Samsung launches Galaxy S23 FE — flagship features at a mid-range price

Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S23 Fan Edition (FE) smartphone — a mid-range smartphone taking some of its design queues and hardware from the flagship S23 model released earlier this year.

In terms of design, the S23 FE features a “floating” camera array and premium finish with IP68-rated water and dust protection.

The frame is also aluminium, but the glass back has been switched out for a plastic one.

The S23 FE boasts the same 1,080×2,340 OLED display of the S23 and S23+, although this comes in a 6.4-inch size, falling square in the middle between the 6.1-inch panel on the S23 and the 6.6-inch screen on the S23+.

However, the FE version’s 120Hz refresh rate is not variable down to 48Hz, which could impact battery life.

Fortunately, it boasts a significantly larger battery than the standard S23 — a 4,500mAh pack instead of 3,900mAh.

It also supports 25W wired charging that can provide a 50% refill in 30 minutes.

For charging without a cable, it is capable of 12W fast wireless charging, only slightly slower than the 15W on the main S23 range, and reverse wireless charging.

Galaxy S23 FE graphite design

The S23 FE is powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Exynos 2200 chip, which also featured in last year’s Galaxy S22 series.

All models come with 8GB RAM, with a choice of two storage configurations — 128GB and 256GB.

Samsung described the S23 FE’s camera as “pro-grade”.

The rear camera array consists of a 50MP main sensor with the same f/1.8 aperture and 24mm focal length as the primary shooter in the Galaxy S23 series.

It supports optical image stabilisation and phase-detection autofocus (PDAF).

The specifications of the 12MP ultrawide lens also appear to match those of the regular S23 series, with a f/2.2 aperture and 123-degree viewing angle.

The telephoto is a slight downgrade — dropping from 10MP to 8MP — and features no OIS support.

On the positive side, it can also handle 3× optical zoom, so if you have a steady hand, you could snap some detailed zoomed-in photos.

Samsung also emphasised the camera’s night-time shooting capabilities — particularly for taking clear selfies and portraits in lifelike colours.

Colours and prices

The S23 FE will be available in mint, cream, and graphite. Indigo and tangerine colour options will be offered exclusively through Samsung’s online stores.

It will launch in the US and select markets on 5 October 2023. South African launch dates and pricing remain to be confirmed

The Galaxy S23 FE series will start at $599 (R11,595, excl. VAT) in the US, compared to $799 (R14,467, excl. VAT) for the standard Galaxy S23.

The Galaxy S23 starts at R19,999 in South Africa, about 20% more expensive than the US price when factoring in VAT.

Assuming roughly the same markup for shipping and import taxes, the S23 FE could be priced at R16,000 in South Africa.

The table below shows the specifications of the Galaxy S23 FE.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
OS Android 13
Display 6.4-inch 1,080×2,340 OLED with 120Hz refresh rate
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Samsung Exynos 2200
Storage 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
Rear camera 50MP + 12MP + 8MP
Front camera 10MP
Ports UBS-C
Cellular 5G
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.3
Dual Sim Yes
Biometrics Face ID
Charging 25W wired charging
12W wireless Qi charging
reverse wireless charging
Dimensions and weight 76.5×158×8.2mm (209g)
Protection IP68
Galaxy S23 FE indigo and tangerine colours

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Samsung launches Galaxy S23 FE — flagship features at a mid-range price