Samsung’s FE series is back after a year-long hiatus, this time with a pair of Galaxy Buds.
The Galaxy S23 FE has the specs we expect from a “value flagship” smartphone and a more reasonable price: $599, instead of the $699 that Samsung charges for the S21 FE. The Galaxy Tab S9 FE comes with solid water and dust resistance and a friendlier price tag of $449 compared to the pricey standard S9, which starts at $799 — but you’ll have to settle for an LCD panel instead of OLED. And the Galaxy Buds FE offer active noise cancellation for $99.
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE was the latest phone in the FE series, and it didn’t make sense for it to be priced so close to the standard S21. The company seems to have recognized the problem with this year’s new entry-level price without making any radical feature swaps. There’s still a 6.4-inch, 120Hz OLED display, as well as a full IP68 water and dust resistance rating – something you won’t get if you move up to the mid-range Galaxy A-series devices.
There is another feature that Samsung introduced this year: fun! Remember the fun? The S23 FE comes in mint, cream, graphite and purple. If you order from Samsung’s website, you’ll find indigo and tangerine options as well.
The S23 FE comes with 8GB of RAM and the previous-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, which is a full generation behind the current 8 Gen and wasn’t exactly known for battery efficiency. On the plus side, you get wireless charging and an 8MP telephoto camera to complement the 50MP main and 12MP ultra-wide cameras on the phone’s back panel. You’d be hard-pressed to find any of these features in the mid-range category.
The Galaxy Buds FE feature a design reminiscent of Samsung’s previous Galaxy Buds Plus and offer up to six hours of playback when using active noise cancellation. They’ve got an IPX2 rating like Samsung’s standard Galaxy Buds 2, so although they can withstand some water exposure, you wouldn’t want to take them out in a thunderstorm or submerge them. There’s no wireless charging, and unfortunately you won’t find fun colors here: just graphite and white.
The Tab S9 FE comes with a 10.9-inch display, and the S9 FE Plus has a 12.4-inch display — both are LCD panels, rather than the OLED panels found in the standard S9 series, and they refresh at 90Hz instead of 120Hz in the S9 series standard. Non-FE versions. Instead of the Qualcomm processor found in the regular S9, the FE tablets use an Exynos 1380 chipset. But like their more expensive siblings, they both come with an S Pen in the box and offer a full IP68 rating. You’ll be able to get it in grey, mint, silver, and lavender.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 FE will go on sale on October 26 with 128GB of storage. The Galaxy Buds FE, Galaxy Tab S9 FE, and S9 FE Plus will be available from “select carriers” on October 5 and on Samsung’s website starting October 10.