Coming in four colourways (Mint, Purple, Graphite, and Cream), Samsung’s Galaxy S23 FE has landed in Malaysia.
If you don’t know what the FE denotes, here’s a quick rundown. Standing for “fan edition”, FE devices are packed with fans’ favourite features from Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S Series.
“Simply put, when you speak, we listen,” is how Samsung describes it.
So, without further ado…
Here are the supposed fan-favourite features
Design-wise, the Galaxy S23 FE stays true to the Galaxy S23 Series with the squarish edges and a matte metallic frame. Both its back and front are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
Like the S23, the FE version features a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. However, its peak brightness is 1,450 nits, lower than the 1,750 nits featured on the S23.
But one of the key things Samsung highlights about this phone is the Vision Booster, which optimises display settings so that the phone performs just as well in the brightest of skies.
This is a true essential in sunny Malaysia—I got to witness the Vision Booster come into effect and it worked just as marketed, so no complaints there.
As for the camera setup, there’s a 50MP main camera, an 8MP telephoto camera, and 12MP for the ultrawide. This is comparable to the S23’s 50MP, 10 MP, and 12MP cameras.
Testing out the camera performance, I found that the tone tends to be a little yellower on this phone, but it’s nothing some post-editing can’t alter.
Other than that, the camera quality was crisp, though the Nightography isn’t my favourite. The image processing creates too much of a “halo” effect around objects that makes the image look overly fake and edited. Those who like vibrance in their images would appreciate it, though.
The 10MP selfie camera is not much to shout about. It’s not up to par with the rest of the S Series’ 12MP front cameras, so perhaps that wasn’t something the fans cared much for?
So, what’s different?
One of the first differences you may notice is that the S23 FE is larger than the S23 at 6.4 inches, compared to the S23’s 6.1 inches.
With that, the FE is also a lot heavier at 209g, while the S23 had only been 168g.
While the S23 sports the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on its back, the S23 FE comes with the Gorilla Glass 5, which is less durable. That said, both phones are rated IP68, meaning it will survive against dust and up to 1.5 metres of water for 30 minutes.
The biggest difference performance-wise between the S23 and the S23 FE is what’s underneath the hood.
Where the Galaxy S23 stores the more powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, the chipset for the S23 FE in Malaysia is the Exynos 2200. This is an inhouse Samsung octacore processor, released during the previous generation and thus may lag behind performance-wise compared to the S23’s.
That said, gaming on the phone has still been perfectly smooth for me. The phone sports an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz, like the rest of the S23 Series phones.
The battery capacity on the S23 FE is actually more than the S23 at 4,500mAh (compared to 3,900mAh). Of course, this is still smaller compared to the S23 Plus and S23 Ultra (4,700mAh and 5,000mAh respectively).
So far, the battery has been depleting quite fast for me, though, especially considering that it’s a new phone.
The colourways are a bit different as well. Where the S23 had come in a greyer green tone and a pastel lavender, the S23 FE features a light minty hue and a deeper greyish purple.
Not exactly “budget”
AtRM2,999, we wouldn’t consider the S23 to be a budget phone. However, the phone itself definitely doesn’t feel budget either.
As a benchmark, the S23 is RM4,199, though Samsung’s flagship stores on platforms such as Lazada frequently run offers. At the time of writing, the S23 is priced at RM3,699 on Lazada.
At the same time, the S23 FE also has ongoing promotions from now until November 30, which you can read about here.
If you’re someone who doesn’t need the most powerful chipset, are fine with a couple megapixels shaved off the cameras, and can live with a heavier device, then the S23 FE makes for a very viable option amongst the rest of the S23 Series devices.
Ultimately it really comes down to personal preference and what you would put to use in a phone.
I will say, there are some small workmanship details I can’t help but fixate over, such as the way my front camera isn’t perfectly centred, meaning the silver bezel around it doesn’t share the same width throughout. It’s a small detail—but one that can really drive me up the wall when I stare too long.
That said, this is how we’ve found the phone to perform so far. So, be sure to check back in for a more in-depth review.
- Learn more about the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE here.
- Read other articles we’ve written about Samsung here.