Samsung Galaxy A55 vs. Galaxy S23 FE (Exynos)

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs. Galaxy S23 FE (Exynos)
By: GSMArena Posted On: April 15, 2024 View: 24

The Samsung Galaxy A55 vs. Galaxy S23 FE is quite an unlikely duo for one of our dedicated versus articles, but Samsung's pricing strategy led us here. After launching this year's popular Galaxy A55 at around €450 (now just a little over €400), the company has positioned it too close to its budget flagship, the Galaxy S23 FE.

But those devices are not created equal by any means. The Galaxy S23 FE is still the more expensive of the two (now selling for around €500), but it also delivers a flagship-like experience, while the A55 tries to strike a good balance between hardware and cost. They have two different target audiences and very similar price tags.

There's a lot to go through, so we better get started, but before we do, head over to our specs page and compare the Galaxy A55 and the S23 FE to understand what to expect in this comparison.

Size comparison

The Galaxy A55 and the S23 FE are similar in size, but there are notable differences. The S23 FE is the more compact choice, with a slightly smaller screen (0.2" difference), resulting in a shorter and a tad narrower body.

The difference in absolute size may not look like much on paper, but you can feel the difference when holding the two side by side.

The Galaxy S23 FE arguably feels more comfortable in hand due to its rounded side frame. It feels nicer to hold, whereas the Galaxy A55's sharp edges delve into your palm. On the other hand, others will like the A55's design more visually.

Build quality is quite similar - Gorilla Glass sheets on the front and back held by aluminum side frames. Notably, the A55 takes the lead with a more recent Gorilla Glass Victus+ sheet on the front, while the S23 FE settles for Gorilla Glass 5. Alternatively, you may have a bit of extra peace of mind given the S23 FE's higher IP68 ingress protection compared to the A55's IP67, which means it has a slightly higher water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs. Galaxy S23 FE (Exynos)

Display comparison

Aside from the screen size, the Galaxy A55 and S23 FE have the same displays. If you are looking for a slightly bigger panel, the A55's 6.6-inch OLED will likely suit you better, while the S23 FE's 6.4-inch OLED will appeal to users looking for a more compact solution.

Both display panels support HDR10+; they tick at 120Hz, the resolution is 1080p+, and we measured the same maximum brightness in manual and auto modes. The latter is equally bright with both - at around 1,000 nits.

Battery life

The difference in battery life between the two devices is night and day, and the smaller cell inside the Galaxy S23 FE is partly to blame.

The A55 sports a standard 5,000 mAh unit, while the S23 FE settles for a 4,500 mAh battery. But the difference in endurance is so big that we can't blame total capacity alone.

Remember that we are comparing the A55 to the Exynos version of the Galaxy S23 FE because the A55 is not yet available in the US where you'd usually find the Snapdragon S23 FE, which objectively has better battery life across all tests.

The Galaxy A55 blows the Exynos S23 FE out of the water in our battery endurance tests. The midranger has an Active Use Score of 13:27h against the S23 FE's underwhelming 8:28h Active Use Score.

Despite its bigger screen, the A55 scored better in all four tests. Video playback runtime was twice as long. The Exynos 1480 is much easier on the battery than the flagship Exynos 2200.

Charging speed

The charging speed isn't the strong suit of either of the two phones. Samsung has rated the charging capability of the A55 and S23 FE at 25W over the Power Delivery standard. Neither comes with a charger inside the retail box too.

As expected, the difference in charging times is negligible despite the S23 FE's smaller cell. The two seem equally slow at the 15 and 30-minute marks, but the A55 outpaces the S23 FE by a few minutes at the end of the charging cycle. Still, the difference will remain unnoticeable in the real world.

It's important to note the S23 FE's wireless charging capabilities, which the A55 lacks. The former supports 15W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging as well, which can come in handy for your wearable accessories that support wireless charging

Speaker test

The two handsets feature a similar hybrid stereo speakers setup, meaning one of the speakers doubles as an earpiece. But tuning seems to be very different, as well as loudness.

