Samsung Galaxy F23 5G Long Term Review: Balanced Package, Almost

Samsung Galaxy F23 is a mixed bag where the phone outshines the competition in some departments but disappoints in some. Here's our review.

The Samsung Galaxy F23 5G was unveiled in March this year. It drew a lot of negative sentiments because of being the first device under Rs 20,000 not to have a charger inside the box. While the brands are competing with each other toe-to-toe in the crucial Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 price segment by offering AMOLED panels, fast charging, powerful processors, high-resolution front camera and more. Samsung is still sticking to its core by offering a TFT panel, 8-megapixel front camera, and 25W charging with no charger in the box at Rs 15,999.

Reading the on-paper specs, we initially found it to be just ‘meh’. But it piqued our interest after two days of usage, after which we made our decision to use this device for more time. So, after taking it on vacation and using it for almost a month, here’s our long-term review of the Samsung Galaxy F23 5G.

Samsung Galaxy F23 5G Review: The cameras deliver

Usually, we start our reviews with the display, but the Galaxy F23 5G has some excellent cameras, which should be discussed first. The Samsung Galaxy F23 5G houses a 50-megapixel triple camera setup on the back accompanied by an 8-megapixel ultrawide and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. On the front, it has an 8-megapixel shoot. The camera app comes with a plethora of modes, including the Fun mode, which applies stickers to a subject’s face. Other available modes are Pro, Single Take, Night, Food, Panorama, Macro, Super Slo-mo, Slow motion, and Hyperlapse. Here are our observations about the Samsung Galaxy F23 5G’s camera:

    1. The 50-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL JN1 sensor is an exception in this price range and manages to click fairly good shots. The daylight pictures have a fair amount of detail, good sharpness and natural colours. In some images, the colour of the sky and trees was boosted after processing, which made them look oversaturated.
    2. In low light, the primary camera blends the black tone with the subject, which makes the pictures blackish. Thanks to the night mode, we get a proper focus on the subject and its surroundings with near-natural colours. However, the details go for a toss. We have also noticed that some pictures clicked with night mode have a reddish tone in them. Take a look below.
    3. The 8-megapixel ultrawide lens clicks okayish images with a good dynamic range. The colours have been maintained well, but the details have reduced compared to the original picture.
    4. The 2-megapixel macro sensor is not up to the mark and struggles to focus on the subject.
    5. For some reason, Samsung has packed an 8-megapixel front camera while the competition offers a 13-megapixel or 16-megapixel sensor. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Galaxy F23 5G can capture good selfies. Be it any condition, daylight, indoor or low light, the Galaxy F23 5G can click good selfies with proper skin tone, natural colours, and with good details. The front-facing camera can also click good portrait selfies. The edge detection and blur were to our liking, thanks to Samsung’s image processing.
    6. Videos from the rear camera can be shot at a maximum resolution of 4K@30fps. This is great as many brands have now ditched 4K video recording from the sub-Rs 20,000 segment. But, there’s no EIS support, so you will have to manage with the instability in videos. The videos taken by the camera are of good quality with natural colours and good details. The mic captures the muffled sound, which we think could have been better.

Samsung Galaxy F23 5G Review: Simple yet elegant design

Samsung has gone for a simple design approach on the Galaxy F23 5G. There is no special texture on the back but a simple, clean matte finish back which looks neat. But it is made of plastic, which seems very average. We received the Aqua Blue colour, which looks appealing to us, but you can also check out the Forest green and Copper blush variant.

The back doesn’t catch fingerprints or smudges easily, so you can use it freely without a case. Speaking of which, you do not get a case inside the box.

It has a rectangular camera island on the back to house three lenses along with an LED flash. The curved frames make it easy to hold the phone comfortably.

At 198 grams, the phone doesn’t feel bulky and is easy to carry anywhere.

The right side of the frame has a volume rocker and a power button which can also double up as a fingerprint sensor. The left of the frame has a full-sized SIM card slot which can house two nano SIMs and a MicroSD card. There’s a headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and a single speaker on the bottom.

The device lacks an IP rating, so we recommend you keep it away from water and dust. Speaking of which, we had once forgotten to take it out of our jeans while visiting a waterfall. Later, we took the phone out of our drenched pocket, and yet it was functioning fine.

Samsung Galaxy F23 5G Review: TFT display at this price!

The front of the Galaxy F23 5G feels a little outdated, with thick bezels around the display and a water drop notch. It sports a 6.6-inch display with a Full-HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2408, which is large enough for watching videos. While its predecessor has an AMOLED display, the Galaxy F23 5G sports a TFT LCD display. But things are not as bad as they seem to be. I didn’t have a lot of expectations with its display initially, but it grew on me. I was surprised to see rich colours on a TFT LCD display. Texts and icons also appeared crisp, and the viewing angles were also fine.

It has support for a 120Hz refresh rate which makes the scrolling experience smooth. You can opt-in for either an adaptive or 60Hz setting, but you cannot keep it only at 120Hz. The adaptive settings will change the refresh rate based on app usage. I observed jitters occasionally while scrolling, but mostly it was very smooth.

The screen has Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which saves the screen from scratches. While Samsung hasn’t mentioned the peak brightness, it goes ample bright under direct sunlight. The device lacks an ambient sensor and uses the front camera as a measure to control brightness which takes a few seconds to sense the light and change the brightness. This annoyed me a lot while playing, as you have to place your hands on both sides, and the front camera gets covered. It lowers the brightness, then.

An unusual thing that I noticed about the display is whenever I played an HDR video with 4K 60fps settings on YouTube, and it didn’t change the settings. And, when I tried changing the resolution again, it showed me a maximum of 480p. After doing some research, I found that this is a common issue on Samsung budget devices.

