Samsung Galaxy S23 FE might launch next month — with a significant catch

Samsung galaxy s21 fe review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is not dead as some may fear but could, in fact, get an initial release next quarter, according to SamMobile's sources.

The reason that's an initial release is that the phone will allegedly only be sold in specific markets from Q3 this year. The sources claim this will then be followed by a wider launch over the following six months, which hopefully means the U.S., U.K. and Australia will all get access to this stripped-back Galaxy S23 by the end of the year.

SamMobile's report also claims all versions of the Galaxy S23 FE could be powered by a Samsung Exynos 2200 chipset, the chunk of silicon that powered the global version of the Galaxy S22 from last year. That would give the FE noticeably worse performance than its premium siblings and their customized Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chips. It would also be a strange move to offer it worldwide, as normally all Samsung flagship phones sold in the U.S. use Qualcomm Snapdragon chips.

There are more rumored specs for the Galaxy S23 FE, enough to give us a fairly comprehensive picture. The Exynos 2200 chipset we mentioned before will be paired with either 128GB or 256GB storage, and likely a choice of 6GB or 8GB RAM. For photography, you'll get a 50MP main camera (like the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus), plus 8MP ultrawide, 8MP 3x telephoto, and 12MP selfie cameras. 

We can also apparently expect a 6.4-inch OLED display (between the sizes of the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23 and 6.6-inch S23 Plus), and a 4,500 mAh battery, presumably with 25W fast charging.

The Galaxy S23 FE faces an uncertain fate

Samsung galaxy s21 fe review

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If we are indeed getting a Galaxy S23 FE, it has a tough road ahead. The last phone in this line, the Galaxy S21 FE, wasn't a huge hit since it arrived just before the Galaxy S22 launched and offered too few features for too much money. That's perhaps why Samsung hasn't produced another FE up to now.

With the Galaxy S23 starting at $800, and the mid-spec Galaxy A54 at $450, Samsung has a tight needle to thread when it comes to the price tag and specs of any future Galaxy S FE phones. In addition, Samsung has kept the Galaxy S22 in its line-up even after the Galaxy S23 series arrived, while also discounting it to $700. It's why it wouldn't surprise us if the Galaxy S23 FE ends up dead on arrival.

That said, the Galaxy S23 FE is looking like a unique offering, with a mid-sized body, and strong display, battery and main camera specs. It could be enough to draw potential buyers who would otherwise consider an older Samsung Galaxy device, or another cheaper Android flagship like the Google Pixel 7 or the OnePlus 11.

We're due to see a Galaxy Unpacked featuring the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 foldables at the end of next month. Perhaps Samsung will feel like tagging the Galaxy S23 FE's announcement onto this event, although we'd heard before that the Galaxy S23 FE could launch prior to the Galaxy Z Fold 5. That wouldn't give Samsung long to announce and hold a second event.

However it happens, we'll be very curious to try out the Galaxy S23 FE, and see if it's one of the best phones overall, one of the best cheap phones, or something in-between. 

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.