After the holidays — you open your fridge — and you’ve got the mammoth task of what to do with all your leftovers. You start combining things in ways that maybe you shouldn’t and build things that wouldn’t normally exist.

That’s kind of what the
Galaxy S23 FE
is. It’s the post-holiday meal leftovers phone. Among its seemingly disparate parts, is there a delicious day-after sandwich when combined?

It’s got an old processor from a couple of years ago, crammed in a device that’s pretty much identical to the Galaxy A54, but with a better display and a proper zoom camera.

So why does this phone exist? It’s not as good as the S23 series and isn’t as cheap as the Galaxy A series. It’s a weird in-between phone. I’ll explain why in this review, because it definitely has a legitimate place in Samsung’s lineup.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 FE is designed to hit a specific price point by mixing old parts with new pieces.


  • Big vibrant display with 120Hz refresh rates
  • Water and dust-resistant, Fast and smooth performance
  • More affordable than the S23+ or S24+

  • Processor inside is quite old
  • Camera performance could be better
  • Dated design makes it look like a bog standard midrange phone

Galaxy S23 FE - software apps-1


Price, specs and availability

It’s worth looking at the context of Samsung’s phone range from 2023 to make more sense of it. If you want a flagship phone at a relatively reasonable price, that means going with the smallest Galaxy S23.

If you want a bigger screen and flagship power, the price becomes not so reasonable, quickly approaching that $1,000 mark. Even at the time of writing — nearly a year after launching — when I looked at the pricing for this review, the Plus model was still over $800, somewhere near the $900 mark.

So this is where the Galaxy S23 FE fits — it has a big 6.4-inch screen like the bigger Galaxy S23+, but crucially, it only costs $599.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE


Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

6.4-inch 120 Hz FHD+ AMOLED


128GB / 256GB



Operating System
Android 13 + OneUI 5.1

Front camera
10MP, f/2.2

Rear camera
50MP wide / 12MP ultrawide / 8MP telephoto

158mm x 76.5mm x 8.2mm

Mint / Purple / Cream / Graphite

Display type


Charge speed
25W wired / 15W wireless

IP Rating

RAM and Storage
8/128GB, 8/256GB

Where does the Galaxy S23 FE fit in Samsung’s lineup?

Some compromises were made to get the S23 FE down to its low price, and that’s most obvious in the design. Because, after all, the design is almost identical to the budget Galaxy A54, which is a much cheaper phone than Samsung’s flagship range.

From the front, the phone doesn’t have those super-skinny uniform bezels all the way around the display. It’s one of the S23’s most striking features visually, so it’s obvious when you look at the S23 FE that it doesn’t have those.

That’s not to say bezels are chunky; they’re just more like what you’d expect in a cheaper phone, with the bottom bezel being thicker than the other three sides. Unlike the A54, however, the phone features an aluminum (not plastic) frame around the edges. Samsung gave the S23 FE a more durable build and feel than its budget series and also made it more water and dust-resistant.

This phone is IP68 rated, just like the more expensive phones. The glass on the front and back? Well, that’s more like the older flagships or current mid-range devices. It’s Gorilla Glass 5, which — at one point — was the top version of Corning’s tempered glass. At which point exactly? 2016, when the Galaxy Note 7 launched. It’s still solid enough for 2024, though, and offers decent protection against scratches and accidental knocks.

The phone feels pretty chunky and hefty to use, and that slippery glass on the back makes it a bit cumbersome and tricky to manage one-handed. And it’ll happily slide off things. Large phones are pretty much the norm these days, but I’d advise getting a case or skin just to stop that slippery feeling.

A flagship display

What’s interesting about the display is that it uses a panel that is very similar to what’s in the flagship S23 models. It’s Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X, but a slightly older version.

It’s still a very good display, though, delivering a brighter, more vivid experience than what you’ll find on the more affordable Galaxy A-series models. It’s actually brilliant for watching Netflix shows and even copes well with HDR content.

Its peak brightness reaches as high as 1,450 nits, which isn’t all that much less than what the S23 proper offers. Plus, it can reach refresh rates up to 120Hz.

It’s got a fingerprint sensor built into the display as well, and here is one area I wish Samsung had just gone with the same type of sensor that’s in the flagship models because my experience with this one has not been good. This model uses an optical sensor for clarity, whereas the flagship phones use an ultrasonic sensor.

It took me 10–11 times to go through the setup process to register my thumbprint, which isn’t something I’ve experienced on any other phone. And I’ve tested many, many phones. And to unlock it, I found I had to be super specific about which part of my thumb I pressed down to get it to unlock. If I wasn’t purposeful, it’d fail, and it can be pretty frustrating when this happens multiple times a day.

Galaxy S23 FE - fingerprint scanner

As is typical, the phone is loaded with One UI baked on top of Android. Thanks to Samsung’s market-leading efforts to keep phones updated, it already has Android 14 with One UI 6. As always, it’s loaded with many Samsung extras, like the other flagship models, including DeX over a cable. This is Samsung’s desktop-like interface, allowing you to use the phone like a computer while hooked up to an external monitor.

