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Ting Tested: Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G review

S21 FE 5G phone next to notebooks and a pencil. There is a badge above the phone that says

If you’re thinking about a smartphone upgrade, it’s worth considering the Galaxy S21 FE 5G. As my daily driver for the past week, I was impressed with everything about this phone. Amazing camera, great battery life, snappy usability – not to mention the S21 FE’s simple, clean design that feels just right.

I had the chance to test out the S20 FE a year ago, and, similar to my experience then, found that the “value” model of Samsung’s premier flagship offers a comparable device for less.

Oh, and if you think I have missed any important aspects in my review, drop us a comment below or a message on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and I can always add more details.

It’s tough to find a phone these days that actually fits in one hand. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this new “Fan Edition” model of the Galaxy series stuck with a smaller design for the second year in a row. Perfect for those who don’t like a large smartphone screen, including myself, who opts to game on my Nintendo Switch or watch shows on a TV.

What I do care about is a high quality camera, and the S21 FE boasts three impressive lenses – a 12-megapixel main lens, 8-megapixel telephoto lens and 12-megapixel ultrawide lens. The Pixel 6, by comparison (which I would call the only true competitor to the S21 FE), doesn’t offer a telephoto lens, so if zoom shots are important to you then the S21 FE is a better bet.

Cosmo scoping out the first big snowfall of the year

I noticed that the S21 FE’s camera does an excellent job of focusing on targets, even in low light situations (which is useful during dreary winters). One new feature worth mentioning is Dual Recording view, which allows you to record video through the front and rear cameras at the same time, which seems like it could have some neat uses.

I took this photo on an exceptionally cloudy day, but the S21 FE still finds a way to highlight colors well

While both the Pixel 6 and S21 FE have 6.4 inch displays, the S21 FE feels more compact due to its almost bezel-less design. Its plastic back may seem inferior to the Pixel 6 but I honestly prefer the grippiness over a glass rear that constantly slips out of my hand.

When it comes to other features that I care about, the S21 FE checks those boxes too. It ships with the latest OS, Android 12, has 5G capabilities so you’ll get the greatest network speeds for the foreseeable future, and its on-screen fingerprint sensor makes waking the device a breeze.

Available in the Ting Shop today for just $699, it’s my pick for the best flagship of the year, just at a much more reasonable price.