Samsung Galaxy S23 FE's blend of flagship power & budget design sparks debate among fans
The success of the Galaxy S20 FE is perhaps the only reason Samsung released the Galaxy S21 FE. But unlike it’s predecessor, it didn’t perform as good due to manufacturing limitations occasioned by the chipset shortage that hit the globe a couple of years ago, forcing Samsung to cancel the Galaxy S22 FE. This was also necessary to avoid cannibalizing the S22 Ultra following a series of remarkable sales compared to the standard and Plus variants.
Samsung needed to redirect potential S22 FE resources to pumping more S22 Ultra units to capitalize on the good market performance. But the Galaxy S23 series, in general, seems to have addressed this shortfall with some impressive market figures.
While no doubt the Galaxy S23 FE gets most basics right, not everyone is impressed with Samsung’s latest addition to the Fan Edition collection for a number of reasons.
A cheap-looking design
The Galaxy S23 FE, despite bearing the flagship “S23” moniker, cuts some design corners in order to deliver the most balanced experience. While always a welcome, people are not happy with some choices.
For instance, the decision to go with bigger bezels hasn’t gone unnoticed. With smartphone bezels having reduced significantly over the years, it’s surprising that Samsung went for this old-school design for a 2023 handset meant to convert midrange buyers into premium customers. The Galaxy S23 FE is the closest some people will ever get to a premium Samsung Galaxy experience, and having such huge bezels that are also not symmetrical is no way to show them what they are missing.
This perhaps explains why Samsung only has images of the back and side of the Galaxy S23 FE on its official product page under the “Design” section. None of the four images used shows the front panel, which is strange considering the S21 FE still has a 360-degree view of its design on the official product page to date.
I’m not sure why Samsung couldn’t match the display panel with that of the S23, especially since the FE uses the same Gorilla Glass 5 glass back and aluminum frame. There sure were several other corners to cut, but the screen or rather front panel of a phone is where most interactions happen, so it was no place to cut corners with.
A Galaxy A54 regen
As already noted, there are comparisons being drawn between the Galaxy S23 FE and the Galaxy A54. The A series was meant to bridge the gap between budget and premium phones, which has led to some people questioning the existence of the FE series. But that’s not our decision to make, so let’s not veer off.
Besides the front panel, the Galaxy S23 FE also resembles the A54 from the back. The three camera rings are similarly aligned on the Galaxy S23, S23 FE and Galaxy A54. But the LED flash on the Galaxy S23 FE is in the same position as the Galaxy A54. It may seem trivial, but it makes the S23 FE feel closer to the A54 than the S23, which isn’t supposed to be the case.
There are also other similarities, including the size, where the A54 is taller by just 0.2mm, weighs nearly the same, has an equally huge 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with up to 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+, although the S23 FE’s is superior in other aspects. You also get the same 1080p display resolution on both phones. Heck the Galaxy A54 even one-ups the S23 FE with a microSD card slot, you know, that unheard thing in 2023.
Battery life & performance issues with Exynos 2200
The Galaxy S23 FE comes with two variants. Those sold in North America have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 while non-US variants are powered by the infamous Exynos 2200 chipset. There have been extensive reports about battery life and performance issues related to the Exynos variants of the Galaxy S22 series. Granted, Samsung using this chipset in the Galaxy S23 FE seems to be a DOA move.
Sure, Samsung may have optimized the chipset to improve performance and even battery life, but the reputation is already out there. Convincing people in the know that the “new” chipset performs better could be an uphill task for Samsung, and it’s already showing in the forums.
How about the Galaxy S23 FE price?
All said and done, it always comes to affordability. And this is another area the Galaxy S23 FE seems to be getting mixed reactions. But I think critics could be wrong. Priced at $600 for the base model, this is the cheapest FE series ever released by Samsung. The Galaxy S20 FE and S21 FE had a starting price of $699, so this could be Samsung’s way of justifying some of the decisions.
Make no mistake, the Galaxy S23 FE is still a very potent phone. You’ll be getting some of the best cameras on any $600 phone alongside several other flagship-level features like 4 OS upgrades and 5 years of support, IP68 certification and wireless charging, so don’t let a few “downgrades” deter your pursuit of greatness.
After all, the final decision rests with you, but do let us know your thoughts as well in the comments.
Featured image: Samsung
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