Samsung Galaxy S23 FE specs leak is bad news

Samsung Galaxy S23
(Image credit: Future)

With no Galaxy S22 FE emerging last year, many will have assumed that Samsung’s experiment with cheaper, less feature-packed ‘Fan Edition’ phones was over. 

Not so, says SamMobile. The site reports that the Galaxy S23 Fan Edition will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2023 — presumably just months ahead of 2024’s flagship Samsung Galaxy S24 — and will ship without a Qualcomm chip for the first time in the series’ short history, regardless of the region.

Yes, the site says that rather than matching the S23’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — or even using last year’s Gen 1 Plus as we’d previously heard — the phone will instead pack Samsung’s own Exynos 2200 chipset found in certain European handsets. This will reportedly be the case even in America, where Samsung has typically stuck with Qualcomm on its ‘S’ phones.

This might once have been considered cause for celebration. Before launch, all kinds of rumors were suggesting that the Exynos 2200 could actually eclipse Qualcomm’s chip in terms of performance thanks to a collaboration with the chip maker AMD. There was even talk of smartphone ray tracing being possible.

But the reality was some way short of that, and comparative benchmarks proved disappointing in the graphics department. American readers could rest easy: there was no need to import the European version to get the most powerful incarnation of the Samsung Galaxy S22, though tech enthusiasts on the other side of the Atlantic could rightly feel a bit short-changed.

Now, the Exynos 2200 isn't a bad chip in its own right, and it could be perfect for the S23 FE, especially if it helps bring the price down a bit.

Nonetheless, such a move is not without its risks. One of the main selling points of the FE line is that it offers parity with the chipset of the day. The S20 FE and S20 both used the Snapdragon 865, while the S21 FE and S21 both contained Snapdragon 888 chips. This would not only be a generation-old chipset, but the weaker version of a generation-old chipset at that.

Combine that with the fact that the S23 FE isn’t expected until Q4, when the price of the regular S23 will likely have come down significantly, and you might have a handset that’s quite a tough sell. Especially with the Galaxy S24 possibly just months away at that point.

Then there's other Samsung budget phones like the Galaxy A54, which delivers a lower-end Snapdragon 1380 chip but otherwise packs a lot of higher-end features. This includes a 50MP main camera, a 6.4-inch 120Hz display and 5,000 mAh battery. We'll have to see how the S23 FE stands out. 

But wait, there's more (confusion)

It's not all bad news. Notebookcheck reports from a few sources that the Galaxy S23 FE will use a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. A separate source claims that one variant will be based on the Exynos 2200.

However, this version of the chip will apparently be fabricated using Samsung's "improved" 4nm process. So even though it's an older processor, it would presumably be faster than the chip found in the Galaxy S22 series. 

There seems to be a lot of confusion around this affordable flagship right now, so stay tuned to our Galaxy S23 FE hub for further rumors and leaks. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.