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Samsung Galaxy S23 FE vs Galaxy S23: What’s the difference?

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 FE - square tag

    Samsung / Pocket-lint

    Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

    Promising option

    The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE sounds great on paper, offering a similar design to the flagship Galaxy S23 but with slightly less premium materials and a drop down in hardware.

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 - sqaure image

    Samsung / Pocket-lint

    Samsung Galaxy S23

    Premium Pick

    The Samsung Galaxy S23 is smaller than the Galaxy S23 FE, with a smaller battery too, but it’s also more premium and offers heaps of power with great performance in all areas.

Samsung announced the long-rumoured Galaxy S23 FE (short for Fan Edition) on 3 October, alongside the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and Galaxy Buds FE. The devices are designed to bring Samsung features to more users, offering an alternative option for those that might want more affordable models than the company’s flagship devices.


The Galaxy S23 FE sits below the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+ and the Galaxy S23 Ultra that launched earlier in 2023 in terms of price, but many of the same features are present, with only a couple of compromises. If you’re choosing between the Galaxy S23 FE and the Galaxy S23, we have you covered. Here are the differences between them, with reference to the S23+ too in case you are considering that model as well.


Price, availability and specs

The Samsung Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23+ were both initially announced on 1 February 2023, so they have been available for a while and they are available globally too. In the US, the Galaxy S23 starts at $799, while for those in the UK, the regular model starts at £849. The Galaxy S23+ starts at $999 in the US and £1049 in the UK.

As mentioned, the Galaxy S23 FE was announced by Samsung on 3 October. It is not currently clear when it will be available or how much it will cost, though it is expected to be available in both the UK and US, and it is likely to be cheaper than the Galaxy S23.

We’ve run up a quick breakdown of the specs of the Galaxy S23 FE, Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ side-by-side below, but there’s more detail in how the models differ beyond the numbers if you keep reading.

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Samsung Galaxy S23 Samsung Galaxy S23+
    SoC Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
    Display 6.4-inch 120 Hz FHD+ AMOLED 6.1in, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2340 x 1080, 48-120Hz 6.6in Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2340 x 1080, 48-120Hz
    Battery 4500mAh 3900mAh, 25W wired, 15W wireless 4700mAh, 45W wired, 15W wireless
    Operating System Android 13 + OneUI 5.1 Android + One UI Android + One UI
    Front camera 10MP, f/2.2 12MP, f/2.2 12MP f/2.2
    Dimensions 158mm x 76.5mm x 8.2mm 70.9 x 146.3 x 7.6mm, 168g 76.2 x 157.8 x 7.6mm, 196g
    RAM and Storage 8/128GB, 8/256GB 8GB, 128/256/512GB 8/256GB, 8/512GB

Design and build

Galaxy A54 next to Galaxy S23

Galaxy S23 (L) and Galaxy A54 (R) 

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE and the Galaxy S23 share a very similar design language. That was always to be expected – it wouldn’t be a very good Fan Edition if it didn’t look like the model fans wanted right? The Galaxy S23 FE, Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ therefore, all offer a flat rear and flat edges with a soft curve to them. There’s also a flat display on the front with a centralised punch hole camera at the top.

On the back of all three devices, there are three floating camera lenses in the top left corner, and all three come with a IP68 dust and water resistance. There are different colour options available between the three models however. The Galaxy S23 FE comes in Mint, Purple, Cream and Graphite, while the S23 and S23+ come in Black, Cream, Green and Lavender colours as standard, though there are some extra options available exclusively through the Samsung online store.

The main – and perhaps most obvious – difference between the Galaxy S23 FE and Galaxy S23 and S23+ however, is the materials. The S23 FE isn’t as premium in its finish as the flagship models, but it does offer a nod to the environment, using recycled materials.

All three models are charged via USB-C, and they all have an under-display fingerprint sensor for biometrics. In terms of size, the Galaxy S23 FE sits in between the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23+, delivering a good middle option.

