Galaxy S23 FE review

The Fan Edition series, which includes the Galaxy S23 FE smartphone announced at the end of last year, is built around the idea of filling a market niche where users want a flagship-like design with most of the features, but don’t want to pay for a flagship. For several years now, Samsung has been trying to find an approach to this audience, and this is why models with the FE prefix in their names are needed. However, if for headphones and tablets, the formula for such a “fan” device is generally more understandable and stable, while for smartphones it is changing. Two years ago, Samsung seems to have found the right approach with the Galaxy S21 FE, a relatively compact 6.4-inch smartphone that is still selling and in demand. However, whether the manufacturer will be able to repeat its success with the Galaxy S23 FE, let’s try to figure it out in this review.

Specifications of Galaxy S23 FE

Dimensions and weight

158 x 76,5 x 8,2 mm

209 grams

RAM and storage  8/128 GB або 8/256 GB
Processor Exynos 2200
Graphics processor Xclipse 920
Wireless modules Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC

6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X

Resolution: 2340×1080 dots

Refresh rate: 60-120 Hz

Rear camera module

Wide-angle sensor: 50 megapixels, ƒ/1.8, PDAF, OIS

Ultra-wide-angle: 12 megapixels, 123°, ƒ/2.2

Telephoto: 8 megapixels ƒ/2.4, PDAF, OIS, 3x

Front camera 10 MP, ƒ/2.4
Battery 4500 mAh
Operating system Android 14, One UI 6
Recommended price in Ukraine 26 999 UAH for 8/128 GB; 28 999 UAH for 8/256 GB


Over the past few years, Samsung has managed to create its own recognizable smartphone design, with a minimalist back that features only small round protrusions of camera lenses arranged one above the other, a flash, and a barely visible company logo.

This style first appeared in the Galaxy S22 Ultra and gradually became the basis not only for flagships, but also for more affordable models. So it was expected to see this design on the back of the Galaxy S23 FE.

However, besides the obvious advantage of having a single design language for almost all Samsung smartphones, there is another problem: how can customers tell them apart? For cheaper models, there is a fairly simple solution in the form of using simpler materials such as plastic. However, the positioning of the Galaxy S23 FE, its price, and the fact that its predecessor, the S21 FE, was criticized for its plastic cover, pushed Samsung to a different solution – larger bezels around the screen.

Thus, for all its flagship aesthetics with a minimalist back cover covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, an aluminum frame and a compact camera notch in the screen, the S23 FE has rather large display bezels.

This makes the smartphone closer in size to the 6.6-inch Galaxy S23+ than to the more compact S23. Frankly speaking, this step to better fit the model into the current line of flagships looks rather “stretched”. As for me, a plastic back cover would be a clearer simplification, however, it should be noted that not all users will find the screen bezels a problem. With all my love for the beautiful and symmetrical, I stopped paying attention to them on the second day. Therefore, I consider the S23 FE bezels to be a drawback, but I don’t think they will be a big obstacle to the sales of this model.

Otherwise, the design of the smartphone offers the main advantages of flagships: pleasant to the touch and high-quality materials, IP68 water and dust protection, interesting colors (especially mint green and purple), loud stereo speakers, and a fast fingerprint scanner on the screen.


The smartphone has a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels, a refresh rate of 60-120 Hz, a peak brightness of 1450 nits, and support for HDR10+. This is an expectedly high quality screen with good viewing angles and the ability to display both natural colors and extended DCI-P3 color gamut for a brighter picture.

Traditionally for screens in Samsung smartphones, in the settings you can change the white balance to “warmer” or vice versa to “colder” depending on your preferences.

Or simply rely on the Eye Comfort option, which automatically adjusts the color temperature of the screen depending on the time of day.

Platform and performance

The previous generation of the FE model used a Qualcomm chip, but the Galaxy S23 FE, at least for the European region, has an Exynos 2200. This is a 4-nanometer processor that debuted in early 2022 along with the Galaxy S22 line, in which it was used. In the Galaxy S23 FE, it is complemented by 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of internal memory without the possibility of expansion.

The Exynos 2200 is built on a 4 nanometer EUV process and is based on the Armv9 architecture with a 1+3+4 layout, with one high-speed Cortex-X2 core, three balanced Cortex-A710 cores and four energy-efficient Cortex-A510 cores. The chip includes the Xclipse 920 graphics core with AMD RDNA 2 architecture, which supports hardware accelerated ray tracing (RT) and variable rate shading (VRS).

