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Review: Galaxy S23 FE - Samsung best comeback of 2023

Samsung has made a surprise comeback by introducing the Fan Edition version for the Galaxy S23 after skipping it for the Galaxy S22. And not only that, aside from the Galaxy S23 FE, Samsung has also introduced a FE version of tablet and TWS earbuds that share the same concept — offering Samsung flagships feature without breaking your bank. Previously we shared our first impression on the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE and now it's time for us to dive deeper into the phone to see if the smartphone is really worth the money.



Design


The Galaxy S23 FE has quite a premium design with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 both at the front and back, which is further enhanced by the curved aluminium frame. It has a bigger dimension compared to the flagship S23 and S23+ models so it does feel a little bit heavier than what I initially expected. Overall the S23 FE still feels quite solid in the hand, and the smooth curves and edges also make it very comfortable to operate with just one hand.



This time, the S23 FE comes in 4 colour variants, which are Mint, Graphite, Cream and Purple. Users who prefer minimalism can opt for the usual standard Graphite colour while other brighter colours give a sense of youth while not being too sharp for the eyes, and the Mint colour unit in my hands is just perfectly calm and soothing for me.



The S23 FE has three individual cutouts for the rear cameras, quite similar to the flagship Galaxy S23 models. Personally, this design remains a pain for me as the cameras just stick out too much, making it unable to lay flat on any surface, but it probably won’t bother everyone the same as most people would be getting a phone case, which I’d be doing the same as well. Also the glass back has a glossy finish, which easily sticks fingerprints and smudges, so it would also require regular cleaning if you do not use a phone case.



Display


The Galaxy S23 FE features a 6.4-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x display with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, so the visual experience is just as nice as its flagship models. The S23 FE display has a peak brightness of 1450 nits, which is lower than the flagship models’ 1750 nits, but in reality, that would probably be too hard to notice. Plus with Vision booster that optimises display settings based on surrounding ambient light, the difference would even be more negligible.



Under the display is an optical fingerprint sensor, which is a little bit slower compared to the flagship models’ ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, but still working pretty accurately and you’d probably won't notice any difference. The S23 FE also features facial recognition, but like any other models and brands, it can sometimes be fast like the Flash while sometimes it can take a few attempts.


One little thing to nitpick on the S23 FE display is probably the bezels around the display. They are a little too thick compared to both its predecessor and also its flagship counterpart, not to mention they are uneven at the top and bottom part as well. They are not annoying but still quite noticeable but for this time I would settle for the high quality display which is on par with the high-end premium models.



Camera


For the camera setup, it has a 50MP primary lens, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and an 8MP telephoto lens equipped with 3x optical zoom, while offering a wide range of shooting modes. The main difference from the flagship models is the telephoto lens, which is 10MP on the S23 and S23+ so one could definitely expect similar picture quality. The front selfie camera is a 10MP wide lens camera which is more than sufficient for selfies and video call usage.



Picture quality during daylight is excellent with plenty of detail and high colour accuracy. The camera is in 12MP mode by default so be sure to switch to 50MP manually to capture more detailed and vivid shots. The ultra-wide camera also performs up to expectations and does its job sufficiently.


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Ultra Wide

It is also worth to note that Samsung has for the first time included the Nightography feature in its FE model, giving it smooth and steady performance in low-light conditions. The camera would turn on Night mode automatically based on its detection of surrounding ambient light which is quite a convenient feature to have.


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Night Mode
Normal Mode 3x
Night Mode 3x

The zoom camera also does a decent job, not losing much of the pictures’ quality even at higher level zoom, though it works better during daytime.


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In terms of video recording capability, the Galaxy S23 FE performed quite well and has quite a number of features similar to the flagship S23 models, including being able to record at 8K resolution 24 fps.



Performance


The Galaxy S23 FE is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 2200 chipset, which is also a flagship chip. Most people might be concerned about the chipset as the Exynos 2200 used to face some issues on the S22 models but for this time Samsung has fixed that all.



In fact, the Exynos 2200 actually performs quite well on the Galaxy S23 FE and it does give quite a good benchmark score of 1115890 which is considered quite high among its competitors. And thanks to the larger vapour chamber, it now has more efficient heat dissipation, which allows the device to run cool continuously even under long gaming hours.




The S23 FE has the same Xclipse GPU as the S22, that supports features like ray tracing. Currently there aren’t many games on Android that support ray tracing but the list of games is continuously growing so this should make the S23 FE future proof enough. From the 3DMark Wild Life test score it also shows that the S23 FE is able to perform pretty well compared to most of the devices currently in the market.



On the battery side, it has a larger 4,500mAh which would be sufficient to last a full day use, including basic tasks like browsing social media and checking emails and some moderate tasks like taking pictures and watching videos. The S23 FE supports 25W wired charging and wireless charging as well, but I would say it is at the slower side, but the capacity is more than enough to complement it.



Verdict


On first glance, the big bezels might not give the Galaxy S23 FE a good impression, but once you dive deeper into the phone, you will notice that the phone provides a whole lot of good value features. Even with all the adjustments Samsung made to give the FE edition its affordable price tag, most features remain at the premium side and some are even on par with its flagship counterparts. If you are looking for a smartphone with extreme value for money, I would highly recommend the Galaxy S23 FE and I really have to say that just the camera itself is already worth the money.



The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is currently priced at RM2,999 for the 128GB model and RM3,299 for the 256GB model. And from now until 30 November, there is a promotion ongoing so don’t miss out the chance to get the Galaxy S23 FE and save up to RM1,150!



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