Samsung kicked off its much-anticipated mid-year Galaxy Unpacked event on Wednesday, where it unveiled the next generation of foldable smartphones in its Galaxy Z Series lineup, new Galaxy Watch wearables, and more.
This year’s Galaxy Unpacked followed a similar theme to last summer’s Unpacked event, suggesting that Samsung is trending toward foldables and wearables for its mid-year focus. Multiple reports leading up to the event pointed to new Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 phones, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and premium Galaxy Buds 2 Pro wireless headphones. Now that the dust has settled, it’s safe to say Samsung didn’t disappoint us.
With Samsung’s Z series designs having reached maturity, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 shows relatively minor changes on the outside, but as with any big smartphone update, it’s what’s under the hood that counts.
Along with the design, the screen remains largely unchanged, with the same 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED main screen and a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED on the outside cover. However, this is now powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile platform running at up to 3.2GHz for a nice overall performance boost.
Even better, Samsung has leveraged the capabilities of the powerful new Snapdragon chip, plus some bigger and brighter sensors, to improve the photography capabilities of the Z Flip 4. First among these is FlexCam, a new feature that extends Samsung’s Flex mode to let Z Flip 4 owners shoot hands-free video or capture full group selfies by partially folding the phone.
Similarly, the Quick Shot feature has also been upgraded to let you take high-quality selfies right from the cover screen — without unfolding the phone. You can also start high-quality video recording in Quick Shot mode and seamlessly switch to Flex mode to continue recording hands-free without interruption.
The Z Flip 4 has the same 12-megapixel (MP) dual main camera and 10MP selfie camera specs as the Z Flip 3. However, Samsung has increased the pixel size of the primary wide-angle camera sensor by 0.4μm, promising a 65 percent increase in brightness and a five-degree increase in its field of view.
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 also boasts a bigger battery with even faster charging. The 3,700mAh dual cell battery offers longer endurance, while Super Fast Charging will let you get back up to 50 percent in around 30 minutes.
While the overall design looks very similar to last year’s model, the Z Flip 4 features some nice refinements, including a slimmer hinge, straightened edges, contrasting hazed back glass, and a glossy metal frame. It’s also available in a new array of colors, with standard editions in Bora purple, graphite, pink gold, and blue. The Bespoke Edition offers combinations of yellow, white, navy, khaki, and red surrounded by silver, black, or gold framing.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 continues to take the lead as the flagship in Samsung’s foldable smartphone lineup, and this year the company has pulled out all the stops to build what it describes as “a multitasking powerhouse with ultimate performance,”
Most significantly, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the first device shipping with Google’s Android 12L, which was created specifically to deliver the best experience on large-screen devices like foldables.
This allows Samsung to offer new multitasking capabilities, including a Taskbar layout to provide access to favorite and recent apps in a style that most PC users will already be familiar with. New swipe gestures enable switching apps into full-screen mode, bringing up pop-up windows, or entering a new split-screen mode. Drag-and-drop is now supported for copying and pasting links, photos, and other objects between apps. Samsung has partnered with Microsoft to deliver the full Office suite optimized for the large cover screen and deliver a new tablet-like experience when unfolded.
The triple-lens camera system on the Z Fold 4 gets a massive boost, with the primary wide-angle camera featuring a 50MP sensor, a healthy increase from last year’s 12MP version. This is combined with a larger pixel size, 23 percent brighter sensor, and enhanced processing power for improved night photography. The ultrawide lens remains essentially unchanged from the Z Fold 3, while the telephoto lens has dropped to a 10MP sensor. While the megapixel count is smaller, the actual zoom capabilities are enhanced.
The telephoto camera features a 30X Space Zoom lens, combining a 3X optical zoom with a 30X digital zoom powered by AI Super Resolution technology. Samsung has added several new camera features to take advantage of the unique design of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, including Dual Preview and Rear cam Selfie modes.
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 also gets the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Mobile Platform for ultrafast 5G, improved computational photography, and snappier gaming. While the screen dimensions remain the same — 7.6 inches on the main screen and 6.2 inches on the cover screen — the new model features a brighter main screen with a less visible Under Display Camera.
Like the Z Flip 4, the Z Fold 4 features a design that builds on the success of its predecessor, adding refinements like a slimmer hinge and narrower bezels to polish the user experience. Both models also feature the same IPX8 water resistance, Armor Aluminum frames, and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the cover screen and rear glass.
This year, Samsung has changed up its Galaxy Watch lineup again. Last year it introduced a two-tier lineup with the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. Although it’s once again offering up two models this year, the company has retired the Classic brand in favor of a higher-end Galaxy Watch 5 Pro model.
This seems like a more sensible naming convention. It was hard for many consumers to readily perceive how the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic related to the standard Galaxy Watch 4. A “Pro” designation makes it much clearer where each model fits in.
