Samsung improves the formula for latest fold and flip phones
As expected, Samsung has today launched the latest generation of its folding smartphones. The Fold4 and Flip4 handset are joined on the Unpacked event stage by 5th-gen smartwatches – which debuts a new Pro model – and a new pair of true-wireless earphones.
"Samsung Galaxy foldables are built on the foundation of our openness philosophy, enabling new possibilities with complete customization both inside and out," said the company's Dr. TM Roh. "Created in collaboration with our world-class partners, the next foldable devices offer unparalleled mobile experiences that meet the needs of our most dynamic users."
The Galaxy Z Fold4 is said to be Samsung's "most powerful smartphone yet" and is the first device to ship with Android 12L, a special version of the mobile operating system created for "large-screen experiences, including foldables."
Designed to fold to smartphone-like dimensions of 67.1 x 155.1 x 15.8 mm (2.6 x 6.1 x 0.62 in) at the hinge or 14.2 mm (0.55 in) at the edge to fit in the pocket before unfolding to tablet size when more display space is needed, the handset features a 6.2-inch AMOLED cover screen at 2,316 x 904 resolution and an adaptive refresh rate that runs from 48 Hz to 120 Hz, which is also home to a 10-megapixel selfiecam.
The big screen inside folds out to 7.6-diagonal-inches and offers 2,176 x 1,812 pixels at 21.6:18 aspect. This main display also boasts an adaptive refresh rate but this time runs from 1 Hz to 120 Hz. Though you may not notice it, there's a 4-MP selfiecam here too – which is hidden under the display thanks to an all-new scatter-type sub-pixel arrangement.
The Fold4 is built around Qualcomm's latest mobile platform, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, with support from 12 GB of RAM and up to 1 TB of storage, and is reported to boast much-improved multitasking chops. Users can now look forward to a Taskbar layout that offers a PC-like UI, new swipe gestures, and instant switching from full-screen apps to pop-up windows or split-screen views.
Google apps now support drag-and-drop functionality so users can easily copy and paste links, text and photos between apps, and Meet gives folks the power to share experiences, such as having a video watch party with friends or even playing games with others over a video chat.
The tablet-like main display can serve up side-by-side Microsoft Office documents, and there's support for S Pen onscreen doodling and note-taking as well. When using non-optimized apps in Flex (part-folded) mode, videos can be paused and photos zoomed in courtesy of the new Touchpad feature.
The smartphone/tablet comes with a triple camera array made up of a 50-MP wide-angle main camera with Dual Pixel autofocus and optical image stabilization, a 12-MP ultra-wide and a 10-MP telephoto, the latter with snappy phase-detection AF. Samsung has included a 23% brighter sensor and enhanced image processing, too.
In addition to 5G mobile connectivity, users can tap into Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, and the phone's 4,400-mAh battery supports fast-charging, wireless charging and wireless energy transfer to compatible devices.
A water-resistance rating of IPX8, tough aluminum frames, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ for the cover screen and rear plus the main display's optimized layer structure all combine to help make the Fold4 something of a tough cookie.
The Galaxy Z Fold4 is up for pre-order now for a starting price of US$1,799.99.
For clamshell lovers, Samsung has updated its Flip smartphone to the fourth generation. New features include upgraded camera tech, a bigger battery and even more customization options.
This model is reported to come with a slimmer hinge than before, along with straightened edges and features a 6.7-inch FHD+ (2,640 x 1,080) AMOLED main display with an adaptive refresh rate than runs from 1 Hz to 120 Hz, plus there's a 10-MP selfiecam with an 80-degree field of view.
The cover gets a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED screen at 260 x 512 pixels, and allows users to make calls, reply to texts, unlock the car (in certain markets) and control the SmartThings Scene widget without opening up the phone. New clock designs and backgrounds are available for this display, and users can personalize the cover and main displays with custom fonts, icons and designs.
The Flip4 handset runs Android 12 with a One UI 4.1.1 skin, and is powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset for processing speeds up to 3.2 GHz. It can be optioned with 8 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of storage.
There's a dual camera rear array comprising a 12-MP F1.8 wide and a 12-MP F2.2 ultra-wide, and Samsung has partnered with Meta to optimize a hands-free video/selfie photo mode called FlexCam, so that content is displayed at its best on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
Users can start recording vids using the main camera in Quick Shot mode, and then partially fold the handset for hands-free FlexCam operation without missing a beat. Quick Shot also now allows users to snap a selfie photo in portrait orientation, and preview in photo ratio.
Rounding out the specs is a 3,700-mAh battery that can be fast-charged up to 50% in 30 minutes or so, wireless charging is also supported, as is power sharing with compatible devices. That Snapdragon chipset makes for 5G mobile connectivity and well as LTE, there's Wi-Fi 6E cooked in too, along with Bluetooth 5.2.
The Galaxy Z Flip4 is also up for pre-order now, starting at $999.99.
The Galaxy Watch5 series smartwatches were launched at today's Unpacked event as well, which adds a new family member.
The update to last year's Watch4 is available in two AMOLED always-on display sizes – 1.2-in (30.4-mm) at 396 x 396 resolution or 1.4-in (34.6-mm) at 450 x 450 pixels. Either way, the Wear OS Powered by Samsung smartwatch has Exynos W920 dual-core processing brains with support from 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage.
The wearable comes with the same BioActive Sensor technology that was introduced on its predecessor, which combines optical heart rate, electrical heart rate and bioelectrical impedance analysis on a single chip. But thanks to an increased surface area allowing for more direct contact with the user, Samsung is promising improved accuracy.
This triple sensor works with a temperature sensor, barometer, gyro, geomagnetic sensor and light sensor to keeps tabs on such things as blood oxygen levels, stress levels, temperature, blood pressure and ECG as well as heart rate and sleep patterns. And SmartThings integration allows the device to control connected lighting, AC units and even the TV .
There's been a 13% increase in battery capacity compared to the previous generation, and durability gets a bumps thanks to a Sapphire Crystal display. It can be used with Google Assistant, Spotify is joined by SoundCloud and Deezer for tunes on the go, and Google Maps is being added as well to allow for navigation sans smartphone.
The Watch5 is up for pre-order from today, pricing starts at $279 for Bluetooth only or $329 for LTE.
The new series addition is the Watch5 Pro, which Samsung describes as its most durable and feature-packed watch to date. This flavor also runs on the Wear OS 3.5 platform, is powered by the same Exynos processor as its 5th-gen sibling, and comes with the same memory and storage.
It's been built for outdoors enthusiasts, and pairs a titanium case with Sapphire Crystal, is sealed to 5 ATM and IP68, and certified to MIL-STD-801H rugged standards.
There's a 1.4-in, 450 x 450-resolution AMOLED touch display up top, GPX hiking and cycling routes are available for the first time on a Galaxy Watch, and the wearable includes a relatively large 590-mAh battery, up 60% on the Watch4.
The Bluetooth version of the Watch5 Pro starts at $449, while it's $499 for the LTE flavor.
The final items on the Samsung Unpacked mobile menu are the Galaxy Buds2 Pro true wireless earphones, which are reckoned to be 15% smaller than previous designs, rock a fit developed to prevent rotation in the ear for a more secure fit, benefit from active noise cancellation, have been built around a coaxial two-way speaker, and can handle 24-bit audio while also rock a new hi-fi codec.
The new Pro buds will set you back $229.99, and are up for pre-order now in graphite, white or purple.
General availability for all of the new Samsung devices is pegged for August 26.