The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE arrived on Australian shores recently and it offers a near-flagship experience at a lower cost. But there are other ways to get that as well.
The local version of the S23 FE is the one with the Exynos 2200. Last year’s model, the S21 FE, got the previous Samsung chip, the Exynos 2100, but we’ll get to that phone in a moment.
Besides the faster chipset, the 2023 FE model has a better main camera – a 50MP sensor instead of 12MP. However, everything else is fairly similar, including the 6.4” FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display, the 8MP 3x tele and 12MP 123° ultra wide cameras, the 4,500mAh battery with 25W charging and so on. Note that the S23 FE is thicker and heavier (8.2mm 209g vs. 7.9mm 177g), both are rated IP68.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE uses the newer Gorilla Glass Victus to protects its screen (the S23 FE has a pane of GG5 instead), but the back is plastic (vs. GG5 on the S23 FE). Both have aluminum frames and are rated IP68. The older model also has a 32MP selfie camera (compared to 10MP on the new one).
For a bit less than the S21 FE you can get a phone from this year – the Samsung Galaxy A54. This matters as the A54 launched with Android 13, not 12. Based on Samsung’s planned update schedule, the A54 will receive Android 17 and security patches until 2028, whereas support for the S21 FE will end earlier.
Both have 6.4” FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED displays. Both have 50MP main cameras (in fact, the A54 sensor is bigger at 1/1.56” vs. 1/1.76”), 12MP ultra wide and 32MP selfie cameras. The A-phone is missing a tele module, however. Also, it uses the mid-range Exynos 1380 chipset, which isn’t as fast as the 2100. This chip combined with the larger 5,000mAh battery does make for better battery endurance, however.
There’s also the Samsung Galaxy A34. This one has a larger 6.6” display (FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED) and a MediaTek chipset instead, a Dimensity 1080. The main camera gets a downgrade to a 48MP 1/2.0” sensor, but the price drops significantly too.
Going back to the higher end of the price scale, there’s the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion, another 2022 smartphone. This one does have the Snapdragon 888+ chipset and a fast 6.55” 144Hz FHD+ OLED display. It’s missing a telephoto camera, so it only comes with a 50MP main (1/1.55”) and 13MP ultra wide, plus a 32MP selfie. The 4,400mAh battery is on the small side, but the hardware makes efficient use of it and there is 68W fast charging so 0-50% takes around 10 minutes.
We’ll wrap up with a couple of affordable 5G phones. The Nokia G60 is nothing special, but it launched with HMD’s “3-3-3 promise” – that is 3 years of OS updates, 3 years of security patches and a 3 year warranty. It has been a year since the phone launched, so it’s more of a 2-2-3 situation right now, but it’s still a solid offer for the price.
The alternative to that is the Motorola Moto G53. This one has a 6.5” HD+ display compare to the higher resolution 6.58” FHD+ panel on the Nokia (both 120Hz). The Nokia also has the more powerful chipset (Snapdragon 695 vs. 480+) and an ultra wide camera (only a 5MP module, but the Moto has none). The G53 has a larger battery with 5,000mAh capacity, compared to 4,500mAh for the Nokia.
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