PAT PILCHER summarises Samsung’s just-announced 2021 lineup for your tech-tonic pleasure.
Samsung has announced its latest range of flagship smartphones, wearables, and earbuds. Feeling the curiosity of the many Samsung supporters out there, here’s what we saw.
Galaxy Z Fold 3
After generating several metric tonnes of hype in the tech media with the original Galaxy Fold, Samsung is back with the third iteration of their flagship foldable. As you’d expect from a Samsung flagship device, there are oodles of features. Still, the single biggest bit of gee-whiz is its under-display camera. Using a slightly finer pixel pitch and a dollop of AI, the front camera shooter is blended in with whatever is happening on the screen. It isn’t completely invisible, but the lack of a jarring black gap makes for a refreshing change, helping the Fold 3 to feel more like a tablet than a phone.
From a design perspective, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Fold 3 for the previous generation of Galaxy Fold at a glance. Still, the Fold 3 manages to pull off the Tardis-like feat of being slimmer and having a larger screen.
This time around, Samsung didn’t launch a note device. They instead announced the S Pen stylus for use with the Fold 3. Annoyingly for stylus users (but great news for non-stylus fans), the S Pen costs extra and isn’t bundled.
Pens and under-screen cameras aside, Samsung focused on bolstering the Fold 3’s durability. This comes in the form of a screen protector that is 80 per cent stronger and the addition of IPX8-rated waterproofing, which will keep the Fold working in 10 metres of water for 30 minutes. As its hinge isn’t dustproof, using it at the beach isn’t recommended.
While the new bells and whistles are neat, the big news with the Fold 3 is that Samsung has chopped a whopping $700 of its price. This means that while it still commands a price premium, it’s within reach of us mere mortals as well as the 5 percent looking for an accessory to match their superyachts.
Galaxy Z Flip 3
The Flip 3 is perhaps the most compelling of the two devices announced by Samsung. This is more to do with the fact that they’ve priced their foldable flipper at a palatable $1500. That makes it the first semi-affordable foldable and a viable option for flagship smartphone shoppers.
Aside from its reasonable price, the Flip 3 is an attractive looking beast that looks just like a high-end version of your nana’s old school flip phone. While it opens to give you a gorgeous slab phone touch screen, it’s still highly pocketable when flipped closed.
Like the Fold 3, the Flip 3 is more durable. It also comes with a Cover Display that’s larger than its predecessor. This might not sound earth-shattering, but more room for notifications and widgets, as well as access to the quick settings menu without opening the Flip 3, is likely to prove verily handy indeed.
Galaxy Watch 4
The big news with Samsung’s flagship smartwatches is that they’re now running an OS that’s the lovechild of Wear OS and Samsung. It’s christened “Wear OS powered by Samsung”, which is a bit of a mouthful… Although the demo watches could not be put through their paces (the server used to set them up isn’t live in NZ), they still have Samsung Galaxy Watch DNA. This takes the form of that cool rotating bezel on the Samsung Watch 4 Classic. While the prevailing consensus from US tech media is that they are Tizen like Google’s hybrid OS gives Galaxy watch wearers access to a bevvy of apps. Samsung has added other nifty tricks. These include a BioActive sensor that can measure body fat percentage, an ECG (which has yet to be enabled in NZ), a 5nm processor and 16GB of RAM.
Galaxy Buds 2
Last (but by no means least), having announced their wearables, Samsung also announced their “hearables” – the Galaxy Buds 2. Looks-wise, they appear to be both smaller and lighter than the original Galaxy Buds+. They’ve got active noise cancellation, adjustable ambient sound and gyroscopic 360 audio. We’re hoping to land a pair of these beauties shortly, so keep your eyes and ears peeled!