Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
- IP68 particulate and h2o resistance
- Bright AMOLED display
- Four promised Android upgrades
- Fast wireless charging
- Competitively priced
- Uncomfortable design
- Compromised performance
- Lacks superfast wired charging
Samsung’s Fan Edition (FE) smartphones lurk nether nan protector of its flagships. With immoderate visible compromises compared to nan Galaxy S series, nan Galaxy FE brings erstwhile years’ specifications repackaged successful a caller design. That’s not ever nan champion trading strategy, and nan absence of a Galaxy S22 FE affirms this idea. However, 2 years aft nan Galaxy S21 FE, Samsung is returning pinch different FE bid smartphone — nan Galaxy S23 FE, which was announced earlier successful October.
Despite its older specifications, nan Galaxy S23 FE gets a very tempting value of conscionable $600, which, to immoderate extent, justifies nan compromises that Samsung makes here. Besides nan price, you get Samsung’s assurance of 4 Android updates, glass-and-metal construction, and premium features specified arsenic accelerated wireless charging. On nan different hand, you person to settee for an unsavory chipset and issues that whitethorn hamper your acquisition from nan beginning.
Does nan charismatic value warrant these trade-offs? We find retired successful our reappraisal of nan Samsung Galaxy S23 FE below!
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: design
Samsung appears averse to nan thought of utilizing distinguishing designs for different models and uses nan aforesaid identical creation for each telephone each twelvemonth — while playing pinch dimensions and different materials. The Galaxy S23 FE fits this premise and comes pinch a creation you can’t separate from different Samsung phones from 2023 — prevention for nan Galaxy S23 Ultra — unless you fixate connected nan nuances. Basically, you tin put nan Galaxy S23 FE alongside nan Galaxy S23 (or S23 Plus) and nan Galaxy A54, and you wouldn’t beryllium capable to show nan models isolated simply by looking astatine their backs. I’m not a instrumentality of this creation mantra, but if Samsung hasn’t had nan impulse to alteration it, it must activity good for nan company.
Instead of a chopped design, Samsung relies connected vibrant colors for nan Galaxy S23 FE to beryllium easy distinguished from nan different models. Besides nan modular pick achromatic and graphite gray, location are 2 further colors — mint greenish and purple — that are unsocial to nan Galaxy S23 FE. Besides these colors, buyers will besides beryllium capable to take others, including tan and slate bluish shades, if they bargain nan telephone connected Samsung’s website successful nan U.S. These colored backmost panels are protected nether a expanse of solid and reinforced by Gorilla Glass 5.
The midframe is made of aluminum, but dissimilar nan regular Galaxy S23, location are nary claims astir utilizing recycled metals. It gets a satiny finish, which tin besides beryllium seen connected nan buttons and astir nan 3 cameras that look retired of nan backmost aboveground individually alternatively of being placed wrong a singular camera island. While nan framework is curved and soft to nan touch, it forms crisp edges on nan backmost alternatively of blending seamlessly, which makes nan telephone uncomfortable to clasp for a agelong duration. An easy hole is utilizing a lawsuit pinch nan telephone — and doing truthful will besides protect nan backmost solid and nan aluminum framework from dings and cracks.
But if you take to skip nan case, nan acquisition will beryllium moreover much daunting because of nan Galaxy S23 FE’s weight. Unusually dense for its size, nan smartphone weighs 209 grams (approximately 7.4 ounces). Similarly sized phones, particularly nan Galaxy S23 Plus pinch astir identical dimensions, are overmuch lighter contempt utilizing akin solid sandwich designs pinch metallic frames.
On nan affirmative side, nan Galaxy S23 FE comes pinch ultimate h2o and particulate resistance. It is certified pinch an IP68 rating, suggesting it will withstand being submerged nether 5 meters (16 feet) of freshwater for astir 30 minutes. The cardinal present is freshwater since nan telephone — for illustration immoderate different telephone pinch a akin standing — will not past h2o from a swimming excavation aliases nan sea.
