Samsung’s first phone in the FE lineup was an excellent addition, offering near-flagship features at a slightly cheaper 699$ price tag. The phone won many awards from reviewers and brought Samsung’s flagship features to a slightly more affordable price point. Some countries saw a 4G version with the Exynos 990 and a 5G model with the Snapdragon 865 chip.
The successor to that, the S21 FE, wasn’t the best in the segment, but still a solid option. The S20 FE and S21 FE sold very well, but Samsung did not renew the FE lineup for the S22 series.
We can’t pinpoint one exact reason, but a general assumption is that Samsung wants to simplify its lineup. The 500-700$ segment is profitable but does not offer margins you can achieve at over 1000$.
One of the main reasons why the S21 FE didn’t sell well was the pricing. At 699$, you could get a Pixel 6, iPhone 12, and many others. The phone no longer stood out in the segment.
Also, the S21, a better phone in some ways, went down in price to nearly the same 699$ tag. The S21 FE was too similar to the S21 and only came with the Exynos 2100 SOC.
Rising import/ export taxes and the global chip shortage are probably other reasons why Samsung wanted to streamline its portfolio in 2022.
Too many repetitive phones will confuse consumers. Samsung also wanted to sell more of its S22 lineup, which came out just a couple weeks after the S21 FE.
This does not mean we won’t see an S23 FE or that the iconic FE lineup is dead. This article will explore whether we’ll see an S23 FE in 2023.
Is Samsung planning to launch the S23 FE?
To focus more on the S22 lineup, Samsung didn’t make an S22 FE. However, there are reportedly plans to bring the Fan Edition back in 2023.
It’s not a wrong move, considering that the existing S20 FE and S21 FE users won’t feel that their phone is getting outdated in just a few years. There’s no point in releasing a new phone just for a unique model number.
According to a Korean source, The Elec, Samsung is planning to make an S23 FE, and they’re expecting sales that are upwards of 3 Million units.
In the February 2023 event, we saw Samsung announce a partnership with Qualcomm. The entire S23 lineup ships with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.
As an exclusive deal to Samsung, the 8 Gen 2 in the S23 series features a slight overclock to the CPU and GPU. In other words, Samsung has early access to what we’ll probably see as the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2 later this year.
You might know that Samsung makes in-house chips that use Samsung’s fabrication processes.
So, this partnership does not signify the end of Exynos. The 8 Gen 2 uses TSMC’s 4nm fabrication, which is very efficient and good with thermals and performance sustainability.
According to multiple reliable sources, Samsung still has an Exynos 2300 in the works, which uses Samsung’s 4nm process with subtle refinements. That’s the chip that could power the upcoming Galaxy S23 FE.
Since Samsung does not want to use this chip on their flagship phones, it makes sense to cut costs and put it in their FE, confirming that there is a new phone in the works around that 700$ tag.
The end of the A7X series
Samsung’s A series spans devices from under 200$ to 500$. The point of discussion here is the A7X series. More notably, the Galaxy A73 wasn’t great compared to the S21 FE.
The FE lineup usually gets heavy discounts during festive seasons, and many would use an S series Samsung flagship instead. If you compare it to the A or M series, Samsung’s S series has a much better software experience.
The S series gets software updates on time, and they have Samsung’s best Goodlock modules and some extras like DeX. Except for the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, none of Samsung’s A series has the DeX feature.
Instead of spending 500$ on Samsung’s A series flagship, people just chose the FE after discounts instead. Also, the higher the phone’s price, the higher the profit is for the company.
Samsung doesn’t offer heavy discounts on the A7X lineup because profits are not in the sub-500 segment.
The A73 uses the 6nm 778G chip and has a 120Hz AMOLED display with a 108MP (OIS) primary sensor. The price was too high for a phone with the 778G.
At 40,000 INR, you can get the S21 FE during sales instead. If you compare the FE to the A73, the FE obliterates it in every dimension.
The chip is more powerful, the FE has better cameras and a 3X telephoto, and the OneUI flagship experience is much better than OneUI for the A series.
