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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: back to the folding flip phone future. Samsung Galaxy z flip series

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: back to the folding flip phone future

It’s not often something comes along to genuinely change the game, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip does just that, bringing foldable displays closer to the mainstream and reinventing the flip phone for 2020 in the process.

Screens that fold in half finally arrived last year with the Galaxy Fold, which was originally plagued by durability issues causing a delay and a reworking of the device.

The £1,300 Galaxy Z Flip is therefore Samsung’s crucial second bite at the cherry. And it’s a very impressive one at that.

Instead of a tall smartphone opening out into a square tablet, the Galaxy Z Flip is a tall smartphone that folds in half like mid-2000s flip-phones. I won’t beat about the bush: folding and unfolding the Galaxy Z Flip is a tremendous experience.

The hinge opens and will hold the screen at any angle, similar to a laptop. It’s smooth and reassuringly solid. What you can’t easily do is flip it open with one finger, but you probably shouldn’t even if you could because the screen is fairly fragile – more on that later.

Closed, the phone is a compact wedge shape with little rubber feet and magnets holding the two ends together. You’ll be able to fit it in most s, including the often useless-for-phones tiny s women are burdened with.

There’s a small 1.1in oblong screen on the lid of the device adjacent to the main camera. It shows the time, the battery charge and a little notification dot if there’s something waiting for you. Double tap to light it up, swipe left for music controls and right for notification icons, which you can tap and see a little bit with scrolling text. It’s useful when you want it, but also easy to ignore, freeing you somewhat from the burden of notifications.

Open it out and the 6.7in screen is remarkable. It looks and feels just like one of Samsung’s regular super-sized smartphones, which is a very good thing, apart from one caveat: there’s a crease in the middle. You can feel it, and get a reflection on the screen and you can see it.

What feels weird at first under your thumb immediately becomes normal. It’s more visible when the screen is black, which makes the Galaxy Z Flip the first phone that looks worse in dark mode. You can’t see it while browsing a white web page or similar.

The crease is one of the compromises of having a massive screen that rivals the very biggest smartphones available today, but that folds down into a small, able package. I think it’s a worthy trade-off for now.

The power button doubles as a fast and accurate fingerprint scanner, mounted below the volume buttons on the upper half of the phone.

Durability concerns

The screen works, looks great and the hinge feels sturdy. It’s rated for more than 200,000 folds, which is 100 openings a day for 5.5 years. It has nylon fibres in the hinge to literally sweep dust and dirt away as you open and close it, while the edges of the folding part have plastic T-shaped caps to try to block dirt from getting in that way.

But there’s a massive question mark over the screen’s durability. It comes with care instructions wrapped around it in the box, including advice not to press hard on the screen with hard objects, such as your fingernail; don’t fold something else in when closing the phone; the phone isn’t dust or water resistant; don’t put stickers or screen protectors on it; and keep the phone away from credit cards as it has magnets in it. You can’t say you haven’t been warned.

I was only given three working days to test the device and in that time it worked perfectly. Others haven’t been so lucky. Realistically you need at least several months of daily use to truly know if it will stand the test of time.

Then there’s the scratch resistance of the glass screen: basically there isn’t any. It uses ultra-thin glass that can fold, which is remarkable, but it’s covered in a plastic layer and is so thin it’s easy to poke holes in. The screen is fairly well protected when closed, but it’s possible to get grit in between the two halves, while pushing hard with your fingernail could damage it.

Samsung is offering a one-time £99/119 display repair service, but after that you’re looking at a hefty cost in the region of £400.

All in you have to treat it with the respect deserving of a £1,300 device, and even then you might run into trouble. If you’re at all blasé with the way you treat your smartphone, this isn’t for you.

Solid performance, about a day’s battery

The Galaxy Z Flip has Qualcomm’s top-of-the-range chip from late 2019, the Snapdragon 855, not this year’s top chip, the Snapdragon 865. It also has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which isn’t expandable with microSD.

Performance all-round was good. Snappy, fast and smooth, similar to the Galaxy Note 10, but not as Rapid as the best, the OnePlus 7T Pro despite having the same chipset. If you’re into hardcore mobile gaming this isn’t the phone for you.

Battery life was solid but not quite up to the standards set by the very best last year. The Galaxy Z Flip lasted about 27 hours between charges of medium to heavy usage.

That was while using the phone as my primary device, lots of email, messages and push notifications, a couple of hours browsing, five hours of Spotify via Bluetooth headphones, 45 minutes of Netflix and about 10 photos.