All successful all, nan creation tin beryllium hit-and-miss based connected individual preferences. While Samsung’s prime of materials safeguards durability, nan telephone does not consciousness very pleasant to hold, particularly without a case. If you look astatine it from nan stance of practicality, nan Galaxy S23 FE has a winning design, but if you person been spoiled by lighter, much ergonomic phones from brands for illustration Motorola aliases OnePlus, you whitethorn not find this 1 very appealing.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: display
The Galaxy S23 FE comes pinch a 6.4-inch Dynamic 2X AMOLED display. Dynamic 2X is simply a trading word utilized by Samsung to picture displays pinch up to a 120Hz refresh complaint and support for 100% of nan DCI-P3 colour gamut. In simpler terms, these displays are highly vibrant and person nan punchiest colors among smartphone displays. This people of show is besides seen connected Samsung’s flagship devices, including nan Galaxy S23 bid and nan Galaxy Z Fold 5.
A insignificant quality betwixt nan show connected nan Galaxy S23 bid and nan Galaxy S23 FE is that nan second lacks an LTPO switch, which intends nan display’s refresh complaint does not actively accommodate to nan contented being played connected nan screen. The show rolls backmost to 60Hz erstwhile you’re not interacting pinch it to prevention artillery (since a smoother 120Hz refresh complaint show consumes much power). The Galaxy S23 FE’s display’s brightness is constricted to 1,450 nits, which isn’t dim, but is little agleam than nan much premium Galaxy S23 series. However, unless you are looking astatine nan Galaxy S23 FE and 1 of nan Galaxy S23 phones simultaneously, you wouldn’t announcement a awesome difference. The Galaxy S23 FE gets ample visibility moreover successful agleam outdoor environments, making it easy to usage moreover successful harsh lighting.
What you will instantly notice, however, are nan ample bezels surrounding nan FE’s display, particularly astatine nan bottom. For context, nan Galaxy S23 Plus has akin dimensions, but houses a larger 6.6-inch display, while nan Galaxy S23, pinch a likewise sized 6.4-inch display, takes up little abstraction successful nan palm. These bezels trim nan Galaxy S23 FE’s chances of being arsenic appealing arsenic its much premium siblings aliases different phones successful nan flagship segment. However, nan almost $200 savings you get arsenic compared to nan Galaxy S23 makes up for nan aggravation caused by this display.
Despite cutbacks, nan $600 pricing makes Galaxy S23 FE an fantabulous worth for money.
It besides features an in-display fingerprint scanner, which is faster than astir A-series models, but mightiness beryllium slower than Samsung’s flagship series. This is because nan FE uses an optical fingerprint scanner, i.e., it uses ray to scan and observe nan ridges connected your fingers. On nan different hand, nan Galaxy S23 (and each Samsung Galaxy S bid phones starting pinch nan S10) uses an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, which employs a silent sound beat to scan your fingerprint, making it mostly much meticulous (it tin moreover beryllium utilized pinch soiled fingers). All smartphones different than Samsung still usage optical fingerprint scanners, truthful you don’t consciousness astatine a disadvantage here.
If you aren’t concerned astir nan intricacies, nan show performs good successful perfectly immoderate lighting scenario. Lastly, it lacks Dolby Vision arsenic portion of Samsung’s endeavor to beforehand its proprietary HDR10+ codec. Compared to phones for illustration nan OnePlus 11, nan deficiency of Dolby Vision tin consciousness disappointing, particularly if you walk capable clip binging Netflix, Max, aliases Apple TV+.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: cameras
The Galaxy S23 FE gets a triple camera setup connected nan back, including 50MP primary, a 12MP ultrawide, and an 8MP telephoto cameras. On paper, these cameras person immoderate similarities pinch nan Galaxy S23 series, which is assuring for those who for illustration to utilize their phones’ cameras to their afloat potential. For starters, nan superior 50MP camera has nan nonstop specifications recovered connected nan Galaxy S23 and nan Galaxy S23 Plus. Incidentally, a camera sensor pinch akin specs is besides recovered connected nan Galaxy S22 bid (except nan S22 Ultra) and much affordable Samsung phones specified arsenic nan Galaxy A54. Since Samsung does not uncover nan nonstop exemplary sanction of nan sensor, it isn’t easy to pinpoint nan differences.
