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Samsung Galaxy S23 FE vs Nothing Phone (2): Is Nothing better than Samsung?

The mobile phone market is more saturated than ever before, with Samsung adding another device to its coveted Galaxy S23 collection.

If you’ve been considering a phone upgrade, then now is truly the best time. Samsung just announced the latest addition to its S23 range, the Galaxy S23 FE, a mid-tier device designed to be more affordable than its high-end siblings. 

With a new handset on the market, we must consider which devices have come before. The Nothing Phone (2) was released earlier this year and comes with an interesting design that sets it apart from the crowd. The question is, how do the two compare?

Today, we’re going to be running through all the key differences between these two handsets so you can decide which mobile phone is right for you. It’s important to note that we haven’t been able to fully review the Galaxy S23 FE just yet, but we can glean a lot of information from the released specs to see how these phones stack up. 

Glyph Notifications on the Nothing Phone (2)

One of the most interesting aspects of the Nothing Phone (2) is its design and, more specifically, its LED lighting. The Glyph Interface is located on the back of the handset with the option to assign a different light and sound sequence for different contact and notification types, so you know who is contacting you without needing to glance at the screen. This handy addition gives the Phone (2) even more versatility, with our reviewer noting that they didn’t grow tired of the feature over their review period. 

The Galaxy S23 FE does not come with any features like the Glyph Interface, instead opting to stick with a traditional back panel. This does give the Galaxy S23 FE less functionality in comparison, but it may be better suited for those looking for a traditional aesthetic. 

Nothing Phone (2)
Image Credit (Nothing)

Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 on the Nothing Phone (2)

The Nothing Phone (2) comes kitted out with a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset. This is not the most recent chipset from Qualcomm – that’d be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 – but it does come with peak clock speeds of 3.2GHz along with improved CPU and GPU performance compared to its predecessor. We found this chip to be very capable due to its combination of power and efficiency, being more than serviceable for day-to-day tasks. 

Samsung opted for a more complicated approach, as the processor inside the Galaxy S23 FE will depend on which region you’re buying it from. In North America, it comes with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and in Europe, it comes with an Exynos 2200. These are both last-generation chipsets so they won’t pack the most power on the market, but we expect them to both be more than serviceable for browsing and even some light gaming. 

Triple-camera setup on the Galaxy S23 FE

For a mid-tier handset, the Galaxy S23 FE comes with an impressive camera array. It comes with a 50-megapixel main sensor, a 12MP ultrawide lens and an 8MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. Photos taken in RAW format with the 50-megapixel lens should be packed full of detail and the 3x optical zoom should make zoomed-in photography a breeze.

The Nothing Phone (2) also packs a dazzling camera setup; the 50MP Sony IMX890 main sensor is accompanied by a 50MP Samsung JN1 ultrawide lens. We found that the Phone (2) was capable in well-lit environments, with detailed and vivid snaps. It did struggle more in low-light conditions, but it was still able to pull out extra brightness in shots when there was a nearby light source. 

Galaxy S23 FE series
Image Credit (Samsung)

Both come with an adaptive refresh rate

The Nothing Phone (2) comes with a 6.7-inch LTPO AMOLED display with support for HDR10+ and an adaptive refresh rate that jumps from 1Hz to 120Hz. This allows it to drop down low to conserve battery life while still being able to jump up to 120Hz during intensive tasks. We found that it felt very smooth to use and the maximum brightness of 1600 nits meant that it provided a great experience while streaming media content. 

Samsung also opted to use an adaptive refresh rate, but it doesn’t have the same range as the Nothing Phone (2). It can jump from 60Hz to 120Hz, suggesting that it won’t be as adept at conserving battery as its Nothing rival. Past the refresh rate, it comes with a 6.4-inch Full HD+ display with Dynamic AMOLED 2X technology, which reduces the amount of harmful blue light emitted and supports HDR10+ for “cinema-grade colour and contrast”. 

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