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Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review: A Solid Phone With Big Bezels

Pros

  • Good performance
  • Nice design
  • Smooth display
  • Good software experience
  • Excellent cameras

Cons

  • Thick bezels
  • No microSD card support

Samsung S23 FE was launched a couple of weeks ago in Nepal, arriving later than its global launch in October.

Samsung S23 FE price in Nepal is Rs. 85,999 for the sole 8/256GB variant. The new S23 FE brings glass back, an Exynos 2200 chipset, and an upgraded camera.

Can the Exynos variant of the S23 FE justify its price tag? Find out in this review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Specifications

  • Body: 158 x 76.5 x 8.2 mm, 209 g, IP68 dust/water resistant, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • SIM: Dual SIM (2 nano-SIMs or nano-SIM & eSIM, dual stand-by)
  • Display: 6.4 inches FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1450 nits (peak), Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Chipset: Exynos 2200 (4 nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (1×2.8 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.50 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A510)
  • GPU: Xclipse 920
  • Memory: 256GB 8GB RAM, no microSD card support
  • OS: Android 13, One UI 5.1
  • Rear Camera: 50MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), PDAF, OIS
    • 8MP, f/2.4, 75mm (telephoto), PDAF, 3x optical zoom
    • 12MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
    • Video: 8K@24fps, 4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps
  • Front Camera: 10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide)
    • Video: Yes
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 4500 mAh battery, 25W fast charging, Qi wireless charging, USB PD 2.0
  • USB: USB Type-C, USB On-The-Go
  • Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, compass, Virtual proximity sensing
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack: No
  • Colors: Mint, Graphite

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Price in Nepal: Rs. 85,999 (8/256GB)

ALSO READ: Samsung Mobile Price in Nepal (February 2024 Updated)

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review

Same Old Design

  • 158 x 76.5 x 8.2 mm
  • 209gm
  • Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review- Rear Design
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Rear Design

S23 FE is a total copy of the Galaxy S23 series in terms of design. Talking about the size, it is somewhere between the S23 and S23+.

There’s a triple camera ring on the glass back supported by an aluminum frame. The glass back is surely a nice upgrade from the S21 FE’s plastic back.

On the front, it has a hole punch in the middle of the screen but what are those bezels? The bezel is surely chunky for a premium phone.

S23 FE is IP68 rated for dust and water resistance, similar to the S21 FE.

The right side of the frame houses volume buttons and the power button. On the other side, there’s nothing but antennas.

The bottom has a speaker and two microphones flanking the Type-C port, while on top, there’s a dual-SIM tray and an earpiece that completes the stereo speaker setup. The speaker sounds balanced, loud, and I am impressed.

S23 FE has an in-display optical fingerprint sensor as well. It is fast and responsive, no complaints here.

ALSO READ: Best Mobiles Under Rs. 60,000 in Nepal (February 2024 Updated)

Impressive AMOLED Display

  • 6.4 inches Dynamic AMOLED
  • 1080 x 2340 pixels
  • Gorilla Glass 5
  • 120Hz, HDR10+, 1450 nits
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review- Display
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Display

S23 FE flaunts the same 6.4-inch AMOLED 2X panel as the S21 FE. It is a 120Hz panel with 1080p resolution and HDR10+ support.

The S21 FE already has a good display and it’s the same with the S23 FE. It is a vibrant panel with good colors, perfect for watching any kind of content.

The display quality on Samsung S23 FE is top notch, as expected from Samsung.

The display panel of the S23 FE boasts a peak brightness of 1450 nits, making it more than capable of handling direct harsh sunlight.

The 120Hz refresh rate feels smooth and well-optimized. The response rate of the display is not mentioned but it should be somewhere around 240Hz. Likewise, it has two refresh rate modes: Adaptive and Standard. In Adaptive mode, the screen primarily operates at 120Hz. However, when the picture is static or when playing a video, the screen switches to 60Hz.

Improved Exynos 2200 Performance

  • Exynos 2200 (4nm)
  • Octa-core (1×2.8 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.50 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A510)
  • Xclipse 920
  • 256GB 8GB RAM

The Exynos 2200 chipset powers the S23 FE, also used on the Samsung Galaxy S22.

In terms of memory, it comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage. Exynos chipsets are known to lag behind the Snapdragon variants. The difference is not noticeable in daily life usage; the S23 FE operates smoothly, opening apps, navigating UI, and switching between apps seamlessly. However, you will notice the performance difference with heavy benchmarks and gaming.

Benchmark

While the benchmark scores of the Exynos 2200 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 are quite close, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 takes a slight lead. The lead is apparent in Multi-Core CPU performance and GPU performance. Surprisingly, it performs outstandingly in the 3DMark Wildlife Extreme Stress Test with 77.3% stability.

GPU Benchmark

CPU Benchmark

Similarly, you can see that the Exynos 2200 performed well in the CPU stress test too. During our 1 hour test, the CPU of Exynos 2200 only throttled to 80%, outperforming the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on Samsung S22+ which throttled to 57% of its maximum performance. It should be noted that 8 Gen 1 starts at a higher 295,038 GIPS compared to 278,446 GIPS on the Exynos 2200. But, the Exynos 2200 has a better average at 247,816 GIPS.