Secondly, we spot nan Galaxy S23 FE repeating nan aforesaid ultrawide perspective camera sensor from nan Galaxy S23 — though without an autofocusing lens. Lastly, nan telephoto camera, which is tin of 3x optical zoom, shares specifications akin to nan Galaxy S23 and nan S23 Plus, but pinch a little solution of 8MP alternatively of 10MP.
The superior camera is tin of taking crisp and elaborate shots, particularly successful agleam lighting. Instead of taking 50MP images, it takes 12.5MP shots by combining 4 pixels into 1 for improved brightness. Most of nan images taken successful daylight person crisp attraction and close-to-natural colors. In debased lighting, nan camera tends to compensate for nan deficiency of sharpness by boosting image saturation and HDR. Contributing to nan sharpness of nan images is optical image stabilization (or OIS). Here’s really nan images move out:
With moving objects for illustration nan potter’s instrumentality successful nan image below, nan camera captures a way owed to a not-so-quick shutter. You tin rectify this to immoderate grade by utilizing nan Motion Photo characteristic (similar to nan iPhone’s Live Photo), but it selects nan champion changeable for you automatically alternatively of letting you take nan 1 you prefer. For amended power complete nan images, you tin usage nan manual mode (called Pro Mode connected Samsung).
There is an expected diminution successful value astatine nighttime, but nan Night Mode tin spot immoderate of nan poorly lit regions of a photograph by taking shots astatine aggregate vulnerability levels and patching them together. Using nan Night Mode besides boosts nan saturation successful nan image — sometimes beyond what is palatable.
The ultrawide perspective camera lacks nan aforesaid crispness arsenic nan superior camera, chiefly because there’s nary autofocus. Besides little clarity, nan images are comparatively darker, resulting successful shadows filled pinch ocular noise, which nan telephone again tries to spot utilizing HDR, making images moreover much noisy. These ultrawide shots are champion captured pinch ample lighting. The deficiency of autofocus besides removes nan anticipation of utilizing this camera for macro shots.
The 3x telephoto does a overmuch amended occupation of taking sharper images contempt nan distance. Its superior nonsubjective is to seizure portraits pinch a earthy inheritance blur alternatively of capturing distant landscapes, but it does some well. The only script successful which you mightiness spot nan image camera struggling is erstwhile nan ray root is down nan personification aliases nan subject. By compensating pinch artificially boosted vulnerability and HDR, nan telephone not only introduces much sound successful nan shot, but besides messes up nan separator discovery for bokeh.
When it comes to selfies, nan Galaxy S23 FE settles for a 10MP fixed-focus camera connected nan front, dissimilar nan autofocusing portion connected much premium Galaxy S bid phones. In daylight aliases favorable lighting, nan selfies move retired crisp and saturated, but nan telephone whitethorn struggle to guarantee nan aforesaid successful harsher lighting, specified arsenic erstwhile nan root of ray is down you.
For videos, nan Galaxy S23 FE tin seizure 4K videos astatine 60 frames per 2nd (fps) aliases 8K videos astatine 24 fps utilizing nan superior camera, and these are electronically stabilized. If you must usage OIS, nan video solution dips to 1080p astatine 60 fps aliases 30 fps. The different 2 cameras tin only grounds videos astatine a maximum solution of 1080p astatine 30 fps. Meanwhile, nan beforehand camera tin seizure 4K60p videos, but location is nary stabilization option. Using nan Pro Video mode, you tin besides unlock 120 fps signaling astatine 1080p resolution.
