Worth for cash is vital, however we nonetheless want telephones just like the Galaxy S21 Extremely

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE vs Galaxy S21 Ultra

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

In the last six months, Samsung has launched extra flagship smartphones to go well with a wider vary of consumers than ever earlier than. For the extra budget-conscious client, there’s the Galaxy S20 FE that launched to important acclaim in late September 2020. This extra value-oriented pricing technique seeped into Samsung’s 2021 flagship launch too. The usual Galaxy S21 mannequin prices $200 lower than 2020’s Galaxy S20. Samsung has made a few of its newest merchandise fairly inexpensive, lastly tackling the attract of cheaper flagship telephones from Chinese language manufacturers.

Then there’s the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely. A colossal $1,199 technological behemoth that includes the very newest and best that Samsung has to supply — with an eye-watering value to match. Even right here although, Samsung has lowered the value of its S21 Extremely all the way down to the identical value as final yr’s S20 Plus.

Learn extra: Samsung Galaxy S21 buyer’s guide — everything you need to know

We don’t know whether or not Samsung’s flip to decrease pricing is a well-timed response to the financial fallout of COVID-19 or a extra concerted effort to rejuvenate falling flagship gross sales. In accordance with Statista, Samsung’s common quarterly market share crept down from 21.8% in 2017 to twenty.6% in 2020. That very same timeframe has seen Oppo and Xiaomi develop into more and more highly effective market forces. To not point out Samsung’s ongoing rivalry with Apple. There’s by no means been a extra urgent time for Samsung to make its costs extra enticing.

Samsung is within the midst of weighing up its need to push the technological envelope with the fact that worth for cash is driving the majority of gross sales progress within the cell business. Because of this, it’s ended up with two totally different telephones for 2 very totally different customers. However will actuality actually trump ambition in 2021?

Our verdicts:

Two telephones for 2 very totally different clients

Having spent some respectable hands-on time with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and Galaxy S21 Extremely, in addition to the S21 Plus model, there’s actually not a complete lot to select from between these telephones for day-to-day use. Sending messages, looking the net, checking e-mail, and snapping a fast image all work and really feel the identical, whether or not you spend $699 or $1,199.

Importantly, the S20 FE presents the identical integration with Samsung’s SmartThings and Dex help (if you happen to’ve purchased into Samsung’s wider ecosystem), wi-fi charging, an IP68 ranking, and 5G networking help. This matches its dearer siblings. It’s already operating Android 11 too. Put merely, the S20 Fan Version could be very a lot a fully-fledged Galaxy S expertise, solely cheaper. There’s a motive it gained our Editor’s Choice award for 2020 smartphone of the yr.

The trade-off with decrease costs throughout the board is that not a lot changed between the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21. The truth is, the newer fashions truly noticed a number of downgrades with a purpose to assist deliver down the value, such because the omission of a microSD card slot and, on the vanilla mannequin, a plastic rear construct. The Galaxy S21 Extremely is the one alternative if you happen to’re after one thing from Samsung that feels actually new. That is yet one more signal of Samsung’s shift in technique. The core Galaxy S {hardware} providing is now nice sufficient to hit pause on. Not less than for one era.

  Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely
Show 6.5-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Flat FHD+
2,400 x 1,080 at 407ppi
Adaptive 120Hz refresh fee
HDR10+ licensed
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Curved WQHD+
3,200 x 1,440 at 515ppi
Adaptive 120Hz refresh fee
HDR10+ licensed
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) or Samsung Exynos 990 (4G) Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or Samsung Exynos 2100
RAM 6GB 12 or 16GB
Storage 128 or 256GB 128, 256, or 512GB
MicroSD Sure, as much as 1TB No
Battery 4,500mAh
Quick wired and wi-fi charging
Quick wired and wi-fi charging
Reverse wi-fi charging
Cameras Rear:
– Extensive-angle: 12MP, 1/1.76″, ƒ/1.8, 1.8µm
– Telephoto: 8MP, ƒ/2.4, 1.0µm
– Extremely-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.12µm

Hybrid optical/digital zoom at 3x
“Area Zoom” at 30x

– 32MP sensor, ƒ/2.2, .8µm

– Extensive-angle: 108MP, ƒ/1.8, 0.8µm with OIS and phase-detection AF
– Telephoto: 10MP, ƒ/2.4, 1.22µm with OIS, dual-pixel AF, and 3x optical zoom
– Telephoto: 10MP, ƒ/4.9, 1.22µm with OIS, dual-pixel AF, and 10x optical zoom
– Extremely-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.4µm with dual-pixel AF and a 120-degree FoV
– Laser AF sensor

