Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE and Apple’s iPhone 13 mini are budget-focused phones to larger and more expensive siblings. Besides the operating system, the two have a lot in common. As such, it can be tough to make the right call when you’re considering buying either.
In this article, we compare the Galaxy S21 FE and iPhone 13 mini to help you make an informed choice.
Design and Build Quality
The two devices have quite different design languages. Samsung’s flagship design language is clearly visible on the Galaxy S21 FE, and the iPhone 13 mini has Apple’s 2020 design with boxy edges.
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE has a hole punch cut out housing the selfie camera, which barely disrupts your viewing experience. By contrast, the iPhone 13 mini features a notch which can be a bummer to some.
However, the side bezels and chin are relatively small on both—exactly as you would expect to see on modern flagship devices.
You get a glass back on the iPhone 13 mini and a square-shaped bump housing the rear camera lenses and the LED light. On the other hand, Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE has a plastic back with some sort of matte finish. The Galaxy S21 FE’s camera module on the rear is also different.
Samsung opted for a vertical rectangular-shaped module for the camera lenses and placed the LED flashlight away from it.
The two have an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance but with different promises. The iPhone 13 mini can survive when placed at a maximum depth of 6 meters up to 30 minutes, while its rival can only hold for up to 30 minutes at a maximum depth of 1.5 meters.
Moving to colors, the Galaxy S21 FE is available in white, graphite, lavender, and olive. The iPhone 13 mini sells in starlight, midnight, blue, pink, and red.
Both devices have OLED panels, so, no doubt, you get those true blacks and punchy colors. However, the differences are elsewhere.
Starting with the Galaxy S21 FE, you get a 6.4-inch panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support, and FHD+ (1080 x 2400 pixels) resolution in a 20:9 aspect ratio.
You also get always-on display support out of the box, and there is Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on top that offers improved scratch and drop resistance.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 mini has a smaller 5.4-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2340 pixels) display with HDR10 support and 1200 nits of peak brightness. The display is packaged in a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Thanks to its smaller display, the iPhone 13 mini has more pixels per inch than the Galaxy S21 FE.
One of the most important things to consider when buying a smartphone is the camera. You’ll find three rear lenses on the Galaxy S21 FE and two on the iPhone 13 mini.
The Galaxy S21 FE features a 12MP f/1.8 wide sensor, an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens (with 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom support), and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide.
The iPhone 13 mini skips on the separate telephoto and only offers a 12MP f/1.6 wide and 12 MP f/2.4 ultra-wide lens. However, it still offers optical and digital zoom, 3x and 5x, respectively.
The Galaxy S21 FE has a 32MP f/2.2 wide lens for snapping selfies, and the iPhone 13 mini has a 12MP wide lens with a similar aperture. When it comes to video, the duo can capture up to 4K video.
Storage and Performance
Thanks to their flagship-level processors, the Galaxy S21 FE and the iPhone 13 mini are both top performers. No matter what you pick, you’re guaranteed that the device will handle resource-intensive tasks with ease.
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 888 chipset or Samsung’s in-house Exynos 2100 chipset (which you get varies by country). On the other hand, the iPhone 13 mini boasts of Apple’s A15 Bionic chipset. All of these processors are crafted using the 5nm process.
Although the A15 Bionic has a hexa-core CPU, it still performs well to give Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 a run for its money. It is no secret that iPhones outperform other smartphones.
The S21 FE ships in three memory and storage configurations with either 6GB or 8GB of memory paired with 128GB or 256GB of storage.
In contrast, the iPhone 13 mini has standard 4GB RAM on all three models with either 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of onboard storage. You can’t expand the storage on either, so what you buy is what you’ll have to live with.
Both phones have 5G support for higher cellular speeds with lower latency.
Battery and Charging
Android has always been known for having larger battery capacities. For these two phones, the same holds. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE draws power from a 4500mAh battery, while the iPhone 13 mini only has a 2438mAh battery. Differences in the operating systems mean that the S21 FE doesn’t automatically have better battery life as a result.
According to Apple, using a charging adapter with a 20W (or higher) rating will get the iPhone 13 mini’s battery up to 50% in half an hour. And thanks to MagSafe, the iPhone 13 mini supports up to 15W wireless charging. For Qi wireless charging, it tops out at 7.5W.
The Galaxy S21 FE supports up to 25W wired and 15W wireless charging. Thanks to the support of faster charging speeds, you can also get the Galaxy S21 FE’s bigger battery from zero to 50% in 30 minutes, according to Samsung.
For both phones, you have to buy the charging adapter separately.
One thing that makes the iPhone 13 mini and the Galaxy S21 Ultra fierce contenders is the price.
Both start at $699 for the base configuration (4GB RAM + 128GB ROM on the iPhone 13 mini and 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM on the S21 FE).
Galaxy S21 FE vs. iPhone 13 Mini: Making the Right Choice
Each phone has its pros and cons. The Galaxy S21 FE stands out for its massive battery, nearly double what you get on the iPhone 13 mini, faster 25W charging support, and a bigger display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Also, the Galaxy S21 FE has a more versatile camera setup with three different lenses. Plus, as has always been on Android devices, you get a great deal of customizability.
The iPhone 13 mini, on the other hand, nails it on the build quality and better performance thanks to the A15 Bionic chip.
Other iPhone staple stakes like the usual seamless iOS experience and extended software support also give it an edge over the Galaxy S21 FE. With pricing not being an issue, you can’t go wrong with either.
Largely, however, it comes down to your personal preferences. For instance, what operating system works best for you, display size, and more.
Confused about whether you should buy the iPhone 13 Pro Max or the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra? Read our comparison to find out.
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