Samsung Galaxy S22 vs. Galaxy S21 FE: What we’re expecting from Samsung’s next Galaxy phones


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The rumored Galaxy S22 (not pictured) is expected to be the successor to the Galaxy S21 (pictured), while the Galaxy S21 FE would be a budget version of the Galaxy S21. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

It’s been almost a year since Samsung announced the Galaxy S21 lineup, which means it’s likely almost time to see what’s next. While Samsung typically announces its main Galaxy S devices in the early part of the year, we’re also expecting to see another new Galaxy phone in early 2022: the Galaxy S21 FE.

If you’re a Samsung fan looking to buy a new phone next year, there’s a good reason why you might find yourself deciding between these two. Both phones are expected to be on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to price. The Galaxy S22 is expected to be the successor to the Galaxy S21, meaning it will be the least expensive model in Samsung’s new Galaxy S family. And the Galaxy S21 FE will likely be a more budget-friendly version of the Galaxy S21.

But there will likely be a notable price difference between the two. The Galaxy S22 will probably be a couple of hundred dollars more expensive than the Galaxy S21 FE, and it’s expected to include a sharper camera and faster processor to justify that difference, according to the rumors. Still, the Galaxy S21 FE might have an edge when it comes to screen size and battery life.

Here’s a closer look at what we’re expecting to see based on the rumors. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (rumored) vs. Galaxy S22 (rumored)

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (rumored) Samsung Galaxy S22 (rumored)
Display 6.4 AMOLED 2,340 x 1,080; 120Hz refresh rate 6.06 AMOLED FHD+; 120Hz refresh rate
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon 898 5G
Main Camera 32-megapixel, 12-megapixel, 8-megapixel 50-megapixel, 12-megapixel, 12-megapixel
Front Camera 12-megapixel 10-megapixel
Battery and charging 4,3720 mAh capacitiy; fast charging 3,700 mAh capacity; fast charging
Storage 128GB or 256GB 256GB
RAM 6GB or 8GB RAM 8GB
Connectivity 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0

The Galaxy S22’s screen may be smaller 

The Galaxy S22 is shaping up to be Samsung’s option for those who prefer a compact phone, similar to the Galaxy S10e. The Galaxy S22 may come with a 6.06-inch screen, according to specifications published by prominent leaker Ice Universe. The Galaxy S21 FE, on the other hand, is expected to feature a 6.4-inch display, according to information posted on China’s TENAA certification website spotted by MyFixGuide. Both phones are expected to come with display refresh rates that can reach up to 120Hz. 

If the leaks turn out to be true, the Galaxy S22 will be smaller than both the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20, while the Galaxy S21 FE will fall in between the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus‘ sizes. 

But the Galaxy S22 could have a higher-resolution main camera 

The Galaxy S22 is expected to come with a 50-megapixel wide lens, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. That’s according to Twitter leaker Tron, who has a mixed track record when it comes to reporting on unreleased Samsung products. (He correctly said the Galaxy Z Fold 3 would be slimmer than its predecessor, but also said the Galaxy Z Flip 3 would cost $1,249 even though it starts at $999.99). The Dutch website Galaxy Club, which has been posting a lot of leaks that have yet to be confirmed about the Galaxy S22 series and Galaxy S21 FE, also claims the Galaxy S22 will have a 50-megapixel main sensor and a 12-megapixel wide sensor. It also suggests the phone could come with a 10-megapixel front camera.

If these rumors turn out to be true, the Galaxy S22 will have a much sharper main sensor than the Galaxy S21 FE, but a slightly less sharp selfie camera. Samsung’s rumored budget phone will reportedly come with a triple-lens camera that includes 32-megapixel, 12-megapixel and 8-megapixel sensors according to MyFixGuide. The report also suggests the Galaxy S21 FE will have a 12-megapixel front camera. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The Galaxy S22 will likely run on a newer and faster processor 

Performance appears to be one area where the Galaxy S22 could shine over the Galaxy S21 FE. Samsung’s next major Galaxy S entry will likely run on the newest Qualcomm smartphone processor. Since the chipmaker is expected to unveil its next-generation smartphone processor during its Snapdragon Summit on Nov. 30, there’s a chance we’ll see this new chip arrive in the Galaxy S22 family. 

Samsung also makes its own line of Exynos processors, but those chips are usually only available in certain markets — not including the US. And that’s a shame because the next version of Samsung’s Exynos chip sounds like it could potentially bring a big leap forward in graphics performance. Samsung and AMD are collaborating on a future Exynos chip, which will bring high-end gaming features like ray tracing to Samsung phones. But Samsung and AMD haven’t revealed further details about the chip, such as when it will launch or which products it will be in.

The Galaxy S21 FE, by comparison, is expected to run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 according to MyFixGuide, the same processor that powers the Galaxy S21. That means we can probably expect performance that’s similar to the Galaxy S21, which will likely be considered a previous-generation product in the not too distant future.

But the Galaxy S21 FE is expected to have a bigger battery

Samsung is seemingly focusing on screen size and battery life with its next budget phone. The Galaxy S21 FE is rumored to have a 4,370 mAh battery capacity, according to the MyFixGuide leak. The Galaxy S22, on the other hand, is expected to only come with a 3,700 mAh battery, according to leaks from Ice Universe and Galaxy Club. That would make it smaller than the Galaxy S21’s 4,000 mAh battery, but keep in mind that the Galaxy S22 is also rumored to be smaller in size.

In terms of memory and storage, we’re expecting to see 8GB of RAM and 256GB of space. That’s according to a YouTuber called Super Roader, who claims to be a former employee from Samsung’s wireless division. The amount of RAM that we could see in the Galaxy S21 FE is less clear. The previously referenced MyFixGuide report suggests it will include 8GB of RAM, while a separate report from the same website based on details that appeared on the Google Play Console indicate 6GB of RAM. It’s possible that the phone will come in two variants, since both MyFixGuide reports say the phone will come in 128GB or 256GB storage options.

The Galaxy S22 will likely be more expensive than the Galaxy S21 FE

We don’t know how much these phones will cost, and we haven’t seen any reports or rumors that provide an indication of price. But based on last year’s pricing pattern, the Galaxy S22 would be about $800 if Samsung takes the same approach as it did with the Galaxy S21 lineup

The Galaxy S20 FE, on the other hand, was priced at $700 at launch, while the standard Galaxy S20 began at $1,000. So the Galaxy S21 FE should be around $300 less expensive than the standard Galaxy S21, which starts at $800. Of course, that’s assuming Samsung retains the same pricing structure as it did with the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 FE.

Should you buy the Galaxy S22 or Galaxy S21 FE?

It’s impossible to know whether you should buy any product before it’s announced. But based on the rumors, it sounds like the Galaxy S21 FE is ideal for those who prioritize screen size and battery life and staying well below the $1,000 threshold. The Galaxy S22 will likely be better suited for those who want a more premium device with a sharper camera, faster performance and a more pocket-friendly design.





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