February 27, 2024

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A complete smartphone with distinctive extras

A complete smartphone with distinctive extras

Samsung is back with the Fan Edition of the Galaxy S23, but how do you like this affordable device and is it a good buy? We tested it and in this review you can read our experiences with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE.

Read more after the announcement.

This is the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review

Samsung released its first FE device in 2020. With the S20 Fan Edition, the manufacturer stripped the regular S20 model of the most important hardware and kept it in the chassis. Samsung also did this with the S21 FE, not the S22 series and again in December 2023 with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE.

With the suggested retail price for 699 In euros, the Galaxy S23 FE is already cheaper than the regular S23 at launch, but this smartphone is now available for €679. Is the S23 FE a better buy? In this Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review, we weigh the pros and cons for you.

The review sample of the Galaxy S23 FE was provided by Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review

Recognizable design

At first glance, it is immediately clear that we have a Samsung device in our hands. With the Galaxy S23 FE, the manufacturer continues the same design style as with the regular S23 series and cheaper A models. In fact, the FE case looks almost identical to the Galaxy A54 case. Its size is 6.4 inches, the side is made of aluminum and the back is made of glass.

We were able to test the device in purple. This should be your thing, but the silver rings around the cameras look particularly nice. The smartphone is also available in black, off-white and mint green, if purple doesn't quite suit you. The phone fits well in the hand, but it's not as easy to operate with one hand as the smaller 6.1-inch S23.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Fe 2 review

The smartphone has a USB-C port and loud stereo speakers. There's no headphone jack, but that's normal on high-end devices these days.

The lock and volume buttons are on the right side, and a quick fingerprint scanner is integrated below the screen. The case is also IP68 dustproof and waterproof, which is useful on a rainy day.

It's not the fastest device, but it's smooth

The chip that powers the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is causing some buzz here and there. Many (and secretly us too) would have liked to see the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip as in the Galaxy S23. Instead, Samsung has opted for a faster version of the Exynos 2200 chip. This processor has also been in the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus for almost two years.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Fe 3 review

Samsung's Exynos chip is less fast and power efficient than the Snapdragon, but frankly you won't notice much of that in daily use. This way you can seamlessly switch between apps, and stuttering is rare. App loading times are also not noticeably slow. Do you play very heavy games on mobile devices? Then the S23 FE is not the best choice.

Our test model has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Do you think this is too little? Then you can also choose a 256GB model. This allows you to store more photos, videos, and apps locally. Of course, you can also use Google Drive to back up your documents to the cloud.

SIM-only subscription is now within everyone's reach!

Great screen

The fact that the phone feels so fast is due to the 120Hz display with variable refresh rate. This means that it alternates between a maximum of 120 images per second (while scrolling, for example) and a minimum of 60 (when viewing a static page). This way you can save battery power, but the navigation remains smooth.

It's an AMOLED panel, which means the S23 FE displays vivid colors and blacks are truly black. You especially notice this when watching dark movies or video games. The screen has a maximum brightness of 1,450 nits, making it easy to read in bright daylight. The resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels ensures a clear image, without the screen consuming a lot of power.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Fe 4 review

Overall, it's a high-quality display as we've come to expect from Samsung. The only drawback is that the bezels are a little thicker than those of the regular S23. The chin is definitely noticeable at first. Fortunately, you'll get used to it after a while, but do you want a screen that extends to the edges? Then look further.

Latest software

Samsung has a recognizable Android skin that differs significantly from native Android. The S23 FE comes with Android 14 – the latest version of the mobile operating system – and Samsung's accompanying One UI 6 interface. Are you familiar with the basic version of Android, like you see on Pixels? It may take some getting used to, but One UI 6 offers a lot of useful additions.

The Quick Settings menu is more comprehensive and you can open it faster. You can also change the location and style of the clock on the lock screen. It's now easier to drag apps, widgets, and other files using your hands, and the Camera app is a bit clearer. Overall, the Android 14 skin is clean and modern in design.

Samsung is giving the Galaxy S23 FE in the Netherlands three major Android updates, which means you'll still receive Android 15, 16 and 17. You will also receive security updates until 2028. The manufacturer thus protects you digitally from malicious parties. Nice possibility.

Cameras for almost every situation

What makes the S23 FE stand out are its cameras. The three lenses on the back are all very usable and shoot in high quality. This way you can take beautiful, clear and naturally colorful photos with the 50MP main camera. Even at night, the lens works well. Although dark and blurry areas in the images show some noise, the images are clear and usable.

Then there are two additional lenses. Firstly, the 12MP wide-angle lens. While shooting, you will clearly notice when the camera switches to this lens. The raw image appears less sharp and grey.

However, the automatic post-processing is able to largely compensate for this and the final image looks very beautiful. Only in the dark the wide-angle lens does not hold up and you will have to switch to the main camera.

Then the lens that sets the S23 FE apart from cheap smartphones: the telephoto lens. This allows you to enlarge the image up to 3 times without losing quality. Although the lens has a resolution of “only” 8MP, it captures clear images from a distance (even in the dark), providing a unique perspective.

Battery life is okay

There's not much to complain about the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE's battery. At 4,500mAh, it's much larger than the regular S23. However, it seems that the less efficient chip ensures that the battery does not necessarily last longer. In practical terms, this means that with average use, you'll simply get to the end of your day. Once you go to bed, you should put the smartphone on the charger.

By charging the S23 FE overnight, you won't notice much of the 25W charging speed. This charges the phone in about an hour and a half. This is slow compared to many other manufacturers, but Samsung has a good reason for that. According to the manufacturer, a slower charging speed means the battery has a longer life and maintains a higher maximum battery capacity.

Samsung galaxy s23 fe 6 review

This is less convenient if you want to quickly charge before leaving the house, but otherwise there's not much to criticize about the battery. It also supports wireless charging at a maximum speed of 15W and you can charge other devices wirelessly by placing it on the back of the device. This is not fast, but it is useful in emergency situations.

Conclusion of our Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is a solid smartphone in many areas. The cameras are usable in many conditions, the chip is fast enough and the battery lasts all day. Plus, you'll receive updates up to and including Android 17, which means you can use it for years to come.

It has a suggested retail price 699 euros Not the best deal. The regular S23 is available now for €679 and offers a much better chip, premium materials, and longer battery life in a compact body.

Fortunately, the price of the S23 FE is also dropping quickly, because you can get it for €604. Do you want a smartphone with a big screen, long software support, and is faster hardware less important to you? Then the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is definitely worth it.

Plus points

  • Clear AMOLED screen

  • Battery that lasts all day

  • Three high-quality cameras

  • Five years of security updates and major updates up to Android 17

Negatives

  • The battery is charging slowly

  • Not the best value for money

  • The chip is not the fastest and most economical

Buy Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Did you read the review and do you like the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE? Then let us help you find the best deal. Providers in the Netherlands often sell the S23 FE for less than the recommended retail price 699 euros. Check out Android Planet's price comparison to get the best deal.

Compare prices for Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Comments on Android Planet
At Android Planet, we test the latest smartphones all year round, from budget devices to phones costing €1,000 (or even more). We do this with a team of editors who have been active in the “smartphone world” for years and have already seen – and thus tested – many phones. We have the necessary experience.

We compile reviews – just like all other content on the site – with a lot of time, care and attention. This way you as a reader will know exactly what to expect from the tested smartphone and what the most important pros and cons are.

In the reviews we go in depth, but in an understandable way. Ultimately, we want everyone to understand the story and ultimately know how good (or bad) the tested device was. We use the smartphones we test as daily drivers for at least a week. This means we know exactly how the latest phones work in practice.

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