Samsung Galaxy S23 FE — rumored release date, price, specs

Leak-based renders of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix)

The Galaxy S23 FE may be back in the mix for Samsung phones — and it could be arriving sooner rather than later. Samsung may have skipped over the Galaxy S22 FE last year, but it's apparently decided there's room for a lower-cost version of its flagship phone alongside the midrange Galaxy A devices. And we could get an official look at the phone as soon as September.

That would be the first time we've seen an FE device since early 2022, when the Galaxy S21 FE arrived. But the timing of that release was all wrong — due to Covid-related delays, the Galaxy S21 FE didn't ship until a month before the Galaxy S22's arrival. And with only a $100 difference between the Galaxy S21 FE and Galaxy S22, the stripped-down phone didn't capture people's interest the way the Galaxy S20 FE did.

As a reminder, the FE devices contain most of the major features found in Samsung's Galaxy S phones, but with a few sacrifices made in the name of keeping costs down. Usually, that's in the form of the materials Samsung uses on the phone — they aren't as top-tier as what you'd get from a regular Galaxy S device. Other potential areas where Samsung could compromise include the display refresh rate or the camera setup on the upcoming FE.

While rumors insist a Galaxy S23 FE is in the works, we have very little in the way of reports about what to expect from this new phone and how it will differ from the standard Galaxy S23 that arrived in February. Nevertheless, talk about a release has been gaining volume lately — even from Samsung executives — so it's time to share what we know so far about the Galaxy S23 FE and what we hope to see with this device.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE latest news (Updated August 23)

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE rumored release date

Given Samsung's irregular release patterns for past FE models, it's difficult to guess when a Galaxy S23 FE might show up, though it would likely be in the next few months if Samsung hopes to have the phone out in time for holiday sales. 

Korean publication Hankooki predicts an August - September release for the Galaxy S23 FE. That would be somewhat in line with the Galaxy S20 FE's release three years ago, as that phone arrived seven months after the rest of the Galaxy S20 lineup.

This summer's Galaxy Unpacked event came and went without any formal hint of a Galaxy S23 FE launch date, but there's a good sign that the phone could be arriving shortly. Specifically, Android Authority asked Justin Hume, vice president of mobile for Samsung South Africa, if Samsung's phone lineup had an "FE-sized gap." Hume agreed that it did and promised an announcement in the very near future.

The fact the phone has since appeared certified on the Wireless Power Consortium website would also lend some support to a launch in the very near future. And now leaker Yogesh Brar says the Galaxy S23 FE is coming in September and even posted specs for the unannounced phone. (More on those below.)

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE rumored price

Price is a key consideration when it comes to the FE models, as the main appeal is a phone that costs less than the standard Galaxy S model while retaining many of its key features. We've heard very little Galaxy S23 FE pricing speculation, and Samsung has complicated matters by continuing to sell last year's Galaxy S22 at a reduced price.

Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S22

Galaxy S23 (left) and Galaxy S22 (right) (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy S23 starts at $799, while the Galaxy S22 now costs $699. Given the few major differences you'll find in a Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S22 comparison, that doesn't give Samsung a lot of wiggle room on pricing. Two scenarios we see is that the S23 FE would either cost the same as the Galaxy S22 or it could start at $100 less, debuting at $599. We hope Samsung goes for the latter option.

The Galaxy A54, Samsung's top midrange phone, costs $449, keeping the same price as last year's Galaxy A53. You'd imagine Samsung would charge more for the Galaxy S23 FE, leaving room for a $599 phone.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE rumored specs

Here's what Yogesh Brar said to expect of the Galaxy S23 FE in a tweet forecasting the phone's September release.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Screen size6-4 inch AMOLED
Refresh rate120HZ
CPUSnapdragon 8 Gen 1 / Exynos 2200
Rears cameras50MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto
Front camera10MP
Battery size4,500 mAh
Charging speed25W
Android versionAndroid 13 with One UI 5.1

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE design and display

As likely surprises nobody, the S23 FE is likely going to share the looks of both the Galaxy S23 series and the Galaxy A54 — at least going by renders based on leaked information.

Leak-based renders of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix)

All three Galaxy S23 models and the A54 sport a fairly unified design, with the rear cameras stacked vertically down the left side of the phone. The only difference is the location of the camera flash, with the S23 FE seeming to copy the A54's positioning rather than the S23's.

Samsung Galaxy S23 family

(Image credit: Samsung)

The materials Samsung uses on the FE model provide one area where Samsung can cut costs on this model. The regular Galaxy S23 models all use Gorilla Glass Victus 2, but that could be one feature the S23 FE misses out on. 

If Samsung sticks to its past pattern with FE models, we'd expect the display size of the Galaxy S23 FE to split the difference between the 6.1-inch standard model and the 6.6-inch Plus version. The Galaxy S21 FE offered a 6.4-inch AMOLED panel, and that's likely what the Galaxy S23 FE is going to feature, unless subsequent rumors tell us differently. For what it's worth, leaker Yogesh Brar backs the 6.4-inch size with the display offering a 120Hz refresh rate.

