Samsung Galaxy S22 vs. S21 vs. S21FE vs. S20 FE – Which is Best for You?

With the Galaxy S22, S21, S21 FE and the S20 FE, Samsung has four exciting options on offer. The Galaxy S22 is of course the latest from Samsung, and it features the latest hardware, 50MP rear camera, and runs Android 12 out of the box.

Of course, last year's Galaxy S21 is nothing to sneeze at either, and the phone is a notable option for 2022. Then there's the S21 FE, which has the same hardware as the S21, the same great cameras, a 120Hz AMOLED display and all the extras, but for a lot less money. And as Samsung continues to sell the S20 FE, you've got a budget phone that can continue to hold its own.

So if you're looking for a new phone and can't decide which device to buy, here's what you need to know.

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Galaxy S22 vs. S21 vs. S21 FE vs. S20 FE: Technical specifications

We'll go into a little more detail about what each smartphone has to offer below, but first let's take a look at what you get from a hardware perspective. All four devices have a few consistent features: 120Hz AMOLED screens, IP68 dust and water protection, reverse wireless charging, stereo sound, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of base storage, and 5G connectivity.

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display

S22: 6.1-inch 120Hz AMOLED, 2340x1080 (20:9), Gorilla Glass Victus+

S21: 6.2-inch 120Hz AMOLED, 2400x1080 (20:9), Gorilla Glass Victus

S21 FE: 6.4-inch 120Hz AMOLED, 2400x1080 (20:9), Gorilla Glass Victus

S20 FE: 6.5-inch 120Hz AMOLED, 2400x1080 (20:9), Gorilla Glass 5

Chipset

S22: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 1 x 2.8GHz Cortex X2, 3 x 2.50GHz Cortex A710, 4 x 1.80GHz Cortex A510, 4nm

S21: Snapdragon 888, 1 x 2.84GHz Cortex X1, 3 x 2.42GHz Cortex A78, 4 x 1.80GHz Cortex A55, 5nm

S21 FE: Snapdragon 888, 1 x 2.84GHz Cortex X1, 3 x 2.42GHz Cortex A78, 4 x 1.80GHz Cortex A55, 5nm

S20 FE: Snapdragon 865, 1 x 2.84GHz A77, 3 x 2.42GHz A77, 4 x 1.80GHz A55, 7nm

Storage

S22: 128GB/256GB UFS3.1 RAM 8GB

S21: 128GB/256GB UFS3.1 RAM 8GB

S21 FE: 128GB/256GB UFS3.1 RAM 8GB

S20 FE: 128GB/256GB UFS3.1 RAM 8GB

camera

Rear camera 1

S22: 50MP f/1.8 1.0um, OIS 8K at 24fps

S21: 12MP f/1.8 1.8um, OIS 8K at 24fps

S21 FE: 12MP f/1.8 1.8um, OIS 4K at 60fps

S20 FE: 12MP f/1.8 1.8um, OIS 4K at 60fps

Rear camera 2

S22: 12MP, f/2.2 1.0um, 120-degree wide-angle

S21: 12MP, f/2.2 1.4um, 120-degree wide-angle

S21 FE: 12MP, f/2.2 1.12um, 123-degree wide-angle

S20 FE: 12MP, f/2.2 1.12um, 123-degree wide-angle

Rear camera 3

S22: 10MP, f/2.4 1um, OIS, telephoto 3x optical zoom

S21: 64MP, f/2.0 0.8um, OIS, telephoto 3x optical zoom

S21 FE: 8MP, f/2.4 1um, OIS, telephoto 3x optical zoom

S20 FE: 8MP, f/2.4 1um, OIS, telephoto 3x optical zoom

Front camera

S22: 10MP, f/2.2 1.22um, autofocus 4K at 60fps

S21: 10MP, f/2.2 1.22um, autofocus 4K at 60fps

S21 FE: 32MP, f/2.2 0.8um, autofocus 4K at 60fps

S20 FE: 32MP, f/2.2 0.8um, autofocus 4K at 60fps

Connectivity

S22: 5G Sub-6/mmWave, SA and NSA Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 NFC, A-GPS

S21: 5G Sub-6/mmWave, SA and NSA Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 NFC, A-GPS