In general, this is not a new platform, but it is still quite fast. According to the test results, the performance of the Exynos 2200 is approximately at the same level as the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The user can count on fast program operation and smooth animations in the interface.

Games, in general, are also no problem, most of them will run without causing much trouble to the processor and graphics. However, it should be borne in mind that the Exynos 2200 gradually heats up under high load, which can be created by a game with advanced graphics settings, such as Genshin Impact or WoT Blitz, but during testing I did not manage to “warm up” the device to an uncomfortable level. It becomes noticeably warm after 15 minutes of high load, which is also confirmed by stress tests.

The results clearly show that under prolonged high load, the processor starts to drop frequencies, and its performance drops, but not too dramatically. The same goes for the graphics accelerator.

But it’s worth noting that the tests don’t create a realistic maximum load, but some games are close to it, and this should be taken into account if you need long gaming sessions in demanding projects. But, for example, Brawl Stars can be played for literally hours. The same goes for most games that are currently available on Android.

Otherwise, the Galaxy S23 FE platform keeps up with the flagships, offering eSIM support in addition to two physical SIM cards, as well as Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth 5.3 wireless modules.

The device has already received an update to Android 14 with the proprietary One UI 6 interface. One of the advantages of the S23 FE is also a fairly long support period, like the entire S23 flagship line, this model will receive 4 years of Android updates with One UI and 5 years of security updates.


The smartphone has a set of three main cameras:

  • 50-megapixel wide-angle camera with f/1.8 aperture, phase detection autofocus and optical stabilization;
  • 8-megapixel telephoto with f/2.4 aperture, 3x optical zoom, phase detection autofocus and optical stabilization;
  • 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a viewing angle of 123 degrees, f/2.2 aperture and electronic stabilization.

For a modern smartphone, this is a generally relevant set of modules, which is actually quite close in terms of characteristics to the flagships S23 and S23+. Moreover, the Galaxy S23 FE shoots quite well, especially with its 50-megapixel camera, which by default takes 12-megapixel photos, combining pixels to capture more light and, accordingly, better detail, especially in low light.

A telephoto camera can’t boast of either high resolution or wide zoom capabilities. However, when you need to zoom in on an object, it comes in handy, because a similar crop from a 50-megapixel sensor doesn’t provide the same quality as optical zoom.

At night, the telephoto module does not turn on; the smartphone activates the wide-angle 50-megapixel camera with a larger aperture and makes a crop out of it.

The ultra-wide-angle camera in the Galaxy S23 FE is a proven solution that is also found in other Samsung models. So there are no surprises here, we have quite good image quality in daylight and a decrease in detail when the lighting becomes worse. The small aperture and the lack of optical stabilization are also noticeable.

The front-facing camera in Galaxy S23 FE is 10-megapixel with f/2.4 aperture, which is good for video calls and selfies. For the latter, it is also possible to apply facial retouching, chin and eye size changes in real time thanks to filters.

The smartphone is able to record 8K 24 fps and 4K 60 fps video thanks to a 50-megapixel camera, and it’s worth noting quite good stabilization, but the processing is quite aggressive, so there is oversharpening.

Video in 8K:

Video in 4K:

Galaxy S23 FE battery life

The smartphone has a 4500 mAh battery, which provides a good level of autonomy. In the PCMark test, the device lasted almost 11 hours under load and with the screen on.

This is a good result that allows you to count on more than a day of battery life, depending on the activity of use. I usually got 1.5 days of normal use without games, but with up to an hour of YouTube videos.

It’s also convenient that Galaxy S23 FE supports fast wireless charging up to 25W, which allows you to charge your smartphone up to 50% in 30 minutes. In addition, there is wireless charging up to 15 W and support for reverse Qi charging if you need to recharge accessories, such as headphones.

Similar design to flagships; materials; IP68 protection; fast fingerprint scanner; loud stereo speakers; high-quality display; fast platform; eSIM support; 4 years of Android updates and 5 years of security updates; 50-megapixel camera and shooting capabilities; good battery life;
The bezels around the screen could have been smaller; rather high cost at the start;
The Galaxy S23 FE is a smartphone close to the flagships in terms of features and design, which is offered at a lower cost. However, the model cannot compete directly with them due to an older platform, a simpler set of cameras, and larger bezels around the screen, which deliberately emphasize the positioning of the device. Like the previous smartphones in the FE line, it will also be difficult for the new model to compete with Samsung's older flagships, especially since the new S24 series will be released soon. However, it is likely that in the long run and with a price reduction, the Galaxy S23 FE will become widely popular, just as it did with its predecessor, the S21 FE.
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