Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


CES 2022: Samsung Galaxy S21 FE revealed with flagship features and affordable price

Samsung's Galaxy S20 FE was a fan favorite over the past year due to its affordable price and high-end features that made it clearly one of the best mid-range phones available. The S21 FE continues as a more affordable flagship for the masses.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

There will always be people like me that purchase the latest and greatest because we want to explore all that a company has to offer. However, millions don't want to pay $1000 or more for their phone and Samsung offers its FE (fan edition) series that brings most of the premium features from its flagships to a more affordable device.

The new Samsung Galaxy S21 FE will be available starting on 11 January from Samsung, other retailers, and wireless carriers starting at $699.99. It offers that cool S21 Contour-Cut frame around the cameras, four new color options, fabulous display with 120Hz refresh rate, triple rear camera system, and more. The S21 FE is powered by a Snapdragon 888 processor with Android 12 and Samsung UI 4.

A 32MP front-facing camera is present with AI face restoration features and dual recording so you can capture the action from the front-facing camera and rear camera at the same time. 5G is supported as well and when you set this down next to the S21, it's tough to see many differences.


  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Main display: 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Operating system: Android 12 with OneUI 4
  • RAM: 6GB/8GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB internal storage
  • Dust/water resistance: IP68
  • Cameras: 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide (123 degrees field of view), and 8MP telephoto with 30x Space Zoom. 32MP front-facing camera
  • Battery: 4500mAh non-removable with wireless charging, wireless PowerShare, and fast charging support
  • Dimensions: 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm and a weight of 177g
  • Colors: Olive, Lavender, White, Graphite

See also: Best Samsung phone 2022: Explore a new Galaxy

Looking at the S21 Plus for comparison, differences can be seen in the amount of RAM, slightly smaller display, telephoto camera (8MP vs 64MP), and slightly smaller battery capacity. The S21 FE has a better front-facing camera, 32MP vs 10MP. The S21 Plus starts at $999.99 while the S21 FE starts at $699.99 for the 6GB RAM/128GB internal storage model. The 8GB/256GB model is priced at just $70 more, $769.99.

Due to snowfall in the area, UPS was unable to deliver the evaluation unit before we departed for CES in Vegas. Stay tuned for hands-on impressions and a review of the new phone in the weeks ahead.

Editorial standards