In February, Samsung unveiled its latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra. Months later, it introduced the Galaxy S23 FE, also known as the Fan Edition handset.
Even though the well-received Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 FE share some similarities, there’s a significant price difference between the two models. This would suggest the latter is missing several features, but there aren’t as many differences between the two phones as one might expect.
Here, we will delve into the details and explain the differences between the Galaxy S23, which starts at $799/£849, and the Galaxy S23 FE, which starts at $600/£599 and is available on 26 October. We’ll give the phone a dedicated hands on soon, but until then here’s our guide to the Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 FE: design
Upon first glance, the Samsung S23 and S23 FE smartphones may seem indistinguishable, aside from the Fan Edition’s more vivid and popping colours. However, a closer look reveals they share a similar flat frame, display, and rounded corners.
The S23 FE has a slightly larger 6.4in dynamic AMOLED 2X display, whereas the S23 has a 6.1in display. The former also has smaller cameras, and its front bezels are slightly larger.
Despite these differences, Samsung has left the phones’ outward design mostly the same. The volume rocker and power button on the right side are there, the bottom of the phone houses the USB-C port, SIM card reader, and loudspeaker, and there’s no headphone jack.
The Samsung S23 FE comes in mint, graphite, cream, and purple hues, with indigo and tangerine options exclusively available on the Samsung website. The S23 has a more classic and subdued palette. It’s available in green, phantom black, lavender, and cream. Lime and graphite options are exclusively available on the Samsung website.
In terms of dimensions, the S23 FE measures 76.5×158 x 8.2mm and weighs 209g. This is slightly larger and heavier than the S23, which measures 70.9×146.3×7.6mm and weighs 168g.
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE vs Galaxy S23: specs
The S23 has a cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of internal storage. It supports 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3 and has an IP68 rating to protect against dust and water damage. The phone also has a 3,900mAh battery that supports 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.
The S23 FE, meanwhile, features a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of onboard storage. It also supports 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 and has an IP68 rating for protection against dust and water. The phone has a bigger battery, 4,500 mAh, that supports 25W wired charging and 15W wireless charging. It can also perform 4.5W reverse wireless charging.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor in the S23 is more powerful than the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor in the S23 FE. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has a 1+3+4 core configuration, including a single Cortex-X2 prime core clocked at 3.2GHz, three Cortex-A710 performance cores clocked at 2.8GHz, and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores clocked at 2GHz.
Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor has a 1+3+4 core configuration with a prime core clocked at 2.4GHz and performance cores clocked at 2.36GHz. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also has a more powerful Adreno GPU than the Adreno 660 GPU in the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. This enables it to handle demanding graphics tasks like gaming and high-resolution video playback more efficiently.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 supports LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage (128 GB models) and UFS 4.0 storage (256GB), while the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 only supports LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 3.1 storage across the board. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also offers faster 5G connectivity and more powerful AI processing capabilities.
Please note that some Galaxy S23 FE will ship with the Samsung Exynos 2200 chip, not the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. There are critical differences between those two chips, some good and bad on both sides.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 FE: screen and sound
The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 FE are extraordinary smartphones that have set the bar high. The Galaxy S23 is a powerhouse, with a 2340×1080 pixel resolution and a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, making it perfect for gaming enthusiasts.
Users can enjoy viewing content without straining their eyes with an eye comfort shield that filters out blue light. These features, combined with excellent brightness, contrast, and color reproduction, result in a sharp, clear, and vivid display. The Galaxy S23 also supports HDR10+ content.
The Galaxy S23 FE has the exact resolution and refresh rate as the Galaxy S23. And just like its sibling, the Galaxy S23 FE also supports HDR10+ content.
When it comes to durability, the Galaxy S23 takes the cake with its Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the front and Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the back. The Galaxy S23 FE, on the other hand, features Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both sides. It’s still impressive, but not quite as good.
Both smartphones have two speakers and dual mics, providing an immersive audio experience. However, neither features a 3.5mm jack, which might be a dealbreaker for some users.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 FE: cameras
One of the standout features of the S23 is its 50MP main camera with a wide aperture of ƒ/1.8. This lets you capture sharp, detailed photos, even in low-light conditions. The S23 also has a 12MP ultrawide camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture that captures a wider field of view, making it ideal for landscape and group photos.
For long distant snaps, the S23 has you covered with its 10MP telephoto camera with ƒ/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom. Finally, the S23 has a 12MP front camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture, meaning your selfies will look amazing.
The S23 FE also has a 50MP main camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture and a 12MP ultrawide camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture. However, it falls short when it comes to the telephoto camera. The S23 FE only has an 8MP telephoto camera with ƒ/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom. This means you won’t be able to capture distant subjects with the same level of detail and clarity as you would with the S23. The front camera on the S23 FE is also inferior to the S23, with only 10MP and ƒ/2.4 aperture.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 FE: software
The Samsung Galaxy S23 and the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE are equipped with the latest Android 13 operating system, which has Samsung’s One UI 5.1 layered on top. It is worth noting that the S23 is currently eligible for participation in the One UI 6 beta program based on the Android 14 operating system. It is expected that the S23 FE will also be added to the beta list soon.
Both phones will receive four years of Android updates and an additional year of security patches. This means that users of either phone can expect support for up to Android 17.
If you are looking for a smartphone with a powerful processor and an exceptional camera, then the Galaxy S23 is the way to go. With its advanced chip and top-of-the-line camera, you can expect a seamless experience when it comes to multitasking, gaming, and capturing stunning photos and videos.
If price and a bigger display are more important to you, then the Galaxy S23 FE may be the better option. It’s $200 cheaper than the Galaxy S23, but still holds some impressive features. A larger display and battery is great for watching movies, playing games, and browsing the internet. A range of attractive colours also gives you the freedom to choose a device that matches your style.
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