Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review: Samsung’s Fan Edition series has been a mixed bag, but with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, it seems that the company is determined to revive the spirit of its dedicated fans. Let’s delve into the review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, exploring its design, utility, display, camera capabilities, performance, and battery life to see if it’s a worthy contender in the market.
Design: A Familiar Yet Refreshing Look
At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE might remind you of the Galaxy A54, as both phones sport 6.4-inch displays with noticeable bezels. However, the S23 FE sets itself apart with a striking mint green color and a silver frame. The aluminum frame and glass back lend a premium feel to the phone, although unlike other S23 models, the back panel lacks a matte finish.
One notable change is the phone’s weight; it’s on the heavier side for its size. While this might not appeal to those seeking an ultra-light device, it does provide a sense of quality and sturdiness. This design direction moves away from the plastic build of previous FE smartphones, catering to users looking for a more premium feel.
Utility and Features: A Balanced Package
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE offers storage options of 128GB or 256GB. It ditches the advanced ultrasonic fingerprint scanner found in other S23 models, opting for an optical scanner that functions well. The phone features Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both the front and back, along with an IP68 rating for improved durability. Notably, the stereo speakers deliver loud and bass-rich audio.
Display: Vibrant and Responsive
The 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED display is one of the S23 FE’s highlights. It produces vivid colors and deep blacks, making content pop. The display’s viewing angles are excellent, and its peak brightness of 1450 nits ensures readability even in direct sunlight. What’s impressive is the display’s consistent 120Hz variable refresh rate, avoiding the common issue of dropping below the max refresh rate in various apps.
Camera Capabilities: Impressive Results
While the more expensive S23 models are renowned for their camera capabilities, the S23 FE still holds its ground. It boasts a triple rear camera setup, featuring a 50MP primary sensor, a 12MP ultrawide, and an 8MP telephoto lens.
The primary 50MP shooter excels in outdoor photography, offering outstanding HDR performance, well-balanced contrast, and vibrant colors without over-saturation. It maintains its performance in low-light conditions, thanks to a handy night mode that reduces noise and improves lighting.
Video recording from the main camera remains stable and well-exposed, even in challenging scenarios. The 12MP ultrawide camera matches the primary camera’s color profile but can suffer from barrel distortion. Ultrawide video results are equally impressive with excellent dynamic range and stability.
The 3x zoom telephoto camera performs well, albeit not as impressively as the other sensors. Unfortunately, it often refuses to activate, resulting in a 3x crop from the main camera instead. The 30x hybrid zoom, however, is noteworthy, thanks to Samsung’s effective post-processing.
The 10MP front camera captures sharp selfies and records 4K 60fps videos.
Performance and Software: Balancing Act
The S23 FE distinguishes itself from its pricier siblings by opting for an Exynos 2200 chipset instead of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The Exynos 2200, a 4nm chipset with a custom-made GPU based on AMD’s RDNA2 architecture, excels in GPU performance but lags in CPU power compared to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. Despite the thermal enhancements, the phone can get warm under heavy loads.
On the software front, the S23 FE runs on One UI 5.1 based on Android 13, offering a well-balanced blend of features and stability. Daily performance on the phone is smooth, with no significant hiccups. While some bloatware apps come pre-installed, they are removable. Samsung’s commitment to providing four major Android updates and five years of security updates bodes well for long-term usability.
Battery Life: Adequate but Could Be Better
The 4,500mAh battery in the S23 FE offers a full day of use with moderate to heavy usage. However, in a market where 5,000mAh batteries are becoming the norm, a larger battery would have been appreciated. The phone supports 25W fast charging, allowing for a quick top-up in about an hour, and it also offers 15W wireless charging.
The Verdict: A Tempting Option
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE may not adhere to the older FE tradition of offering flagship performance on a budget, but it does bring a compelling package to the table. With its impressive camera capabilities, reliable performance, and feature-rich hardware, it’s a tempting choice for smartphone enthusiasts.
Although it’s launched at ₹59,999, it’s possible to find the S23 FE at a discounted price of ₹49,999, making it an even more enticing option. If you can grab this phone for under ₹50,000, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE proves to be a compelling camera phone worth considering.