When it comes to its line of Galaxy smartphones, Samsung has always offered an abundance of choice. And, with its recent introduction of the midrange Galaxy S21 FE, you can now nab a flagship experience from just $699.99.
However, because it’s Samsung, it’s worth noting that the more basic, budget-conscious Galaxy A52 5G is also available and has proven to be one of the best phones under $500.
Which one is right for you? Here’s what you need to know before you decide between these similar midrange Galaxy experiences.
You should buy the Galaxy S21 FE if…
You need faster performance
The Galaxy S FE series’ biggest claim to fame is its inclusion of features typically found on more expensive phones. To wit, the S21 FE packs a punch with a Snapdragon 888 processor, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. Together, these components provide an experience that is nearly on par with the S21.
Whether it’s juggling multiple apps at once, flipping through the latest games or multitasking in split-screen mode, you can count on the S21 FE to handle it all.
You need great cameras
Samsung is known for making some of the best smartphone cameras, and the S21 FE offers an upgraded experience for a midrange device. Here you’ll find a main 12MP f/1.8 sensor, which captures sharp and vivid photos, while the secondary 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide lens lets you take breathtaking landscapes. The 8MP f/2.4 telephoto camera allows masterful zoom without sacrificing quality, and there’s a 32MP f/2.2 camera on the front for taking stellar selfies.
The Galaxy A52 5G’s camera is capable but just can’t keep up with the sheer versatility of the S21 FE’s setup.
Wireless charging is nonnegotiable
If you’re one of the many users who have switched to phones with wireless charging and can’t live without it, you’ll want to stick with the pricier S21 FE.
That’s right — the A52 5G lacks this option, but it’s still important to note that the S21 FE’s is only 15W compared to the S21’s 25W wireless charging.
You should buy the Galaxy A52 5G if…
Saving money is important
The Galaxy A52 5G starts at $499, while the S21 FE starts at $699. That $200 difference instantly makes the A52 a better budget purchase.
In addition to the lower price, the A52 has a large 6.5-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate (for smooth visuals), quad rear cameras, an under-display fingerprint reader, a zippy Snapdragon 750G processor and four years’ worth of software updates. You also get that 5G connectivity.
You value battery life
Better battery life has become a trend with many lower-end smartphones, and the Galaxy A52 5G beats out the S21 FE when it comes to endurance.
The A52 includes a 4,500mAh battery that, when paired with the energy-efficient Snapdragon 750G processor, can provide enough power to get through two full days of mixed usage. Comparatively, the S21 FE’s identical 4,500mAh cell tends to drain faster due to the more power-hungry Snapdragon 888 chip.
What’s more, the A52 also comes with the same 25W fast charging as the more expensive S21 FE (though, as mentioned, it’s not wireless like the S21 FE). This gets you from zero to 50% in just 30 minutes.
You’d like your headphone jack back
Like most high-end devices that have phased out the headphone jack over the years, many midrange and even low-end devices are now omitting it as well, including the S21 FE. However, Samsung’s Galaxy A52 5G sticks with the infamous feature for those interested in keeping it OG.
You’ll find the 3.5mm jack sitting beside the USB-C port and loudspeaker on the bottom of the phone, allowing you to enjoy your audio using wired headphones.
While the Galaxy S21 FE and A52 5G are different smartphones, they do share many similarities that blur the line between midrange and flagship experiences. The A52 5G offers a well-balanced budget experience with enough horsepower for most users, decent cameras and stellar battery life. But, if you’re looking to take things up a notch, the S21 FE is a great upgrade with faster performance, a premium display, high-quality cameras and a sleeker design.