There’s a lot of bloat with Samsung’s software, and it’s the one thing that stands in stark contrast to something like the Pixel 8 or even Pixel 7a. They both sit within about $100 on either side of the S23 FE and deliver a cleaner, more fluid software experience, plus they will get software updates for 7 years.

Samsung’s 4-5 years is still a solid promise, and — outside of Google itself — no third-party Android phone maker comes close to rolling out updates on time or for as long as the Korean tech giant.


I spent 2 weeks with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and it’s impressive(ly boring)

Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra checks all of the boxes for a modern flagship phone, including Galaxy AI. Here’s our full review of Samsung’s best.

The Galaxy S23 FE is the sum of its parts

As I’ve mentioned, there’s an odd bit of leftover hardware thrown into the mix with the S23 FE. Inside, were you to go digging around in the components, you’d find either the Exynos 2200 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, depending on your market. These two chipsets first launched in January 2022 with the Galaxy S21.

They’re not bad chips, but also, they were never the absolute best. Compared to flagship processors, Exynos tends to be a bit less efficient at managing its temperature and battery life. For similar reasons, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was replaced by the 8+ Gen 1 a few months after launching.

Despite less than absolutely perfect performance, they’re still powerful processors that are considerably better than the mid-range stuff you’ll find in the Galaxy A series, especially when it comes to camera performance, which I’ll get into later.

The everyday experience of using the Galaxy S23 FE is — for the most part — fast, smooth and responsive. It certainly doesn’t feel like using a mid-range phone. It’ll load your favorite games without too much trouble.

It didn’t seem to have any issues when it came to playing those games for extended periods, either. Although it must be said, it’s currently winter when I’m testing it, so overheating was never going to be too much of a problem.

Battery life is similarly strong, with the phone capable of giving about 8 hours of active use time on a full charge. Even relatively heavy phone users shouldn’t struggle to get to the end of a long day with a full charge.

Galaxy S23 FE - charging - top down


However, the surprising thing is that it doesn’t seem to be all that different in performance from the regular S23, which has a smaller battery. A lot of that is likely down to the fact it has a less efficient, two-year-old processor inside.

When it comes to refilling, you get 25W charging speeds, and there’s no charger in the box. This means it’s not exceptionally speedy to refill an empty battery. However, it’s not especially slow, giving you about a fifty percent charge in 30 minutes. It can charge wirelessly, so you get that convenience if you have a wireless charger.

A closer look at the S23 FE’s camera

The triple camera on the back has main and ultrawide sensors similar to the S23 and S23 Plus, but with a lower resolution, a 3x telephoto zoom thrown into the mix. Combined with the power from the processor inside, the results are actually pretty strong across the board from all three lenses.

While not completely perfect, the strength of the system is its versatility. The 3x optical zoom camera alongside the other two means you can take sharp, colorful, vibrant photos from all three cameras, switching between them without any severe inconsistencies.

You can stretch beyond the 3x and go up to 10x or 20x digital zoom, but the further you push the zoom, the more the results start to look a bit more like an oil painting than a photograph.

Because it has that flagship processor — albeit an old one — it does a good job of processing images quickly. It can elevate dark areas in the images, stop the shadows from becoming too dark and crushed, and even out the highlights and shadows to produce color-rich, bright images even in low-light situations.

Images still have that typical Samsung tendency of being really colorful and vibrant. Colors aren’t natural, but they do that ‘pop’ to photos that Samsung is known for. Comparing it with photos from the cheaper Galaxy A54, the difference in quality was huge.

Where the A54 can struggle to lift light and color out of the darker parts of the images and the shadows, the S23 FE doesn’t at all. It lifts shadows, finding color, detail and life in these areas and using HDR photography to good effect.

Night mode is effective across the board and only seems to take a second or two to capture the image. And regardless of which camera you use, you can get sharp, bright images even when the only light available is the odd streetlamp or two.

What I did find with the ultrawide is that — compared to the primary camera — it generated a bit more noise in lower light situations where it cranked up the gain to make the image brighter. This is particularly noticeable indoors, in shadowed/darker parts of images.

The video is just about okay, too. I had some issues with stabilization where — when simply walking — it would still have a noticeable jump at the end of every step. Still, you can shoot up to 8K resolution if you want or shoot at 4K/60. However, at those extremes, stabilization isn’t available.


Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

I asked why this phone exists at the beginning of this review, and I think the answer only really becomes clear when you compare it to the S23 Plus or S24 Plus.

The S23 FE is effectively about offering that big-screen experience with a powerful, fast processor at a much cheaper price than the Plus-sized Galaxy S phone. That, of course, means compromises, like raiding the spare parts bin for older components, but the experience is much better than the cheaper Galaxy A series phones.

It’s definitely not quite as good as a Galaxy S Plus, but — crucially — it’s only about $600 to buy, and if you want the best Samsung experience for that sort of money, and you need a bigger screen than the smallest, older Galaxy S phones can offer, this is still your best bet.

Iphone Store – 2024-02-17 05:01:10 /