Friday, May 24, 2024
Smart Phones

Galaxy S23 FE vs Galaxy A54: almost the same at first glance, but not so quite at a second one



Intro

Not everyone can get or wants a flagship phone and all the bells and whistles they come with. That’s why there are different categories, from super-budget, to budget, to a wide range of mid-rangers. Like many other phone manufacturers, Samsung is actively trying to make its more affordable phones — like the new Galaxy S23 FE or the Galaxy A54 — as good as possible for their lower price tags, cutting all the right corners to achieve that.
So, we are here to compare these two phones, the S23 FE and A54 5G, and see which one is the better deal. Is that $150 price difference for the base models worth it? Well, like most cases, it depends, so let’s dive in and get to the bottom of it.
Galaxy S23 FE vs Galaxy A54:

  • A significantly more powerful processor with S23 FE
  • Expandable storage on A54
  • Higher RAM for base S23 FE (8GB vs 6GB)
  • S23 FE has a telephoto camera vs macro on A54
  • Better front-facing camera on S23 FE
  • A54 has a larger battery
  • Higher protection against dust and water on the S23 FE

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

The main differentiator is durability

Samsung has carried its flagship design all the way down to its very affordable Galaxy A54, and the Galaxy S23 FE is no stranger to this adaptation. Both phones look very similar, with the difference being the seemingly larger camera modules on the back of the new Fan Edition, and the difference in colors.

When we take a look at the level of durability the materials used, however, the story is a bit different. The Galaxy S23 FE comes in an aluminum frame and with an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. In comparison, the Galaxy A54 has a plastic frame and an IP67 rating. Surprisingly, both phones come with Gorilla Glass Victus 5 used for the back and front.

Colors-wise, the options that the Galaxy S23 FE comes in are more saturated and deep (besides the Cream and Graphite), including the Mint, Purple, Indigo, and Tangerine. The Galaxy A54 colors are Lime, Graphite, Violet, and White.

Display Differences

Basically the same

Both phones come with a 6.4-inch display, which for all intends and purposes should look the same when placed next to each other. That’s because both come with the same resolution of around 2340 x 1080 pixels and the same 120Hz max refresh rate.

That said, the S23 FE’s display does get brighter going up to 1450 nits, while the A54 maxes out at 1000 nits. So, in other words, the only difference should be how visible the screen is in bright conditions.

Performance and Software

The most likely deciding factor

This is the part that gets a bit more interesting, as the chipsets that the Galaxy S23 FE comes with are noticeably more powerful compared to the one inside the Galaxy A54. More precisely, we are comparing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1/ Exynos 2200 (both built on the 4nm process) against the Exynos 1380 (5 nm).

Now, the chipsets that the S23 FE is rocking are one generation older by this point, but they are still of the flagship level, which brings them way higher up on the processor ladder compared to the mid-ranger Exynos 1380. The biggest difference we expect to see once we do our own performance tests is in the graphics department, but also when it comes to processing speed. The same should remain true when comparing to the Exynos 2200, although it usually delivers lower results than its Snapdragon counterpart.

When it comes to software updates the situation is the same for both phones, meaning 4 years of major OS updates and 5 years of security patches.

Camera

To telephoto, or to macro?

The most obvious difference when taking a look at the S23 FE and A54 spec sheets besides the different chipsets is that the former comes with a 8MP telephoto camera while the latter has a 5MP macro shooter. Typically, dedicated macro cameras produce garbage images with these mid-range phones, but the A54 has one that is actually good. So, it boils down to what’s more important for you.

The other two cameras at the back, the 50MP main (wide) and the 12MP ultra-wide, seem to be the same based on their megapixels and other camera specs, but we think there is a good chance that won’t be the case. We will let you know once we get to compare the phones in the real world and get some sample shots, so stay tuned.

Audio Quality and Haptics

The Fan Edition series from Samsung has typically shared the same audio and haptic feedback quality of its flagship counterpart. We will know for sure once we get to test out the S23 FE for ourselves, but for now we expect it to offer very similar experience to the Galaxy S23, which came with seemingly better speakers than its predecessors, offering a richer sound with more thump to it.

On the other hand, the Galaxy A54’s speakers sound more distorted in the lower and higher frequencies compared to the vanilla Galaxy S23. They are still pretty good for the price, just not as good as what we expect the ones on the S23 FE to be.

You would think it is a similar story with haptics, but Samsung actually improved the haptic feedback with the A54, so we don’t expect too big of a difference here.

Battery Life and Charging

A clear winner, and it is not the more expensive one

The battery life is one of the areas where the Galaxy A54 — having the less power-hungry chipset and bigger battery — should have a clear win in. That is not to say that the S23 FE is not power-efficient, just not as much as the more affordable option we are comparing it to here.

As for charging, both phones support a maximum of 25W via a cable, and the S23 FE also comes with wireless and reverse wireless charging, while the A54 does not.

Specs Comparison

Summary

So, the truth to how big the gap between Samsung’s new Fan Edition phone and its best mid-ranger so far lies in the differences we will see between the two camera systems and the different chipsets. We generally expect the S23 FE to produce image quality closer to the S23 than to the A54, which would be a huge difference. Not to mention that we are comparing a flagship-level processor to one that was intended for a mid-ranger.

If you were already plenty happy with what the Galaxy A54 was offering, however, or if you value battery life and expandable storage more, than the more affordable option might still remain the better choice here. Then again, it really feels like you are getting your money’s worth for that $150 jump in price if you decide to go for the S23 FE. We will let you know more in our full comparison, so come back to get the final verdict.



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