Samsung's Galaxy S23 FE Arrives With Bigger Battery and Larger Screen
Samsung's cheaper flagship phone makes noticeable cuts from the Galaxy S23, but it's still a speedy phone.
Mike SorrentinoSenior Editor
Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
ExpertisePhones, texting apps, iOS, Android, smartwatches, fitness trackers, mobile accessories, gaming phones, budget phones, toys, Star Wars, Marvel, Power Rangers, DC, mobile accessibility, iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, RCS
The $600 (£599, AU$999) Samsung Galaxy S23 FE revives the company's Fan Edition of phones, and it's selling for a much lower price than the original $800 Galaxy S23. Samsung's lower-priced flagship, first revealed on Oct. 3 and now available for purchase, keeps many higher-end features like the inclusion of a telephoto lens for the camera and reverse wireless charging. There are noticeable changes, however, that might not affect the phone's overall appeal, but reveal how Samsung was able to offer the phone for $200 less.
The S23 FE's release comes after Samsung paused the line in 2022, having released the Galaxy S21 FE early that year, but decided to not release a Galaxy S22 FE. These phones have aimed to provide as much of the flagship phone experience as possible for less money, and in some cases improve by including a bigger battery and screen. While Samsung does offer a lot of Galaxy A phones priced at $450 and lower, Samsung's FE phones tend to focus on the most noticeable features from its higher-end line while making cuts in areas that could be less noticeable.
In the case of the Galaxy S23 FE, Samsung decided to scale back by using last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor -- but that processor is still quite powerful for most tasks and can be found in Motorola's $1,000 Razr Plus foldable phone. In my initial day of testing the Galaxy S23 FE, the phone zips through tasks like installing apps, toggling through my text message threads and loading up my news feeds. There's also a noticeable change in the phone's appearance, with the standard Galaxy S23 using a more glossy aluminum than the aluminum used on the FE.
The Galaxy S23 FE has a 50-megapixel wide camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, similar to the Galaxy S23, but its 8-megapixel telephoto camera is a minor step down from the regular S23's 10-megapixel zoom camera. The S23 FE also uses a 10-megapixel front-facing camera, versus the 12-megapixel one seen on the standard S23.
However, the Galaxy S23 FE does include a slightly bigger battery than the original S23: 4,500 versus 3,900 mAh. The phone is also a little bigger than the Galaxy S23, with the FE including a 6.4-inch display that makes it a hair shorter than the 6.6-inch display on the S23 Plus. The S23 FE's display can run at a 120Hz refresh rate, but will adapt between that and 60Hz, depending on the phone's activity, to save battery.
But aside from those differences, the phone shares many similarities with the Galaxy S23. That includes Android 13, wired charging at a speed of 25 watts, wireless charging along with the ability to wirelessly charge other devices, an in-display fingerprint sensor and 128GB or 256GB storage options. Unlike the cheaper $450 Galaxy A54 5G, the S23 FE does not include expandable storage via microSD.
The phone will be available in six colors at launch, with stores getting mint, purple, cream and graphite. Indigo and tangerine colors will also be available through Samsung's website.
During an earlier demo I had with the S23 FE, I took a few sample photos at the Samsung 837 showroom in New York.
While I'll need more time with the phone to get a better impression, my initial thoughts put the Galaxy S23 FE as less of an alternative for "fans," but more as an option to consider as a step up from the $499 Pixel 7A and the Galaxy A54. While camera testing will be needed to see how the FE compares to the 7A, the new Samsung phone does have a slightly bigger screen than Google's phone. The S23 FE also includes a telephoto lens with a 3x optical zoom, which neither the 7A nor the Galaxy A54 include.