S21 FE: 5G Sub-6, SA and NSA Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 NFC, A-GPS

S20 FE: 5G Sub-6, SA and NSA Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 NFC, A-GPS

battery

S22: 3700mAh Non-removable

S21: 4000mAh Non-removable

S21FE: 4500mAh Non-removable

S20FE: 4500mAh Non-removable

Charging

S22: USB-C PD 3.0 25W fast charging 15W wireless charging

S21: USB-C PD 3.0 25W fast charging 15W wireless charging

S21 FE: USB-C PD 3.0 25W fast charging 15W wireless charging

S20 FE: USB-C PD 3.0 25W fast charging 15W wireless charging

Dimensions

S22: 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm, 167g

S21: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm, 172g

S21FE: 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm, 177g

S20FE: 159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4mm, 190g

Conclusion

Galaxy S22: The compact version

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The Galaxy S22 stands out for several reasons. First, it has the latest internal hardware in the form of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and Samsung is rolling out this version in more global markets instead of the Exynos 2200 model.

The S22 is also the only phone on this list that has a glass back - the other three models have a polycarbonate back. There's a layer of Corning's latest Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the front and back, and the aluminum casing has been reinforced to withstand drops.

The S22 is the ideal choice if you are looking for a small Android phone in 2022.

With a 6.1-inch screen, the S22 is the smallest option on this list, so if you want a compact device, this is the way to go. At just 146mm tall and weighing 167g, the S22 is shorter, narrower and thinner than last year's S21. Samsung managed to achieve this despite the phone having a glass back by packing in a smaller 3700mAh battery - the S21 has a 4000mAh unit.

You still get an excellent 120Hz AMOLED panel that offers up to 1300 nits for HDR video, and it's safe to say this is one of the best screens you'll find on a phone today. The cameras have also been redesigned and deliver stunning photos with a new 50 MP lens. The wide-angle lens is the same as the S21, but a new 10MP zoom lens enables 3x optical zoom.

On the software side, the S22 runs One UI 4, which is based on Android 12, and since Samsung is now guaranteeing four Android OS updates, it will switch to Android 16.

The main differentiator for the Galaxy S22 is size; it has newer cameras and updated hardware, but the smaller form factor makes it a great choice overall.

Galaxy S21 FE: The price-performance king

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The Galaxy S21 FE is simply one of the best Android phones you can find today, and a lot of that has to do with the value on offer. The phone shares many similarities with the S21, including the same 120Hz AMOLED panel, 12MP primary rear camera, Gorilla Glass Victus, IP68 and wireless charging with 25W wired charging and stereo sound.

But the fact that it manages to undercut the S21 while retaining its best features makes it a phenomenal option. The best part is that the S21 FE ships with Android 12 and receives the same four Android OS updates as the S22 and S21, so it will also receive the Android 16 update later.

In summary, the S21 FE is without question the best option among all of these models.

Galaxy S21: Good if you can find it on sale

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The Galaxy S21 is still a great phone in 2022, but it's too similar to the S21 FE. The only area where there is a significant difference is the cameras. The S21 offers higher quality sensors and the ability to take better pictures in almost any lighting scenario.

The downside to the S21 is that it isn't currently discounted. Additionally, the phone ships with Android 11 and will only be updated with Android 15.

Fonevent offers the affordable S21, you can safely buy it there.

Galaxy S20 FE: More for less

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Like the Galaxy S21, the S20 FE has aged very well, and there's nothing wrong with the phone itself. But with the S21 FE now widely available, you should only look at this phone if you can get it at a significant discount

The S20 FE and S21 FE are almost identical, with the latter using the same camera hardware and much of the same innards. The differences are tiny: The S21 FE has the newer Snapdragon 888, Gorilla Glass Victus (versus GG5) and a slightly smaller 6.4-inch display. The S20 FE even has a little more to offer, as it is the only device on this list to have a microSD card slot.

The reason I don't recommend the S20 FE for enthusiasts has to do with the software updates. It's already received two platform updates - having launched with Android 10 - and it's missing out on the four guaranteed updates, so you won't get the Android 13 build until later this year.

If that's not a big deal, you can save a decent amount of money with the S20 FE. If not, the S21 FE is the ideal alternative.

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