After using and reviewing the Galaxy Fold, I’m back in the Samsung family with the Galaxy F21 FE 5G which I’ve been using since launch. FE stands for Fan Edition and as this implies, the phone features are a collection of fan’s most essential elements. The phone comes in 4 colours – white, lavender, olive green, and graphite. I took some time deciding between white and lavender but white finally won the day because of its clean classy look. Not to say that the other colours are anything less though. It is really just a matter of preference and I love that Samsung has given users choice.
I’ve had the phone since launch now and have had time to interact with it. Here are a few of my thoughts.
The back is made of a matte plastic with a premium finish that does not pick fingerprints. It is clutter free with just the camera casing bumping up slightly, the flashlight, and very subtle Samsung branding. The sides have a metal railing that is very well blended both in colour and in finish. I’ve always been a fan of simplicity, and this hit all the right spots as far as that is concerned.
To further this clean minimalistic look, Samsung has kept only two buttons on the sides of the phone. The power button and the volume rocker. These are on the right side and the left side is completely free. The fingerprint is in-screen, freeing up the back even more. The SIM tray is at the bottom of the phone alongside stereo speakers, microphone, and USB port.
The phone does not have a 3.5mm jack but this is not really a problem for me since I’m a Bluetooth girl.
The cameras are well framed and the phone cover wraps around them with no joints. This gives the phone a unique look.
As always, the first feature I go to when a new phone checks in is the camera. Samsung phones have always come with an assurance of good photography and I could not wait to take some pics with the Galaxy S21 FE 5G. The phone has a 12MP primary camera, a 12MP for ultrawide and an 8MP tele photo lens with 3X optical zoom.
There is a whole lot that the camera can get upto especially if you tinker with the settings. Under the Pro mode for instance, users have ISO, white balance and exposure to play around with. These are settings which can be adjusted to transform the photography game from basic to professional. The front camera is 32MP, quite a win for selfie lovers and video calls. The selfie camera also has settings for photo customization.
Samsung has also really done good with the video. Both front and back cameras will capture content in 4K and in formats like slow motion, dual recording, portrait video and pro. It also has a super steady feature which users can switch on for steady videos.
I went out and took some photos with the phone and here are a few.
The screen is 6.4” with a 2340x1080p full HD resolution, making it pleasant to use due to great colour accuracy. It is highly responsive with a refresh rate of 120Hz, with an option to reduce to 60Hz to save on battery. If you’re somewhere away from a charger and worried about battery levels, this is a feature to look out for. At just 175g, the phone is light and easy to carry around.
Speaking of battery, the phone comes with a 4500mAh battery. There is no charger in the box, but it does have 15W wireless charging capabilities and 25W adaptor charging. As an estimate, you can charge from 0-51% in about half an hour.
A fully charged battery lasts me all day and I’m a heavy user since my work and entertainment are mostly on phone. To be fair, I’m using it alongside another device so workload is divided. I can however tell that even as an only phone, I wouldn’t struggle with a dead battery in the middle of the day. It would still carry me through the day and maybe only show signs of going low in the evening when I’d be headed home anyway.
My unit has 128GB ROM and 6GB RAM though there is another variant with 256GB ROM and 8GB RAM. There is no slot for MicroSD and therefore no storage expansion, but I’m not really worried about that. 128GB is quite a lot of storage and besides, there are lots of options for transferring data to cloud.
The Samsung Galaxy F21 FE features a Snapdragon 888 5G flagship chipset. As mentioned earlier, it has a 120Hz refresh rate. With the combination of good storage and a good chip, and Android 12, it is a fast phone with zero lags even for the most ardent multitaskers and gamers.
Being a Samsung, users have the power of Bixby in their hands and can make use of voice commands for tasks ranging from making calls to managing other smart devices.
The Samsung Galaxy F21 FE comes with quite an impressive stereo sound which is further customizable in the sound settings. Users can play around with the equalizer to get their preferred sound or make use of the personalize presents to set sound based on age.
Still in the settings, users can also turn on Dolby Atmos for surround sound, and choose between movie, music, voice, or leave it at auto. The bass is not up there but we can only expect so much from a phone.
A few more pics from my kitchen…
With all phones, there is always something new to discover and the full range of use gets clear with time. In this article we have explored the features that stand out and that are the backbone of any device.
The F21 FE has a lot of other features for users to explore and tweak, and eventually get a phone that is a true representation of themselves. To kick users off, the device comes with expert tips to help users learn it and to customize as per liking. These are under the Tips And User Manual in the settings tab. I feel this is a very good place to start in the initial stages of using the phone.
As mentioned earlier, we have two variants of this phone. The 128GB retails at around Ksh.88,299/- and the 256GB goes for Ksh.96,999/-