Could there be a Samsung headset announced at Unpacked? The company told us it was developing a new Samsung XR headset in February in partnership with Google and Qualcomm, but we haven’t heard a peep since.
Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked agenda figures to be jam-packed, but could we get an update on the progress it’s making with Google and Qualcomm in this project? In light of the Apple Vision Pro’s reception, we wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung felt pressure to add its own update to the mix. But we’ve also heard that Apple’s device is so impressive it has forced Samsung to go back to the drawing board.
One thing I wouldn’t anticipate seeing at Unpacked is the Galaxy S23 FE — that’s the rumored version of the Galaxy S23 that offers less premium features in exchange for a lower price. Reports surfaced earlier this year that the Galaxy S23 FE would come out in the second half of the year, which seemed pretty convenient timing to launch at a Galaxy Unpacked event like this one.
But it doesn’t make a lot of sense to show off a Galaxy S23 FE today, not when Samsung would like to keep the focus on its premium foldables and not a stripped-down version of its flagship device. The rumors for the Galaxy S23 FE don’t seem as fully formed as what we’ve heard about the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5, which also suggests that it’s not ready to launch.
You could even ask why there needs to be a Galaxy S23 FE. The Galaxy A54 — Samsung’s top midrange model — is a very capable device and at $449 it more than fits the bill for anyone unwilling to pay the Galaxy S23’s starting price. The Galaxy S23 FE could feature a more powerful (and older) Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, justifying a slightly higher price than the Galaxy A54, but having reviewed the latter device, I think it’s a perfectly fine Samsung device for bargain hunters.
For the build-up to Galaxy Unpacked events, we deal in rumors, friend, and nothing’s more helpful than sorting through the last-minute claims and counterclaims to see which ones you need to keep an eye on.
My colleague John Velasco has done precisely that in his look at the 7 last-minute Galaxy Unpacked rumors that he hopes pans out. By my watch — not a Galaxy Watch in case you were wondering — we’re a little more than 7 hours away from the big event, so now’s the time to start separating fact from fiction.
Even if you don’t end up buying the new Galaxy Watch 6 (assuming it is indeed announced at Unpacked) and stick with your current Samsung smartwatch, an upgrade should be heading your way soon.
Later this summer, an update is coming to the Galaxy Watch that will enable you to use Whatsapp, Wallet and Thermo Check from your wrist.
One of the promises that Samsung made when it was first poking a toe into the waters of foldable phones was that it would try out different form factors and types of devices in an effort to broaden its foldable offerings. As of this Unpacked, we’ll be five generations into Samsung’s foldables era and we still have only two designs — the book-like Galaxy Z Fold and flip phone-style Galaxy Z Flip — to show for it.
That needs to change.
It’s not going to happen today, but I’d love to see Samsung use future Unpacked events to show off more prototypes — perhaps even phones that could join the Fold and Flip as official products. I was in the crowd for the Galaxy Unpacked where we got to see the Galaxy Z Flip for the first time, and it’s a thrill to get to try out something new. (Or a new spin on an old form factor in the Flip’s case.)
We know that Samsung’s got a few prototypes in them. At CES earlier this year, the company showed off the Samsung Hybrid Flex — a mobile device that folds, sure, but also one with a sliding mechanism that can expand both screen size and aspect ratio. Even before that, leaks pointed to the possibility of a Galaxy Fold Scroll joining the Samsung lineup. This device would have a screen that would unfurl like a scroll to expand.
So my humble request to Samsung: More of that please. Show us what you’re working on to get us excited about foldables and to see where this type of phone is headed.
One rumor suggests that there may be a Galaxy Z Fold 5 price cut, which would undercut the Google Pixel Fold. Then again, there have been reports out of Europe that suggest both Samsung foldable phones may face a price increase. Europe and the U.S. are very different markets, and a price increase in one region doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen everywhere.
Though the question is whether Samsung would be crazy enough to do it. With the Pixel Fold starting at $1,799 and the Motorola Razr+ at $999, increasing the prices of the Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 doesn’t seem wise. Thankfully, we don’t have long to wait until we find out.
Hey, this is Philip Michaels, the managing editor of mobile, and I’ll be taking over from Kate Kozuch on the live blog for the next few hours. Because would you rather here from someone on the scene in South Korea or me, a guy more than 9,000 kilometers away?
Please don’t answer that.
