- Brilliant display
- Clean software
- Good camera performance
- Design not very appealing
- Slow charging
- Portraits not the best
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE feels like a flagship, works like a flagship, yet just falls short of being a proper flagship. Furthermore, the Rs 59,999 price tag still feels a bit steep, and the Exynos 2200 chip (for no fault of its own) doesn’t give me confidence about the smartphone’s performance in the long run, even though I am quite impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE was launched earlier this month after much anticipation around the smartphone. The “Fan Edition” of Samsung’s flagship smartphones comes after a year’s break as the Korean manufacturer didn’t bring an FE variant of last year’s Galaxy S22 series. Given that many Samsung fans were waiting on a new “Fan Edition” smartphone, it is obvious that there was anticipation around the Galaxy S23 FE.
But does it meet people’s expectations? Does the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE hold enough to be able to match up to the likes of the OnePlus 11, iQOO 11, and other sub-Rs 60,000 flagships that are there in the market? Being a part of the flagship Galaxy S23 series, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE comes with a lot of flagship traits, but also has its shortcomings. I used this smartphone for a few days to find out and here is what I think:
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review: Design
Starting with the design, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE comes with the same design language as bigger siblings, the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus. The smartphone has the same in-hand feel as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, which has a similar size, aluminium frame, and the flat front and back glass. Feels premium.
The most major difference in the design are the bezels, which are visibly thicker than the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus. Apart from that, we also get IP68 dust and water resistance, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both front and back panels, which is not as tough as the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the bigger siblings, the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus.
Same as the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE’s cameras protrude out of the back panel and there is no separate camera module on the smartphone. So yes, this smartphone is designed in a way that people will be able to tell it’s a Samsung from a mile away, which is good in terms of having a unified design language. The flat front and back make the smartphone feel a bit too big in your hands, but that is something users will get used to eventually.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review: Display
Coming to the display, this is where Samsung pretty much always does well. The Galaxy S23 FE is no stranger to Samsung’s display capabilities. The smartphone comes with a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with HDR10+ support and 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. We don’t get an LTPO panel with this, but we do get an “Adaptive Refresh Rate” feature that is a software solution for adjusting the responsiveness according to the content on screen. With this, we get an FHD+ resolution and a claimed peak brightness of 1,450 nits.
The claims, however, are far from the real picture. We tested the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE’s display brightness using a Lux Meter under bright light, and the smartphone showed a maximum luminance of about xxx nits and a minimum brightness of xxx. Now, while this isn’t as good as the brightest pixel on this device, it is good enough to be used in all kinds of environments. Sunlight visibility for this smartphone, as expected, is great. The content is visible in the brightest of environments and the brightness drops to as low as xx nits so you can really tune it down while scrolling aimlessly through Instagram at night.
Coming to the picture quality and colour accuracy, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE again excels. I put the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE through the Calman Colorchecker analysis and the smartphone showed an average DeltaE of 1.6, which is brilliant for a smartphone. A lower DeltaE means that the colours you see on the screen are more accurate. The lower the DeltaE, the more accurate the colours.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review: Performance
Performance wise, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE isn’t the best in segment. The smartphone is powered by Samsung’s first 4nm Exynos 2200 chipset with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage. Now while Samsung’s Exynos chips aren’t considered the most powerful, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is a decent performer. In day-to-day usage, I haven’t felt any issues with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE. The smartphone is good enough for basic users who want a flagship experience.
In synthetic benchmarks also, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE puts out decent scores which are right up there with some of the top flagships of this year. For example, in CPU-based tests, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE even beats the Samsung Galaxy S23, which is a couple of segments above the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE and comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. In GPU-based tests, however, the results are confusing. In 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE scored much lower than competition, but in other GPU-based tests like GFXBench, the smartphone’s performance was pretty impressive.
With the new Exynos 2200 chip, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE also gets ray tracing, which enhances the gaming experience even further. Apart from that, we are getting Samsung’s OneUI 5.1 software with Android 13. Like I’ve said before, Samsung’s OneUI is one of the best Android skins out there. There is no bloatware, and it’s very pleasing to use, set up, and even multitask on.
Coming to battery, here again we get the proper Samsung experience. The battery life on this smartphone is great. I was able to squeeze out a screen on time of 7 hours easily with the Galaxy S23 FE as my primary smartphone. This means that the 4,500mAh battery on the smartphone is very good. The phone only lost 3 percent of the battery while playing Call of Duty: Mobile and 8 percent while navigating GPS for an hour.
Charging, on the other hand, is a bit slow as compared to smartphones in this range. The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE comes with 25W fast charging, which took about 1 hour and 35 minutes to charge from 0 to 100 percent. Now, this is slow as compared to other devices, but it is good enough for basic users.
So overall, the performance and battery of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is nothing short of flagship. Yes, maybe the charging could have been faster and maybe the GPU performance of the Exynos 2200 chip could have been much better. But overall, if you buy a Samsung Galaxy S23 FE for the flagship experience, there is no doubt that the smartphone will definitely deliver on that.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review: Camera
The cameras here are also good. With the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, we get a 50-megapixel primary shooter with an f/1.8 aperture, a 12-megapixel ultrawide angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens. The camera performance of this device is again good. I quite liked how the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE performed in pretty much all conditions.
The images are sharp and rich in contrast. The details are also intact in most conditions, and most of all, there is consistency between the results of the wide-angle, telephoto, and primary lenses. Furthermore, even in low light this camera performs nicely and the details, highlights remain intact. The wide angle lens is also very good in low light. The shadows, highlights, and everything remains intact. Yes, like other smartphones, the corners of wide angle shots in low light are hazy and lack detail, but the meat of the photos is as sharp as the primary shooter.
Coming to the portraits, I wasn’t as impressed. Here also, I was expecting a flagship-like performance or results that are close to the Samsung Galaxy S23. However, while the images are still pretty good, I found the edge detection to be a bit too aggressive. While this is something that can be fixed in post edit, I doubt most users will make the effort.
Overall, however, this camera is as good as the Samsung Galaxy S23 vanilla. While the camera specs are mostly the same as the Galaxy S23, but the Galaxy S23 FE lacks a few features like Super Steady in the wide angle lens, or the larger telephoto lens, but the results are very good. The portrait could have been better, and the wide angle shots in low light can use a bit more light around the edges, but that isn’t a deal breaker.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review: Verdict
So that was the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE for you. A flagship experience at a non-flagship price. The smartphone feels premium, looks the same as its bigger brothers – the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, just with slightly thicker bezels. It is also slightly wider and may not feel as handy as the S23 Plus, but from a distance, no one would be able to tell the difference.
The display is brilliant, battery backup is outstanding, and most of all, the cameras are good. The Exynos 2200 chip is also decent in terms of matching up to flagship-level chips in terms of performance, but yes, it won’t be the best phone for gaming. The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE feels like a flagship, works like a flagship, yet just falls short of being a proper flagship. Furthermore, the Rs 59,999 price tag still feels a bit steep, and the Exynos 2200 chip (for no fault of its own) doesn’t give me confidence about the smartphone’s performance in the long run, even though I am quite impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE 5G Key Specs, Price and Launch Date
Battery capacity (mAh)
Rear Camera Megapixel
50 + 8 + 12
Screen size (in inches)