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Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 Ultra: Budget-friendly vs no-compromise

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Last updated: January 4th, 2022 at 10:12 UTC+02:00

After Galaxy Unpacked at CES, the Galaxy S21 FE became the most affordable model in the entire Galaxy S21 series. At the other end of the spectrum, the Galaxy S21 Ultra remains the most expensive device in the lineup, thanks to a combination of advanced technologies and exclusive features. So, how does the cost-effective Galaxy S21 FE compare to Samsung’s greatest, no-compromise “candy bar” mobile phone yet? Let’s have a look.

Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 Ultra: Displays and cameras

Quite obviously, the Galaxy S21 FE has a smaller 6.4-inch display, whereas the Galaxy S21 Ultra is equipped with a 6.8-inch panel.

More importantly, the Galaxy S21 FE has a lower resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, and the panel doesn’t have a built-in digitizer for the S Pen. In fact, the Galaxy S21 Ultra remains the only Galaxy S phone to offer S Pen support, at least for a few more weeks until the Galaxy S22 Ultra becomes official.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s AMOLED panel can top a higher peak brightness level of 1,500 nits, up from the FE model’s 1,200 nits. So, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a superior display, but the Galaxy S21 FE’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel can certainly hold its own, especially at its lower price point.

As for the cameras, the Galaxy S21 FE is similar to the base Galaxy S21 model, save for the fact that it has an 8MP telephoto shooter with 3x optical zoom and a higher-resolution 32MP selfie sensors. So how does this hold up against the top-tier variant? Needless to say, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a vastly superior camera phone next to the Galaxy S21 FE, as it boasts four main shooters, 10x optical zoom, and a 40MP selfie shooter with PDAF.

Galaxy S21 FE vs Galaxy S21 Ultra: Cheaper vs pricier

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is, without a doubt, better in virtually every category, save for the fact that it ships with Android 11 instead of Android 12 and One UI 4.0. Thankfully, Galaxy S21 Ultra customers can grab the One UI 4.0, but as far as future-proofing is concerned, the Galaxy S21 FE should benefit from one extra Android OS update roughly three years from now.

Firmware aside, the Galaxy S21 Ultra model has a larger battery, more powerful cameras, a bigger, brighter, higher-resolution display with S Pen support, UWB, a higher build quality, and more.

Then again, the Galaxy S21 FE offers similar performance levels because it uses the same Exynos 2100 / Snapdragon 888 chipset. Despite this, the Fan Edition model costs almost half the price of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it should be obvious why. The Ultra model is a no-compromise phone, whereas the Galaxy S21 FE works the other way around.

If you’re looking for a budget Samsung flagship, you already know that the Galaxy S21 Ultra isn’t it because it never was. As to whether or not the higher price of the Galaxy S21 Ultra is worth it over the Galaxy S21 FE, that’s for you to decide. It all comes down to how much you use mobile cameras, whether or not you need an S Pen and UWB, whether you’ll care about firmware support a few years down the line, and other factors.

Galaxy S21 Ultra review

Samsung
Galaxy S21 FE

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Samsung
Galaxy S21 Ultra

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General Information

  • Model Name

    Galaxy S21 FE

    Galaxy S21 Ultra

  • Model type

    Bar

    Bar

  • Colors

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

    Black (Black)Silver (Silver)Brown (Brown)Navy (Navy)Titanium (Titanium)

  • Announced

    2022, January

    2021, January

  • Released

    2021, January

Physical specifications

  • Dimensions

    Bar: 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm

    Bar: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm

  • Weights

    177g

    229g

  • IP rating

    IP68

    IP68

Operating system

  • Operating system

    Android 12

    Android 11

  • One UI version

    4.0

    3.1

Networks

  • SIM

    Dual SIM model

    Dual SIM model

  • SIM card sizes

    Nano-SIM (4FF)

    Nano-SIM (4FF)

  • Networks

    2G3G4G5G

    2G3G4G5G

  • eSIM support

    No

    Yes

Display

  • Kind

    Main Display

  • Name

    Infinity-O Display

  • Technology

    Dynamic AMOLED 2X

  • Size

    6.8 inch / 172.72 mm

  • Resolution

    WQHD+ / 3200x1440 pixels

  • Pixel density

    515 PPI

  • Screen to body ratio

    ~89.9%

  • Refresh rate

    120Hz

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Phone Galaxy S21 FEGalaxy S21 Ultra
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