Galaxy S23 FE vs iPhone 15: mostly obvious, with some ironic differences

Galaxy S23 FE vs iPhone 15


We are here to compare Samsung' latest Fan Edition phone, the Galaxy S23 FE, and Apple's latest entry-level flagship iPhone 15. Of course, we are not only talking about completely different systems here (Android vs iOS), but also completely different price tags, with the FE starting at $629 and the iPhone 15 at $799.

As you might already suspect, being the more expensive phone, the iPhone 15 offers more to the user compared to the S23 FE, but there are ironically a couple of things that the Samsung actually has an advantage. That said, there are plenty of nuances here, so let's dive in and check them out.

Galaxy S23 FE vs iPhone 15:
  • A more powerful chipset on the iPhone
  • S23 FE gets different chip depending on region
  • iPhone is lighter and more compact
  • iPhone has a significantly better camera system
  • S23 FE comes with a dedicated telephoto camera
  • Less durable glass on the S23FE
  • $200 price difference

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Both phones stick to the tried and tested design that the two manufacturers, Samsung and Apple, have perfected throughout the years. The Galaxy S23 FE is larger and heavier, but it also comes with a bigger display. That said, the bezels on the iPhone 15 are noticeably thinner.

When it comes to durability, the iPhone 15 comes with Apple's Ceramic Shield glass, which has proven to be the most scratch resistant on the market so far, while the Galaxy S23 FE comes with Gorilla Glass 5, which is bit less tough compared to the most premium Gorilla Glass Victus 2. That said, both phones have aluminum frames and an IP68 certification for water and dust resistance.

Another differentiator are the colors, with the S23 FE having a more vibrant and saturated color palate in comparison.

Display Differences

A size difference with some questions attached

This is the place where the ironic reality comes into play. The Galaxy S23 FE, which costs $200 less than the iPhone 15, has a display with a 120Hz refresh rate, while the one on the iPhone 15 only goes to 60Hz. In other words. navigating the UI and playing games on the S23 FE can look much more smooth and fluid in comparison.

Other than the refresh rate, though, the iPhone has an outstanding display with superb picture quality and color accuracy. The S23 FE shouldn't be any different, as we are talking about a Samsung phone here.

The only other difference between the two phones is that the iPhone 15 can reach 2000 nits of peak brightness, while the S23 FE can only go up to 1400 nits, so the former is much easier to use in harsh light.

Performance and Software

Where the flagship shows its superiority

While both phones use chipsets that are one-generation old, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1/Exynos 2200 that the S23 FE comes with simply cannot compete with the A16 Bionic of the iPhone 15. Apple has been at the forefront of processor power for some years now, and it is no different in this comparison.

Nevertheless, neither of the phones should feel sluggish or incapable, the silicon inside the S23 FE is plenty powerful for most users' needs, and we don't expect to have any difficulties with it during our testing. If you want some hard numbers though, stay tuned for our own testing of the S23 FE, where we will get exact numbers to compare with the iPhone 15.

When it comes to software, it is obvious that we are talking about a completely different experience here. It is iOS vs Android after all, and by this point you probably already know where you stand on that matter. Or, maybe you are in the middle and find the good and the bad in both.

Updates-wise, the iPhone 15 gets 6 years of OS updates while the S23 FE 4. The iPhone obviously has the win here, but 4 years are still a great amount of time to receive major software updates.

Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE1566
Apple iPhone 152595
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE3839
Apple iPhone 156651
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE2208
Apple iPhone 152950
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 FE1208
Apple iPhone 151896


The main focus of improvement

Apple made a significant jump in image quality with its new iPhones this year, and that's true even for the vanilla iPhone 15. With the new 48MP camera, the images it produces seem to sometimes be even better than last year's Pro models. We fully expect the Galaxy S23 FE to deliver some good photography and video recording, but the difference in quality will probably be substantial. Stay tuned for some sample shots and videos.

One area where the Galaxy S23 FE funnily has the iPhone 15 beat, however, is the fact that it comes with a dedicated 3X telephoto camera. It will be fun to see how it compares to a photo taken at 3X digital zoom with the iPhone 15. We will make sure to test that out once we get our hands on the S23 FE.

There is also a difference when it comes to camera software. The iPhone 15 comes with Apple's new portrait mode, which is smarter than before and still leading the race when it comes to accuracy and realism. Now users can choose to transform a photo that's already been taken, into a portrait one.

Video quality

Video Thumbnail

Audio Quality and Haptics

iPhones typically have arguably the best speakers on the market, offering rich sound that is more balanced and evenly spread throughout the low, mid, and high ranges. Now, we can't exactly expect the S23 FE's speakers to perform on the same level, but they should still be pretty good.

Samsung usually matches the same audio output on its Fan Edition phones as the one on its base flagship S series, and this year's Galaxy S23 came with improvements to its audio quality, as we found out during our review.

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The difference in the haptic feedback quality should be about the same as with the audio.

Battery Life and Charging

Battery life should be better

Both phones are advertised to be able to charge up from 0-50% in around 30 minutes. The Galaxy S23 FE comes with a larger 4,500 mAh battery, while the iPhone 15 comes with a 3349mAh one. We can't be sure which one would have the better battery life, however, until we get to do our own tests on the S23 FE here at PhoneArena, so make sure to come back and check.

As for charging, both phones support wireless, but only the Galaxy S23 FE supports reverse wireless charging. The iPhone 15 can charge other devices only via a cable.

Specs Comparison

Here's a quick look at the Galaxy S23 FE specs vs the iPhone 15 specs.


It is funny how an Android phone that costs $200 less can make the iPhone look a bit lacking in some segments. There's the higher screen refresh rate on the S23 FE, as well as the fact that it has reverse wireless charging. There's also the fact that the S23 comes with a triple camera system while the iPhone has only two at the back.

Other than that, however, the iPhone 15 is obviously the more well-equipped phone out of the two, although that's to be expected with a $200 price difference.

And the iPhone 15does justify those extra $200 in our opinion, as long as you don't mind Apple's approach to software. If you don't fancy iOS or simply don't need any of the perks that come for that higher price, then the S23 FE is still a great phone that will most likely cover your needs from a daily driver. Stay tuned for a more detailed comparison soon.

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