Do Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, OnePlus 9RT define what may be the most affordable flagship phone in 2022?


Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and OnePlus 9RT are two highly anticipated smartphones that debuted in India this week. While the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE was launched as a successor to last year’s Galaxy S20 FE 5G, the OnePlus 9RT is an upgrade of the OnePlus 9R that the Chinese company launched in the country to offer an affordable yet flagship-like experience . Despite being positioned differently by their manufacturers, both new phones share some major similarities that make them comparable. So are they the best value flagship phones you can buy today?

We discuss this and more in this week’s episode of the Gadgets 360 podcast, Orbital. Host Akhil Arora joins Roydon Cerejo, Deputy Review Editor, and Sheldon Pinto, Senior Reviewer, to talk about the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and OnePlus 9RT. Roydon reviewed units of both models for testing, while Sheldon reviewed the Galaxy S21 FE’s predecessor – the Galaxy S20 FE 5G – last year.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE pricing in India starts at Rs. 54,999 for the 128GB storage variant. The phone also offers a 256GB model priced at Rs. 58,999. Samsung is currently running a cashback offer where customers using HDFC bank card can get Rs. 5,000 off the price of the Galaxy S21 FE – regardless of the variant chosen. It effectively brings the phone down to as low as Rs. 49,999.

In contrast, the OnePlus 9RT debuted at Rs. 42,999 for the base 8GB + 128GB model and Rs. 46,999 for the 12GB + 256GB option.

In terms of specs, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is not a significant upgrade over the Galaxy S20 FE 5G. The phone comes with a 6.4-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate and is powered by an octa-core Exynos 2100 SoC with 8GB RAM by default. It has a triple rear camera setup with a 12-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.8 wide-angle lens, along with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide shooter and an 8-megapixel telephoto shooter.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G First Impressions: Riding the wave

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE packs a 4,500mAh battery that supports 25W Super Fast wired charging and 15W wireless fast charging. There’s also support for reverse wireless charging. In addition, the phone has an IP68 certified dust and water resistant construction.

All of that sounds similar when looking at the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G. Last year’s phone actually had the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC, which delivers practically the same performance as the latest Exynos chip. This model also featured a slightly larger 6.5-inch AMOLED display.

In the case of the OnePlus 9RT, the smartphone has some of the most notable upgrades over the OnePlus 9R. It comes with the Snapdragon 888 SoC, which is an improvement over the Snapdragon 870 chip available in last year’s model. The new chip is also the one that powers the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro.

The OnePlus 9RT also features an upgraded primary sensor in its triple camera setup compared to the OnePlus 9R. It’s essentially the 50-megapixel sensor that was available on the OnePlus 9 Pro as a secondary camera.

OnePlus 9RT First Impressions: A beautifully crafted powerhouse

It’s worth noting that the OnePlus 9RT has arrived in India just days after the launch of the OnePlus 10 Pro as the next flagship in China. The new model is also expected to debut in India in the near future.

Similarly, Samsung is currently preparing to launch the Galaxy S22 series as a new top-end offering. It would come to India shortly after its worldwide debut.

We discuss whether the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and OnePlus 9RT are worth the price they are available at. We also address the fact that since the Galaxy S20 FE 5G and OnePlus 9R are still on the market, are these better than the new models? You can get all of this by clicking the play button in the Spotify player embedded above.

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