Samsung had their biggest night of the year yesterday when they revealed the new line-up of hardware coming at the Samsung Unpacked 2020 event. As always, it was a show that gave everyone the first opportunity to see the new hardware that the world’s biggest mobile manufacturer is releasing. Its impact was, however, diminished by the fact that everything they showed off had previously been reported on, thanks to a deluge of leaks. The new stuff? Pricing and actual release details. Samsung might make some great hardware, but they are pretty bad at keeping secrets.
So just what can we expect from Samsung in the year 2020? Well, a new line-up of Galaxy Phones, some new earbuds and that eagerly awaited new flip phone complete with folding glass. Yes, the future has arrived. We don’t have flying cars or hoverboards yet, but at least we have folding glass. Take that sci-fi movies!
New Galaxy Buds:
Pretty much in line with earlier reveals, these new earphones feature speakers that are 40 per cent bigger than the previous generation. They have three microphones, which Samsung says will make voice calls more enjoyable. You’ll be able to use these on non-Samsung Android phones or iOS, so long as you download an app to configure them. Samsung claims that the Galaxy Buds Plus have 11-hour battery life and that the rechargeable case boasts another 11 hours. Great battery life overall, though slightly disappointing that the case doesn’t offer even more power.
They ship on Friday February 14th for $149 (R2300).
The new Galaxy S20 range:
Samsung’s latest line-up phones are now official, and they’ll be releasing the Galaxy S20, slightly larger S20 Plus, and the S20 Ultra, which is even bigger. All three phones support 5G (though the standard S20 doesn’t support millimetre wave), feature the Snapdragon 865 processor and have a whopping 12GB of RAM. The cameras appear to have received a hearty upgrade, particularly the ones built into the S20 Ultra. Each phone is capable of recording 8K resolution video, but the S20 Ultra can apparently shoot 100x zoom. It will be interesting to see these cameras in action and with Zoom like that if it can maintain its detail at that level, then it really competes well with professional cameras. The S20 range will be available locally from 6 March 2020. The Samsung S20 will start at R18 999, while the S20 Plus will sell for R20 999. Expect to pay R26 999 for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Galaxy Z Flip:
The Galaxy Fold was Samsung’s first foray into making foldable phones, and to say its reception was tumultuous is putting it mildly. It’s trying again with the Galaxy Z Flip, a flip phone-styled foldable phone that features a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen. It comes in multiple colours like mirror purple, mirror black, and in certain regions, mirror gold. As previously reported, its folding screen is all glass and will hopefully solve many of the problems that existing plastic folding screens have. The device packs quite a punch from a spec perspective which should make this a more appealing option than Motorola’s Razr, though coming at the hefty price tag of $1380 (R21000), one that I doubt few will afford to buy, especially when you factor in import fees to South Africa. It too though releases this Friday, February 14th. It’ll be available locally from 22 February 2020, and will set you back R29 999.
Google Duo :
Samsung announced it entered a partnership with Google to make Google Duo the default video chat app built into their device’s dialler. Live captions (previously available only on Google’s Pixel phones) will arrive on the Galaxy phones, something which shows how big a player Samsung is that Google is willing to give up some exclusive software content for their big partners.
So, what do you make of the big Samsung news? The reveal itself may have been anticlimactic with us knowing all these details already, but that doesn’t mean the devices themselves are poor. Samsung remains a dominant player in the Mobile space. Have they done enough though to keep it that way or do you think the likes of Huawei and Apple may have a good opportunity to steal their throne this year?
Last Updated: February 12, 2020