One of nan reasons nan camera hardware whitethorn not execute to its afloat imaginable is because of nan image awesome processor connected nan two-year-old chipset, which besides bottlenecks nan phone’s capacity successful different scenarios, arsenic we talk below.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: performance
Samsung uses its two-pronged attack for choosing processors for nan Galaxy S23 FE. While nan world models are powered by Samsung’s ain Exynos 2200 chipset, nan U.S. variants specifically get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. This attack somewhat varies from nan Galaxy S22, which was equipped pinch nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 successful astir world markets, while only nan European units ran connected nan Exynos 2200.
Both nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and nan Exynos 2200 are structurally similar and person comparable performance. It is besides worthy noting that some chipsets were announced betwixt precocious 2021 and early 2022, truthful they are practically 2 generations old. Considering Qualcomm conscionable announced nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, these chips will beryllium astatine a competitory disadvantage against different starring devices launched successful 2023.
Another grievous facet of these chipsets is their prevalent thermal inefficiencies. As noted successful our Tensor G3 explainer, nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 suffered from mediocre output per silicon wafer used, which resulted successful mediocre capacity and troubling heating issues. Most of these were eliminated successful nan Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which launched successful May 2021. So, Samsung’s prime to instrumentality pinch either of these chipsets is disconcerting. With nan slightest summation successful capacity load, you tin consciousness nan Galaxy S23 FE warming up.
Everyday capacity will not beryllium an issue, but you will harbor a consciousness of uneasiness each clip you effort to push nan limits. Because of its propensity to power up quickly, you will hesitate to push it for gaming contempt each nan powerfulness nan chipset packs in. To put things into perspective, present are nan results from a synthetic benchmark.
The pursuing results are from nan Burnout Benchmark, which determines nan computing capacity of mobile chipsets by subjecting them to sustained loads. We besides comparison nan Galaxy S23 FE pinch nan OnePlus 10T, powered by nan Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and nan OnePlus Nord 3 moving Demensity 9000, MediaTek’s flagship chipset from precocious 2021.
The pursuing floor plan denotes nan capacity of nan 3 chipsets, represented by nan variety of framework complaint pinch time, pinch higher values indicating amended performance.
In nan CPU test, nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 starts retired pinch nan aforesaid capacity arsenic nan Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, but plateaus overmuch much quickly, while nan OnePlus 10T pinch a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 reaches a overmuch higher highest value. The Nord 3 starts lowest, but maintains its capacity for nan first 5 minutes. Even pinch sustained load, nan Galaxy S23 FE’s capacity is inferior to nan different 2 devices successful nan comparison. The instant driblet successful capacity astir nan 180th 2nd indicates important throttling algorithms astatine play.
Similarly, nan pursuing floor plan compares nan capacity of nan GPUs connected nan 3 devices.
Both nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and nan 8+ Gen 1 chipsets usage nan aforesaid Adreno 730 GPU design, but nan Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1’s GPU achieved a 30% higher powerfulness efficiency, on pinch 10% amended performance. As a result, we spot some nan Galaxy S23 FE and nan OnePlus 10T person comparable first performance. But erstwhile it comes to a prolonged load, nan OnePlus 10T perfectly sweeps distant nan Galaxy S23 FE. Dimensity 9000 does not put up an awesome show here, but nan capacity remains marginally amended than nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
Unless you scheme to instrumentality to basal 2D games, nan Galaxy S23 FE is not nan astir due telephone for you.
Most importantly, nan OnePlus 10T remains cooler contempt nan continuous brilliance. All nan tests are performed astatine an ambient somesthesia of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). The Galaxy S23 FE starts pinch a CPU somesthesia of 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) and ends astatine 62 degrees Celsius (144 degrees Fahrenheit). The OnePlus 10T, connected nan different hand, goes from 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) to 56 degrees Celsius (133 degrees Fahrenheit) during nan benchmark.
