The Galaxy S23 is officially Samsung’s smallest flagship-grade phone. The Galaxy S23 FE did arrive as the company’s budget flagship, kind of. The thing is, the difference in price tags between these two devices may not be what you expect, especially considering frequent Galaxy S23 discounts. In this article, we’ll compare the two phones, the Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 FE. Let’s see if the Galaxy S23 FE is worth getting over the Galaxy S23.
Granted, the Galaxy S23 FE is larger than the Galaxy S23, but the difference is not huge. They do have some similarities between them, of course, but also quite a few differences. We’ll first list their specifications, and will then move to compare them across a range of different categories. We’ll compare their designs, displays, performance, battery life, cameras, and audio performance.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, respectively
– Screen size:
6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz, HDR10+, 1,750 nits)
6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (120Hz, HDR10+, 1,450 nits max)
– Display resolution:
2340 x 1080
2340 x 1080
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
128GB (UFS 3.1)/256GB/512GB (UFS 4.0)
128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1)
– Rear cameras:
50MP (f/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS), 12MP (ultrawide, f/2.2 aperture, 120-degree FoV), 10MP (telephoto, f/2.4 aperture, 3x optical zoom)
50MP (f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, OIS), 12MP (ultrawide, f/2.2 aperture, 123-degree FoV), 8MP (telephoto, f/2.4 aperture, PDAF, 3x optical zoom)
– Front cameras:
12MP (f/2.2 aperture)
10MP (f/2.4 aperture)
25W wired, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless (charger not included)
25W wired, 15W wireless (charger not included)
146.3 x 70.9 x 7.6mm
158 x 76.5 x 8.2mm
5G, LTE, NFC, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.3
In-display fingerprint scanner (ultrasonic)
In-display fingerprint scanner & facial scanning
Android 13 with One UI
Android 13 with One UI 5.1
$799+ (often discounted to $699)
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Design
When the design is concerned, they’re very similar. They have a similar shape, and even look very similar, size difference aside. How can you tell them apart? Well, the Galaxy S23 is not only noticeably smaller, but it also has thinner bezels. On top of that, the bezels are balanced, while the bottom bezel on the Galaxy S23 FE is more pronounced. Other than that, they definitely look like siblings.
They both sport rounded corners, and are made out of metal and glass. A display camera hole is included on both smartphones, and it’s centered at the top of the display. There are three cameras included on the back of each phone, and they’re even in the same spot. You’ll notice them in the top-left corner, and they’re vertically aligned. Both camera setups protrude directly from the backplate, they’re not a part of a camera island or anything of the sort.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 FE have flat displays, and their backplates are also flat. The buttons are in the same place on the right-hand side, while the LED flash is placed in a slightly different spot, which is also how you can differentiate them. You’re getting IP68 certification for water and dust resistance with both smartphones, for the piece of mind. Both devices do feel nice in the hand, while the Galaxy S23 FE is considerably heavier, 41 grams heavier. It’s also taller, wider, and thicker.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Display
The Samsung Galaxy S23 features a 6.1-inch fullHD+ (2340 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. That panel is flat, and it supports HDR10+ content. Its peak brightness is at 1,750 nits, and we’re looking at a 19.5:9 display aspect ratio here. The Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protects this phone’s display.
The Galaxy S23 FE, on the flip side, has a 6.4-inch panel. This is also a Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel, and it also supports HDR10+ content. The thing is, it has a slightly lower brightness at 1,450 nits at its peak. The display aspect ratio is the same as on the Galaxy S23, while this panel is also flat. The Gorilla Glass 5 protects this display, so that area is inferior to the Galaxy S23 too.
These two panels provide basically the same output, as they are basically the same displays. The difference in brightness is there, but it’s not all that big, and both smartphones are perfectly usable outdoors. Neither one of them has a near 3,000-nits peak brightness, but this is more than enough. You will get more peace of mind with the display protection on the Galaxy S23, though, of course.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Performance
The Galaxy S23 is fueled by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. It is technically no longer the best Qualcomm has to offer, but it was at the time of launch. It’s a great SoC, paired with 8GB of LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 flash storage. Do note that only the 128GB storage model includes UFS 3.1 flash storage. The Galaxy S23 FE, on the other hand, is fueled by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. That chip is paired with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and UFS 3.1 storage.
The Galaxy S23 does have the edge on paper, across the board. It simply has a more powerful processor, and better internals. Now, based on our experience with the Galaxy S23 FE, you’ll likely want to get the Galaxy S23, especially if you’re gaming. The Galaxy S23 FE does get hot fast, even with not-too-demanding games. That’s not the case with the Galaxy S23, as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 runs much cooler than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The difference between these two processors is quite notable. Both smartphones do perform well in terms of regular, everyday tasks.
Having said that, the Galaxy S23 does have a considerable performance advantage over its sibling, and that alone may be worth going for over the ‘FE’ model.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Battery
The Galaxy S23 includes a 3,900mAh battery, while the Galaxy S23 FE has a 4,500mAh battery on the inside. The battery difference is not surprising considering that the Galaxy S23 FE is a larger phone. Does it make a difference, though? Well, based on the battery life results, it sure does, or at least plays a part in the equation. We’ve managed to get a lot more juice out of the Galaxy S23 FE, actually.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 can provide around 5.5-6 hours of screen-on-time, sometimes over 6 hours of SoT, at least with our usage. The Galaxy S23 FE flies above and beyond that, as crossing the 8-hour screen-on-time mark is not a problem. In fact, we were able to cross the 9-hour mark too. That managed to surprise us considering the chip used here, but there you have it. Your mileage may vary, of course, as you will be using your phone differently, with different apps, and different signal strengths.
When it comes to charging, they’re rather similar as far as wired charging is concerned. Both smartphones support 25W wired charging. The Galaxy S23 does support PD3.0, though, while its sibling supports PD2.0, but the charging speed is the same. Now, the Galaxy S23 also offers support for 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging, which the ‘FE’ model does not have. Also, neither phone comes with a charger in the box.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: Cameras
The Samsung Galaxy S23 features a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide unit (120-degree FoV), and a 10-megapixel telephoto shooter (3x optical zoom). The Galaxy S23 FE, on the flip side, has a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide unit (123-degree FoV), and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera (3x optical zoom). They’re rather similar when it comes to the overall camera setup, but not identical, not at all.
Some of these cameras may seem to be identical, but they’re not. The Galaxy S23 has a newer main camera sensor, a different ultrawide camera, and a different telephoto unit. What are the differences? Well, the images from the Galaxy S23’s main camera do end up looking brighter, that’s basically always the case. The ultrawide camera is able to pull in more light, which results in better low-light images. The Galaxy S23 is also able to capture slightly better-looking telephoto images, they do end up looking a bit sharper.
Samsung basically cut corners on all three of the cameras on the ‘FE’ model. Now, don’t get me wrong, the cameras perform fine, but they’re not at the same level as the Galaxy S23 offers. If you take into account that the Galaxy S23 is not exactly the best camera smartphone out there to begin with, you’ll get a clear image here Both smartphones do still tend to oversaturate in some shots, but Samsung tuned that down by a lot over the years.
You will find a set of stereo speakers on both of these phones. Both setups are really good, actually. To be quite honest, they’re very similar in terms of overall sound quality, but the Galaxy S23 FE speakers are louder. That’s not surprising considering the size difference.
Neither phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack. So, if you’d like to connect your headphones via a cable, you’ll need to utilize the Type-C ports on these two phones. If you prefer to go wireless, Bluetooth 5.3 is included on both devices.
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