By | November 12, 2023
Galaxy S23 FE in hand

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE retains most of what makes the Galaxy S23 a great phone, such as the triple-lens camera setup and refined aluminum and glass construction. It’s not as compact and the processor runs hotter, but it’s good enough for $600.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review: An overview

  • What is it? The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is a budget offering in the Galaxy S23 family, which makes some hardware changes to reach a lower price. It has a 6.4-inch 1080p OLED display, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and 8GB of RAM.
  • What’s the price? The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE retails for $599.99 or $629.99 if purchased directly from Samsung.
  • Where can you buy it? You can buy the Galaxy S23 FE from Samsung, Best Buy or Amazon in unlocked form. There are also carrier versions for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Galaxy S23 FE for two weeks. The review unit was supplied by Samsung.
  • Is it worth it? The Galaxy S23 FE is a pretty unremarkable sub-flagship Android phone, but it’s a good buy for Samsung fans who can’t justify the cost of the Galaxy S23. The FE variant gives you almost all the same features for $200 less.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE?

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

A quick glance will tell you that the Galaxy S23 FE is a Galaxy S phone — Samsung just cut a few corners to keep the price down. It has the same general shape, camera design and button placement as the other S23 phones. Like those devices, the S23 FE has an aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass on both the front and back. However, it is Gorilla Glass 5 instead of the latest Victus 2, as seen on the S23, S23 Plus and S23 Ultra. It’s a well-built phone that feels good in the hand, but it’s a shame we don’t get more modern Corning glass when the Pixel 7 and Pixel 8 both have first-gen Victus protection.

Yes, the S23 FE is IP68 rated just like the rest of the S23 family.

One place you’ll notice the cut corners is, well, the corners. There is a lot more space around the screen on this phone compared to the more expensive S23 phones. This wasted space makes the device larger than it needs to be – the S23 FE has a 6.4-inch display, but it’s slightly larger and heavier than the Galaxy S23 Plus with its 6.6-inch display. I was also much more aware of the front camera. There is a reflective ring around the lens, making it stand out from the surrounding screen. This is not the case with the other S23 phones. You also get stereo speakers (one with the bottom and the other in the earpiece) which sound great. There is basically no bass, but the sound is crisp until you push the volume almost to the max.

The S23 FE has a 6.4-inch display, but it’s slightly larger and heavier than the Galaxy S23 Plus with its 6.6-inch display.

The OLED panel itself isn’t quite up to the standard set by the other members of the S23 family, but that’s not surprising, as displays are one of the most expensive smartphone components. Resolution is still good at 1,080 x 2,340, and the FE maintains a 120Hz refresh rate. However, the brightness peaks at 1,450 nits, several hundreds lower than the Galaxy S23. The S23 FE’s screen looks darker and more reflective outdoors compared to the more expensive models, but it’s still readable. There’s also an under-display fingerprint sensor, but it’s not the fancy ultrasonic variety. Instead, it’s a cheaper optical sensor. Speed ​​is good, but I saw more false negatives than most other phones I’ve tested with optical sensors.

Galaxy S23 FE fingerprint sensor

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

In daily use, the S23 FE felt more than fast enough for me. It runs a flagship processor, but it’s not the latest model, with Samsung instead sticking with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 from the Galaxy S22 series. Gen 1 is still a very fast chip, at least initially. We already know from our extensive testing that this processor tends to overheat under prolonged load, causing performance degradation. In a 20-minute 3DMark Wild Life GPU stress test, the S23 FE lost almost half its speed due to thermal throttling. Qualcomm addressed this drawback with the TSMC-made Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 in mid-2022, but Samsung opted for the hotter (and presumably cheaper) chip for the S23 FE.

The Galaxy S23 FE comes out of the box with Android 13 and One UI 5.1, the same software that runs on the other S23 devices. This phone has a capable processor, so Samsung didn’t have to skip any of its signature software features. You’ll find DeX desktop mode (wireless and wired), multi-window, automatic hotspot and more. Samsung’s Android software is more streamlined than it once was, but the menus are still cluttered, and there are some duplicate Samsung apps pre-installed. There are also some third-party apps like LinkedIn and Facebook that you may want to uninstall.

The Galaxy S23 FE’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 tends to overheat under sustained load, causing performance to degrade.

The Galaxy S23 FE will get the Android 14-based One UI 6 update as part of Samsung’s four-year OTA commitment, but it won’t get the update at the same time as other S23 phones. There’s an Android 14 beta on the Galaxy S23 right now, but since the S23 FE runs a different chip, Samsung will have to develop a separate update. Still, Samsung’s update policy remains among the best in the industry, albeit now behind Google in the Android world.