The new models are effectively direct successors to last year’s Galaxy Watch 4. The key differentiator is that the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is designed for outdoor enthusiasts, with premium materials, more durable construction, and a larger battery for extended adventures.
The Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro both offer similar features under the hood, with improved health tracking and a 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor that adds infrared temperature monitoring to the other wellness features.
As usual, Samsung is quick to point out that these features are intended to provide “holistic health insights” for general wellness and shouldn’t be used for detecting or treating medical conditions. With that in mind, the Galaxy Watch 5 offers coaching beyond workout activities into the rest and recovery process, providing a snapshot of your overall health, recommendations on water consumption, and guidance on setting your ideal fitness goals.
The new Galaxy Watch 5 models also offer sleep tracking improvements, including Sleep Scores to monitor your stages of sleep and factoring in things like snore detection and blood oxygen levels. An advanced Sleep Coaching feature offers a month-long guided program, and users of Samsung’s SmartThings connected home platform can also have devices like lights, thermostats, and televisions set to the ideal configuration for a good night’s sleep.
The Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro both gain battery improvements, with the standard model increasing by 13 percent over the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro battery growing 60 percent larger. Both smartwatches charge 30 percent faster than the Galaxy Watch 4, providing eight hours of sleep tracking with just eight minutes of charging.
Samsung has also made some significant durability improvements this year. Both Galaxy Watch 5 models feature a Sapphire Crystal display for the first time, while the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro adds a titanium casing with a protruded bezel design around the display for extra protection and a new D-Buckle Sport Band for rugged durability.
The Galaxy Watch 5 will be available in two sizes (40mm and 44mm), with unique color options for each. Both sizes are available in graphite and silver, while the large version will be offered in sapphire and the smaller one in pink gold. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is offered only in a single 45mm size in black and gray titanium colors. Samsung is also offering a Galaxy Watch 5 Golf Edition of all three sizes featuring exclusive watch faces, a two-tone band, and an unlimited membership on the Smart Caddie app.
The Galaxy Watch 5 will also be available in a Bespoke edition that lets users customize their own version with up to 1,032 combinations of model, size, case color, and strap.
Following completely in the footsteps of last summer’s Galaxy Unpacked, Samsung also unveiled its next-generation of high-end true wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, designed to complement Samsung’s flagship smartphones with high-fidelity audio.
Thanks to Samsung’s proprietary new seamless codec (SSC HiFi), the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro promise an immersive wireless audio experience with Hi-Fi 24-bit audio and high dynamic range.
The best experience requires a Samsung Galaxy device with One UI 4.0 or higher and an application capable of delivering 24-bit Hi-Fi audio. However, as with the Galaxy Buds Pro, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro also support the AAC and SBC codecs while adding support for the latest Bluetooth 5.3 specification.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are also 15 percent smaller than their predecessors, with an even more secure fit and improved active noise cancellation (ANC). New Auto Switch offers intelligent switching between Galaxy smartphones, tablets, and even Samsung TVs for a seamless audio experience. The latest earbuds also support SmartThings Find to help you locate them if they’re misplaced.
All of Samsung’s new products will be available starting August 26, 2022, on the company’s website, Samsung Experience Stores, and most major carriers and retailers. If you can’t wait until then, pre-orders are live from August 10 until August 25.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 starts at $1,000 for the 128GB version in Bora purple, graphite, pink gold, and blue, with 256GB and 512GB versions also available.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 will start at $1,800 for the 256GB model in gray-green, beige, and phantom black, with a burgundy version available exclusively from Samsung’s website.
Galaxy Watch 5 will start at $280 for the Bluetooth version and $330 for the LTE version. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro will start at $450 for the Bluetooth version and $500 for the LTE version. The Galaxy Watch 5 series Golf Edition starts at $330 for the 40mm model.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will be available for $230 in soft and neutral graphite, white, and Bora purple hues designed to complement the new Z series foldables.
Pre-orders open today, and Samsung is offering a bonus for those who pre-order before the new devices go on sale. Customers who pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip 4 between August 10 and August 25 will get a complimentary memory upgrade to double the storage, a Silicone Ring Case or Strap Case, and up to $900 off with an eligible trade-in. Those pre-ordering the Galaxy Z Fold 4 can get the same double storage capacity plus up to $1,000 off with an eligible trade-in, a Standing Cover with Pen case, and a $100 Samsung credit.
For the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, Samsung is throwing in a free Wireless Charger Duo with pre-orders, along with credits of up to $75 or $125 with an eligible smartwatch trade-in and a $50 Samsung credit that can be used toward Galaxy accessories. Galaxy Buds 2 Pro pre-orders also include a free wireless charger, a credit of up to $75 with an eligible trade-in, and a $30 Samsung credit.
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