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Samsung’s foldable phones weren’t a phase, as Galaxy Unpacked 2021 proves

As someone who’s gotten hands-on experience with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2, Z Flip, Buds+, and other newer earbuds, let’s just say Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2021 (or rather, the virtual media briefing for it that I’d attended) had my attention.

If you’ve heard of new foldable releases from the tech giant through the grapevine, the event pretty much confirmed your suspicions. Samsung’s new lineup of devices include the:

  • Galaxy Z Fold3
  • Galaxy Z Flip3
  • Galaxy Watch4
  • Galaxy Watch4 Classic
  • Galaxy Buds2

Galaxy Z Fold3

Before we get into dry specs, let’s take a look at some of the interesting upgrades to this foldable phone. One of the first things you’d notice when unfolding the Z Fold3 would be the lack of a black camera hole on the screen.

This time, Samsung is finally unveiling its under-display camera (UDC). The tech is still rather new, and it’ll be interesting to see if it can overcome 2 shortcomings of current UDCs: poorer selfie quality, and a camera that’s still slightly visible on lighter wallpapers.

(Personally, I’ve never had an issue with bezels or that little black hole, so a phone without a UDC is not a dealbreaker for me.)

Not just a phone, but also not a full tablet

If you’ve lamented the lack of S Pen support for the previous Fold2 (like I did here), the Fold3 remedies that. It will support the S Pen Fold Edition (stored in the phone case) and S Pen Pro, two new releases from the brand as well.

In terms of functionality, there’s nothing too different from previous S Pens, though there are some quality-of-life improvements.

For example, when your screen is folded, you can press the button on the S Pen and double-tap it on the lower screen to bring up Samsung Notes. This means you can take notes at the bottom while watching YouTube videos of formulas or recipes, or in video calls.

One thing I noticed in Samsung’s videos (since it was a virtual showcase) demonstrating the use of the S Pen Fold Edition was that it didn’t seem like the users placed their palms on their screens. It does make me wonder how good the palm rejection for the Z Fold3’s screen will be, but that remains to be seen.

The S Pen Fold Edition is a welcome addition

Those concerned about water damage to their phones may be happy to learn that the Z Fold3 will carry an IPX rating of 8. Its predecessor carried no waterproof rating or IPX rating, but reviewers mentioned it could still survive a dunk.

Despite all that, a disclaimer is probably still necessary: please don’t bring it into pools or the beach (when the pandemic is less severe).

Cover screen display6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Main screen7.6-inch QXGA+Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Weight271g (11g lighter than the Z Fold2)
Application processor (AP)5nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor (2.84GHz + 2.4GHz + 1.8Hz)
ColoursPhantom Black, Phantom Green, Phantom Silver
Rear triple cameraUltra Wide: 12MP, F2.2
Wide-angle: 12MP, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.8
Telephoto: 12MP, PDAF, F2.4, OIS, Dual OIS, 0.5x out and 2x in optical zoom, up to 10x digital zoom, HDR10+ recording, Tracking AF
Cover camera10MP, F2.2
Under-display camera (UDC)4MP, F1.8
Battery4,400mAh (typical) dual battery
Memory12GB RAM with 256GB/512GB internal storage
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 specs

Galaxy Z Flip3

Previously, the cover screen of the Z Flip wasn’t much to shout about. I found practically no use for the small 1.1-inch display at the time, but the one on the Z Flip3 has almost doubled that size.

With a larger 1.9-inch display, you can scroll through your notifications and tap on them to read them, for example. You can also switch your music, adjust your phone’s brightness and loudness, and more.

I’ve always liked the cute clamshell design

Taking aesthetics into account, Samsung has now combined the cover screen and camera module for a more seamless, simple look too. The camera orientation has also been switched from being horizontal to vertical.

In the same vein, there’s a lot of focus on making the phone appeal to a wider and younger crowd, seeing as they’ve released a variety of case accessories to help users customise the phone to their style.

Cover screen display1.9-inch Super AMOLED Display
Main screen6.7-inch FHD+Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Weight183g (same as the Z Flip)
Application processor (AP)5nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor (2.84GHz + 2.4GHz + 1.8Hz)
ColoursCream, Green, Lavender, Black, with Samsung.com exclusive colours of Gray, White, and Pink
Rear dual cameraUltra Wide: 12MP, F2.2
Wide-angle: 12MP, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.8
Front camera10MP Selfie camera, F2.4
Battery3,300mAh (typical) dual battery
Memory8GB RAM with 128GB/256GB internal storage
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 specs

-//-

I’m not a smartwatch or wearables fan in general, so there’s not much I can comment on the Galaxy Watch4 and Watch4 Classic. However, its new OS is worth mentioning.

Previously, Samsung had teamed up with Google to announce that they’re combining Wear OS and Tizen to create One UI Watch, its new smartwatch OS that’ll debut with the Galaxy Watch4.

The biggest benefit to users is that they will no longer have to do multiple downloads. If you install an app from Play Store that has a watch app, it will automatically be installed in your Watch4. Any settings tweaked on your phone app will also be seamlessly synced and reflected on your Watch4 without further action.

Another device for fans will be the Galaxy Buds2. From my experience with the Buds+ and Buds Pro, I have faith in Samsung’s ability to bring yet another good true wireless earbuds to the market. (The Buds Live was fun-looking but not as functional as the more demure designs.)

It will carry over the active noise cancellation (ANC) feature found in the Buds Pro and Buds Live, which is an upgrade from the earlier Buds. Surprisingly, it will also have a 2-way speaker that’s found in the Buds Pro, which leads me to believe that it should deliver much better overall sound than the Buds and Buds+.

At the moment of writing, neither the prices of these new devices in RM nor their launch dates in Malaysia have been revealed yet, but watch this space for updates once we get those.

  • You can read our previous articles on Samsung devices here.

Featured Image Credit: Samsung

Categories: Lifestyle, Geek

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