I’ve tested the Galaxy S23 FE: Samsung’s phone that proves high-end can also be affordable

Smartphones & Tablets | February 27, 2024

I’ve tested the Galaxy S23 FE: Samsung’s phone that proves high-end can also be affordable

Samsung, as usual every year, hasn’t waited long to unveil the new Samsung Galaxy S24, which comes with a significant dose of artificial intelligence to win over users with features that can be very useful. However, not all users are looking for a phone that approaches or even surpasses the thousand euros barrier.

Many people just want a device that works fast, has a good camera, a quality screen, and, above all, has a better value for money than a traditional high-end phone. And this is where the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE comes into play, a version of its last year’s phone that the company has just released.

we’ve tested this device for a few weeks, and the truth is that it offers a lot for a price that doesn’t exceed 700 euros. It can be one of the most interesting devices in the company’s catalog, also because of its size, positioned between the base model of the Galaxy S and the Plus model.

A Recognizable Design

The Korean company has been doing a good job for years in designing its phones and tablets. One of the things that stands out the most about the device is that its edges are slightly curved, while its back is completely flat. This gives it a quite recognizable and simple look, while offering a good grip with this curvature.

It does not have a camera module as such, but the company chooses to place each sensor directly on the back. With this vertical placement, it gives it an aesthetic that we quite liked. Its front camera is in a hole in the middle of the screen.

Galaxy S23 FE - 01

On its right margin, we can find the volume and power buttons, while at the bottom is one of its speakers and the USB Type-C port. On top, there is only an opening to remove the SIM tray and a second microphone that helps to eliminate ambient noise in calls.

The only “but” we can put to this design is that the frame surrounding the front of the device is slightly larger than in other high-end models, and it is especially noticeable when the background of the screen is a light color. Beyond this, it is a device that feels very comfortable in the hand and offers great sensations when using it without a case.

Quality Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is not excessively large; in fact, it only takes up a little more space than other compact devices on the market like the Google Pixel 7a. Its panel has a diagonal of 6.4 inches, is a Dynamic AMOLED, and has Full HD+ resolution, a standard except when we talk about the top-of-the-line high-end phones. If there’s something that characterizes Samsung, it’s the use of its own panels, which usually stand out.

It is capable of displaying vivid colors that make the experience of using the phone very pleasant and visually appealing. It is also possible to opt for a less intense color setting in the settings, which is less tiring on the eyes for prolonged use. Similarly, when night falls, a reading mode can be activated to reduce eye strain.

Regarding watching movies and series on Netflix, HBO Max, or any other streaming service, the performance is very good, and although the panel is not excessively large, it can be a great alternative for downloading content and watching it while traveling or on public transport journeys.

Thanks to its brightness of 1,450 nits, using the phone outdoors on a sunny day will not be at all complicated. Its brightness is not excessively high either, but it is more than enough for its content to be visible without any problem. Undoubtedly, this panel is one of the strengths of the phone.

Good in Power and Software

Samsung usually uses its own processors for some devices, including the Galaxy S family, as is the case here. This time, the company has decided to use an Exynos 2200, the same one used in the Galaxy S22, which is capable of offering very good performance and also maintains some distance in this regard with the upcoming Galaxy S24.

Samsung’s strategy with its FE range is to make them cut-down high-end devices, but that offer a similar experience to their flagship models. The processor is the small sacrifices that the company makes to lower the final price to the user, but it remains a good choice, even for intensive use.

Galaxy S23 FE - 02

Still, it is a model capable of running any game, and it also has no problem carrying out heavy tasks. In this case, the brand has accompanied it with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. There is also a model with 128 GB of internal storage. However, considering the device’s photographic capabilities (with the corresponding increase in the weight of photos and videos) and that it does not have the ability to use a micro SD card, it makes less and less sense to opt for the base model.

In daily use, we have not encountered any problems regarding performance. One UI is a customization layer that is not exactly lightweight, but it compensates with the large number of functions and native services it offers. Samsung has its own gallery application, calculator, calendar, notes, and multimedia playback, as well as other interesting apps like Smart Things or Samsung Wallet, although there are no restrictions if you want to use Google’s and uninstall Samsung’s.

Galaxy S23 FE - 03

This is not the first time we have mentioned the virtues of this layer, which has exclusive features such as Edge Contents, a dropdown bar where quick access to applications and other functions can be included; Galaxy Themes, an interface management system that allows switching between different styles and even downloading custom themes from other users.

It also has a device maintenance section within the settings through which you can know the status of the battery, memory, storage, performance, and app optimization, including a special mode to protect the user’s privacy if the phone needs to be sent to technical service, to mention some of its many options.

Approved in Cameras

As is logical, the photographic section is another of the affected compared to the early-year Galaxy S family. But it is not bad, it maintains a high level. Simply, it falls behind in functions and details compared to models like the Galaxy S24 Ultra, whose camera is a real Swiss Army knife. It also reduces its resolution, since this Galaxy S23 Fe has cameras of 50, 13, and 8 Mpx, amounts that are not so large, but they perform quite well.

The images it takes are very good, both with its main camera and with the telephoto and wide-angle. They have good quality during the day, where they are capable of obtaining a great level of detail and representing any landscape that you want to capture adequately. There are some occasions when it over-saturates some colors when processing, making the result more colorful but also less natural. In any case, this can be fixed with some image editing.

Galaxy S23 FE - 04

At night, the main camera maintains a good level, but without reaching the standards of the latest high-end phones. Still, it is noticeable that it is several steps above some cheaper devices. It has optical image stabilization, which will make any involuntary hand movements when taking photos and videos less noticeable.

One of the great strengths of this camera is its three-fold telephoto sensor, thanks to which it is possible to get quite close to objects that are relatively far away without losing detail in the photograph. These sensors are ideal for all those photography enthusiasts who do not want to take on the cost of a top-of-the-line device.

Should I buy it?

Samsung’s strategy in the market also involves making each type of user have a phone from the company available to them in various price ranges, and this also includes the high-end. You can get this device as the first step in this segment in the brand’s catalog, and it’s a phone that can hardly be faulted. Its screen is one of its best features, allowing you to enjoy a great experience at any time and for any activity.

In terms of power, it uses its own high-end processor, but from previous generations. This performs quite well, and it is not a problem considering that it is one of the factors that has allowed the price of the device to be reduced. It is possible to play any game and move between applications quickly, so we have no complaints.

Galaxy S23 FE - 05

It is a very competent phone that can be a great option for all those people who want a fast, well-designed device that works quickly. Battery life is one of the few points to improve, but even so, it lasts a full day without a problem. It has a starting price of 709 euros, although it can be found for considerably less.

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