE headed to store shelves in Europe (via SamMobile). As you might expect, the processor takes a hit to bring down the price. Gone is the Snapdragon 888 that powered the original model, replaced with a Snapdragon 720G that fits better with Samsung’s mid-range goals. It’s an older chip — first announced in January 2020 — and notably, it doesn’t support 5G. That could be a dealbreaker for some shoppers, though a poll we conducted last year suggests most people might not care.


Thankfully, 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and a 6.4″ FHD+ display made the cut, as did its triple camera setup — dual 12MP wide lenses paired with an 8MP telephoto — a 32MP front-facing camera, and the 4,500mAh battery that All of that lines up with the initial variant released this year, and if the price is low enough, it could make for a tempting alternative to the Galaxy A53 and upcoming Pixel 6a helped the original model reach two-day status.

These listings spawned from two different vendors in Europe, but it’s not the only evidence Samsung is working on an LTE-only variant of the S21 FE. A new device with model number SM-G990B2 passed through Bluetooth certification recently; the original S21 FE sports the model number SM-G990B in European markets. It’s all lining up for a new low-cost option on store shelves, though we’ll have to wait and see what markets it arrives in before we get too excited.

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