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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S20 FE: Should you upgrade?

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Last updated: January 4th, 2022 at 10:20 UTC+01:00

The Galaxy S21 FE was unveiled earlier today, and it comes with some improvements over the Galaxy S20 FE. The new phone features a newer processor, a newer design, and a newer version of Android. But are the improvements good enough to warrant an upgrade? Let us check out how the Galaxy S21 FE compares to the Galaxy S20 FE, and should you upgrade to the former.

Both phones have similar displays, audio, and build quality

Let’s start with the design. The Galaxy S21 FE uses a metal frame, glass front, and plastic back, similar to the Galaxy S20 FE, but it has a more modern design, in line with the rest of the Galaxy S21 series. Other features, including the IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, remain similar as well. The Galaxy S21 FE has a slightly lighter and more compact body, though. If you want a more handy phone, the Galaxy S21 FE should be your choice.

Coming to the screen, the Galaxy S21 FE has a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display with Full HD+ resolution, HDR10+, and an optical in-display fingerprint reader. In comparison, the Galaxy S20 FE has a 6.5-inch display of the same kind and specs. The Galaxy S21 FE has slightly thinner bezels, though. But most people won’t notice any difference between them.

Improved performance, but no microSD expansion

Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S21 FE with a newer processor (Exynos 2100 or Snapdragon 888, depending on the region), 8GB RAM, and 128GB/256GB internal storage. If you have the Exynos 990 variant of the Galaxy S20 FE, you will notice a performance bump while using the Galaxy S21 FE. If you have the Snapdragon 865 version of the Galaxy S20 FE, you might not see any sizeable jump in performance or battery life.

If you want a microSD card for storage space expansion, you would be disappointed to know that the Galaxy S21 FE lacks a microSD card slot. Both phones have Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, USB 3.2 Type-C port, Samsung Pay, Samsung DeX, 4,500mAh batteries, 25W fast charging, 15W fast wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.

Both phones have similar cameras

Samsung hasn’t upgraded the cameras with the Galaxy S21 FE. Both phones have a 12MP primary camera with OIS, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and an 8MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and OIS. Both devices also feature a 32MP front-facing camera and the ability to record 4K 60fps videos using front and rear cameras. So, apart from minor optimizations, you won’t see any significant improvements in terms of still images or videos.

Galaxy S21 FE gets two additional years of software support

The Galaxy S20 FE was launched in late 2019 with Android 10-based One UI 2.5. The phone got the Android 11-based One UI 3.1 update earlier this year and the Android 12-based One UI 4.0 update is already out for the Galaxy S20 FE in a few countries. The Android 13 update will be its last Android version update.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S21 FE comes with Android 12-based One UI 4.0, and it will get three more Android OS updates, which means that it is good for Android 13, Android 14, and Android 15 updates in the future. This is the single biggest reason to upgrade from the Galaxy S20 FE to the Galaxy S21 FE.

So what's the verdict?

As you can see, there’s very little difference between the two phones. Both have similar displays, audio, connectivity features, and batteries. If you are coming from the Exynos 990 version of the Galaxy S20 FE, the Galaxy S21 FE could be a good upgrade as you’ll get faster performance, 5G connectivity, and more extended software update support.

However, if you are using the Snapdragon version of the Galaxy S20 FE, upgrading to the Galaxy S21 FE won’t make much difference unless you want those extra two years of OS updates and don't care about expandable storage.

What are your thoughts on the Galaxy S21 FE? Would you upgrade to this new phone from Samsung? Let us know in the comments section below.

Samsung
Galaxy S21 FE

Buy Full specs

Samsung
Galaxy S20 FE

Buy Full specs

Samsung
Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Buy Full specs

General Information

  • Model Name

    Galaxy S21 FE

    Galaxy S20 FE

    Galaxy S20 FE 5G

  • Model type

    Bar

    Bar

    Bar

  • Colors

    Graphite ()Lavender ()Olive ()White ()

    Navy (Cloud Navy)Red (Cloud Red)White (Cloud White)Lavender (Cloud Lavender)Mint (Cloud Mint)Orange (Cloud Orange)

    Navy (Cloud Navy)Red (Cloud Red)White (Cloud White)Lavender (Cloud Lavender)Mint (Cloud Mint)Orange (Cloud Orange)

  • Announced

    2022, January

    2020, September

    2020, September

  • Released

    2020, October

    2020, October

Physical specifications

  • Dimensions

    Bar: 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm

    Bar: 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm

    Bar: 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm

  • Weights

    177g

    190g

    190g

  • IP rating

    IP68

    IP68

    IP68

Operating system

  • Operating system

    Android 12

    Android 11

    Android 10

  • One UI version

    4.0

    3.0

    2.5

Networks

  • SIM

    Dual SIM model

    Dual SIM model (Hybrid SIM slot)

    Dual SIM model (Hybrid SIM slot)

  • SIM card sizes

    Nano-SIM (4FF)

    Nano-SIM (4FF)

    Nano-SIM (4FF)

  • Networks

    2G3G4G5G

    2G3G4G

    2G3G4G5G

  • eSIM support

    No

    No

    No

Display

  • Kind

    Main Display

  • Name

    Infinity-O Display

    Infinity-O Display

    Infinity-O Display

  • Technology

    Dynamic AMOLED 2X

    Super AMOLED Display

    Super AMOLED Display

  • Size

    6.4 inch / 162.6 mm

    6.5 inch / 165.1 mm

    6.5 inch / 165.1 mm

  • Resolution

    FHD+ / 2400x1080 pixels

    FHD+ / 2400x1080 pixels

    FHD+ / 2400x1080 pixels

  • Pixel density

    411 PPI

    407 PPI

    407 PPI

  • Screen to body ratio

    ~84.8%

    ~84.8%

  • Refresh rate

    120Hz

    120Hz


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