Samsung introduced its Fan Edition (FE) smartphone lineup to compete with the likes of the Google Pixel a series and Apple’s iPhone mini/SE range. With two successful Galaxy FE models under their belt, Samsung now brings us the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE. Notably, there was no S22 FE last year.
The Fan Edition models from Samsung have garnered attention for offering high-end performance and premium design at an affordable price point. The new Samsung Galaxy S23 FE continues this tradition. This latest iteration comes with significant improvements compared to the S21 FE. It features a larger vapor chamber cooling system, an enhanced camera setup, a brighter display, a new flagship processor, and more. In line with these upgrades, Samsung has adjusted the price of the S23 FE, which now starts at INR 59,999. But does the Galaxy S23 FE truly justify this higher price tag? Let’s find out in our review.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Specifications
Before starting with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review, let’s glance at the phone’s specifications, pricing, and things we get with the device.
- Display: 6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
- CPU: Octa-core Exynos 2200 processor
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128/256GB
- Software: Android 13, One UI 5
- Main Camera: 50MP primary sensor + 12MP ultra-wide lens + 8MP telephoto camera
- Selfie Camera: 10MP
- Connectivity: USB Type-C, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS/ A-GPS, FM Radio
- Cellular: Dual SIM
- Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, in-display
- Battery: 4,500 mAh, non-removable
- Charging: 25W fast charging
Samsung has embraced a minimalistic design approach with the Galaxy S23 series, and the Galaxy S23 FE continues this trend. The company has opted for a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing design, departing from the contoured-cut design seen in the previous two Galaxy S releases. On the S23 FE, the rear camera lenses are neatly stacked in a vertical arrangement and don’t protrude significantly. Unlike earlier models, the rear cameras are seamlessly integrated into the phone’s body, maintaining a symmetrical appearance.
The device is available in a range of colors, including Mint, Purple, and Graphite. Samsung has left no stone unturned in crafting this phone, evident in its design and build quality. Both the front and back are protected by Gorilla Glass. The frame is meticulously carved from aluminum and boasts a matte finish, regardless of the color variant you choose.
The button placement is straightforward, with the power button and volume rockers positioned on the right side, leaving the left side uncluttered. The bottom houses the loudspeaker grill and USB Type-C port, while the secondary microphone is located on the top.
The Galaxy S23 FE features a familiar 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s worth noting that, unlike the pricier S23 models equipped with LTPO technology, the S23 FE offers a dynamic refresh rate ranging from 48Hz to 120Hz. The screen exhibits a wide contrast ratio and supports HDR10, ensuring excellent viewing angles and vibrant colors. Samsung has introduced a new feature, the Advanced Vision Booster, which automatically adjusts the screen to optimize color accuracy and contrast based on the surrounding lighting conditions.
However, it’s important to mention that the S23 FE doesn’t achieve the same level of a bezel-less design as the higher-end Galaxy S23 series smartphones. This distinction is even noticeable when compared to the S21 FE. On the plus side, the device holds Widevine L1 certification, guaranteeing a delightful viewing experience when streaming FHD content from various OTT platforms. The stereo speakers complement the display effectively, delivering clear and loud audio. Furthermore, these speakers come with Dolby Atmos support, offering an expansive soundstage experience that’s particularly valuable for multimedia content.
Software & UI
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE comes equipped with the One UI 5.1 operating system, built on the foundation of Android 13. Samsung’s noteworthy commitment to providing four years of software updates and five years of security patches ensures it remains at the forefront of Android smartphone support.
One UI 5.1 introduces a host of valuable features, including enhanced lock screen customization, intelligent suggestion widgets, an edge panel, and expanded functionalities for the camera app. For those who’ve been following recent developments, the One UI 6, a more feature-rich version, has made its debut with the Galaxy S23 series and is anticipated to roll out to the S23 FE in the near future.
The phone also boasts a DeX mode, delivering a desktop-like experience within the palm of your hand. However, it’s important to note that not everything is perfect, especially considering the price point of this smartphone. Third-party apps continue to pose challenges on a device of this caliber. Out of the box, you’ll find apps like Microsoft 365, OneDrive, LinkedIn, Outlook, Facebook, Spotify, Netflix, among others preinstalled. Additionally, Samsung’s own apps sometimes tend to generate spam notifications. The silver lining is that most of these preloaded apps can be uninstalled. Yet, it’s worth suggesting that Samsung should consider reducing bloatware, particularly given the premium pricing of the S series.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is equipped with the Samsung Exynos 2200 SoC, in contrast to the Global model’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. It boasts 8GB of RAM and offers storage options of up to 256GB. During our tests, the Exynos 2200 effortlessly managed everyday tasks. Benchmark results from sources like Geekbench 6 and Antutu V9 indicated satisfactory performance. However, when subjected to demanding tasks or gaming, the chip exhibited a tendency to run a bit hot, especially noticeable in CPU benchmarks. To address this concern, the phone is equipped with a Vapor Chamber cooling system.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE features a versatile triple-camera system on its rear, consisting of a 50MP primary lens with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 12MP ultra-wide-angle sensor, and an 8MP telephoto lens. On the front, there’s a 10MP selfie camera.
In terms of the camera experience, the Galaxy S23 FE marks a significant improvement over its predecessor. Both the primary and ultra-wide-angle sensors deliver strong performance across various lighting conditions. The telephoto lens shines in portrait and daytime photography but faces challenges in low-light situations, which is expected. However, the Night mode does a commendable job of enhancing low-light performance. Speaking of portraits, the Galaxy S23 FE excels in producing impressive bokeh while retaining sharp subject details.
In the video department, the Galaxy S23 FE offers versatile recording capabilities. It can record videos in up to 8K resolution at 24 frames per second, although this high resolution is limited to the primary sensor. You can record 4K videos at 30fps from all three rear cameras. The front camera supports 4K recording at 60fps, making it an excellent choice for vlogging enthusiasts.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is equipped with a 4,500mAh battery, providing sufficient power for the SoC. With typical usage, the phone easily lasts a full day and offers an average screen-on time of five hours. It supports 25W fast charging, but please note that the charger is not included in the box. You can charge the Galaxy S23 FE in less than 90 minutes using a third-party USB PD charger.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review – The Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE comes with a range of notable enhancements and features compared to its predecessors. It combines a premium build, a vibrant AMOLED display with a high refresh rate, a powerful chip, feature-rich software, and impressive camera capabilities.
That said, there are a few downsides, including comparatively slower charging speeds, noticeable bezels, and a substantial price tag. It’s an appealing choice for individuals interested in joining the Samsung ecosystem. However, for those seeking alternatives, devices like the OnePlus 11 and OPPO Reno 10 Pro+ provide compelling features at a more cost-effective price point.
Design & Build
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE comes with a range of notable enhancements and features compared to its predecessors. It combines a premium build, a vibrant AMOLED display with a high refresh rate, a powerful chip, feature-rich software, and impressive camera capabilities. That said, there are a few downsides, including comparatively slower charging speeds, noticeable bezels, and a substantial price tag.
- Premium Build
- Excellent display
- Good cameras
- Functional software
- Hot CPU
- Slow charging speeds