Prices for flagship phones exceeded the $1,000 mark a few years ago, and unlike, say, the Asian market, the United States doesn’t have a wide selection of “flagship killers.” But the right model at the right price can be a good deal.
The new Samsung Galaxy S23 FE costs $600 and you get a $100 Amazon gift card with it. When we say “new”, we should mention that it uses last year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. On the plus side, you get long-term software support from Samsung (4 OS updates so it gets Android 17 and gets security patches until the end of 2028). There’s also DeX, the desktop environment hidden within One UI – just plug in an external display.
This year’s S23 FE also includes a 50 MP main camera, up from 12 MP on last year’s FE. There is a 3x 8MP telephoto module as well as a 12MP 123° ultrawide, 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 actually sells the new buds for $50.
For reference, the Galaxy Buds FE have an MSRP of $100.
Although they are quite capable, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro have a superior dual speaker system (tweeter + woofer) and cost only $120 as of late. This might be a great way to spend that $100 gift card.
Another option is the Sony LinkBuds, which cost $130. These are niche headphones with an opening, so they don’t block your ears – you hear everything around you with perfect clarity (other headphones have digital passthrough modes, but these rarely sound natural ).
And while we are showing other models for price reference, here is the Galaxy S23 series. The smaller S23 with just 128GB of storage costs more than the S23 FE before you even factor in the gift card that comes with the FE. The Galaxy S23+ is also overpriced right now.
If you’re going to spend $900, you’re better off getting the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. This has a large 6.8-inch QHD+ LTPO screen, 12 GB of RAM, a 200 MP main camera, a dual telephoto lens (10 MP 10x and 10 MP 3x) and a built-in stylus.
Let’s take a quick look at foldables. The Motorola razr+ costs $700 – the same price as the smaller S23, even though it comes with double the storage. And it’s foldable. This one uses the older Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, but it’s much 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 every other Galaxy with 8 Gen 2, it uses the overclocked “for Galaxy” version of the chip.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 has recently also had competition. There’s the Google Pixel Fold, of course, but we’re talking about the OnePlus Open. The Open and Z Fold5 cost $1,500, but the Open comes with more RAM and storage (16/512GB vs. 12/256GB).
It has the most powerful camera system with a 48 MP (1.12 µm) main sensor, a 64 MP 70 mm telephoto lens and a 48 MP 114° ultra wide (compared to 50 MP 1.0 µm , 10 MP 3x and 12 MP at 123°). The OnePlus also has faster charging at 67W (100% in 42 minutes compared to 1 hour 24 minutes for the Galaxy).
Here is another member of the FE family, although older. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE remains a good tablet: it is larger than average with a 12.4-inch LCD screen (2560 x 1200 px, 16:10) and a Snapdragon 778G. Like other Tab S models, this one comes with DeX and a stylus.
Moving away from the flagship, foldable market, the Doogee V Max is a rugged phone for the workplace or the great outdoors. It can survive drops onto concrete from a height of 5 feet and is IP69K rated (high temperature water jets), so it’s easy to wash. It has a 108 MP main camera and a 16 MP ultra-wide camera for daytime, as well as a 20 MP night vision camera. It also has a massive 22,000mAh battery (33W charging).
Sony recently launched a slim version of the PlayStation 5. In addition to being physically smaller and lighter, it also has more storage: 1 TB (instead of 825 GB). Here is the disc model, supplied with Spider Man 2 or the new CoD Modern Warfare III.
You can also get an additional DualSense controller for local multiplayer.
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