Samsung has done something strange with its new Android phone

Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

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 launch 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 bad 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.

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Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

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.

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