Samsung stayed true to the name of its events by unpacking a slew of new products that include the Galaxy Z Fold3, Galaxy Z Flip3, Galaxy Buds 2, and two new Galaxy Watch models. In total, it’s five new devices, and whereas an August launch would typically unveil a new Galaxy Note phone, there won’t be one of those in 2021.
Instead, it’s the foldable phones that took over this time around. With new iterations of existing products, Samsung wants to make folding and flipping screens vogue again. Joining them are new versions of the Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Watch, both of which come with their own updates. We’ll have reviews of these products coming up on the blog, but for now, here are some details of what to expect.
Looking at the Galaxy Z Fold3
This is Samsung’s premium foldable, and its third attempt to get the design just right. The overall look is the same as the previous model, except it’s a tad lighter and thinner to make it easier to wield. It uses the same screen, though looks and feels more infused with the phone’s body. That means you still get the 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED display when you fold it out, and a better 6.2-inch front Super AMOLED screen when folded back.
There are a couple of standout things to note. First, is the ability to use an S Pen with the device, though there is a catch to that. The Fold3 doesn’t come with a pen, so you will have to buy it separately, but when you do, you can choose from two options. There’s a regular S Pen that would only work with the Fold3, or an S Pen Pro that can work with other Galaxy devices beyond just the phone.
Multitasking works more seamlessly this time in that it’s just easier to get three apps to populate the larger screen together. Samsung didn’t say much about the image sensors for the rear cameras, but they are 12-megapixels across the board for wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses. While this phone is different in design, it won’t push the envelope in camera performance with anything overtly new.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 will be available on August 27, and you can pre-order yours now.
Checking out the Galaxy Z Flip3
When you flip this phone open, it will look very familiar if you’ve already used the previous version of the Flip. Fold it closed and it sports a very different look on the outside. The most obvious design change is the small 1.9-inch Cover Screen AMOLED display on the outside that makes it easier to do things, like seeing incoming messages in full, controlling music playback and snapping photos, particularly selfies.
It is the same 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED on the inside, albeit with Gorilla Glass Victus protection, plus an IPX8 rating for water resistance. The screen also has a 120Hz refresh rate, much like other Samsung phones currently have. Internal storage (256GB) and memory (8GB of RAM) remain the same, though you do get a better processor.
There are two rear cameras, a wide and ultra-wide with 12-megapixel sensors for each. Being a folded phone, it’s easy to use those rear cameras for selfies, though there is another front-facing camera inside when opening the phone.
Samsung will release the Galaxy Z Flip3 on August 27, and you can pre-order yours now.
Two new smartwatches
There are two new iterations of the Galaxy Watch, along with a slight name change. The Galaxy Watch4 Classic is the standard model, whereas the Galaxy Watch4 is the “active” version more focused on sporty or outdoors scenarios. If you’re looking for the physical rotating bezel, that will be on the Watch4 Classic. The Watch4 will have a touch-sensitive one, like the one on previous Active models. The SpO2 sensor can track blood oxygen while you sleep, while other sensors detect snoring, helping to give you an overall sleep score.
Both watches will have working SpO2 sensors to measure blood oxygen. Samsung’s BioActive Sensor underneath uses a new chipset capable of capturing more health-related data in one shot. The only downside is that the electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood pressure monitor won’t work until Health Canada approves them. The tech is there inside the watch, so it’s just a regulatory matter at this point.
Body Composition is the newest tool in both watches, and one of the more interesting ones. It measures skeletal muscle, fat mass, body fat, body mass index (BMI), and body water. The idea is to give you a better sense over losing weight, building muscle or boosting your metabolism. It only takes 15 seconds when you apply two fingers to the watch, and Samsung claims up to 98% accuracy.
And last but not least, these watches will not run on Samsung’s Tizen platform, but rather Google’s Wear OS. It will still look like a Samsung watch because of the interface, only the underlying software is now Google’s. That means more streamlined app support and better integration with Android devices and Google Assistant. Any apps you download on your Galaxy smartphone get automatically downloaded to the watch as well.
Listening to the Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung is coming with another pair of true wireless earbuds in the Galaxy Buds 2. These replace the Galaxy Buds+, and come in three new colours to go with the traditional white. Olive, lavender, and grey round out a decent colour lineup, except the case’s outer shell is white, regardless of the colour.
The earbuds themselves are a bit smaller than the Buds+, though they do have more tech on the inside. Samsung includes both active noise cancellation (ANC) and ambient modes. You still can customize and control their features using the Galaxy Wearable app on your Android or iOS device. You can also switch between Galaxy devices while wearing them, like watching a movie on a tablet and then taking a call on your phone.
I haven’t had the chance to listen to them, so I don’t know how good the audio quality is, but it’s fair to assume they should sound better. I would also expect call quality to improve, though that also remains to be seen. Look for a review of the new Galaxy Buds 2 to come on the blog in the coming weeks.
Samsung announced all of these devices today, and you can set yourself up to get them when they launch on August 27. Pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold3 or the Galaxy Z Flip3, and look out for the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic and Galaxy Watch4.