Galaxy S23 FE back purple

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

With a 4,500 mAh battery, the S23 FE will last a day without a problem. I managed around five or six hours of screen time with the S23 FE heavy before it needed charging. The 25W wired charging isn’t particularly fast in 2023, but it’s the same as what you get on the base Galaxy S23 (which has a smaller battery). You have to go up to Plus or Ultra to get 45W charging.

Yes, it can be charged at up to 15W with a Samsung approved wireless charger.

Samsung’s previous FE phones took a big step down in camera quality, but the S23 FE loses just a little compared to the rest of the S23 lineup. The 50MP primary and 12MP ultrawide cameras are identical to the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus, but the 3x telephoto drops from 10MP to 8MP, and the selfie camera is 10MP instead of 12MP. Having the same primary sensor as the Galaxy S23, this phone plays up to 8K video at 24 fps. It looks as good as the more expensive phone’s video, which is to say it’s better than most Android phones.

Galaxy S23 FE page

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

Photos taken with the S23 FE’s primary and ultra-wide cameras look just as good as those taken on the Galaxy S23. The main camera takes pictures at 12.5 MP, takes pictures quickly and retains good details. However, the S23 FE seems a little more prone to overexposing images, blowing out detail in brighter areas. Zoom shots using the telephoto camera can be blurry unless taken in bright light, presumably due to the lack of optical stabilization for that lens, which the more expensive S23 has. That said, very few phones in this price range even have a dedicated telephoto lens.

You can check out full resolution samples at this Drive link.

For $599, it’s hard to complain about what you get with the S23 FE. But while you can get the S23 FE for that price from Samsung’s carrier partners, Samsung is selling the device for $630. That’s still a good enough deal despite the arbitrary hike, but it also comes dangerously close to the Pixel 8, which has an improved OLED screen, Google’s sleeker version of Android and takes better photos.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FESamsung Galaxy S23 FE

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Slightly larger than S23 • Good size battery • Competitively priced

More than just a Fan Edition

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE landed as more than just a slim S23, it’s a fourth size phone in the line. With a 6.4-inch screen, it’s bigger than the S23, but smaller than the S23 Plus. With Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, this phone offers few compromises compared to the S23 for a decent cost savings.

What are the best options for the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE?

Galaxy S23 FE comparison

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE (bottom left) vs Google Pixel 8, Samsung Galaxy S23 and Motorola Razr

The S23 FE retails for $600-630, depending on where you buy it, and it’s not the only option in this near-flagship price range. Below are the top picks we’d suggest instead, but you can also head over to our dedicated S23 FE options page to see more options.

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 ($799 at Amazon): The Galaxy S23 is a better version of the S23 FE with a faster, cooler processor, slightly improved cameras and slimmer bezels. However, it costs $200 more.
  • Google Pixel 8 ($699 at Amazon): Google offers a better camera experience on the Pixel 8, and the sleeker software will be kept up to date for an impressive seven years.
  • Motorola Razr (2023) ($699.99 at Amazon): The Motorola Razr has a larger 6.9-inch OLED screen and when you’re not using it, the phone folds in half. However, the camera is not as good.

Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE


6.4-inch dynamic AMOLED
FHD+ (2340 x 1080)
120Hz refresh rate
Gorilla Glass 5


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (US)
Exynos 2200 (Global)




128GB or 256GB
No expandable storage space

Battery and power

4500 mAh
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
No charger in the box


-50 MP primary (ƒ1.8, OIS)
– 12 MP ultra-wide (ƒ2.2, 123-degree FoV)
– 8 MP telephoto (ƒ2.4, 3x optical zoom)

– 10 MP single (ƒ2.4)


No 3.5mm headphone jack


Optical fingerprint sensor in the display

Water resistance

IP68 rating

Connection possibilities

Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC support
for example
Dual-SIM (varies by region)


Gorilla Glass 5 front
Metal frame
Gorilla Glass 5 back


Android 13

Weights and Measures

157.9 x 76.5 x 8.1 mm


Indigo (exclusive to Samsung)
Tangerine (excluding Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review: FAQ

The S23 FE supports a physical nanoSIM and an eSIM.

No, USB-C is the only port on this phone.

Yes, but it’s optical instead of ultrasonic like in the more expensive S23 units.

#Samsung #Galaxy #S23 #review #buy

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