The Galaxy F23 5G is another affordable 5G handset from Samsung for the Indian market, although there seem to be little to no signs of 5G networks rolling out in the country soon. It is the cheapest 5G Galaxy smartphone in India right now next to the older Galaxy F42 5G, but is it any good? It’s time to find out.
I’m feeling a bit of deja vu here, as the Galaxy F23 5G repeats a design flaw of Samsung’s other affordable 5G phones and I’ve mentioned it before: this phone looks as good from the back as it does from the front.
The back has a similar design to the Galaxy A52, with a matte finish and the camera modules protruding ever so slightly. My Forest Green review unit looks dashing, and people are going to ask you what phone you use if you have it out in public.
Up front, however, as soon as you turn on the screen you’re greeted with crazy big bezels all around. Also, since it’s an LCD screen, there’s a backlight behind the screen, and you can see it bleeding around the front camera notch.
What I’m saying is it’s an outdated look, and I just don’t understand why Samsung doesn’t focus on which side of the phone you’re actually going to look at when it comes to designing its phones cheap . Yes, impressing others is also important, but not at the expense of forward-facing design.
Since this is a budget phone, Samsung naturally used a physical fingerprint sensor, which doubles as the power button. And it works great, as you’d expect. Oh, and there’s a headphone jack on this phone, although Samsung doesn’t give you headphones in the box. No charger either, just a USB-C cable, which makes you wonder if the F23 5G is really as affordable as its price suggests.
Display and audio
There’s a 6.7-inch 120Hz LCD screen on the Galaxy F23 5G, and it’s pretty good for the price range. While the 120Hz refresh rate is more like 90Hz, you still get a smooth user experience (when the phone isn’t stuttering ie; more details in the performance section). And I’m glad Samsung went with Full HD+ resolution instead of HD+ because it makes a noticeable difference and gives you a crisp video and gaming experience.
The audio experience is rather poor, however. The single bottom-firing speaker is barely audible even at the highest volume, unless you’re in a quiet room. Its quality isn’t bad, but that doesn’t really matter when you have to strain your ears to be able to listen. And since there are no headphones in the box, your audio experience will simply depend on the quality of the headphones or earbuds you purchase.
The Galaxy F23 5G is one of the first budget/mid-range Samsung phones to feature a new 50MP sensor instead of the 48MP sensor we’ve seen on countless phones before. Of course, this one isn’t quite as good as the 50MP sensor that Samsung uses on the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+.
No sir, the 50MP camera here is strictly mediocre. Detail captured is disappointing, and images in daylight, indoors and at night all have fine noise that’s noticeable as soon as you start zooming. Switching to full 50MP resolution adds detail very slightly, but not enough to make a usable difference.
At night, you can take advantage of Night mode, but all you get is a brighter image with even more noticeable noise. Below are some images from the main camera (any repeating indoor or nighttime image is just the regular version next to its night mode version).
You can capture portraits using the main camera, and those are nice, though they don’t contain a ton of detail either. Discover some portraits below.
Samsung also gives you a proper Pro mode, with the ability to control ISO, shutter speed, and more. And it’s a great way to get noise-free results at night, as long as you’re willing to put the phone down on a solid surface. Check out the photo below – the one on the left was taken in Night mode, while the one on the right was taken with the shutter speed set to 10 seconds in Pro mode and ISO up to 50:
The 8MP ultra-wide camera has some issues. First of all, due to the low megapixel count and the fact that you’re capturing more of the scene, ultra-wide shots pretty much lack any sort of fine detail and you just shouldn’t zoom in on it. The other issue is that the ultra-wide camera can’t properly focus on distant objects. Take a look at the images below and see how part of the image is blurry and out of focus while the rest looks fine.
Some ultra-wide images next to their standard counterparts:
There’s also a 2MP macro camera on the Galaxy F23 5G, and the less said about it, the better. These macro cameras only exist to fill the number of cameras on the spec sheet, and at a measly 2-megapixel resolution you’re not getting anything useful. This resolution is so low that it’s a huge task even to detect when the object you’re capturing is in focus, and the end results are meh. See for yourself in the macro photos below.
