Samsung had launched many impressive smartphones this year especially those from it’s flagship S23 series smartphones that offer user unparalleled performance and superior photography capabilities which makes them amazing companion for day-to-day use. However, those on a slightly tighter budget may find their four-digit starting price a bit hard to swallow. That’s where the Galaxy S23 FE comes into play.
The new Galaxy S23 FE packs all the fan-favorite features of the S23 series into a good-looking glass slab that carries with a more palatable starting price of just S$888. Although Samsung did cut some corners to make the phone more affordable, but trust me, this is perhaps the best smartphone you can get under a thousand at this point of time.
Minimalist Design That Survives The Test Of Time
Samsung had proven with the Galaxy S23 and S23+ that smartphone doesn’t necessarily needs intricate design to gain popularity. In the world of smartphones where camera bumps are getting ridiculously larger, the S23 duo’s simple and minimalist design is definitely one that stands out of the crowd.
It’s therefore a good news that the new Galaxy S23 FE inherits a similar design language that emphasizes on going bump-less at the back with three individual lenses arranged in a vertical layout. While the lenses themselves are slightly raised, they are certainly less obstructive as compared to having a large rectangular slab sticking out from the top-left corner which often causes the phone to wobble on flat surfaces.
Despite it’s minimal looking design, each and every parts of the S23 FE’s exterior are expertly crafted. The front and back of the phone are protected by Gorilla Glass 5, while the frame is constructed with aluminum. This results in a phone that screams premium on hand.
Like the Galaxy S23 and S23+ devices, the Galaxy S23 FE is offered in a myriad of different color options such as Mint, Cream, Graphite, Purple, Indigo and Tangerine. For this review, Samsung had sent me the Mint model which is honestly one of my favorite color among the six. It looks cool and trendy, and is an unique color that we don’t normally see on smartphones.
Flipping the phone over, we’ll be looking at a decently-sized 6.4” flat screen display which has a centered punch-hole camera cutout that houses a 10 megapixels camera for selfie and video call. The display itself is based on a high-end Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel that offers a sharp FHD+ screen resolution and a fast 120Hz refresh rate which makes scrolling feels more fluid when reading news articles or navigating through the One UI interface.
Regardless whether I was using the smartphone inside a dimly-lit café or an open-air restaurant, the S23 FE’s display is able to automatically toggle the screen brightness to provide the best and most comfortable viewing experience. In fact, I would also like to heap praise on it’s incredible 1,450 nits peak brightness that’s able to keep screen legible even when I was using the phone directly under the sun.
All The Power You Need Under The Hood
Sitting at the heart of the Galaxy S23 FE is the company’s in-house Exynos 2200 mobile platform fabricated under an advanced 4nm process. In terms of day-to-day usage, this is a superb chipset that’s capable of delivering a smooth, lag-free user experience whether I was multi-tasking or editing my next Instagram reel.
In fact, I also hardly encounter any tinge of lagginess when playing graphics-demanding game titles such as PUBG Mobile and GRID Autosport for an hour or two. This is partly attributed to the presence of an advanced vapor chamber cooling system under the hood which helps to regulate the phone’s thermal especially during prolonged gaming sessions to eliminate the risk of thermal throttling.
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Memory-wise, the Galaxy S23 FE is available in two storage variants – 128GB and 256GB – which will all be paired with 8GB RAM. Unless you’re one of those who tend to download plenty of apps and games on the phone, I believe the 128GB base model is more than good enough for majority of the users considering that cloud storage is now readily accessible at your fingertip.
Apart from a capable chipset, the Galaxy S23 FE is also backed by a respectable 4,500mAh battery which can easily provides me with at least a day’s usage when fully charged. In the event that the phone runs out of power, it can be recharged fairly quickly with a compatible charging brick at up to 25W. During my testing, it takes me approximately 95 minutes to recharge the battery from 0 to 100%.
Great Photography Companion
For photography, Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S23 FE with a versatile triple-camera system which has the capability to capture all sorts of photography. These cameras include a 50 megapixels (f/1.8 aperture) main camera, 12 megapixels (f/2.2 aperture) ultra-wide camera as well as an 8 megapixels (f/2.4 aperture) telephoto unit.
Like any of it’s S23 siblings, the S23 FE’s main camera is able to capture amazing photos with excellent dynamic range and details regardless of lighting condition. While this may sounds a bit exaggerating, some of the photos actually look even better than other high-end devices that double it’s price.
Technically, this shouldn’t be the case since those higher-end devices ought to have better hardware as some even went as far as adopting branded lenses for the cameras. However, Samsung is able to leverage it’s advanced AI computational photography prowess to bridge the hardware gap between the S23 FE and the more expensive flagship phones. This isn’t surprising since we’d already seen how the company achieve similar success on it’s A series devices including the A54 5G (Review).
As for landscape photography, the S23 FE’s ultra-wide camera is also able to deliver some flattering results even though there’s undeniably a tiny drop in details which you’re likely to discover if you zoom into a particular spot within the photo. Still, these are gorgeous photos which we will gladly post on social media platforms.
And finally to help with faraway shots, the S23 FE has a really impressive telephoto camera which supports up to 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom. While photos captured at 30x zoom factor might not be those you’ll like to showcase to others, you will still be surprised how clear these photos are especially if when you compare them with those taken by other smartphones in the same segment.
From it’s clean, affable design to it’s capable camera system, the Galaxy S23 FE is a phone with plenty to love. Despite being priced cheaper than other S23 series smartphones, Samsung managed to cut the right corners to ensure users are able to enjoy the same premium experience as the rest of the S23 series devices at a more affordable price point.
If you’re interested, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is priced starting from just $888 for the 128GB trim and goes up to $988 for the higher-end model with doubled storage space. It’ll be available for purchase directly via Samsung Singapore’s official online store.