Anyhow, one of my duties at TG is to oversee our best key finder page, which is why I’m somewhat surprised we haven’t heard anything about a potential update to Samsung’s SmartTag showing up at Unpacked. After all, it’s been two years since the first SmartTag launched, and since then, not much has changed with Samsung’s object finder.
Our SmartTag review found that the device was a perfect companion for other Samsung products (like the Galaxy phones, for example) and we were impressed by both the battery life and range. So it’s surprising that the product would go this long without a tweak.
But maybe there is a surprise in the works. Back in June, 9to5Google reported that a SmartTag 2 had shown up in a listing at the Bluetooth SIG — a sure sign that a new product was on the way. The report even suggested a launch at Galaxy Unpacked was likely… only for the rumor well to run dry.
So if you want to impress your friends, right before the start of the Galaxy Unpacked event, murmur something under your breath about the SmartTag 2 making an appearance. If it does, you’ll look omniscient. If it doesn’t, well maybe no one heard you.
So, the lingering question among the press here in Seoul is Samsung’s motivation to have a big event in this locale. Obviously, with Samsung being headquartered in South Korea, it’s an excellent way to inject the brand identity into the keynote. But could the company have an ulterior motive?
Rumors say Samsung could present a “one more thing” moment while it has the stage at Unpacked. We’ve been given reason to believe a Samsung Galaxy Ring in the works, doubling down on the company’s health initiatives. Or, maybe Samsung has a mixed-reality headset ready to respond to Apple Vision Pro? Time will tell.
This is my first time traveling to Seoul, and while friends and colleagues warned me of the climate before-hand, I was not ready for the city’s summer humidity. Standing outside feels like wading in a bowl of soup. Luckily, Samsung provided nifty portable fans that double as battery packs, to help us stay cool and keep our devices charged. But that’s not all — the fan bends, kind of like a certain flippable phone.
Could you imagine if, instead of the Galaxy Z Flip 5, Samsung unleashed the Z Flip Fan during Unpacked?
meet the Samsung “Z Fan” pic.twitter.com/88rCuzx3GtJuly 24, 2023
Hello from Seoul! Kate Kozuch here, and I’m Tom’s Guide’s eyes and ears on-the-ground at Unpacked. From my understanding, Samsung invited about 500 journalists from around the globe to attend the keynote live. Since I’ve landed, we’ve taken part in tours of Samsung’s Suwon offices and experiential installations, including the R&D center that developed the first Galaxy Z Fold.
When I visited the center on Tuesday, a giant display counting down to Unpacked greeted our tour group in the lobby. Talk about creating anticipation.
the countdown to #SamsungUnpacked is displayed at Samsung’s R&D Center pic.twitter.com/YxFvAllmGXJuly 25, 2023
If you’re looking for a deal, today is the last chance you have to score $50 off your pre-order of new Galaxy devices when they’re unveiled at Galaxy Unpacked. All you need to do is give Samsung your name and email address. Just hurry because this reservation promotion ends July 26!
Head to Samsung.com to claim your $50 in Samsung credit now.
How do you know when a leak is the real deal? When the tweet is taken down. And that’s exactly what happened with SnoopyTech, whose account was literally suspended.
So what did we learn before it got yanked? Some tasty Galaxy Watch 6 specs. It could feature a 1.31-inch display for the 40mm model and the 44m model could get a 1.47-inch screen. The Galaxy Watch 5 had 1.2-inch and 1.4-inch displays.
It gets better. The new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic could get 43mm and 47mm options with the same increased display sizes.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is bound to be one of the unsung heroes of the Samsung Unpacked event. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra made a splash last year with its huge 14.6-inch display and included S Pen. But while the Book Cover Keyboard adds a ton of utility, it also adds $349 to the price. I’d like to see a more affordable option this year.
An upgrade to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip seems like a lock, which should not only offer better performance but hopefully longer battery life than the 9 hours and 22 seconds we saw in our testing. Ideally we prefer 10 hours or more.
Just a few days ago we saw leaked specs for the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra from Evan Blass, including the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage. And it appears the device will also support microSD memory expansion.
Let’s take a step back for a second. Do you think foldable phones are worth the hype? I mean, the market is certainly growing, but that’s not terribly impressive when you’re starting from such a small base.
On the positive side, the analyst firm IDC predicts that foldable phone shipments will reach 21.4 million units in 2023, which is 50% growth. And that the compound annual growth rate form 2022 to 2027 will be 27.6%, reaching 48.1 million foldables by that time.
But to put those numbers in perspective, Apple shipped 56 million iPhones in the first quarter of this year alone. It’s going to take more affordable pricing and more vendors entering the fray for foldables to go mainstream.
