Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Makes Benchmark Debut Ahead Of U.S. Release

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Samsung is widely expected to launch a new, cost-reduced version of its Galaxy S21 smartphone in the coming months. Last year, Samsung released the Galaxy S20 FE, and this year will see the arrival of the Galaxy S21 FE.

Luckily for us, the Galaxy S21 FE (internal designation SM-G990U) made an appearance in Geekbench, carrying the same processor as the rest of the Galaxy S21 family: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. Global versions of the Galaxy S21 FE are likely to include Samsung's homegrown Exynos 2100 SoC. However, given that the Galaxy S21 FE will hit a lower price point, Samsung had to make some compromises.

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ are only available with 8GB of RAM, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra is fitted with either 12GB or 16GB of RAM. The Galaxy S21 FE, on the other hand, comes with just 6GB of RAM, according to the Geekbench listing. It's possible, however, that Samsung might offer 8GB of RAM with higher storage tiers (a la, 6GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB).

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According to previous rumors, the Galaxy S21 FE will feature slightly larger overall dimensions than the baseline Galaxy S21. It is also expected to sport a larger 6.4-inch display (versus 6.2 inches). It has also been suggested that while the Galaxy S21 FE will retain three cameras on the back, Samsung could opt for lower quality glass to cut costs. This downgrade would impact overall image quality, but Samsung is likely hoping that customers won't mind if the price is right.

At this time, it's not known where else Samsung will reduce its manufacturing costs. The Galaxy S21 already employs a cheap "galactic" body, so perhaps Samsung could go with an inferior selfie camera or skimp on the battery (which might be a bad idea with the larger display).

Whatever the outcome, Samsung will need to make a worthwhile price cut versus the Galaxy S21, which retails for $799. We saw Galaxy S21 pricing reach as low as $699 shortly after launch. We'd imagine that the Galaxy S21 FE would need an MSRP of $699 or less to put enough daylight between it and the Galaxy S21, with the inevitable discounts pushing that pricing further downward.