Best-kept Samsung secret! Cheaper flagship-grade phone than Galaxy S23 to steal show soon?

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Best-kept Samsung secret! Cheaper flagship-grade phone than Galaxy S23 to steal show soon?
When Samsung released the Galaxy S21 FE in early January last year, everyone was confused…

The S21 FE was always going to be a relatively inferior phone compared to the then soon-to-launch Galaxy S22, which of course was Samsung’s new flagship, coming with a refreshed design, a new processor, cameras, and at only $100 more than the S21 FE, which launched at $700, packing last year’s hardware, including processor, display, and cameras.

When the Galaxy S22 finally launched almost exactly a month later, the S21 FE still made zero sense on paper - I even advised our readers to “act like the Galaxy S21 FE doesn't even exist”. Now, I wasn’t necessarily wrong right then and there, but time has proven that my judgment was of mixed accuracy.

Although the Galaxy S21 FE (indeed) didn’t make much sense priced at $700, thanks to discounts and resale offer, the Fan Edition phone soon turned into what was arguably the best Android flagship phone in terms of sheervalue, and things stayed this way throughout 2022! That’s a spectacular turn of events for what was expected to be an irrelevant device, and even if the only reason for that is the fact that Samsung (or Android in general) phones depreciate in value quicker than Bitcoin, what matters is the bottom line!

And the bottom line is that according to Amazon reviews (one of the few public review metrics available to the public), the S21 FE was a very popular phone and a very liked one too! In fact, perhaps evne more popular than the Galaxy S22 (again, on Amazon!) , and with better reviews overall. Hence, it’s fair to say the S21 FE was the people’s choice of flagship-grade Samsung phone for 2022.

That's why the potential existence of a brand new Galaxy S22 FE is a real reason to be excited, rather than confused (like we were back when Samsung launched the S21 FE)! Is the Galaxy S22 FE going to make a surprise appearance during Samsung’s upcoming Unpacked event on February 1 and should you buy it instead of the new Galaxy S23?

Let’s have an early discussion…

Galaxy S23 Ultra (512GB) is available at Amazon

The Galaxy S23 Ultra with 512GB of storage is available on Amazon in limited quantities. The smartphone arrives at its standard price. Only the models in Green and Lavender are currently available.

Galaxy S23+ is available at Amazon at $51 off

The Galaxy S23+ with 256GB of built-in storage arrives at $51 off. You can trade in a suitable device to save up to $260 with an Gift Card.

Galaxy S23 is now available at Amazon

The vanilla Galaxy S23 sells at its standard price on Amazon. Limited color options are available. You can trade in a suitable device to unlock up to $260 in savings.

Galaxy S22 FE rumored to launch alongside Galaxy S23, “threatening” Samsung’s real flagship phones for 2023

Though rumors throughout 2022 made us believe it’s increasingly likely the S21 FE was Samsung’s last Fan Edition phone, pointing towards the end of the road for Samsung’s affordable flagship series, the FE might not be dead after all!

Leakster by the name of Connor or @OreXda on Twitter is now telling us to hold our breath for the… Galaxy S22 FE, which (if its existence wasn’t enough of a surprise), might be unveiled during the Galaxy S23 launch event (scheduled for February 1), or during the “Unpacked: Part 2”, which hints at a different Samsung event that might be help soon after the Galaxy S23 launch.

In a series of Tweets/replies, Connor and another leakster by the name of RGcloudS seem to have unveiled a few more details about the Galaxy S22 FE and Samsung’s future plans for the “FE” line:

  • Galaxy S22 FE is (sort of) expected to replace what would’ve been the Galaxy A74, or Samsung’s high-end “A” series mid-range phone for 2023

  • Galaxy S22 FE (according to conflicting reports) might be powered by last year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset (not the 8+ Gen 1) or the Exynos 2200, which was notably left out from the S21 FE last year in favor of the Snapdragon 888; since the 2200 isn't a better chip than the 8 Gen 1, the only logical reason for Samsung's alleged decision to go back to using the Exynos 2200 is that the company might have piles of 2200s laying around

