In the tech world, the start of the year always means a ton of announcements and trade shows. And for mobile lovers, the weeks between CES and Mobile World Congress mean only one thing — the annual spectacle that is Samsung Galaxy Unpacked. Samsung’s biannual show has become a February tradition, and it starts today, February 11 at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET.
But what is actually going to be shown off at Galaxy Unpacked 2020? The latest Samsung Galaxy S flagship is always going to be high up the list of possibilities, with a list of improvements as long as your arm — but what else? The Galaxy brand has grown and expanded outside of just smartphones, and this year’s Galaxy Unpacked is likely to reflect that.
How to watch the Samsung Unpacked Event
Today’s the day! Galaxy Unpacked will kick off at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 11. We expect the event to be anywhere from an hour to two hours long. It will be held at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, and will be livestreamed on Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked website and Samsung’s YouTube channel. We’ve created a full guide on how to watch Galaxy Unpacked 2020, where you can find all the details of watching it live.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Well, that was anticlimactic. While we were pretty sure the Galaxy Z Flip would be at Galaxy Unpacked, Samsung’s only gone and confirmed it at the 92nd Academy Awards. In a 30-second advert during the ceremony, Samsung confirmed the phone would adhere to a more traditional clamshell design that has little in common with the first-generation Galaxy Fold. Like the new Motorola Razr, the Galaxy Z Flip will unfold into a more familiar shape for a smartphone, and fold down into a smaller shape reminiscent of a makeup compact. Samsung also took the opportunity to show off an interesting new feature too — the ability to half-unfold the phone for easier video calls.
But this next-generation smartphone may use last generation’s hardware. Rumors say the Z Flip will use the Snapdragon 855 rather than this year’s Snapdragon 865, which puts the phone a step behind flagships like the Galaxy S20, which are expected to use newer hardware. While it’s still likely to be more than powerful enough for most people, it’s a bit odd for such a cutting-edge phone to use older hardware. Perhaps that’s why the phone is rumored to come at a lower price, with some saying it’ll come close to the Motorola Razr’s $1,500 price rather than the Galaxy Fold’s $2,000.
You’ll still be getting plenty of phone for your money. Leaks say a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED display has been crammed into the folding frame. It also uses the new “Hideaway Hinge,” which has been built to disappear when the phone is open — probably as a reaction against the issues that plagued the first-generation Galaxy Fold. The display is protected with a new material too, known as Ultra Thin Glass (UTG). It’s apparently just as flexible as the polyamide plastics used on the Galaxy Fold but comes with improved scratch-resistance.
The Galaxy Z Flip doesn’t come with a secondary display like the Galaxy Fold. Instead, we’ll see a tiny 1.06-inch display near the camera lenses. Rather than a full screen, this is expected to be a place to see recent notifications, the clock, and battery level. The camera system won’t be as advanced as the Galaxy Fold or Galaxy S20 but will pack a still-impressive dual 12-megapixel sensor, with a wide-angle and ultra-wide lens each. The fingerprint sensor will be found on the side of the phone, and it will also have wireless charging capabilities.
Are foldable phones the future? The jury seems divided at the moment — but we’re all for manufacturers trying new designs out, and we’re looking forward to seeing the next Samsung folding phone. This phone will definitely be at Unpacked — Samsung itself has confirmed it.
Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra
Likelihood of a February reveal: Extremely high
This one’s easy. February is traditionally when we see the new Galaxy S-series phones, and based on the numerous leaks and rumors, this year will be no different. Like last year, we’re going to be looking at three main phones within the range, but Samsung is dropping the “e” version it debuted last year with the Samsung Galaxy S10e. Instead, the new Galaxy S range will be comprised of the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra. That’s right — it’ll be called the S20. Rumors are solid that Samsung is skipping forward by 10 this year, and it’s likely to be a good choice. After all, if your phone matches the year, consumers are always going to know which phone is the latest version.
Rumors aren’t clear on the exact sizes of the displays yet, but the Galaxy S20 is expected to pack a 6.2-inch display, the Galaxy S20 Plus may have a 6.7-inch display, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra could sport a massive 6.9-inch display. Expect all three to utilize Samsung’s amazing Dynamic AMOLED technology, with a single front-facing selfie camera in a hole-punch cutout. A 120Hz refresh rate is also rumored, which would give the phones a silky smooth feel scrolling and swiping through screens. The rest of the specs are as you’d expect. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is likely to be present, as are upgrades to the storage and RAM. The Galaxy S20 Ultra is even rumored to have options for 12GB or 16GB of RAM, and a combined 1.5TB of storage on the top models.
