Earlier this month, Samsung announced new products to end 2023. One of those new products is the Galaxy S23 FE, along with some new tablets and a pair of earbuds. It looks similar to the other S23 phones released earlier this year, but it has some lower specs and a cheaper price. When Samsung announced the S23 FE on October 3, it said the phone would be available for $600.
However, something seems to have changed between then and now. The Galaxy S23 FE officially went on sale on October 26, but it won’t cost the $600 that Samsung said it would. If you buy the phone from the Samsung website, You will pay $630 For the base model with 128GB of storage – an incidental $30 increase. Samsung hasn’t previously confirmed how much the 256GB variant will cost, but it’s currently listed on Samsung’s site for $690.
But here things get even weirder. You can buy the 128GB Galaxy S23FE for the original price of $600 on Amazon and Best Buy. It’s the same phone that Samsung sells on its website, just $30 cheaper.
What is the reason for this sudden price increase? We’re not really sure. Plans for smartphone releases change all the time, from changed specifications to different release dates. However, I can’t think of another time when a phone was announced at one price, then launched at a different price, without any explanation as to why that happened.
While the $30 increase isn’t the end of the world, it does put the Galaxy S23 FE in a slightly worse spot. Now just $70 off and parting ways, the Google Pixel 8 is one of the best smartphones we’ve reviewed all year. That pushes it ever so slightly closer to the regular Galaxy S23’s $800 retail price. While $630 isn’t a terrible price for everything the Galaxy S23 FE has to offer—a 120Hz AMOLED display, triple-camera system, and 4,500mAh battery—the value proposition is a little worse than we expected. Again, the price change is only applicable if you buy the phone directly from Samsung.
After reaching out to Samsung about it, the company told Digital Trends that the S23 FE still starts at $600, but that price is only for the carrier version, while the new $630 price is for the unlocked model. It clearly doesn’t explain why Amazon and Best Buy are specifically selling “unlocked” versions of the phone for $600. We reached out to Samsung for further clarification and got this:
“We are excited to offer the Galaxy S23 FE at the lowest launch price for a Galaxy FE smartphone – offering our consumers the ultimate combination of value and performance. The Galaxy S23 FE is available through our channel partners for $599 through carriers, as well as national retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon. Unlocked for $599.
It all boils down to this. If you buy the Galaxy S23 FE at Amazon, Best Buy or your carrier, it costs $600. If you buy from Samsung’s website, you will have to pay $630. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but for whatever reason, Samsung decided to handle it.