Full Review of the Samsung Galaxy s23 FE:
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE offers a premium smartphone experience without the premium price tag. After using the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE for two weeks, my full review covers the pros, cons, features, and how it compares to other phones like the Samsung Galaxy A54 and S23 series.
- Bright, vibrant 6.6″ FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display
- Powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor
- Great triple camera system
- Samsung DeX, wireless power sharing and other flagship features
- Good battery life (6-8 hours SOT)
- IP68 water and dust resistance
- No microSD card slot
- Heavier and chunkier than other phones
- No S Pen support
Colors and Specifications
The Galaxy S23 FE comes in 6 different colors:
It’s available in two storage configurations:
- 128GB + 8GB RAM
- 256GB + 8GB RAM
- 6.6” FHD+ 1080 x 2400 AMOLED display (120Hz refresh rate)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor
- Rear camera: 50MP main + 12MP ultrawide + 8MP 3x telephoto
- Front camera: 32MP
- 5G, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
- 4,500 mAh battery with 25W wired charging
- Android 13 with One UI 5.0
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
Inside the Galaxy S23 FE box you get:
- The phone
- A USB-C to USB-C charging cable
- A SIM ejection tool
- Some paperwork and manuals
Unfortunately, there are no headphones or a wall charger included.
The Galaxy S23 FE has a premium glass and aluminum design. The back is made of Gorilla Glass 5.
With dimensions of 157.3 x 76.1 x 8.2 mm and a weight of 210g, it is quite chunky and heavy compared to other phones. However, the rounded edges make it comfortable to hold.
The buttons and ports are located in the usual spots:
- Power and volume buttons on the right side
- SIM tray on top
- USB-C charging port on bottom
- Stereo speakers (bottom + earpiece)
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE front and back are protected by Gorilla Glass 5. There is no microSD card slot for expandable storage.
For unlocking the phone, you have two options:
- In-display fingerprint sensor
- Face recognition
Both methods are very fast and reliable. You can unlock the S23 FE instantly just by glancing at the screen.
The S23 FE has a 6.6” FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display with a 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution. It supports a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and animations.
While the bezels, especially on the bottom, are thicker than the S23 series, the display is bright, vibrant, and immersive thanks to the AMOLED tech. It has excellent sunlight legibility, reaching up to 1450 nits peak brightness.
The 2400 x 1080 resolution may seem low for a 6.6” screen, but text and images still look sharp. The 120Hz refresh rate enhances the overall experience.
With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, the Galaxy S23 FE delivers excellent performance. The same processor is used in previous generation flagship phones like the S22 Ultra.
Day-to-day usage is smooth and snappy. Apps open quickly and multitasking is very first. Heavy games like Call of Duty run well at high graphics settings.
You also get the latest connectivity standards like 5G, WiFi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3. Overall, performance is top-notch and on par with more expensive flagships. The S23 FE can easily handle power users’ needs.
Some of the valuable features of the S23 FE include:
- Samsung DeX – Use your phone like a PC by connecting it to an external monitor
- Wireless powersharing – Charge other devices by placing them on the S23 FE’s back
- Extra dim mode – Make the screen even darker for comfort at night
- Multi control – Control your laptop, tablet, etc from your S23 FE screen using a single mouse/keyboard
It lacks the S Pen support found on the S22 Ultra and other Note phones. But, the S23 FE still has most of the flagship capabilities at a lower price.
On the rear is a triple-camera setup:
- 50MP f/1.8 main camera
- 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera
- 8MP f/2.4 telephoto camera (3x optical zoom)
This versatile setup lets you capture wide-angle landscapes, crisp detailed closeups, and zoom in on faraway subjects. The telephoto lens combined with 30x digital zoom produces good-quality images.
The S23 FE can record video at up to 8K 24fps or 4K 60fps quality. Videos are stabilized and detailed with accurate colors. Low-light photos turn out decent though a bit noisy at times. Night mode helps reduce noise and brighten up dim scenes.
A 4500 mAh battery powers the Galaxy S23 FE. With moderate use, you can get 6-8 hours of screen on time per charge. Heavy users may see closer to 6 hours SOT.
Charging the battery from 0 to 100 percent takes over one hour using the included 25W charger.
Overall, the battery life is sufficient to get most people through a full day of use. But it needs to improve the endurance seen on phones with 5000 mAh+ batteries.
Comparison to Galaxy A54
The Galaxy A54 is Samsung’s new mid-range phone for 2023. Here’s how it compares to the S23 FE:
- The A54 has a lower resolution 720p screen without 120Hz refresh rate
- It has a weaker Exynos processor compared to the flagship Snapdragon chip in the S23 FE
- Build quality is lower with a plastic back vs glass on the S23 FE
- The A54 lacks wireless charging and other premium features like DeX
But the A54 does have a microSD slot for memory expansion. At $350, the Galaxy A54 is a solid budget choice if you want to save money. But the S23 FE delivers a much more premium experience overall.
Comparison to Galaxy S23
How does the S23 FE measure up against Samsung’s flagship S23? Let’s compare:
- The S23 FE has a larger 6.6” screen over the S23’s 6.1” display
- It offers brighter display peak brightness (1450 nits vs 1300 nits)
- S23 has smaller bezels with a higher screen-to-body ratio
- S23 is lighter and more compact thanks to its smaller size
- S23 is powered by the newest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor
- S23 gets better battery life – about 1-2 hours more screen time
- S23 has a higher 50MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom vs 8MP on S23 FE
- S23 supports faster 45W charging vs 25W on the S23 FE
The S23 retails for $799 but can be found for $600 during sales. It may be worth spending extra for the latest performance and camera upgrades at that price. But the S23 FE still holds its own as an affordable flagship alternative.
Comparison to Galaxy S23 Plus
The S23 Plus has the same footprint as the S23 FE but with slimmer bezels around its 6.6” screen. Other differences:
- S23 Plus display is brighter (1750 nits vs 1450 nits peak)
- S23 Plus has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor for better performance
- S23 Plus battery lasts 1-2 hours longer than S23 FE
- S23 Plus has a 10MP 3x telephoto camera with OIS
- S23 Plus supports 45W charging vs 25W on S23 FE
- S23 Plus costs $1,000 but can be found for $800 on sale
Unless you need the telephoto camera, faster charging, or other small upgrades, the S23 FE makes more sense for budget-conscious buyers. You get largely the same experience for several hundreds less.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE delivers a flagship-level experience at an affordable price. You get the same premium design, display, performance, and cameras of the S23 series without spending over $1,000.
Battery life and charging speeds are behind the standard S23 models. But overall, there are few huge compromises made with the S23 FE considering its much lower cost. If you want excellent performance and features without breaking the bank, the Galaxy S23 FE is a fantastic choice for 2023. It’s the best value Samsung phone available today.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does the S23 FE have a microSD card slot?
Unfortunately, the S23 FE does not have a microSD card slot for expanding the storage. You’ll have to choose between 128GB or 256GB of internal storage.
How good is the camera on the S23 FE?
The triple lens rear camera system on the S23 FE is excellent, producing sharp, vivid photos and videos in various conditions. It has a 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, and 8MP 3x telephoto camera. The telephoto lens plus 30x digital zoom allows you to zoom in on distant subjects. Overall, the camera quality is flagship-level.
What processor does the Galaxy S23 FE use?
Galaxy S23 FE is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform, which is found in previous generation flagship phones like the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Performance is fast and reliable for working, gaming, and multitasking.