Prices of flagship phones blew past the $1,000 mark a few years ago and unlike, say, the Asian market, the US doesn’t have a wide selection of “flagship killers”. But the right model at the right discount could be a great deal.
The new Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is down to $600 and you get a $100 Amazon Gift Card with that. When we say “new”, we should mention that it uses last year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. On the plus side, you get Samsung’s long term software support (4 OS updates so it will get Android 17 and will get security patches until late 2028). There’s also DeX, the desktop environment hiding inside One UI – just plug in an external display.
This year the S23 FE also includes a 50MP main camera, up from 12MP on last year’s FE. There is an 8MP 3x telephoto module as well as a 12MP 123° ultra wide, plus a 10MP selfie. The 4,500mAh battery supports 25W wired-only charging.
Note that there is another bundle – the Galaxy S23 FE plus the new Galaxy Buds FE (and you still get that $100 gift card). This bundle effectively sells the new buds for $50.
For reference, the Galaxy Buds FE have an MSRP of $100.
While these are fairly capable, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro have a superior dual speaker system (tweeter + woofer) and cost just $120 as of late. This could be a good way to spend that $100 gift card.
Another option is the Sony LinkBuds, which are $130. These are niche buds with an opening, so that they don’t block your ears – you hear everything around you with perfect clarity (other buds have digital passthrough modes, but those rarely sound natural).
And while we’re showing other models for price reference, here’s the Galaxy S23 series. The small S23 with just 128GB storage costs more than the S23 FE before you even account for the gift card that comes with the FE. The Galaxy S23+ is similarly too pricey right now.
If you’re going to spend $900, you’d be better off getting the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. This one has a large 6.8” QHD+ LTPO display, 12GB of RAM, 200MP main camera, dual telephoto (10MP 10x and 10MP 3x) and a built-in stylus.
Let’s have a brief tour through foldables. The Motorola razr+ goes for $700 – the same price as the small S23, even though it comes with double the storage. And it’s a foldable. This one does use the older Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, but that is a lot more efficient (and runs cooler) than the original 8 Gen 1 found inside the S23 FE.
Samsung’s clamshell foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip5, costs $150 more. It has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and note that like all other Galaxys with the 8 Gen 2, it uses the overclocked “for Galaxy” version of the chip.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 recently got competition too. There’s the Google Pixel Fold, of course, but we’re talking about the OnePlus Open. Both the Open and the Z Fold5 cost $1,500, but the Open comes with more RAM and storage (16/512GB vs. 12/256GB).
It has the more powerful camera system with a 48MP main sensor (1.12µm), 64MP 70mm tele lens and 48MP 114° ultra wide (vs. 50MP 1.0µm, 10MP 3x and 12MP 123°). The OnePlus also has faster charging at 67W (100% in 42 minutes vs. 1 hour, 24 minutes for the Galaxy).
Here’s one more member of the FE family, though an older one. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is still a fine tablet – it’s larger than average with a 12.4” LCD (2,560 x 1,200px, 16:10) and a Snapdragon 778G. Like other Tab S models, this one comes with DeX and a stylus.
Moving aside from the flagship and foldable market, the Doogee V Max is a rugged phone for the workplace or the great outdoors. It can survive drops onto concrete from 5ft height and is rated IP69K (high temperature water jets), so washing it off is easy. It has a 108MP main camera and a 16MP ultra wide for daytime, plus a 20MP night vision camera. It also has a massive 22,000mAh battery (33W charging).
Sony recently launched a slim version of the PlayStation 5. Besides being physically smaller and lighter, it also comes with more storage – 1TB (up from 825GB). Here is the disc model, which is bundled with either Spider Man 2 or the new CoD Modern Warfare III.
You can also pick up an additional DualSense controller for local multiplayer.
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