Cameroon timber June Wan/ZDNETIt’s Samsung Unpacked week, which means come on, Barbie, let’s go party because new products will be launching all summer long. This year’s July event saw the unveiling of seven new pieces of hardware, including foldable phones, tablets in all sizes, and smartwatches.
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Whether you missed the live event because it happened when you weren’t even half awake (read: in South Korea), or you didn’t have the time to sit through the hour-long keynote, I’ve gathered all the specs, features, and tidbits on the latest Galaxy products below, starting with the ones that were officially announced.
It’s year five for Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold and Flip series, which means all eyes were on Samsung to deliver a refined duo of foldables that justified their premium price tags and gave customers worthy reasons to switch from traditional slab phones.
With the Z Flip 5, Samsung sort of achieved that. The biggest change with this year’s model is the larger external display, sizing up to a 3.4-inch panel that the company now calls Flex Window.
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Samsung compares the user interface of the outside screen to using a Galaxy Watch, with swipeable pages of apps and widgets, gesture-based navigation, and quick access to the wallet, dial pad, and more.
Not every app is optimized for the 3.4-inch panel, but users will be able to force open services via Samsung’s Good Lock extension app. That puts the Z Flip 5 on par with Motorola’s Razr Plus.
The second notable upgrade with the new Z Flip is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, which, based on the numbers we saw on the Galaxy S23 Ultra from earlier this year, should improve the overall performance, battery efficiency, and low-light photography of the phone.
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That’s very important because the actual battery size, charging speed, and camera layout of the Z Flip 5 are the same as last year’s Z Flip 4, so the improvements this time around stem from backend processing more than anything else.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 will sell for a starting price of $999, with the base storage now up to 256GB (from 128GB), and goes on sale on August 11.
This year’s Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 sees improvements to its overall design, display brightness, processing power, and multitasking features. And like the Z Flip 5, the camera hardware, battery capacity, and price remain the same.
To start, a new gapless design when folded and a hinge that’s built with fewer moving parts allowed Samsung to trim down the size and weight of the Z Fold 5. You’re looking at a decrease of 10 grams which, depending on how often you’ll be carrying the phone around or holding it with one hand, is a significant difference.
Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 hands-on: These 3 upgrades make it ready for wider appeal
The actual form factor and aspect ratio of the phone is the same, though, with the company favoring the taller appearance for its sleek fit and one-handed usability. That’s in contrast to Google’s wider approach to the phone-to-tablet experience with the Pixel Fold.
Both the outer 6.2-inch and inner 7.6-inch displays get a brightness upgrade, too, going from around 1,200 nits to 1,750 this time around. That should improve the viewing experience when using the foldable outdoors or in well-lit environments.
Like the Z Flip 5, the Z Fold 5 also gets the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon processor treatment. We’ll have to see how the chipset fairs with the larger foldable form factor and all the multitasking that’s to come.
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Speaking of which, the Z Fold 5 operates on the latest version of One UI, offering more ways to trigger multi-app windows and the ability to hold up to four most-recent apps in the Taskbar.
The phone goes on sale on August 11 with a starting price of $1,799 for the 256GB variant. That’s the same price as the last two generations, but in Samsung’s defense, it’s providing better internal features with this year’s model.
Samsung announced two new Galaxy Watch models at Unpacked: Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic. There’s no “Pro” upgrade this year, but the company will continue to sell the Watch 5 Pro for adventurers and more rugged users.
For the wider audience, the Watch 6 comes in 40 and 44mm sizes, with larger batteries across the board. Design-wise, both size options feature a 20% larger display that gives users more area to interact with widgets, notifications, and tracking features.
That’s important because the latest wearables operate on One UI Watch 5 (layered over WearOS) for improved sleep, fitness, and safety tools, including a built-in virtual safety coach, Personalized Heart Rate Zones, and an SOS feature for emergency services.
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The Watch 6 Classic comes in 43mm and 47mm sizes, the latter being the largest option of any Galaxy wearable to date. Both units feature a physical rotating bezel around the displays. With it, users can navigate the watch without needing to tap the screen — ideal when the environment is not fit for touch input.
Pricing for the regular Watch 6 starts at $299 and the Watch 6 Classic starts at $399. Both options go on sale on August 11.
Last year’s Galaxy Tab S8 series was a giant leap for Samsung, and I mean that literally. The trio of tablets was headlined by a 14.6-inch Ultra model that was well-specced, ginormous to use, and could fittingly replace a laptop.
With the new Tab S9 series, there are improvements across the board, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor, better-looking AMOLED displays that support Vision Booster, and 20% larger speaker sizes, according to Samsung.
The shift to AMOLED displays benefits the smallest, 11-inch Tab S9 the most, given its predecessor used an inferior LCD panel that didn’t look quite as good as its larger siblings, based on ZDNET’s testing.
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The Tab S9 series will also be the first Samsung tablets outside of the brand’s XCover line to sport IP68 ratings for water and dust resistance. They will also receive up to four years of operating system updates and five years of security patches, the same standard in place for flagship Galaxy smartphones.
And for artists, graphic designers, and writers alike, the S Pen that’s included with all three models now is more pressure sensitive and has a latency of 2.8ms.
The Tab S9 series be available starting August 11 with a starting price of $799. Samsung will also offer a 5G version of the Tab S9 Plus for $1,149.
What wasn’t announced at Samsung UnpackedDuring last year’s summer Unpacked, Samsung released the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, which featured improved active noise canceling, a more comfortable fit, and well-tuned audio playback.
One year later, there’s no successor in sight, leaving the potential of a Galaxy Buds 3 Pro up in the air. If it does launch this year, expect the wearable to come in October.
Earlier this year, Samsung announced an ongoing partnership with Google and Qualcomm to develop a mixed-reality headset, positioned to compete with the then-rumored Apple headset.
Also: Samsung’s answer to Apple Vision Pro is on track to be announced soon
Since then, Apple has unveiled its $3,499 Vision Pro, Google has shut down its AR glasses project (with its head of AR/VR leaving the company), and Qualcomm has put greater focus on more timely product launches like Meta’s Quest 3 in October.
While little was said about the mixed reality headset at Unpacked, Samsung’s head of mobile experience, TM Roh, did share in a follow-up press conference that ” Like smartphones, what we are doing is opening an XR ecosystem. We are expecting an announcement in the not-too-far-off future.”
Another teaser may be in the cards soon; just not “this week” soon.
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