After the headlines were on Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series early this year, now the spotlight goes to their foldable, tablet, and smartwatch line. At the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked July 2023 event, the company showcased the new Galaxy Fold5, Galaxy Flip5, the Galaxy Tab S9 series, and the Galaxy Watch6 line.
This year’s devices offer improvements from their predecessors, though some more than others. Ahead of the event, I got to see the new devices first-hand. Here are the need-to-know details:
Samsung Galaxy Fold5
Samsung has seemingly settled into a rhythm with the Fold series. Last year’s Galaxy Fold4 saw only minor improvements to the device, which is the same story this year with the new Samsung Galaxy Fold5.
So what are those minor improvements then? Well, for those who are picky about the crease on foldable devices, the Galaxy Fold5’s new implementation may interest you. There is a new hinge equipped with the phone that helps make the crease a little less apparent.
I did not have a Fold4 on hand, and it has been quite some time since I got to experience it, but it does seem like there is less of a crease. I’ll have to get them side by side to be sure. Still, looking at it from an angle near a light source will inevitably make it more obvious.
What is certain is that the Fold phone is easier on the hand than it has ever been. Samsung has made the Galaxy Fold5 thinner and lighter — dropping the weight by 10 grams to 253 grams, and reducing the thickness by 2.4mm to bring it to 13.4mm. Those numbers may not sound like much, but holding and using the device feels remarkably better.
Users will get the same 6.2-inch outer display and 7.6-inch full unfolded screen, but they will be able to enjoy an increased 1,200 nits in HBM (high brightness mode) and a peak of 1,750 nits, up from 1,000 nits and 1,300 nits respectively.
The latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will power the smartphone — no surprises there — and Samsung were keen to promote its gaming capabilities during the showcase presentation. Speaking of gaming, it seems that there will be some sort of support from Twitch that will make use of the Galaxy Fold5’s folding feature, separating the chat and live stream into two halves when folded.
The taskbar has also been slightly improved upon, with up to four recent apps now available for users to quickly switch and pin on the screen. An enhanced two-handed drag and drop is also featured, allowing users to do things like hold an image in Samsung Gallery with one finger and use another finger to drag and drop it into another app, such as Samsung Notes. There’s also a “hidden pop-up”, which lets you run an app in the background in a floating pop-up on the side of the screen.
Samsung Galaxy Flip5
The change from the Galaxy Flip4 to the Galaxy Flip5 is a very noticeable leap in contrast.
The cover screen on the Flip series has largely garnered mixed reactions from users — a good idea in theory, but the small size of the screen ultimately did not make it as practical as it could have been. This year’s edition receives a much-welcome change for that aspect, with a new 3.4-inch display (which Samsung dubs Flex Window) adorning the cover.
Having a bigger 3.4-inch screen allows the phone to convey much more information than before. One of the widgets presented a full-sized calendar, with enough space to show any events you may have previously booked. It also makes for a better viewfinder for the camera function when taking pictures while folded, showing off more of the background.
If widget functionality isn’t your thing, the larger cover screen at least presents more options for cool wallpapers you can use to personalise your phone. A couple of vibrant ones took advantage of the increased size and looked great aesthetically. Users can also match the face design with their Galaxy Watch6 Series if they so choose.
Besides the improved cover screen, the Galaxy Flip5 also comes with a new hinge which allows it to fold flatter than its predecessor. It looks like the device is more flushed when folded, which will help with the thickness a little.
While the Galaxy Flip5 similarly receives the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip for its processor, not much is changed spec-wise. So it’s still the same screen, camera system, and battery capacity equipped for this device.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Series
It has been over a year since the last Samsung tablet device was released, but the company is back with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Series.
Just like before, it comes in three models this year — the Galaxy Tab S9 (11-inch), Tab S9+ (12.4-inch), and the Tab S9 Ultra (14.6-inch). The Galaxy Tab S9 Series is largely an iterative line, with much of the same specs as the Galaxy Tab S8 line, but there are a few new additions.