The Galaxy Z Flip has relatively slow 15W charging, taking close to two hours for a full charge, but has wireless charging and wireless powersharing to wirelessly charge something else from the phone’s back, such as a set of earbuds or a smartwatch.

One UI 2

Samsung’s version of Android 10 is called One UI 2, which itself is an evolution of One UI launched on the Galaxy S10 last year.

One UI 2 treats the phone’s screen differently to most other versions of Android. Broadly speaking the top half is for displaying information, while the bottom half is used for bits you have to touch and interact with. It’s a clever use of space helping you reach the bits you have to tap (with the exception of the notification bar), which is useful for a screen as long as the Galaxy Z Flip’s.

As too are Android 10’s gestures: swipe up from the bottom for recently used apps, or across the bottom to switch the last used apps. Swipe in from either side for back. It’s simple, fast and easy to use on big-screen phones.

Samsung has also made great strides in the speed of Android updates over recent years, bringing One UI 2 based on Android 10 as an update to the Galaxy S10 line in around three months from its release by Google.

Overall, One UI 2 is a pleasing form of Android to use, with useful additions and, importantly, the full Google suite of apps and services, from which competitor Huawei is barred from using due to US trade sanctions.

Camera

The Galaxy Z Flip has two 12-megapixel cameras on the back, one normal and one ultra-wide, and one 10-megapixel selfie camera peeking through a small hole in the top of the screen.

The rear cameras are good but not class leading. The main camera shoots excellent pictures in good lighting, deals relatively well with high-contrast scenes with the addition of an HDR mode, but starts to struggle in middling light conditions. Images shot in the foyer of a theatre suffered from a bit of grain and noise.

Likewise, the camera doesn’t have the best low-light performance, although the automatic Night Mode helps. The ultrawide works great in good light, but the lack of a telephoto camera is disappointing.

The selfie camera is reasonable, shooting detailed images in good lighting, but again struggles in middling light, unexpectedly producing some blurry pictures. I got better results closing the phone, double-pressing the power button to bring up the main camera, which shows a small preview in the cover display.

Samsung’s camera app has a load of tricks. One of the most interesting is the “single take” mode. Press the shutter button and let it run until you think you have enough. The camera shoots photos, videos and produces gifs all at once, showing you a portfolio of content at the end from which you can pick and choose the best. If you’re not sure what will work best, this mode is for you.

You can also prop the phone up by closing it part way and use either the selfie camera or the main camera, which works as a makeshift tripod producing some interesting results.

Overall the Galaxy Z Flip is a fun camera to use, but won’t win any awards. It’s good enough, just not the best – but that’s not what you’re paying for here.

Observations

  • The Galaxy Z Flip is not water or dust resistant at all, in contrast to most modern smartphones
  • There’s no headphone socket
  • You can feel a dip in the screen where the selfie camera pokes through
  • There’s just one speaker in the bottom of the phone
  • The glass backs have small gaps between them and the frame of the phone that trap dust and hairs
  • Call quality was excellent on both ends of the call on EE’s 4G network

Price

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip costs £1,300 and is available in either black or purple.

A special colour version is available as part of the Thom Browne Edition, which includes Galaxy Buds, a Galaxy Watch Active2 and other parts for £2,280.

For comparison, the Galaxy Fold costs £1,900 and the Motorola Razr is available exclusively through EE on plans starting at £94 a month. Samsung’s non-folding Galaxy Note 10 costs £999.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is a tantalising, desirable look at one possible future of the smartphone.

A big phone that folds into a compact square is surprisingly pleasing to use, much easier to and has the side benefit of adding a bit of distance between you and your phone. Unfolding it and unlocking it is much more of a deliberate act than it is to glance at a traditional flat phone, potentially helping you avoid notification overload.

It looks great, makes you stand out and feels solid, like the premium, cutting-edge product that it is. It’s exciting, different and delightfully tactile. But only having had three working days with it, I just can’t tell you whether it’ll go the distance. Months of daily use is the only thing that will really test the Galaxy Z Flip’s durability.

Buy the £1,300 Galaxy Z Flip if you want something different, but only if you can stomach the uncertainty surrounding its durability. You might get three years of problem-free use out of it, but then you might not. Only time will tell. But looking at the sea of boring metal and glass slabs, many of which are similar in price to the Galaxy Z Flip, I want one, and maybe you do too.

Pros: a screen that folds in half, big screen made able, stands on its own, good camera, day battery life, exciting and different, One UI 2, good gestures, wireless charging and powersharing, nano SIM and esim

Cons: durability unknowns, no dust or water resistance, high cost, no headphone socket, no telephoto camera, no expandable storage

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The History of Samsung’s Foldable Galaxy Z Series Phones

How have Samsung’s foldable phones changed since they were first introduced in 2019? We take a look at the history of the Galaxy Z series.

