Ultra-wideband technology is a feature that’s now shipping with a number of flagship phones from Samsung, but what about the Galaxy S21 FE?
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE might be a more affordable and trimmed-down version of the Galaxy S21 that’s loaded with several high-end features including a flagship processor, NFC, and support for wireless charging, but it doesn’t feature ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. UWB is a feature that has slowly been appearing in the spec sheet of flagship phones from Samsung, Apple, Google, and Xiaomi, and acts as a new way for devices to communicate with each other.
Ultra-wideband technology technically isn’t new, but it has only recently started making its way to smartphones. A short-range wireless technology like Bluetooth and NFC, UWB works at very high frequencies and boasts benefits such as greater accuracy, a significantly higher data rate, and it is less prone to interference when compared to other protocols. Phones with a UWB chip can be used to unlock vehicles and doors, or accurately locate belongings and devices that also support the technology.
At $699, the Galaxy S21 FE offers a lot for the price. The Snapdragon 888 (or Exynos 2100, depending on the market) processor can handle any task thrown at it, and the 120Hz display provides a fast and smooth scrolling experience. In addition to wireless charging, it also supports Wireless Power Share allowing the phone to wirelessly charge other devices including phones and earbuds. However, the lower price does means that there are some tradeoffs and missing features from its spec sheet. Unfortunately, one of those that is missing is support for ultra-wideband technology. The missing feature means that Galaxy S21 FE owners will only be able to use their phones as a digital key via NFC. This also means that, unlike phones with UWB that can be left in the pocket or bag, to unlock/lock or start a car, the phone will have to be brought near the door handle or ignition.
Samsung Phones That Support Ultra-Wideband
The Galaxy S21 FE is not the only recent Samsung phone that doesn’t have UWB as the company also didn’t add it to the standard Galaxy S21 either. For those who do want a phone with ultra-wideband support, their options include the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (the first Android smartphone with ultra-wideband technology), the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Galaxy S21 Plus, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra. When it comes to the company’s foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 does come with UWB, but the Galaxy Z Flip 3 does not.
Based on the above list of devices, it appears that Samsung is still limiting its support to select flagship models (and to smartphones) for now. It remains to be seen if all of Samsung’s Galaxy S22 smartphones will have UWB, or whether the upcoming Galaxy Tab S8 series will be the first tablets to support the protocol.
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