Namely, those who frequently bring out their tablets will have less to worry about as the Galaxy Tab S9 Series brings IP68 water and dust resistance, so it should be more secure if users ever get caught in the rain. The same IP68-rating also applies to the in-box S Pen. Additionally, Samsung revealed that new stands are available, one of which is catered to outdoor use.
The three models will also share the same Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays, ensuring no compromise between each device. They will also have 20% larger quad speakers, delivered by the AKG speaker system.
In terms of performance, all three tablets will also be equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. Samsung also claims that the Galaxy Tab S9 Series will be the most heat-efficient tablet line they’ve made yet, with an internal vapour chamber and a new two-way heat dissipation system implemented internally.
Galaxy Watch6 Series
Smartwatches also get a mention with the announcement of the new Galaxy Watch6 Series.
Within the line, there will be a regular Galaxy Watch6 and the more premium Galaxy Watch6 Classic. The big headline of the Classic model is that it will see a return of the rotating bezel, a feature that many users like from Samsung’s smartwatches.
The Galaxy Watch6 is set to come in 40mm and 44mm sizes, while the Classic will be available either in 43mm or the new 47mm size. Samsung also says that the former will have a 30% slimmer bezel, and the latter will get a 15% thinner rotating bezel.
Additionally, the new smartwatches will have a brighter screen to view (peak brightness of 2,000 nits) and a bigger battery for longer use. How long a smartwatch will last is entirely up to an individual. Still, for context, the Samsung representative told me that his 47mm Galaxy Watch6 Classic typically lasts him two to two and a half days from his personal use. Samsung also says that eight minutes of quick charge will roughly translate to eight hours of use.
For watch bands, Samsung now offers new one-click bands which users can easily mix and match — allowing for over 400 unique combinations.
Features-wise, a new Personalised Heart Rate Zone feature analyses a person’s physical capabilities, helping define five optimal running intensity levels for users setting personal goals. Samsung is also doubling down on sleep aid, providing Sleep Score Factors to help users understand the quality of sleep, giving additional individualised Sleep Messages for detailed feedback, showcasing a user’s Sleep Consistency, and also offering a designated Sleep Animal Symbol to represent a person’s sleep type.
These devices will be publicly available from 11 August 2023, with pre-orders starting today. They can be pre-order from the Samsung Online Store, or the official shops on e-commerce platforms like Lazada, Shopee, and KrisShop. Pre-ordering will also allow buyers to pick up their devices early on 4 August 2023.
You can grab the Samsung Galaxy Fold5 at a starting price of S$2,398 for the 256GB version. Among the colour options available are Icy Blue, Cream, and Phantom Black, with Blue and Gray being the Samsung Online Store’s exclusive variants.
The Galaxy Z Flip5 will cost S$1,498 for the 256GB model and S$1,678 for the 512GB one. In terms of colours, you can select between Mint, Cream, Graphite, and Lavender. The Samsung Online Store offers exclusive colours for Green, Blue, Yellow, and Gray.
The Galaxy Tab S9 Series’ Wi-Fi versions retail at S$1,128 for the Galaxy Tab S9, S$1,388 for the Galaxy Tab S9+, and S$1,688 for the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. Two colour options are on offer for consumers to choose from: Beige and Graphite.
Finally, the Galaxy Watch6 will start at S$448, and the Galaxy Watch6 Classic starts at S$598. Users who want the Galaxy Watch6 can get the 44mm in Graphite and Silver, while the 40mm variant comes in Graphite and Gold. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Watch6 Classic is available in Black and Silver for both the 43mm and 47mm options.
That wraps up the big details from our hands-on with the devices ahead of the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked July 2023 event—an exciting blowout for sure, with the Samsung Galaxy Flip5 being my personal highlight.
If you’d like to find out more information on all the devices that Samsung has revealed, you can head over to their Official Website.
Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Team.