While synthetic benchmarks for illustration nan 1 supra springiness america a reference for performance, real-life tests are much suggestive. For real-life evaluation, we ran Genshin Impact and Real Racing 3 connected nan Galaxy S23 FE. Real Racing 3 offers realistic graphics that tense up nan hardware quickly. The Galaxy S23 FE instantly warms up erstwhile subjected to nan load, but endures nan load for a fewer minutes earlier nan heating starts affecting capacity and causing lag aliases jitters successful gameplay.
With Genshin Impact, nan capacity lag is visible instantly. First, nan crippled suggests you little graphics value for optimal performance. If you group nan graphics to High aliases Best settings, jitters are instantly observable, particularly during mobility and combat. Within a fewer minutes, nan telephone starts to power up significantly, and nan power is evenly dissipated done nan aluminum framework and nan solid back, making nan full acquisition overmuch little enjoyable.
Therefore, unless you scheme to instrumentality to basal 2D games, nan Galaxy S23 FE is not nan astir due telephone for you.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: artillery and charging
The Galaxy S23 FE utilizes a 4,500mAh artillery to thrust its regular functions — aforesaid arsenic nan Galaxy S23 Plus. The artillery battalion offers capable backup for an full time of usage, including moderately power-hungry tasks specified arsenic browsing nan web, watching YouTube, playing immoderate lightweight games, and taking immoderate pictures — each while relying connected a 5G connection. The show automatically rolls backmost to 60Hz erstwhile you’re not actively interacting pinch it, which helps nan telephone prevention power.
For charging, nan Galaxy S23 FE gets support for 25-watt accelerated charging done USB-Power Delivery (USB-PD) type 2.0. This intends you tin usage a modular USB-C charger — including nan 1 you usage for your Apple products — to replenish nan battery. Ideally, charging takes betwixt 70 minutes and 90 minutes to spell from 5% to 100%, which is connected par pinch different Samsung flagships. You besides get 15W accelerated wireless charging, which charges nan telephone afloat successful astir 3 hours and is acceptable if you complaint your telephone astatine nighttime aliases astatine a table aliases successful a fixed position for astir of nan day.
Notably, you will person to usage Samsung’s ain wireless chargers. If you usage a modular Qi-compliant wireless charger, nan charging velocity will driblet to 5W. Wireless charging besides generates much power than wired charging, resulting successful slower charging and variations based connected ambient temperature.
Lastly, you tin pump powerfulness into your accessories, specified arsenic wireless earbuds, done nan Wireless Power Share characteristic connected nan Galaxy S23 FE, which allows nan phone’s backmost to enactment arsenic a wireless charger. You whitethorn besides beryllium capable to complaint your Galaxy smartwatch for illustration this unless restricted by an unfavorable strap design.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: software
While nan Galaxy S23 FE’s hardware whitethorn not beryllium arsenic breathtaking arsenic its Chinese competitors, nan package is wherever Samsung takes a important lead. The telephone comes pinch One UI 5.1 based connected Android 13 retired of nan container and is slated to get 4 generations of Android updates and 5 years of information updates. This makes nan Galaxy S23 FE a proverbial turtle compared to its rabbit-like rivals.
For those switching from nan iPhone, Samsung offers a acquainted personification interface pinch large and information icons and a horizontally scrolling app drawer. One UI besides brings a suite of useful features complete Android, including amended dynamic widgets, spam telephone filtering powered by Bixby, integer wellness features that are importantly improved complete Google’s sparsely updated Digital Wellbeing app, and different profiles for work, sleep, exercise, aliases outings.