Display

Samsung Galaxy S23 top bezel close up top down

As we mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE sits in between the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23+ in terms of size. That applies to the screen too, with the Galaxy S23 offering a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen, the Galaxy S23 FE offering a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen and the Galaxy S23+ offering a 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED display.

All three models have a Full HD+ resolution – which is 2340 x 1080 pixels – resulting in a pixel density of 425ppi for the Galaxy S23, 402ppi for the Galaxy S23 FE and 398ppi for the Galaxy S23+. In reality, while the Galaxy S23 is the sharpest on paper, you won’t notice a difference this small.

There’s also a variable refresh rate across all three models, but where the Galaxy S23 FE has a refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ drop the lower number down slightly, offering 48Hz to 120Hz. It means the Galaxy S23 and S23+ will be a little more versatile when dealing with different content types compared to the Galaxy S23 FE, though not as versatile as the S23 Ultra.

The Galaxy S23 and S23+ both deliver stunning displays with plenty of punch and vibrancy, and we expect the same from the Galaxy S23 FE.

Hardware and performance

Samsung Galaxy S23 bottom edge ports

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is a minor step down from the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ that both run on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy platform. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is still a very capable mobile platform so you’re still getting a very powerful device with the Galaxy S23 FE, it just isn’t quite as powerful as the Galaxy S23 models. This may only be noticeable in some instances though, and unless you were running the devices side-by-side, it’s possible you wouldn’t notice at all.

There’s 8GB of RAM across all three models, but storage options do differ. Both the Galaxy S23 FE and the Galaxy S23 have storage options of 128GB and 256GB, while the Galaxy S23+ comes in 256GB or 512GB storage options. None of the three models have microSD support for storage expansion.

Elsewhere on the hardware front, the Galaxy S23 FE has a 4500mAh battery capacity, which like the physical size and display size, sits in between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+. The Galaxy S23 has a 3900mAh battery and the Galaxy S23+ has a 4700mAh battery. The Galaxy S23+ also has a slightly higher fast charging speed of 45W, while the Galaxy S23 FE and Galaxy S23 both top out at 25W. All three devices support wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. There’s also support for 5G, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 across all three models.

Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras close up

When it comes to camera capabilities, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, S23 and S23+ all have a triple rear camera, and they offer the same main sensor and ultra wide sensor. There’s a 50-megapixel main sensor with f/1.8 aperture and 84-degree field of view, and there’s a 12-megapixel ultra wide sensor on all three models too, with an f/2.2 aperture and 123-degree field of view.

The telephoto lens across the three models differs slightly, however. The Galaxy S23 FE has an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture, while the Galaxy S23 and S23+ have a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor with f/2.4 aperture. All three devices offer 3x optical zoom, however, with the Galaxy S23 and S23+ also offering 30X Space Zoom.

Both the Galaxy S23 and S23+ deliver great photos from all three of their lenses, and we are expecting the Galaxy S23 FE to perform in this department too. On the front, the Galaxy S23 FE has a 10-megapixel sensor with f/2.4 aperture and an 80-degree field of view. The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ meanwhile, have a slightly higher resolution at 12-megapixels with an f/2.2 aperture and 80-degree field of view.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE vs Galaxy S23: Which should you choose?

We are still waiting on pricing information for the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE which will likely be the main deciding factor for many. It is expected to be cheaper than the Galaxy S23 however, and while you make a couple of compromises for that like a less premium build, it’s only the slight step down in power and telephoto camera that are the most obvious differences on paper.

Galaxy S23 FE render in silver

SmartPrix

Elsewhere, you get a larger display than the Galaxy S23, a bigger battery capacity, and a lighter build with the Galaxy S23 FE, alongside a very similar design in terms of look and the same RAM and storage.

The Galaxy S23 FE looks like it will be the better value for money compared to the Galaxy S23 and S23+, as well as a good middle option, though if you want premium, it’s the Galaxy S23 you’ll want to consider.

galaxy_s23_product_image_cream_02-1

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Samsung Galaxy S23

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