Samsung’s annual Unpacked event kicked off yesterday, which saw big announcements for what’s coming the year ahead in their Galaxy range of products. We still didn’t crack an invite to it, but we’re totally not bitter about it. Thanks to leaks and a trailer last week tasing everything that was in store for this announcement, there weren’t exactly any new shocks or surprises. We already knew that the focus of the event will be on the new handsets, most importantly the Galaxy Z Fold 2, new Galaxy Note devices along with the usual iterations of their tablet, watch and coffee beans, sorry, Galaxy Buds Live.
What Samsung did do is provide a whole lot of more technical and pricing details for their anticipated products, along with proof that they are real and ready to hit the markets soon. Whether said markets have the cash for any of these beauties is another matter entirely though.
Galaxy Note 20
Samsung’s flagship Galaxy device remains a desirable product. Not only is the new design a sexy and appealing one, but Samsung keeps finding new ways to pack even more power into these devices. Samsung announced two models, the standard Note 20 and a Note 20 Ultra. Both models have the same Snapdragon 865 Plus processor with 5G support as well as an IP68 rating for waterproofing and support for wireless charging. Both feature very similar designs overall. The Ultra does pack some extra RAM, a 120Hz refresh rate OLED screen and MicroSD support.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two models lies in the camera department. The standard Note 20 comes with a 64MP telephoto lens, versus the Ultra’s 12MP telephoto lens. What the Ultra lacks in camera specs it makes up for with a 108MP wide-angle lens (compared to the Note 20’s 12MP offering) along with 5x optical zoom. Impressive specs and something which is bound to keep the budding photographers out there very happy.
The Note 20 price starts from R24 999 for the LTE version, R27 999 if you want 5G and R36 999 for the Note 20 Ultra.
Galaxy Z Fold 2
The Note may be considered Samsung’s traditional flagship model but is most certainly not the most expensive model nor the one that is likely to receive most of the press attention. That honour belongs once again to the Z Fold 2, the next iteration of Samsung’s ambitious folding phone. And what Samsung ultimately showed off appears to be a massive improvement from the first problematic model, with a reinforced overall structure and hinge that looks far more durable. The new hinge also features what Samsung calls “a sweeper,” which uses elastic fibres to clean dust or debris out from the hinge to prevent damage to the display. The phone is thinner overall (it’s 6mm thick) and has a slimmer gap between the displays, making it easier to fit into your pocket.
Like the Note devices, this new model also boasts a new Snapdragon 865 Plus processor and 5G support. Instead of that ridiculous tiny external display from the previous model, the Z Fold 2 has a full-size 6.2-inch screen that covers the entire front of the phone, making it far more usable without having to unfold the larger display. That main display though is also bigger, at 7.6 inches with the notched corner that marred the top-right corner of the flexible interior panel gone, too, replaced by a less obtrusive hole-punch camera that takes up far less space. Both OLED screens run at a 120Hz refresh rate.
It’s the technology behind the screen itself that Samsung claims will solve all the damage issues from the first model. Z Fold 2 is switching to the same ultra-thin glass as the Galaxy Z Flip, which Samsung says should result in a tougher phone that’ less susceptible to breakage. Considering how prone to damage the first model was, just “less” is perhaps not something they want to aim for. Samsung is also bringing its “Flex Mode” from the Z Flip, allowing the Z Fold 2 to be used in halfway-open configurations and stood up on a desk.
It’s a massive improvement on the previous model based on looks, but I’m still on the fence and we will have to see just how robust it is when it releases next month. If you’re willing to take the risk though, it will set you back $1950, with local pricing yet to be revealed. A lot of money for a phone like this.
Galaxy Watch 3
The new Galaxy Watch 3 is a thinner smartwatch than Samsung’s previous models, but it still comes with a bigger 1.4-inch display. It too is getting a faster processor, though most of the magic lies in the software, which the company didn’t spend too much time updating on. The new Watch is also more expensive than the last iteration of the Galaxy Watch, bumping up the price by $70. It will be available in 41mm and 45mm sizes.
Galaxy Tab S7
Samsung announced two sizes of the Tab S7 tablet, consisting of an 11-inch and a 12.4-inch line-up. Both will run Android 10 with OneUI software and feature the powerful Snapdragon 865 Plus processor. Both feature displays with 120Hz refresh rates, though only the larger of the two has an OLED screen with the smaller device having an LCD screen.
Galaxy Buds Live
We’ve already seen pics of the poorly named new bean-like air pods from Samsung. They are smaller than the Buds Plus but are still a significant update in terms of sound technology, mostly importantly featuring active noise cancellation with the ability to connect with multiple devices more seamlessly. Interesting, the design features no in-ear tips or actual seal.
The Galaxy Buds Live can get up to six hours of continuous battery life with ANC enabled (21 with the case) or eight hours (29 with case) if you’ve got both ANC and the Bixby Voice switched off. They will sell at $169.99 which is more than the Buds Plus which sell for $149.99. Price wise it’s not bad, but with a design that looks lie it could fall out the ears quite easily, I’m still hesitant for it.
Overall, the new Samsung Galaxy products have a lot to offer. I do think though that despite the big power boosts and premium design, these products may just be a little out of the range for most of our pockets and we’ll probably end up getting these once they’re a little older and cheaper.
Last Updated: August 6, 2020