  • Galaxy S22 FE is said to pack Samsung’s own 108MP ISOCELL HM6 primary camera sensor, measuring 1/1.6-inches, with support for up to 8K 24fps video, PD autofocus, and 9-to-1 pixel-binning (snaps 12MP photos by default); perhaps the most notable Android phone with this camera sensor is the Xiaomi 12T, which delivers very good photo and video quality

  • Galaxy S22 FE is now set to be the very last “Fan Edition” phone launched by Samsung, as multiple leaksters tell us not to expect a Galaxy S23 FE around this time next year, meaning if it does exist, the S22 FE would be the last Galaxy phone of its kind

As long as it exists, a fairly-priced Galaxy S22 FE could easily become the best-value Android flagship phone for most of 2023

The only two big question marks that remain here seem to be two most important details about the supposed Galaxy S22 FE - is it really an existing device (are the leaks correct) and if it is - how much would it cost!

I can immediately tell you that I still wouldn’t be too quick to celebrate! In other words, the leaks are telling us thereis a Galaxy S22 FE, and even that the FE is expected to slide in the place of what would’ve been the Galaxy A74 (reportedly retired by Samsung) - that means the FE “could” cost as low as $500, because... that's the price of last year's A74 (converted from INR).

That being said, itseems like the leaks don’t take into account the fact that (unlike the Galaxy A73 which was exclusive to India) the Galaxy S22 FE should launch globally, meaning the $500 (INR 41,999) price is highly (and I mean highly) unlikely to pan out!

If that’s indeed Samsung’s plan, it’s quite easy to guess that the Galaxy S22 FE would keep pretty much the exact same hardware from the Galaxy S21 FE (of course, save for the upgraded chip), and be precisely (very, very precisely) aimed at dethroning the Google Pixel 7 from the best-value Android flagship throne!

Pixel 7 or Galaxy S22 FE - the (affordable) Android flagship kings of 2023?

Speaking of the Pixel 7 and knowing that (again, at least in my book) the Pixel 6 and Galaxy S21 FE were the best-value Android flagship phones of 2022, a hypothetical comparison between the new S22 FE and Pixel 7 is sort of unavoidable...

And because that’s (still) a very hypothetical “versus”, I’ll keep it short, and tell you that when it comes to what could be the best affordable Android flagship phone of 2023, I’d put my money on the (alleged) Galaxy S22 FE!

That’s probably more ironic than you might realize, because prior to the new Galaxy S22 FE leaks (in other words, while this phone was still considered dead), I released a story in which I (unsurprisingly) awarded the title of best affordable Android flagship phone (at least in the beginning of 2023) to the Pixel 7 (feel free to agree/disagree with me in the comment section).

But, now, with all leaks considered (again, take them with a good pinch of salt), the Galaxy S22 FE is shaping up to be:

  • FasterthanthePixel7 thanks to having a newer flagship chip and more RAM
  • With a higher-quality display than the Pixel 7, thank to 120Hz refresh rate and (expected) higher brightness
  • An (arguably) better camera system than the Pixel 7, thanks to the sheer versatility of its camera system
  • With longer software support compared to the the Pixel 7, thanks to four years of Android upgrades versus only three for Pixel
  • Considerably lighter than the Pixel 7, and therefore easier to handle (las year's S21FE weighs 177g or 20g less than the Pixel 7)

In the end, the stage looks set for the Galaxy S22 FE to come out and shine, stealing the “best affordable Android flagship phone” crown from the Pixel 7. Samsung’s “One More Thing” phone just needs to exist and be pricedfairly in order to manage to make a big splash in the Android phone market in 2023.

In fact, I’d argue that even if the Galaxy S22 FE retains the same launch price as the S21 FE ($700), it’d still have a great chance at becoming the easiest to recommend Android phone at least for the first half of 2023, because Samsung being Samsung, the new FE will likely be significantly cheaper as soon as 1-2 months after its release - whether that’s on Amazon or eBay. "After discounts" is the best way to buy any Samsung (or Google) phone.

So, are you hoping the S22 FE is Samsung’s well-kept secret or do you think the company should probably call it quits and retire the “Fan Edition” lineup right now, a year earlier than rumored? As always, the comment section is open!

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