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Samsung’s foldable Galaxy Z series is just getting started, but within the short period the series has been around, the company has made plausible advances. Unsurprisingly, the company’s foldable phones are some of the best on the market.

Let’s take a look at the beginnings of Samsung’s foldable phones, and what changes they’ve gone through over the years up to this day.

19: Samsung Debuts Its First Foldable Phone, the Galaxy Fold

Samsung launched its first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, in 2019, expanding its premium line in addition to the long-running Galaxy S series and the discontinued Galaxy Note series. However, the Galaxy Fold wasn’t the first smartphone with a foldable screen. That title goes to the Royole FlexPai, made by a less-known Chinese company Royole, unveiled in October 2018.

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As Samsung’s first foldable phone, the device had a disastrous beginning. Days after its February 2019 launch, Galaxy Fold review units faced a wide range of problems that forced the company to recall all of them. Because of the issues, Samsung had to postpone shipping to look into the Galaxy Fold’s problems. It was only later in July 2019 that the company finally figured it out and pinned a new launch date in September 2019.

The first Galaxy Fold had a 7.5-inch inner AMOLED display that can fold in a book-style manner, plus a secondary 4.6-inch 720p panel on the outside for easy tasks like chatting, browsing, making calls, and catching up with social media updates. With an asking price of 1980, the Galaxy Fold wasn’t cheap.

Besides the folding chops, it offered flagship-grade specs under the hood like 512GB UFS 3.0 storage, 12GB RAM, Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 855 processor, 15W wired and wireless charging, and a capable camera system, identical to the company’s then-flagship Galaxy S10.

20: Major Transitions

After the mess that was the 2019 Galaxy Fold launch, Samsung did lots of heavy-lifting in the background from that point. In 2020, the company launched the second generation Galaxy Fold, the most significant upgrade to the series to date.

The second-gen foldable phone also saw Samsung revise its foldable naming scheme, and introduce the Galaxy Z series. Using the new scheme, the second-gen Galaxy Fold was named the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

For the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung’s primary FOCUS went on making the device more robust. The hinge was sturdy (to ensure the company didn’t face another PR disaster) and could stand at any angle. Samsung also refined the design, with the exterior receiving a modern look similar to the Galaxy Note 20 series that launched the same year.

The company swapped out the 7.3- and 4.6-inch inner and cover panels on the predecessor for larger 7.6- and 6.2-inch panels, respectively. To wrap it off, it made the usual upgrades to the internals to make it on par with flagship-grade smartphones, such as bumping up the fast charging speeds, beefing up the battery, upgrading the processor, and more.

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The Galaxy Z Fold 2 wasn’t the only foldable from Samsung in 2020, though. The company also unveiled the clamshell Galaxy Z Flip under the umbrella of Galaxy Z series branding. The first Galaxy Z Flip had a 6.7-inch FHD AMOLED display on the inside and a smaller 1.1-inch panel on the outside for keeping up with notifications.

Like the Galaxy Z Fold 2, the Snapdragon 865 5G powered the Z Flip running in tow with 8GB of memory and 256GB storage.

The idea behind the Z Flip series was to introduce a normal-size smartphone that could fold in half, unlike the unconventional Z Fold range, plus it provided a lower entry point in terms of price. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Z Flip launched at 2000 and 1450, respectively.

21 to 2022: Refinement

Following the solid foundations set in the previous year, Samsung’s foldable phones had fully matured, and the company didn’t have anything game-changing to reveal at its launch event in 2021. It just picked up from where it left by refining the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Z Flip’s successors.

One major thing to note is the company never launched a Z Flip 2—the successor to the original Z Flip is the Z Flip 3, which was to help reduce confusion by bringing the version number into line with the Fold.

For the Galaxy Z Flip series, the Flip 3 maintained the dual 12MP camera array but placed them in a vertical module. The 10MP selfie camera and the main 6.7-inch panel stayed intact. But Samsung bumped the outer one to 1.9-inches. Other areas like the exterior also saw slight upgrades, while under the hood, nothing changed much except the processor upgrade to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888.

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Moving to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the same refinement theme was mainly maintained, with most critical features staying the same or receiving a minor upgrade. But besides the refinement, Samsung officially added stylus support, which was a big deal for its Z Fold series.

Another small but welcome change that Samsung brought with the launch of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 was support for IPX8 water resistance, a first for its foldable smartphones. Also, the duo received a new Armor aluminum frame on the exterior and Gorilla Glass Victus atop the display to help improve drop and scratch resistance.

