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Samsung just wrapped up its Unpacked Event on Wednesday, Feb. 20, and with all the buzz about foldable phones and its new edge-to-edge display technologies, wow, did it deliver. It’s the 10th anniversary of the Galaxy line, after all, and Samsung didn’t pull its punches (your move, Apple).
We all know that we are in the midst of a great smartphone market slowdown and that incremental feature upgrades just won’t cut it anymore. But finally, the next big thing in smartphone technology is here, thanks in big part to Samsung.
And as expected, the event was filled to the brim, but here are the seven best Samsung Unpacked announcements you need to know about.
Behold the Galaxy Fold
After years of teases and false starts, finally, here it is, meet Samsung’s first foldable phone dubbed the Galaxy Fold. It’s truly an exciting moment in tech when a new product category is unveiled, and this time is no exception.
As revealed by the leaks, the Galaxy Fold is a groundbreaking gadget that can fold into a tablet with a 7.3-inch display and it can be folded back into a smaller flip-phone-like gadget with a 4.6-inch display. Note: Samsung calls this foldable screen technology the “Infinite Flex Display.”
To power all that screen real estate, the Galaxy Fold will also sport a whopping 12GB of RAM, a 7-nanometer eight-core processor and two batteries (totaling 4,380 mAh) encased in each side of the fold. For storage, the Fold will get 512GB of the much faster Universal Flash Storage 3.0 standard (no memory card slot, though).
Camera-wise, the Galaxy Fold has six … yes, that’s six cameras. It has three rear cameras –a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a telephoto camera and a new 16-megapixel ultrawide camera (for incredible panoramic shots).
It also has two inside cameras — a 10-megapixel selfie camera and an 8-megapixel depth camera (for bokeh effects). And rounding it off is its 10-megapixel front selfie camera, accessible when it’s on “phone” mode.
For security, instead of a fancy on-screen fingerprint reader (like the S10’s), the Fold’s sensor is on its side button.
Now, for a folding screen, the durability of its fold points is critical so to address that Samsung designed a clever hinge system that relies on multiple interlocking gears that are concealed within its back.
With this revolutionary form factor, three separate apps can be run at the same time on bigger display with what Samsung calls the “Multi-Active Window.” This makes sense since the dimensions of the phone’s display in its tablet form are almost triple the dimensions of its outer display.
And with continuity mode, apps can transition from phone mode to tablet mode seamlessly. In fact, Samsung and Google worked hand-in-hand to make sure that Android Pie and a variety of apps will support the Galaxy Fold’s novel display system.
So how much is the initial ticket price for our foldable future?
I’m afraid it’s not cheap. Rumors were floating around last year that it will cost around $1,850, the most expensive smartphone your money could buy.
It turns out it’s even more expensive than that. The Galaxy Fold will launch on April 26, and it starts at an astronomical price of $1,980. Yikes!
Admittedly, it’s the revolutionary step that the flagging smartphone market needs to excite it, but not at that price. Hopefully, once the tech goes mainstream, the prices of foldable phones will eventually bend down.
Podcast: Is Samsung changing the smartphone with this announcement? Listen to this free Komando podcast and learn why, all in less than a minute.
Four new Galaxy S10 phones
Not be outdone, the 10th-anniversary versions of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy line, the Galaxy S10, were also announced and wow, they are packed with impressive new groundbreaking tech, too.
The S10 will actually come in four versions, the standard Galaxy S10, the larger S10 Plus, the entry-level Galaxy S10E and the 5G-compatible Galaxy S10 5G.
First up, the amazing edge-to-edge AMOLED displays. Instead of a notch, Samsung opted to invent the “Infinity-O” display, a screen with a small cutout to house the front cameras. Combined with the ultra-thin bezels, the Galaxy S10 phones are able to squeeze out more display areas than the Galaxy S9.
The S10 has a 6.1-inch screen, the S10 Plus will get a larger 6.4-inch display while the “budget” S10E will sport a more compact 5.8-inch screen.
The most revolutionary feature, however, is the new S10’s and S10 Plus’s on-screen ultrasonic fingerprint scanner (something Apple reportedly wasn’t able to pull off with the iPhone X).
Samsung claims that this is more secure and faster than the optical versions of the on-screen fingerprint scanners. Note: The S10E’s fingerprint scanner is not on-screen. Instead, it’s mounted on its right side power button.
Camera-wise, the S10 and S10 Plus will both get the same three-camera system – 12-megapixel wide and telephoto lens and a new 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens. However, while the S10 will sport a single 10-megapixel selfie camera, the S10 Plus will get two – a 10-megapixel one and 8-megapixel “depth” camera for bokeh effects.
The S10E will only get the wide and ultra-wide rear cameras (no telephoto) and a 10-megapixel selfie camera.
Battery-wise, the S10 has 3,400 mAh, the S10 Plus has 4,100 mAh and the S10E, a smaller 3,100 mAh one. One great innovation with the S10’s charging system? It can act as a wireless charger itself and charge your other wireless charging gadgets.
Note: The Galaxy S10s are also among the first gadgets to support the newest Wi-Fi 6 standard.
The storage options in these new Galaxy S10 phones is astounding. Both the S10 and S10 Plus come in 128GB or 512GB capacities, but just to blow your mind, the S10 Plus also comes with a 1TB option. Wow, a full terabyte on a smartphone, how far have we come?
Note: The entry-level S10E, on the other hand, will come in 128GB or 256GB versions.
How about pricing? Well, Samsung is playing it smart by undercutting Apple’s iPhone pricing scheme. The S10 starts at $900, the S10 Plus at $1,000 and the S10E at $750. Pre-orders begin on Feb. 21 and will release on March 8.
Personally, I think Samsung could’ve knocked it out of the park if they’re even cheaper than that. With these features and a more reasonable price point? That will totally shake the smartphone market yet again.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The fifth phone in Samsung’s Unpacked event is the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. This one is even bigger than the S10 Plus with its 6.7-inch display, two selfie cameras and four (yep, four) rear cameras. What’s that extra camera for? Apparently, the 5G will be sporting a 3D depth-sensing rear camera for advanced augmented reality (AR) support.
This premium beast of a phone will also get a 4,500 mAh battery and 256GB of storage (no micro SD support, though.)
No pricing nor release date set for the S10 5G version yet but it will be a Verizon exclusive when it comes out in Q2.
New Galaxy wearables
Samsung also unveiled a pair of new smart wearables at the event, the new Galaxy Watch Active and the smaller Galaxy Fit. Both of these fitness-focused gadgets are water-resistant and they can also track your heart rate and sleep.
The Galaxy Watch Active will be released on March 8 for $199, while the Galaxy Fit comes out on May 31 for $99.
Last but not the least, Samsung’s AirPod-killers, the Galaxy Buds, are coming on March 8 for $130. These wireless earbuds with built-in microphones will have Bixby (Samsung’s smart assistant) and will support wireless charging. Hey, I bet these will look great while they’re reverse charging on your brand new Galaxy S10.