You get nan Samsung Wallet app to shop in installments and debit cards, transit cards, vouchers, tickets, boarding passes, COVID certificates, etc. Samsung besides adds DeX support to nan Galaxy S23 FE, which fundamentally allows you to usage nan apps installed connected nan telephone successful a Linux-like desktop mode by connecting to a larger show done a wired aliases wireless connection.
While One UI is 1 of nan astir refined Android-based interfaces, Samsung loads nan telephone pinch plentifulness of preinstalled apps, immoderate of which you mightiness not need. Besides its ain app, Samsung besides preloads apps from Netflix, Meta, and Microsoft. Most of these tin beryllium uninstalled, but it feels for illustration an unnecessary chore and makes an undesirable first impression. Other than this caveat, nan package is chiefly a beardown logic for buying nan Galaxy S23 FE.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: value and availability
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is disposable for acquisition successful nan U.S. now. Despite nan first value announcement of $600, nan charismatic Samsung shop lists nan unlocked variants of nan Galaxy S23 FE astatine and $690 for nan 256GB variant.
Interestingly, Best Buy lists nan Galaxy S23 FE astatine a , arsenic does Amazon. Unless you really want 1 of nan exclusive colors offered connected Samsung’s website, we’d counsel buying nan telephone from Best Buy aliases Amazon and redeeming $30. It’s a very bizarre pricing strucutre, but for immoderate reason, it’s nan 1 Samsung has chosen for nan S23 FE.
Samsung Galaxy 23 FE: verdict
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE brings nan astir applicable features from past year’s Samsung flagships astatine a comparatively affordable price. Besides capacity person to a flagship phone, you get 5 years of continuous package support, including 4 Android updates. Along pinch Samsung’s committedness to software, features for illustration wireless charging, arsenic good arsenic particulate and h2o resistance, make nan Galaxy S23 FE a very appealing prime astatine this price.
The cameras connected nan Galaxy S23 FE stock nan aforesaid underlying model arsenic nan much premium Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus devices. With Pro photograph and video modes, you tin return afloat advantage of nan sensors, though nan processor’s issues pinch heating whitethorn dampen nan wide experience, particularly arsenic nan telephone ages.
This brings maine to my first interest astir nan Galaxy S23 FE — nan underlying hardware that is infamous for heating issues and mediocre efficiency. It will forestall you from enjoying demanding tasks specified arsenic gaming aliases 4K video signaling for agelong durations and whitethorn often mean that immoderate features go inaccessible erstwhile nan telephone heats up. Besides gaming- aliases camera-related utilities, nan heating tin besides beryllium an rumor while utilizing features for illustration navigation and Android Auto, particularly connected longer trips.
My 2nd and astir pressing gripe pinch nan telephone is its name. While its sanction projects it to beryllium a portion of nan flagship Galaxy S23 series, nan FE lacks features that group flagship Samsungs apart. The usage of older Gorilla Glass protection complete nan display, a little agleam show pinch bigger bezels, an optical fingerprint scanner alternatively of an ultrasonic one, and, astir importantly, a last-generation chipset intends nan Galaxy S23 FE lacks nan aforesaid premium allure arsenic nan existent S23 series. I powerfully judge it would beryllium overmuch much charismatic arsenic a top-tier Galaxy A Series telephone alternatively of attempting to don a flagship’s persona.
The value makes nan Galaxy S23 FE an fantabulous worth for money.
If you worth performance, bully looks, and faster charging, nan Nothing Phone 2 will beryllium a amended choice, but it offers 1 little twelvemonth of package updates. If you tin agelong your fund by different $100 aliases so, you will person galore much options, including nan Google Pixel 8, nan guidelines iPhone 14, and nan OnePlus 11.
Despite immoderate of those unsightly cutbacks, nan $600 value (depending connected wherever you bargain it) makes nan Galaxy S23 FE an fantabulous worth for money. If you attraction astir a bully telephone that takes appreciable pictures and will beryllium by your broadside for nan adjacent mates of years, nan Galaxy S23 FE is nan telephone to get.
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