Is the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE Still Worth It After 8 Months? A Comprehensive Long-Term Review

Is the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE worth it after 8 months? Explore performance, design, battery life, and more in our comprehensive long-term review.

Design and Build: Samsung Galaxy S23-FE

The design and build quality of the Samsung Galaxy S23-FE is a mix of premium and practical elements:

  • Materials: It features a glass back with a metallic frame, giving it a premium feel. The front is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, offering decent scratch resistance.
  • Durability: The phone has an IP68 water and dust resistance rating despite the premium materials. However, do note that if you drop the phone, it can dent, as mentioned from personal experience.
  • Form Factor: It is slightly thicker, which might not appeal to everyone but adds to durability.

Display: High-Quality but Not Perfect

The display is one of the most important aspects of a smartphone, and the Samsung Galaxy S23-FE has a lot to offer:

  • Type and Size: It sports a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The display quality is vibrant and smooth, perfect for multimedia consumption.
  • Brightness and HDR: With a peak brightness of 1450 nits, visibility in bright sunlight is excellent. It also supports HDR, making Netflix and other streaming content look fantastic.
  • Symmetry and LTPO: A minor gripe is the lack of a symmetrical display and LTPO technology, which means it doesn’t go down to 1Hz to save battery.
  • Additional Features: The under-display fingerprint sensor is reliable, and the speaker quality is good, enhancing the overall multimedia experience.

Performance and Overheating:

Regarding performance, the Galaxy S23 FE is powered by the Exynos 2200, built on a 4nm fabrication process. Many enthusiasts hoped for the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, but Samsung decided to stick with its in-house chipset for this variant. Here’s a closer look at how it fares:

  • Performance Metrics: The device scores impressively with 1 million on Antutu and ranges between 1500-3700 on Geekbench. This indicates solid performance in day-to-day tasks and moderate multitasking.
  • Throttling Issues: However, the device shows a 70% throttling in CPU tests, which can be a dealbreaker for power users. This significant drop in performance during extended use suggests the device is not ideal for heavy gaming or intensive applications.
  • Gaming Capability: Light gaming is possible, but heavy gaming can lead to noticeable frame drops and overheating issues. If gaming is a priority, this might not be your device.

Software: Up-to-Date and Future-Proof

Samsung has done a commendable job in the software department:

  • One UI 6 on Android 14: The S23 FE comes with One UI 6, based on Android 14, providing a smooth and intuitive user experience.
  • AI Enhancements: AI updates have improved the overall performance and user experience, making tasks quicker and more efficient.
  • Longevity: The device launched with Android 13 and is guaranteed to receive three major updates, ensuring it stays relevant for at least 4-5 years. This makes it a future-proof investment for those who prefer holding onto their devices longer.

Battery Life: Decent but Not Extraordinary

Battery performance is another crucial factor:

  • Battery Capacity: The 4500mAh battery is decent, but not exceptional for heavy users.
  • Screen-On Time: You can expect around 4 to 5 hours of screen-on time, which is average for a smartphone in this range.
  • Charging: It supports 25W charging speeds, which are reasonable but not the fastest in the market. The USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 port supports PD charging, and the device also supports wireless charging and wireless power sharing.

Camera: Good But Not Groundbreaking

Cameras have become a critical aspect for many buyers, and here’s how the S23 FE’s cameras perform:

  • Rear Camera Setup: The device features a 50MP main camera with OIS, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and an 8MP telephoto camera. The photos are decent with good skin tones, although the dynamic range can be inconsistent at times.
  • Ultra-Wide Camera: The ultra-wide lens performs well but can result in slightly darker shots in certain conditions.
  • Selfie Camera: The 10MP front camera takes decent selfies, although skin tones might not always be perfect.
  • Video Capabilities: It supports 8K video at 24fps and 4K at 60fps, offering flexibility for video recording enthusiasts.
  • Night Mode: Night mode is present but not on par with higher-end models. If the camera is a top priority, you might want to consider the standard S23, which offers better performance.

Connectivity: Comprehensive but Slightly Flawed

Connectivity options are crucial for modern smartphones, and the S23 FE covers most bases:

  • Dual SIM Support: The device supports dual SIM but lacks eSIM support, which could be a limitation for some users.
  • WiFi and Bluetooth: It comes with WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, ensuring fast and reliable wireless connections.
  • Network Performance: While 4G+, 5G, and WiFi calling are supported, there are occasional network issues in low-coverage areas.

Verdict: A Good Phone But With Caution

After eight months in the market, the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE still holds its ground as a competent mid-range smartphone. However, it does come with its set of limitations:

  • Pros:
    • Solid performance for everyday use
    • Excellent software support and longevity
    • Decent battery life and charging options
    • Premium design and build quality
    • High-quality display
    • Good camera performance for most scenarios
  • Cons:
    • Significant throttling under heavy use
    • Not ideal for heavy gaming
    • Average battery life
    • Occasional network issues

Should You Buy It?

Given the current price drop, the Galaxy S23 FE offers good value for money. However, if you can wait for a few more months, the standard Galaxy S23 might drop in price and offer a better overall package for around INR 40,000. The S23-FE is a decent option, but not without its flaws. If these limitations are a concern for you, waiting for the price drop on the Galaxy S23 could be a smarter move.

In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy S23-FE is still a viable option for those seeking a reliable and future-proof smartphone at a reduced price. However, for the best value, keeping an eye on upcoming price drops on other models could pay off in the long run.

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