Design-wise, expect the Galaxy S10‘s design ethos to carry over with thin bezels, curved edges, and an in-display fingerprint scanner. But the camera may see some major changes. According to rumors, we can expect four lenses on the S20 range, with at least one of the models to include a new 108-megapixel main lens that’s likely to incorporate pixel binning for greater low-light performance. That monstrous main lens should be joined by an ultra-wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens that will offer a 10x optical zoom thanks to its periscope setup.
What about battery life? Each phone will have a different-sized battery, as expected, but they may all well be monsters. Rumors from November say the Galaxy S20 will sport a 4,000mAh battery, while anything between a 4,500mAh and a 5,000mAh cell is rumored for the S20 Plus. The battery size of the S20 Ultra is unknown, but betting on something around the capacity of the S20 Plus’ 5,000mAh-size would make sense. Samsung hasn’t forgotten about 5G either, and contrary to past performance, every S20 model may come with 5G as standard, bidding farewell to “5G” in phone names.
- Galaxy S20 — $899
- Galaxy S20+ — $1,099
- Galaxy S20 Ultra — $1,299
Details still aren’t confirmed, but that’s not stopped us from making some early comparisons. Check out our Galaxy S20 vs. Galaxy S20 Plus comparison piece to see whether you should dish out for the larger model.
Samsung Galaxy Buds+
The Galaxy Buds were a surprise hit last year, offering comfortable, true wireless earbuds with good sound and 6-hour battery life, so when rumors of “Galaxy Buds+” reached our ears, we were excited. Rumors say Samsung isn’t making any huge changes to the formula, but the additions that have been speculated are exciting enough anyway.
Early rumors said we’d be getting a longer battery life, better sound quality, and faster charging, and those rumors have held up. Most recently, esteemed leaker Evan Blass revealed the Galaxy Buds+ would sport a generous 11-hours life per charge with a full recharge in the case, fast charging that provides an hour of use for about three minutes of charge, and a dual-driver design that should boost audio performance. But there’s more than just that. Expect an IPX2-rating for sweaty workouts, support for multiple Bluetooth connections, one-touch Spotify access, and an app for iOS and Android available from launch.
It’s safe to say we’re excited about these wireless earbuds. They’re expected to cost $149, will be available in black, white, red, and blue, and will be offered as a freebie with Samsung’s new flagship smartphones, which will probably include the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Z Flip.
Samsung Galaxy Home and Home Mini
The Galaxy Home was a no-show throughout 2019, but 2020 is looking more hopeful for Samsung’s smart speaker. However, it might not be the witch’s cauldron-style Galaxy Home we’ll be seeing, but a Galaxy Home Mini instead. Such a device has been beta-tested in Korea since August 2019, and rumors are now saying the Galaxy Home Mini will launch on February 12. Galaxy Unpacked would be the obvious place to reveal a launch date and finalize a release date for Samsung’s first smart speaker.
The Galaxy Home Mini is, not surprisingly, expected to be smaller than the Galaxy Home, with a similar fabric covering. It’ll be powered by Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant, tuned with AKG’s sound tech, and work with Samsung’s SmartThings smart home system. An interesting addition is an infrared blaster that would allow the Home Mini to control older devices without smart functions — though it would have to be placed within sight and range of that device.
U.S. pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but a rough calculation from expected South Korean prices set the price at $85. This is higher than the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot, but probably reflects the higher quality of the AKG-tuned speaker and infrared blaster. Still, a higher price would be a hard sell into a crowded market where many people have already invested in a smart speaker system.
A new Galaxy Watch?
It’s been some time since the release of the Galaxy Watch, and while Samsung has filled the interim with the excellent Galaxy Watch Active range, a new entry in the Galaxy Watch lineup would be welcome.
But we wouldn’t get our hopes up. The rumor mill has picked up steam recently, citing a new Galaxy Watch with much larger storage options. However, it seems to still be in early development, so we wouldn’t expect to see a new Samsung wrist-based wearable at Galaxy Unpacked on February 11. While Samsung may be working on a new smartwatch, either it’s been very strict about leaks, or the process hasn’t progressed very far. Don’t expect to see a Galaxy Watch 2 on February 11.
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- Why is the Galaxy S20 line so expensive? Samsung says ‘we’ve listened to people’