Gaming

I tested Genshin Impact on Medium Graphics and a 60 FPS Frame limit. During our 40 minutes of gameplay, the Samsung S23 FE averaged 55 fps. The screenshots below show an average FPS of 47, reflecting a pause in the game for more than 5 minutes. The average score of 55 fps is considered after removing the idle gameplay time frame.

As you can see in the graph huge frame drops are rare, so overall gameplay was excellent. Also, the phone did get warm but not uncomfortably hot during the gaming session.

We have observed the same S23 FE perform much worse on other platforms. Therefore, we were confused and surprised to see this result. Samsung S23 FE was launched much later in Nepal. So, could they have fixed the performance on the Exynos 2200 by now? Anyhow, our Samsung Galaxy S23 FE unit with Exynos 2200 has good performance, including gaming.

Impressive Camera

  • Rear Camera: 50MP, f/1.88, (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS
    • 8MP, f/2.4, 75mm (telephoto), PDAF, 3x optical zoom
    • 12MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
    • Video: 8K@24fps, 4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps
  • Front Camera: 10MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide)
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Camera Design
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Camera

Samsung S23 FE has a similar camera setup as the Samsung S22 and the S23. There’s a 50MP main sensor with OIS, an 8MP 3X Telephoto lens with OIS, and a 12MP ultrawide sensor. On the front, it has a 10MP selfie camera.

Main Camera

S23 FE captures pleasing photos from the primary sensor. The pictures are sharp, lively, and vibrant. Moreover, I was surprised that it keeps the pictures close to reality. If you like to capture 50MP photos, you will find it sharper than the normal photos with a wider dynamic range.

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Telephoto Camera

The 8MP telephoto camera of the S23 FE captures 12MP photos by default. As a result, the photos are upscaled and appear soft. Nonetheless, the 3X zoom photos exhibit good sharpness with vibrant color and excellent dynamic range.

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Ultrawide Camera

The 12MP ultrawide camera captures impressive photos with a wide dynamic range and excellent sharpness. The noise around the edges is scarcely noticeable. The fish eye effect is well-treated and the pictures have a natural look.

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Night Mode

Photos captured in low-light scenarios are praiseworthy. It does a decent job of capturing details and preserving the color. Similarly, the noise is also minimal.

The dedicated Night Mode does a good job of controlling the bright lights. It adds more detail to the shadows without sacrificing too much details.

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Portraits

S23 FE captures portraits in 3X by default but you can opt for 1x and 2x mode as well. The 1X is captured by the main camera, while the 2X is a zoomed version of the 1X.

The portraits look nice with good edge detection and natural background blur. The 3X portraits look more natural than the 1x but they are a bit softer. Overall, the portraits from S23 FE are more than satisfactory.

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Front Camera

The front-facing 10MP selfie camera is more than capable. The photos are sharp with vibrant colors and good dynamic range. There is a good amount of detail on the face and the skin tone looks nice too. Note that, I captured all of the selfies with beauty mode turned off completely.

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Video

S23 FE captures 4k 30 fps videos from all of the cameras. The main camera and selfie camera take it up a notch with 4K 60 capability whereas the main camera also does 8K 24 fps.

The video quality of the S23 FE is impressive. It is fair to say that it can capture almost flagship-grade videos with the main camera. There’s just the right amount of sharpness and the videos are well exposed.

The EIS of the S23 FE is flawless and Even the 3X telephoto lens exhibits commendable stabilization; the pan movement feels smooth. Of course, jerk is introduced if you start walking but EIS is well tuned.

Ultrawide videos are equally impressive, the amount of detail is just right and the color profile is the same as the main camera.

Average Battery Life

  • 4600mAh battery
  • 25W fast charging
  • Qi wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Review Battery Life
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Battery Life

The battery capacity remains unchanged at 4500mAh and fast charging tops out at 25W. It also supports Qi Wireless charging.

In moderate usage, the S23 FE averaged around 5 hours of screen time. Thus, the battery life on the S23 FE is pretty average. If you are a heavy user, you might need to charge the phone before you hit the bed. As for charging, it takes 84 minutes to go from 0 to 100%.

Excellent Software

  • Android 14
  • One UI 6
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE OS
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Android 14

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Exynos variant comes with One UI 6 on top of Android 14. On the other hand, the Snapdragon variant comes with Android 13 out of the box.

The user experience of the Samsung S23 FE is not only pleasing but also enhanced by consistent software support. Samsung’s commitment to up to 4 years of OS upgrades and up to 5 years of security patches sets it apart, ensuring a seamless and secure mobile experience for users..

There are lots of small tweaks in the One UI 6 that make it better than the One UI 5.

There are a lot of changes on the One UI 6 compared to the One UI 5. One UI 6 has revamped quick toggle settings. The brightness slider is now grouped with the “Eye Comfort Shield” and “Dark Mode” toggles. Likewise, the camera UI has also been improved. It is now easier to change the video resolution, you can just press the aspect ratio button and a pop will appear with various video resolutions.

So this is my Samsung Galaxy S23 FE review. What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE? Let me know in the comments!


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