The Galaxy S23 FE is undoubtedly the louder one, achieving a "Very Good" loudness score of -23.7 LUFS, while the A55 follows with -25.7 LUFS, but still rated as "Very Good".

Upon closer examination, however, the Galaxy A55 may be the better choice when audio quality is concerned. The Galaxy S23 FE gets slightly deeper bass, but it's barely noticeable. The A55 sounds cleaner overall, with more pronounced vocals and less distortion at high volume levels.

Performance

It's no surprise to anyone that the Galaxy S23 FE outperforms the Galaxy A55 by a great deal. After all, the Exynos 2200 inside the S23 FE is a flagship chipset, and the Exynos 1480 is a mid-range chip, even if more recently released.

Memory configurations are the same, with both devices offering 8GB/128GB by default and capping at 256GB internal storage. The S23 FE will give you only up to 8GB of RAM, though, while the A55 can go up to 12 GB. The latter has a microSD card slot as well.

Benchmark performance

We already know that the S23 FE (Exynos 2200) is more powerful, but by how much? Well, in pure CPU benchmarks, the Exynos 2200 outpaces the Exynos 1480 by around 18%, and the gap widens in single-core tasks - by up to 41%.

In combined workloads, such as the AnTuTu 10 test, the difference is hard to ignore. The Exynos 2200 is about 56% faster than the Exynos 1480, and the Xclipse 920 GPU is probably the main reason.

An even bigger gap can be observed in GPU-intensive tests such as 3DMark Wild Life, where the Xclipse 530 GPU inside the Galaxy A55 is more than twice as slow compared to the S23 FE's Xclipse 920.

Camera comparison

Interestingly, the two devices have very similar camera systems. They offer 50MP main cameras using a 1/1.56" sensor size, f/1.8 aperture and 1.0µm pixels. Both are optically stabilized too. The only difference is the vendors.

The ultrawide cameras are almost identicall as well - 12MP with f/2.2 aperture and 123-degree field of view. The S23 FE gets a tad bigger sensor behind the optics, though.

The Galaxy S23 FE is a more versatile solution since it has a dedicated 8MP telephoto camera with 3x zoom. This alone may sway buyers who are on the fence and are looking for the better photography-oriented solution of the two

Image quality

Regarding actual image quality, however, the two devices take very similar stills with their main cameras. We find it hard to find any meaningful difference between the two. However, the S23 FE's ultrawide solution produces slightly better images - they are cleaner and have a wider dynamic range.

The 3x telephoto camera beats the 2x crop zoom from the A55 any day of the week. This one's a pretty clear cut.

Galaxy A55: 0.6x Galaxy A55: 1x Galaxy A55: 2x
Galaxy A55: 0.6x • 1x • 2x

Galaxy S23 FE: 0.6x Galaxy S23 FE: 1x Galaxy S23 FE: 3x
Galaxy S23 FE: 0.6x • 1x • 3x

The S23 FE pulls ahead at night with better processing and image quality. It could be due to the chipset's more capable ISP. In general, images are cleaner and offer a wider dynamic range.

Verdict

By examining the specs sheet, the Galaxy S23 FE is the better bang for the buck despite its higher price. It has superior hardware under the hood and is the more capable photographer too. And in case you are looking for a more compact and comfortable solution, the Galaxy S23 FE will surely fit your palm better.

A deeper dive reveals that the Galaxy A55 can get you a good part of the same distance at a slightly lower price. The A55 surprises with far superior battery life, the same display quality and features, comparable main camera performance in various scenarios and arguably better stereo speaker setup.

So, unless raw performance and camera versatility aren't your top priority, the Galaxy A55 is the more sensible choice of the two.

    Samsung Galaxy A55

    Get the Samsung Galaxy A55 for:

  • The lower price.
  • The longer battery life.
  • Nicer speakers.
  • The larger display.
    Samsung Galaxy S23 FE

    Get the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE for:

  • The more potent camera setup.
  • The much better performance.
  • The slightly louder speakers.
  • The more compact and comfortable design.

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