The Samsung Galaxy F23 5G has a single bottom-firing speaker that is plenty loud for both gaming and watching videos. However, we did miss stereo speakers.

Samsung Galaxy F23 5G Review: Decent performance

The Samsung Galaxy F23 5G uses the two-year-old Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor. It is a mid-range System-on-chip (SoC), and given that it is old enough now, developers should have made their apps and games well optimised for it. The device is available in two different RAM configurations, 4GB and 6GB, with an internal storage of 128GB. You can expand it up to 1TB using an external MicroSD card. There is also support for 6GB virtual RAM, which allocates some portion of internal memory to use as RAM.

The device runs smoothly on a general usage that includes basic web surfing, social media, calling, and watching videos. Multitasking on the device was good as it could handle two apps simultaneously. In my case, these two apps were Google Chrome and Youtube together. The only point where I felt that the device became slow was after watching Reels continuously for 20 minutes on Instagram. The background task management is good and shoots up where the app was left opened. That said, my unit has 6GB RAM, which I strongly recommend picking for a better experience.

Coming to the benchmark, the Samsung Galaxy F23 5G achieved an AnTuTu score of 3,32,357, which is more than the scores of Poco M4 Pro and Redmi Note 11. On the Geekbench, it secured a single-core and multi-core score of 421 and 1539, respectively. For better benchmark and battery performance, you can check out our battery drain test of the Samsung Galaxy F3 5G.

The gaming experience is something which you will have to deal with. Most of the games can be played at mid-graphics. I played Battlegrounds Mobile India, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Asphalt 9, and all of them were running well initially. BGMI can be played at HD graphics at a High frame rate, but for a better experience, Balanced mode at Ultra frame rate would be suitable for most players. Call of Duty: Mobile ran at Very High graphics at Max frame rate. After an intense gaming session of half an hour, the top back portion heated up, and the game started to stutter.

The Samsung Galaxy F23 5G boots One UI 4.1 based on Android 12 with a June security patch. Samsung has promised four years of security updates and two years of software updates for the Galaxy F23 5G, which is excellent. During the course of our review, our unit has received one security update.

In terms of bloatware, this phone leaves behind the Redmis and Realmes of the world because it ships with a ton of it. Once the phone was connected to the internet for the first time, it just bombarded us with a lot of annoying notifications. Some of them were even borderline vulgar. Thankfully, all the bloat can be uninstalled. By default, the phone boots with the Glance wallpaper, which is essentially a hub for ads-filled wallpapers. This, too, can be changed in the settings.

Otherwise, One UI 4.1 is simple and aesthetic. It is loaded with plenty of Samsung’s in-house features such as Samsung Health, Samsung Pay, AR Zone, SmartThings, Samsung Notes, Secure Folder, and Samsung Max. For better privacy and data protection, you also get Samsung’s Knox Security which is beneficial for such a mid-range device.

 

Network and calling strength were good on the Galaxy F23 5G. Not even once we faced call drops or data loss issues. Samsung says that the device comes with 12 5G bands.

The biometrics, both face unlock and fingerprint sensor, didn’t give us consistent unlocks. So, be ready to dial in your password the old-fashioned way.

Samsung Galaxy F23 5G Review: Good battery, slow charging

Samsung has lowered the battery capacity of the Galaxy F23 5G compared to its predecessor, Galaxy F22, which had a 6,000mAh battery. The Galaxy F23 5G packs a 5,000mAh battery unit inside that feels sufficient for the handset. In general usage with 120Hz refresh rate and adaptive brightness, the device lasted me for almost a day and a half, with a screen time of 8 to 9 hours. For some practical references, I took it to Lohagad fort for trekking at 8AM with 95% juice left in the phone and used it to navigate, click pictures, and browse through social media. At the end of the day, it was down to 8% at 7PM. That’s a good battery life after this usage.

But here’s the thing, while other brands have gone as far as introducing 67W charging in this price segment, Samsung is still stuck with the archaic 25W charging speeds. To add insult to injury, Samsung has stopped bundling chargers with mid-budget segment devices, and more brands might follow it in future. If you have a Type-C charging adapter, then it’s fine. Otherwise, you will have to purchase Samsung’s or any other Type-C power adapter. We tried charging the Galaxy F23 5G with 33W charging adapters of the Poco X2 and Tecno Pova 3 (review), and it took about one hour and 25 minutes to reach a full charge.

Samsung Galaxy F23 5G Review: Verdict

With 12 5G bands and four years of security updates, Samsung has made the Galaxy F23 5G for users who are looking for a budget device that can last for three to four years. This may not be all that suitable for younger smartphone users, for whom a device with powerful performance, a clean Android experience, and fast charging is paramount. But for buyers who are looking for balanced package, this is a good device with a well-optimised processor, smooth display, good camera configuration, long battery life and a feature-loaded UI. As with every smartphone, you just have to figure out your priorities.

Looking at the alternatives, if you’re okay with a 4G-only device and can stretch your budget by about Rs 1,500, then the Redmi Note 11S is one of the best options.

Samsung Galaxy F23 5G

Rs 15,999
7.4

Design & Build

7.5/10

Display

6.5/10

Performance

7.0/10

Battery Life

8.5/10

UI Experience

7.0/10

Audio

7.0/10

Day-to-Day Usage

8.0/10

Value for Money

8.0/10

What Is Good?

  • Long battery life
  • Smooth 120Hz display
  • Good cameras
  • Good RAM management
  • Feature loaded UI

What Is Bad?

  • Lack of an ambient sensor
  • TFT display
  • Not for gaming
  • Bloatware
  • No charger in the box

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