For selfies, you get an 8MP camera, and that one is pretty average too. Few details are retained regardless of the time of day or lighting conditions, and images can make your complexion look duller than it actually is. Nighttime selfies are more or less useless unless you activate the screen flash. However, as with the main camera, you get some nice portrait shots with the front camera, with better than expected edge detection.
Here are some selfies; the one on the left is a normal photo while the one on the right is the portrait version:
For video recording, resolutions up to 4K are supported, though you’re limited to 30fps. And the video quality is just usable like the images you get from these cameras. Finally, the Galaxy F23 5G has a nice selection of camera modes, including Single Take to capture photos and videos with a single click of the shutter button, Hyperlapse, Slow Motion, Super Slow Motion, Food and Panorama. There’s also Fun Mode, which lets you use a selection of Snapchat filters right in Samsung’s camera app.
The Galaxy F23 5G is one of the first non-flagship Galaxy smartphones to launch Android 12 and One UI 4.1 out of the box. It looks like there’s no longer a Core version of One UI, so the F23 5G runs the standard version, which means it’s not stripped of all the great features.
In fact, Samsung left a few in there. From standards like Dual Messenger, Quick Share and a screen recorder to stuff like Video Call Effects and RAM Plus, the F23 5G has a good One UI experience to offer. We’ve done a few videos on One UI 4.0 and One UI 4.1 which you can check out below to see what Samsung’s latest software version looks like, but the bottom line is that you’re not missing much except for the flagship features like Samsung DeX.
What you are missing is Samsung’s new software update policy. That’s to be expected at this price range – the Galaxy F23 5G will only get two major OS upgrades. Everything that follows will be security updates. Security updates are guaranteed for three years if I remember correctly what Samsung told us during our briefing.
Like the Galaxy F23’s design, its performance is a double-edged sword. This is one of the slowest phones I’ve used from Samsung in a while. That’s with general things, like navigating through menus, opening apps, opening the camera and trying to take a picture, or even turning on the screen using the power button.
The Galaxy F23 5G manages to occasionally introduce lag and stutter into all of this. When it works well, it works well. But unfortunately, there are too many times when this is not the case. The 4GB of RAM in my review unit might be to blame here, and I guess the storage used on the device isn’t all that fast, but I haven’t had a great experience with general usage. BTW, Samsung’s RAM Plus feature was also enabled, but that didn’t seem to help.
However, as the F23 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 750G (only because it’s one of the few processors that supports 5G; if this phone didn’t have 5G, it probably would have had a much less powerful chip) , all kinds of games run well. Heavier titles like Call of Duty: Mobile to something like candy Crushthe Galaxy F23 5G can handle them all with good frame rates and without overheating.
When it comes to 5G, the Galaxy F23 5G supports all 12 5G bands, so it’s as future-ready as possible, but no testing was possible as 4G networks are all we have in mind. India. And with no indication of when 5G networks will go live, 5G support isn’t exactly something you should buy this phone for unless it’s essential for you to be ready. for the future.
The 5,000mAh battery doesn’t sound huge on paper, but the Galaxy F23 5G can run all day on a single charge with heavy use. Battery life is fantastic, in short, and with light use you can even push the phone up to two days before you need to plug it in. That’s with a 120Hz refresh rate enabled; turning it off might make the phone last even longer, although I don’t see why you would want to turn off one of its best features when the battery life is already great with the feature on.
The Galaxy F23 5G also supports 25W charging, and it’s quite fast. Starting to charge at 4%, it took around an hour and 20 minutes to fully charge, while 10 minutes and 30 minutes of charging brought it to 20% and 49% respectively. It sucks that the charger is a separate purchase, but if you buy one you get fast charging similar to Samsung’s flagships.
The Galaxy F23 5G is a phone on which it is difficult to give a verdict. It’s got a beautiful high refresh rate display, fantastic battery life, great gaming performance, the latest Samsung software, and a rear-facing design that’s gorgeous. However, the cameras are the very definition of mediocre, the bezels are too big for 2022, and the out-of-game performance leaves a lot to be desired.
I think the best thing I can say about the F23 5G is that it’s good for high performance gaming on a budget. If that’s something you’re looking for, go ahead and get the Galaxy F23 5G. Otherwise, I’d recommend saving up and getting something like the Galaxy A22 5G. The A22 5G has its own drawbacks, but as an all-rounder it’s a bit better (and it has great gaming performance too, like the F23).