Samsung held its second annual Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event on August 11 where it announced new products including a new iteration of the Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Z Fold, the Galaxy Buds 2, and the first smartwatches running on Google and Samsung’s combined wearable operating system, the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. It’s Samsung’s first late summer Unpacked event without the Galaxy Note series, and the company has still managed to roll out an impressive slate of hardware regardless despite the chip shortage and supply line issues affecting most manufacturers.
The highlight of this launch is the Galaxy Z Fold 3 which we went hands-on with. It is replacing the Note 21 as Samsung’s big-screen device, and the S Pen is coming along for the ride.
This is not an unprecedented change; Samsung added it to the S21 Ultra earlier in the year, albeit without a place to slot it — unless you get a case. It does, however, make the absence of the Note 21 easier to swallow for pen enthusiasts.
It won’t be the same old S Pen we’re used to on traditional smartphones and tablets, though. Samsung is introducing two pen options, S Pen Fold Edition and S Pen Pro. They are built specifically for the Z Fold 3 with a retractable tip so users can protect the screen of their device. Samsung says this offers even lower latency than previous S Pens, resulting in what they call “the best S Pen experience yet.”
“With Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, Samsung is once again redefining the possibilities with foldable smartphones that empower users with the flexibility and versatility needed for today’s fast-paced world,” said Dr. TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “As a pioneer and industry leader in the foldable category, we’re proud to build on our legacy of innovation with the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3. These devices equip consumers with technologies that unlock new ways to maximize and enjoy every moment with an ecosystem built on openness and innovation.”
The Z Fold 3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, up to 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. A 4,400mAh battery and 25W fast charging help keep it topped up.
On the outside, it has a 6.2-inch 120Hz HD+ Dynamic AMOLED for use while it is folded. Unfolded, users will have a larger 7.6-inch 120Hz QHD AMOLED display to consume media and be productive with. For color options, the models come in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Green.
Samsung has this device IPX8-certified for water resistance (but not dust), the company’s first foldable to sport this. That’s not the company’s only concession to durability, the company says these devices are built with what it calls “Armor Aluminum” paired with Gorilla Glass Victus. They’ll be able to survive falls and resist scratches better than previous foldables. Samsung also says that the Z Fold has been rated for 200,000 folds. The company is keen to avoid the disaster of the first Galaxy Fold, and these hardware improvements will go a long way.
When it comes to cameras, Samsung is debuting the first under-display camera with the Z Fold 3. It won’t be very large, though, with it being 4MP. That’s only for the unfolded Fold. If you’d rather take selfies when folded, the 10MP front-facing camera on the cover screen should perform much better. Samsung is also adding a triple 12MP camera set up on the rear, including a wide-angle camera, an ultrawide camera, and a telephoto lens.
Samsung also continued its Z Flip line with the Galaxy Z Flip 3. While there’s no “Flip 2,” it is likely that Samsung is thinking of the Galaxy Z Flip 5G as the Flip 2 for the sake of unifying the branding around its foldables. It once did that with the Note and S-Line around the time of the S7 and Note 7, so this is not without precedent.
As for what’s inside this device, it’s a little similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. There’s a 1.9-inch external display, a 6.7-inch AMOLED 120Hz display when unfolded, and up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. It’s powered by a 3,300mAh battery, and you’ll have your choice of fast charging options from a 15W wired option to 10W fast wireless charging.
The Flip 3 has a dual 12MP camera system with wide-angle and an ultrawide camera paired with a 10MP front-facing camera. Like the Z Fold 3, it features an IPX8 rating as well as other durability additions like Aluminum Armor and Gorilla Glass Victus. Color-wise, Samsung is offering this in cream, green, lavender, and Phantom Black. Buyers who purchase from Samsung.com will be able to choose gray, white, or pink color options as well.
Samsung also launched two Watch-branded smartwatches this year as opposed to one. These are the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch Classic. These are the company’s first smartwatches to run the new Google Wear OS, and they are powered by what Samsung calls “One UI watch”. Expect to find Google apps like Messages, Maps, Google Pay, and YouTube Music alongside Samsung apps like SmartThings and Bixby for the first time in a long time on a Samsung smartwatch.
The regular Watch 4 is the spiritual successor to the Galaxy Watch Active 2 and is a sleekly designed affair with an aluminum case and a rubber strap. Samsung is branding this as a modern, minimalist smartwatch for day-to-day use. Samsung will offer this in two sizes (40mm and 44mm) with color options varying according to the size. The 40mm option will have black, silver, and Pink Gold options, while the 44mm option will come in black, silver, and green.
The Watch 4 Classic is the successor to the Galaxy Watch 3 and is billed as a “premium, timeless smartwatch design” which brings back the rotating bezel. Users are offered a choice of either a stainless steel or aluminum case, and the display will be covered in Gorilla Glass DX or DX+ depending on the case you get. The Watch 3 Classic comes in two sizes 42mm and 46mm. Buyers will be able to get both variants in Black and Silver.
Inside, both watches will be equipped with one of the most powerful Samsung chips by way of the Exynos W920 paired with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Other niceties include Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, body composition analysis, advanced sleep-tracking, V02 Max, blood oxygen monitoring, an ECG, a heart rate monitor, optional LTE, and an Always On Display.
Aside from foldables and wearables, Samsung also launched the Galaxy Buds 2, a successor to its well-received Samsung Galaxy Buds. Alongside the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds Pro, Samsung’s newest true wireless earbuds add variety to the company’s existing slate.
Samsung touts their comfortable fit, noting they are the “smallest and lightest earbuds yet.” When it comes to sound, Samsung has equipped these with dynamic two-way speakers and active noise cancellation, letting you choose between immersing yourself completely in sound or pay closer attention to the real world.
The earbuds will come in graphite, white, olive, and lavender colors, with the inside of the case reflecting the color options.
Samsung earlier this year said that it would be making its foldable lines more accessible, and it did. The Galaxy Z devices start from $1,000 for the Z Flip 3, while the Z Fold 3 starts off at $1, 800. It’s still a bit expensive, but carrier deals and trade-ins will apply downwards pressure on that pricing, more on that later. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 will sell for $150, and the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch Classic will start from $249 and $349 for their Bluetooth-only models respectively, while their LTE options start from $299 and $399. For the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Z Fold 3, and the Galaxy Watch Classic, Samsung is offering limited Thom Browne editions. The Watch 4 Classic gets a Rhodium-plated look, while the foldables pick up the signature Thom Browne red, white, and blue brand colors as well as leather accessories.
If you’re buying from AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile, you’ll have similar options for discounts. AT&T will give you up to $1,000 on either the Z Fold or Z Flip 3 when you trade in an eligible device and sign on for an installment plan and select unlimited plans. Verizon will also do the same, but the company will also let you buy a Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G and pick up a 128 Galaxy Z Flip 5G on some select plans. T-Mobile is offering up to $1,000 off on the Z Fold 3 or Z Flip 3 (effectively making it free) should you trade in an eligible smartphone and sign on to their Equipment Installation Plan on Magenta Max, or $500 off either should you choose to use any other postpaid plan.
Preorders for all of these devices opened from August 11 and net you a free year of Samsung Care+.
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