I’m a sucker for phone color rumors, especially with a fun flip foldable like the Galaxy Z Flip 5. Here’s what we’ve heard about the Z Flip 5 colors: expect a rainbow.
According to the leaks, the Z Flip 5 will come in Lavender, Mint, Cream and Graphite. I’m especially interested in the Mint color, which looks pretty slick according to the above renders.
Here’s a Galaxy Z Fold 5 rumor that sounds like wishful thinking. We’ve heard that Samsung may offer a price drop on its new foldable, which sounds great on paper. But we’ve also heard that the Z Fold 5 could see a price increase. Sound confusing? Yeah.
Whenever you have leakers not agreeing on what’s happening you definitely can’t count on the rumor being legit. To be clear, I’d like to see a more affordable price tag than $1,799. But at least until I see the Galaxy Z Fold 5 price flash on the screen in Seoul, I’m not buying this one.
You know it’s not a good sign when Samsung’s own employees reportedly throw shade at your upcoming foldable and call it boring or not good enough to be called the Galaxy Z Fold 4S. Well, our managing editor for all things mobile Philip Michaels has some very good advice for Samsung.
Here’s the TLDR version of Phil’s excellent analysis of Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 — this is what Samsung needs to improve. The Samsung could use a design that folds fully flat, which seems to be coming, and a brighter display, too. And it could use longer battery life, which could come courtesy of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.
Meanwhile, the Z Flip 5 could use a larger cover display (naturally), as well as longer endurance.
In addition to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Samsung Z Flip 5, Samsung is expected to announced the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 collection featuring two smartwatches. While we haven’t heard all that much about how the Galaxy Watch 6 vs. Galaxy Watch 5 ultimately compare, we have good reason to believe that the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic will steal the show with the return of the fan-favorite rotating bezel.
We know that at least one of our colleagues was disappointed by lack of bezel on last year’s generation of watches. Instead, we got the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, a bulky sports watch with a better battery life than the standard Galaxy Watch 5. What do you think, are you team bezel?
If you want a sense of the stiffer competition Samsung is facing from other phone makers on the foldable front, consider the arrival of the Google Pixel Fold. We currently rank that device as the best foldable phone you can get based on how Google’s handset edged past what Samsung currently offers in our Google Pixel vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 face-off.
Google offers a wider and easier-to-use cover-display, a thinner device and great cameras. But the Galaxy Z Fold 5 could very well close the gap with Samsung and come out on top.
You can easily make the case that the most important feature for the Galaxy Z Flip 5 that Samsung is certain to announce today will be the updated phone’s cover display. The current Z Flip features a 1.9-inch strip on the outside of the device that you can use to read notifications or text messages; it also doubles as a viewfinder when you’re snapping selfies with the rear cameras. But even with those capabilities, it’s nowhere near as handy as the 3.6-inch panel that Motorola includes on the Motorola Razr+.
Rumors have Samsung expanding the display on its phone to either 3.4 or 3.5 inches depending on who’s doing the talking. U.K. phones editor Tom Pritchard believes this is a make-or-break feature for the Galaxy Z Flip 5, hinging on its ability to run full-screen apps the way you can on Motorola’s device.
The biggest upgrade rumored for both Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 is the redesigned hinge. Dubbed the “waterdrop hinge”, this new mechanism is expected to add a number of changes to Samsung’s foldables — most important of which is a lessening of the crease.
How? By making that crease larger and shallower, it means that the fold down the middle of the display could be a lot less prominent than previous models. Maybe even completely invisible, if some rumors are to be believed.
That hinge is also expected to offer a gapless design, which may offer some much needed protection from dust, and is reportedly rated to 300,000 folds. That means it would be 50% more durable than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. And if that wasn’t enough, it could shave off some of the thickness plaguing previous Z Fold devices.
So what can we expect from the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 at Samsung Unpacked? Samsung’s TM Roh says the company’s next foldables would be “slimmer and lighter than our previous generations.” But Roh also talked about how Samsjng’s next foldables would deliver “literally, the most flexible camera experience in Samsung Galaxy” while also touting the sustainability of the foldables.
Look for Samsung to go into greater depth on all of those points during the keynote.
Welcome to our Samsung Unpacked live blog. I’m global editor in chief for Tom’s Guide, Mark Spoonauer. And I’ll be hanging out with you for the next few hours breaking down all the last-minute rumors and leaks. Let’s get started!