Five new product series, in a batch of midsummer news streaming live from Korea with the first Unpacked event conducted entirely in a remote fashion. That’s how Samsung choose to introduce the new Galaxy Note 20 and 20 Ultra 5G, the Galaxy Watch3 smartwatch, two new Tab S7 and S7+ tablets, Galaxy Buds Live headphones and, last but not least, the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, a revised and corrected version of its first hybrid smartphone/tablet with a foldable screen. All products are part of the Galaxy ecosystem, so it made sense to present them together in one big event focused around the idea of the Next Normal, meaning a post-pandemic life where technology plays a greater role than ever in our daily lives.
Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
The Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G were the event’s highlights. With these two devices Samsung renews its commitment to the niche of smartphone-with-a-stylus enthusiasts. The design doesn't change significantly compared to last year's models, except for the new camera unit inherited from the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra (the high-end Note model name loses the "plus" and adapts to the naming rules of the Galaxy series). The new devices also sport a 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED screen and the option to record 8k video at 24fps, with cinematic quality and stabilization.
The S Pen stylus support remains the Note’s most important characteristic : it has been significantly improved to optimize productivity thanks to Air Actions, a set of gestures that can be performed without touching the screen with the pen. Samsung improved also the functionality of its Notes app, the software companion app users mostly use the S Pen Stylus with. Moreover, the company has expanded its partnership with Microsoft, to make the two smartphones work seamlessly with Windows 10 PCs, enhancing continuity between the computer and the smartphone and enabling direct synchronization of documents with One Note and Outlook.
Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+
Along with the two new Note smartphones, Samsung has also updated its tablet lineup with the new Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+. Again, the two products are optimized for productivity, thanks to the integration of shared functionalities with Windows PCs, Samsung DeX for connection to a larger monitor, and the availability of keyboard cover that turns them into a viable alternative to a traditional PC for a wide range of applications. A powerful chipset, 120Hz refresh rate AMOLED displays and, most importantly, next-generation 5G connectivity complete the specs.
Smartwatch and new buds
At Samsung's Unpacked event there was also room to introduce two new wearable devices from the Galaxy ecosystem: the Galaxy Watch3 smartwatch and the new Galaxy Buds Live earphones.
Galaxy Watch3 is a new smart watch designed for health. It helps you manage your fitness routine and goals. There’s a function to measure blood oxygenation and detection of a potential fall with the ability to call for rescue, a function similar to the same one available on the latest generation Apple Watch.
The new Galaxy Buds Live are True Wireless headphones integrating a 12mm speaker, larger than the previous model of Galaxy Buds, and a dedicated chip for Active Noise Cancellation, which minimizes external noise, improving the overall quality of listening to music and conversations. One of the weak points of the previous Galaxy Buds+ was the quality of the user's voice during calls, but Samsung has integrated three microphones and a special Voice Pickup Unit to improve that this time around.
The new Galaxy Fold
During today’s Unpacked event, Samsung unveiled also the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, with which Samsung confirms the interest to invest in the still very unripe market of smartphone/tablet with folding screens. About a year after the (unfortunate) launch of the first Galaxy Fold, and after the announcement of the (much more successful) Galaxy Z Flip, the Korean company tries again with an enhanced model of its bigger foldable. Compared to last year's model, the new Galaxy Z Fold2 has a larger 6.2" external screen, while the main internal screen, the one that actually turns the device into a tablet, measures 7.6". Interesting and futuristic, the Galaxy Z Fold2 is a device that remains fascinating for what it tries to represent, which is the overcoming of the traditional smartphone format. Unfortunately it still feels, in many ways, a clever solution in search of a problem that doesn’t seem to really exist.