That latter feature is in line with past FE models, which offered the same 120Hz refresh rate as the displays on the regular Galaxy S flagships. However, the refresh rate on the FE panel hasn't been adaptive. Instead, you've got to manually adjust the refresh rate. Again, that sounds like an area where the Galaxy S23 FE could distinguish itself from the rest of the S23 lineup.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE cameras

A lot has changed with the camera setup on the Galaxy S flagships since the Galaxy S21 FE arrived at the start of last year. After that phone debuted with a 12MP main camera, Samsung boosted the sensor for the Galaxy S22 to 50MP. That's the same wide-angle lens the phone maker uses for the S23 and S23 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

So the big question is whether Samsung uses that same improved main camera on the Galaxy S23 FE or sticks with the 12MP sensor. The argument for using the upgraded lens is that it would mean a consistent camera experience across most of the Galaxy S23 lineup, with the Galaxy S23 Ultra and its 200MP main camera offering the ultimate experience for camera phone enthusiasts.

We'd expect the Galaxy S23 FE to also feature ultrawide and telephoto lenses like its predecessors. Samsung could go with the same 8MP telephoto camera it used on the Galaxy S21 FE if it's looking to separate the new model from the rest of the Galaxy S23 lineup.

Yogesh Brar's leaked specs mention a 50MP main camera with optical image stabilization that's joined by an 8MP ultrawide shooter and a 12MP telephoto lens.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE chipset and battery

Samsung is expected by some to use something from Qualcomm's 8 Series of high-end silicon for this new phone, but it may not be the custom version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that made the Galaxy S23 models such powerhouses.

Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Instead, the Galaxy S23 FE has been tipped to take a step back with its processor, turning to the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. That's the same chipset found in the Galaxy Z Fold 4, so it's not exactly a laggard, though you won't see the big performance gains the other S23 models have enjoyed. It's possible Samsung could go with an even slightly older Snapdragon chipset such as the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 silicon found in the Galaxy S22 lineup.

If so, you're giving up the superior power management features found on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. That more efficient chip helped all three new Samsung phones last longer than their predecessors, with the Galaxy S23 Ultra landing on our best phone battery life list. (The Galaxy S23 Plus just missed out by a few minutes.)

However, there are other report that claims that Samsung will ditch Qualcomm worldwide for the Galaxy S23 FE for Samsung’s own Exynos 2200 chipset found in certain European handsets, or at the very least some sort of Exynos chip. This would be unfortunate news for European customers, assuming Samsung hasn't fixed the performance limitations that have plagued previous Exynos chipsets.

Yogesh Brar tips the Galaxy S23 FE to offer a 4,500 mAh battery. That's the same capacity as the power pack inside the Galaxy S21 FE.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE vs. Galaxy A54

We've spent a lot of time focusing on how the Galaxy S23 FE might differ from the rest of the Galaxy S23 flagships, but there's another consideration for Samsung. given the growing importance of its midrange lineup. How does Samsung make sure the Galaxy S23 FE doesn't impact sales of the Galaxy A series?

Just by existing, the Galaxy S23 FE will have some impact, as it's being touted as a replacement for this year's Galaxy A7 model. (We've already heard reports that the Galaxy A74 was being scrapped.) If that's the case, we could see Samsung position the Galaxy S23 FE as a step up from the Galaxy A54 — though that could prove difficult given how strong a phone the A54 actually is.

While the Galaxy A54 has a less powerful Exynos chipset and lacks a telephoto lens, it does feature a 120Hz display and the same main camera setup as the Galaxy S23. It's proven to be on the best cheap phones under $500 and makes us wonder if there's any room for the S23 FE in Samsung's phone lineup.

Samsung Galaxy S23 FE: What we want to see

Assuming that the Galaxy S23 FE is a go, our wish list for the phone is a fairly modest one. Mostly, we hope Samsung is able to deliver a device that still has flagship-level capabilities but for more a more alluring price. 

To that end, here's what we're hoping to see with the Galaxy S23 FE.

Upgraded cameras: It may be tempting for Samsung to hold back on the camera setup for the Galaxy S23 FE, especially if it wants to differentiate this model from the rest of the S23 lineup. But we think a consistent camera experience is more important than whatever cost savings Samsung might gain from going with lesser lenses. To that end, we hope to see a 50MP main camera on the Galaxy S23 FE when it debuts later this year.

Some durability: Sacrificing Gorilla Glass Victus 2 may be the cost of doing business with a less expensive version of the Galaxy S23. That said, we hope Samsung doesn't completely forget about durability when designing the FE. An IP68 water resistance rating seems like the absolute minimum for a device in the Galaxy S family.

A $599 price tag: We spoke about the challenge of setting a price for the Galaxy S23 FE, so we'll save Samsung the agitation. Make this phone a $599 model, which means it's $200 less than the standard Galaxy S23. The big reason the Galaxy S20 FE caught people's attention was that it cost several hundred dollars less than the Galaxy S20. While Samsung has subsequently adjusted the pricing on its flagship models, it needs to do likewise with the FE version if this new release is destined to be a hit.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.