One Galaxy S21 FE advantage the Galaxy S23 FE will miss out on

The Galaxy S23 FE’s launch is closer than ever, with Samsung set to announce the phone, along with FE versions of the Galaxy Tab S9 and the Galaxy Buds, later this week. As always, though, most of the details of these upcoming devices have already leaked online.

A few details have been confirmed by benchmark listings, like the fact that the Galaxy S23 FE will be using an Exynos 2200 chipset in some countries and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in others. Yes, not a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 like the non-FE Galaxy S23 lineup, and not even the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 that powered the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 last year, despite Samsung taking 1.5+ years to launch this new FE model.

It’s taken this long because Samsung skipped the Galaxy S22 FE, which was a result of the Galaxy S21 FE’s launch getting delayed by around four months (it came out in January, 2022, instead of September/October, 2021). But that delay gave the Galaxy S21 FE an important advantage: it was running Android 12 instead of Android 11 out of the box.

Galaxy S21 FE came with newer software than its non-FE cousins

The Galaxy S20 FE was launched the same year as the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra, so all four phones came running Android 10 out of the box. And if the Galaxy S21 FE had followed the S20 FE 12 months later, it would have been running Android 11. But by the time the S21 FE hit retail shelves, Samsung had Android 12 ready to go for both existing and new devices.

Basically, the Galaxy S21 FE went directly from Android 10 to Android 12. That means it is the only Galaxy S21 model that will get Android 16, as all Galaxy S21 models are eligible for four major OS upgrades and the original S21 trio debuted with Android 11.

The Android version on the Galaxy S23 FE, unfortunately, will be the same as the other S23 models, as Samsung’s Android 14 and One UI 6 update is still in the beta phase. Granted, the big software bump on the Galaxy S21 FE was an exception, but we wouldn’t say no to Samsung making it a rule by adjusting the launch schedules of devices in the second half of the year to ensure they don’t come with year-old software just a few weeks before the next big Android and One UI upgrade is set to hit the air.

Hopefully Samsung will update the Galaxy S23 FE with Android 14 and One UI 6.0 soon after it goes on sale. We’ll let you know when that happens, and in the meantime, look forward to our coverage of the new phone later this week once it goes official.

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