In an attempt to simplify its portfolio, we can say that Samsung no longer sees a point in the A7X series. So, it’s bound to end in 2023, and we’ll see the replacement for it; the S23 FE.
Samsung’s existing lineup clashes
We didn’t see an S22 FE because it would’ve been too similar to the S22. There’s only so much a company can trim down after a 100$ reduction in price. The S21 FE’s only main difference from the S21 was the lack of a Snapdragon model.
Another difference was optical versus ultrasonic fingerprint scanners. The cameras trade blows, but the S21 has a better primary sensor. That’s about where the differences end. Samsung doesn’t have anything to differentiate the FE lineup.
If Samsung made an S22 FE in 2022, then there’s not much they could have cut from the S22. Moreover, the Exynos 2200’s gaming performance was abysmal.
Samsung’s 4nm processing was clearly behind TSMC. As a result, the S22 had problems with heat management, battery life, and gaming. The Exynos 2100 on the S21 FE didn’t perform very well either.
Samsung could have chosen to make the camera hardware slightly worse, give the S22 FE a plastic back, and swap out the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner for an optical one.
However, very few would have bought this phone when they could buy the S22 at a near-identical price. It’s a waste of resources for them to develop and market a phone similar to an existing one.
After simplification, we’ll see Samsung’s usual A, M, and F series continue without the A7X models. We could see them bring it back when the lines between flagship midrange and entry-level flagship aren’t so blurry.
Dropping the telephoto on the A73 wasn’t a good move either since the A72 had an 8MP 3X telephoto camera. The A73 has the useless Macro and Depth instead.
What could be the specs of the S23 FE?
Samsung’s 999$ S23+ still ships with a 1080P panel, so we can expect the S23 FE to stick with the exact FHD+ resolution. We’ll still see the 120Hz refresh rate, and it’ll mostly use Samsung’s 4nm Exynos 2300 SOC.
Samsung could move to 3nm chips in 2024 with the Exynos 2400, and many investors are optimistic about Samsung’s 3nm node. TSMC’s 3nm chips are facing many delays, and we can chalk that down to a poor yield rate.
For now, though, the Exynos 2300 will stick with Samsung’s 4nm processing. We hope it has some improvements from the Exynos 2200 since an inefficient chip with thermal problems in 2023 is a major dealbreaker.
Another move from Samsung to make the FE cheaper is to swap out the glass for a plastic back. That’s not a bad move since it helps with material costs, and plastic is more durable.
Multiple sources mention a 108MP primary sensor; we cannot confirm this. It’s probably going to have Samsung’s HM6 sensor, and that’s not very flagship level, but Samsung’s software algorithms can make up for the difference in sensor size.
We still don’t have adequate information about the name of this phone, and it’s a complete mess, with sources stating completely conflicting things. Some say the phone’s name is the S23 FE, and others say it’s the S22 FE. We can’t know for sure.
Leaker Dohyun Kim says that the S23 FE is dead, and there’s also a chance that Samsung will leave the 500-799$ segment blank. We find this unlikely, but there’s not enough evidence online to rule it out.
S23 FE: Expected Price & Release Date
- The Galaxy S23 FE will likely be released in September 2023. It could be priced at 599$.
Due to a lack of reliable leaks, we can only speculate on the price and release date. Samsung didn’t announce it at the February Galaxy Unpacked since they wanted the S23 series to be the highlight of that event.
As per Hankooki, Samsung has decided to skip the Galaxy S22 FE and will launch the Galaxy S23 FE sometime in August or September this year.
They won’t launch it with the foldable phones either since the FE won’t fit in with the marketing of foldable phones.
It’s unlikely that Samsung will host a standalone event for the FE. There’s a good chance we’ll see this with the Tab S9 series or the One UI 6 event. We’ll see One UI 6 later in the year, with Samsung’s take on Android 14.
There are some speculations about the price being lower than the S21 FE. Since the A7X lineup is mostly discontinued, the S23 FE, or whatever it’s called, will probably start at 599$.
That’s a hundred dollars more than what the A7X series usually launches at. However, it’s also 100$ less than what the FE lineup launches at. We can expect the phone to carry a price tag of under 650$.