Samsung Galaxy S23 FE in hand

June One/ZNet

Key Takeaways for ZDNET

  • the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE It is the company’s latest Android phone and comes with a 6.4-inch display, triple camera system, and OneUI software features.
  • With a starting price of $599, it falls oddly between the similarly looking Galaxy A54 5G ($449) and the more premium Galaxy S23 ($799).
  • Users should consider the Galaxy S23 FE if they want a great value Samsung phone that doesn’t compromise on the finer things like IP rating, wireless charging, and software support.

I have been tested Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Over the past couple of weeks, I hate to admit how difficult it has been to find the best buying advice.

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Don’t get me wrong, a $599 Android phone is a solid deal; A lot of its best features are also found in dual-priced phones. But its design feels uninspired, its late-year release feels like an afterthought, and Samsung is no longer committed to its “Fan Edition” branding, which takes away some of the “for the people” luster that the original model provided.

So, why the Galaxy S23 FE? After a lot of deliberation and quite a few crazy walls, I’ve come up with a definitive list of reasons why you should buy Samsung’s latest smartphone above all others, even if it’s the company’s most confusing release this year.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE all colors

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Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

The company’s latest Galaxy phone doesn’t scream premium, but it packs enough features to put it at a higher level than the mid-range competition.

First, let’s talk about the design. There are some elements here that I like, and some that I don’t. For example, I like the 6.4-inch flat AMOLED display that refreshes at 120Hz. In most lighting conditions, this screen is more vibrant and bright than any other sub-$600 phone I’ve tested. And the absence of a curved screen — something the industry as a whole seems to be finally moving away from — means it’s much easier to apply a screen protector.

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On the other hand, the aluminum sides, while sleek and durable enough to withstand a drop or two, don’t curve toward the back glass as smoothly as I’d prefer. This makes the Galaxy S23 FE feel rougher around the edges, especially when pressed against your palm. The bezels are also obnoxiously thick for a 2023 phone, but I digress.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE in hand

June One/ZNet

Speaking of durability, this model comes with a front panel made of Gorilla Glass 5, which is a lower quality version on paper compared to the Gorilla Glass Victus found in more expensive phones, but is a better kept secret for everyday use.

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This is because although Gorilla Glass 5 isn’t as shatter-resistant as its successor, the lower level of hardness means the screen is also less susceptible to scratches and scratches. I may not drop my phone every day, but I do carry it in my pants pocket which may contain coins, keys, and other small trinkets that can leave marks on the screen.

Smartphone colors have become boring, but not here. Samsung, as it did with previous FE models, offers the Galaxy S23 FE in Cream, Graphite, Mint and Purple (pictured below). It’s closer to Barney’s purple than anything else and helps the device stand out in a sea of ​​darker-colored panels. If you typically use your phone without a case — or with one of those clear TPU covers — you’re in for a treat.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE with other phones

June One/ZNet

A $599 phone can’t give you much, and the compromises you’ll have to be aware of with the Galaxy S23 FE mainly stem from the processor and camera system. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset powers the device, capable of handling more demanding tasks like video editing and running game emulators.

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However, it only takes a few minutes before the phone starts heating up, which eventually leads to frame rate drops and app freezing. Had Samsung opted for a more power-efficient chipset, like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus that launched a few months after the 8 Gen 1, the Galaxy S23 FE would have been in a much better place.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE in hand

Pro shooting mode with focus peaking makes the Galaxy S23 FE even more suitable for photographers.

June One/ZNet

As for the cameras, I’m mostly impressed with the 50MP main sensor, which takes surprisingly color-accurate photos that will definitely pass the eye test. The shutter speed is also better than I expected, matching up well with the $900 iPhone 15 Plus and the $1,700 OnePlus Open that I was also testing at the time. Where the triple camera system fails is in the 12MP telephoto and 8MP telephoto lenses, both of which – as much as I enjoy their versatility – can’t produce the same amount of detail and clarity as the main sensor.

ZDNET Buying Advice

To sum it up, here’s a list of reasons why you should buy Galaxy S23 FEincluding some subtle additions but that make a noticeable difference:

  • One of the best displays on the market under $600, it’s perfect for streaming and gaming on the go.
  • Gorilla Glass 5 is useful for users who don’t drop their phones often but often get scratches and scratches.
  • The mint and purple colors make other phones look boring.
  • An IP68 rating and wireless charging support is often missing from phones in this price range. not here.
  • Samsung promises up to five years of security patches and four years of operating system updates.

However, while the Galaxy S23 FE falls in between Galaxy A54 And S23 In Samsung’s hierarchy, that doesn’t necessarily make either of them less valuable. In fact, you’re more likely to find Samsung’s two older phones on sale this holiday shopping season than the S23 FE, which launched just a few weeks ago.

If retailers end up cutting $100-$200 off the Galaxy S23 model, just like they did during July’s Prime Day event, the S23 FE will be a tough sell — and Samsung can only blame itself for that.

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