10x optical zoom
100x “Area Zoom”

– 40MP, ƒ/2.2, 0.7µm, with phase-detection AF

Connectivity 4G-only possibility
4G/5G help (sub-6Ghz and mmWave)
4G/5G help (sub-6Ghz and mmWave)
S Pen help No Sure
Working System One UI 3.1
Android 11 (improve)
One UI 3.1
Android 11
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Safety Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlock Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, face unlock
Shade Cloud Navy, Cloud Pink, Cloud Lavender, Cloud Mint, Cloud White, Cloud Orange 128 GB in Phantom Silver and Phantom Black
256 and 512GB in Phantom Black
Future colours: Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, and Phantom Brown
Dimensions and weight 74.5×159.8×8.4mm
75.6 x 165.1 x 8.9mm

Not lots has modified from the S20 to S21, except the S21 Extremely mannequin.

Bleeding-edge efficiency, time-of-flight cameras, and fancy curved shows are good luxuries, however they’re precisely the correct kind of corners that may be lower with out customers noticing an excessive amount of. Whereas the “common client” would possibly probably not exist (all of us have our personal wants and needs from a cellphone in spite of everything), even probably the most eagle-eyed of us wrestle to make out a 5fps enhance to our video games or the refined pixel-sized variations in digicam high quality with next-gen {hardware}. Flagships {hardware} is already glorious for many use circumstances, so value and aesthetic design have turn out to be extra vital. It’s no coincidence that colorway picks are more and more numerous lately.

With the Galaxy S20 FE, Samsung distilled the quintessential Galaxy S expertise down to simply $699. A formidable feat and one which makes it more and more troublesome to justify $500 extra the S21 Extremely’s diminishingly improved options. 80% of the expertise for nearly half the value is a worth proposition that speaks to most client’s widespread sense.

Learn extra: Galaxy S21 prices make this Samsung’s most inclusive line-up in years

Worth versus ambition, which comes out on prime?

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 2

Credit score: Adam Molina / Android Authority

This isn’t to say that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely isn’t an excellent smartphone. It actually has its followers, myself included, and there’s a small however wholesome market of ultra-enthusiast cellphone patrons on the market. Significantly choosy photographers, S Pen fanatics, app energy customers, and probably the most demanding avid gamers undoubtedly have one thing to achieve from the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

However the final couple of years have seen ultra-premium telephones, not simply from Samsung, take a backseat as technological showcases that the majority will have a look at from afar. They’re now not a era’s must-have buy, and whereas they usually characterize a heavy proportion of gross sales at launch from fanatics, the extra inexpensive choices have tended to be the true gross sales drivers.

So ought to Samsung abandon telephones just like the Galaxy S21 Extremely in favor of an completely inexpensive method? Undoubtedly not, in my view.

Technological innovation is important in relation to tech firm reputations. In spite of everything, pundits love to check the most recent and best options from rival firms, akin to a camera shootout versus Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max. All of us need to see what’s attainable with a high-end price range. However cutting-edge handsets additionally plot the roadmap for extra inexpensive fashions additional down the road. Beforehand costly wi-fi charging and 5G parts are rather more inexpensive as we speak, and the identical will finally be true for periscope cameras and the like. Premium-tier innovation is what drives the business.

Worth could be extra interesting, however Samsung wants premium-tier innovation for its next-gen handsets.

Samsung’s present technique is a becoming one, notably given the occasions we’re dwelling in. As long as it stays financially viable, I undoubtedly need to see Samsung proceed to distill its newest know-how all the way down to the core necessities with a Samsung Galaxy S21 Fan Version mannequin. Decrease costs are nice, clearly. Though the already extra inexpensive nature of the Galaxy S21 collection may even see an S21 FE wrestle to face out in comparison with final yr.

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That stated, the scenario might want to change once more come 2022. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 lineup would require a touch of high-end innovation to maintain customers . A single era the place not lots adjustments is ok however two can be a worrying signal of stagnation on the firm. Fortuitously, a balanced however evolving portfolio spanning an economical FE to bleeding-edge Extremely ought to hold most customers glad.

The fact of a value-oriented market might come up trumps towards technological ambition in 2021, however I anticipate customers will yearn for a return to extra aggressive innovation subsequent yr.

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