A year later, in 2022, Samsung unveiled the more refined Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4. The Z Flip 4 looks like a typical slab smartphone at just 0.27 inches thick when unfolded, making it thinner than Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S22 series.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Fold 4 is more compact and introduces a higher 1TB storage option, faster charging, and slight camera upgrades. To top it off, it runs Google’s big screen-focussed Android 12L to improve the software experience.

What Does the Future Hold for Samsung’s Foldable Phones?

According to Samsung, more than 70% of its foldable sales came from the clamshell Z Flip series in 2021. Perhaps that could indicate that consumers want to maintain their typical smartphone form factor and still gain the folding experience on top. With over 10 million foldable phones sold in 2021, Samsung’s Z series has a bright future.

Unlike at the beginning, the series is more refined and robust, which helps build consumer confidence. Hopefully, the production cost for foldable smartphones will reduce in the future to help reduce the retail price. With an affordable price tag, more consumers can jump on board, and Samsung’s foldable phones will truly start to take off.

Foldables are cool, but they’re not as good as Samsung wants you to think they are

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When many people think about the best foldable phones, I think the idea that resides in their minds is a smartphone that can transform into a tablet. It is the ultimate blend of productivity and portability. While the technology is still young right now, in the future, the dream is that you will have a device without compromise. That means what you will have in your hand will be a powerful, compact, durable, and, most importantly, affordable foldable smartphone. Samsung is widely hailed as one of the pioneers in the foldable smartphone space, and rightfully so, as it has four iterations of its Galaxy Z Fold and also four iterations of its Galaxy Z Flip line. Millions of customers have experienced foldables in a mass-market product, and Samsung takes credit for it.

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But Samsung is also often criticized for not innovating, and in recent years, this is probably true. With little competition in the United States, the company has had no reason to really push the boundaries on its flagships and on its foldables. But on the flip side, its iterative updates year after year give it the most mature and refined lineup out of any manufacturer offering foldable devices. While there’s a case for foldable smartphones like the Galaxy Z Fold, I feel like the same can’t really be said about the Galaxy Z Flip. Samsung delivers its latest Galaxy Z Flip 4 with the taglines:

compact. Improved battery. Faster processor. Tougher design. Better low-light pics.

These are five pillars that Samsung is leveraging when it comes to advertising why you should buy its Galaxy Z Flip 4. It focuses on the size of the phone, how much battery life it has, its computational power, tougher design, and a camera that can perform in all scenarios, but especially in low light. But I’d argue that most of these are the reasons why the Galaxy Z Flip 4, or the Galaxy Z Flip line for that matter, shouldn’t even exist. Although the Galaxy Z Flip series has become popular, I think it’s mostly due to it being a novelty and, more importantly, its affordability.

As a long-time user of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, I made the choice to skip the Flip 4 and move on to something different, despite Samsung offering tremendous trade-in promotions on its latest foldable models. For me, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 just simply didn’t match the expectations or the experience of a traditional smartphone. I think for all of us, there’s a baseline expectation at this point, and the Z Flip just doesn’t meet that standard for me. Some might think that the opinions expressed here are blasphemous, but I urge you to have an open mind, and I also urge you to share your experiences with the Z Flip because I’d love to hear them.

Short and stout

I can still remember the rush that I felt when I unfolded the Z Flip 3 for the first time. But just as quickly as the feeling had come, it quickly dissipated as soon as I folded it shut. Was it supposed to be like this? I imagined my first time with a foldable would feel more surreal. Maybe my expectations were too high. Not really thinking too much of it, I went through the setup process, looked through menus, and spent some time getting to know the phone. From that day forward, it was going to become my primary device, replacing my Galaxy S20 Ultra.

samsung, galaxy, flip, review, back

Perhaps one of the first things that I noticed was that I didn’t like the thickness of it in my It’s probably something that I should have been expecting looking over the specifications. While the phone had a smaller footprint, in my pants, it didn’t feel more compact. The fact that the phone had become twice as thick made it difficult to stash in a pant compared to a regular smartphone. Now, you can stow it away into a bag, and this scenario is a bit better, but again, you run into the same issue of thickness. The volume of the phone remains the same, it’s just changed shape, and I think not for the better.

This part is purely subjective, so you either prefer a smartphone that is tall and thin or one that is short and thick. At this point in time, you really can’t have the best of both worlds, but Samsung doesn’t even really hit the sweet spot, but I think eventually we’ll get there.

Battery life was always something to watch out for

The Galaxy Z Flip was the phone that I relied on every single day. I’d have train commutes where I’d listen to a couple of hours of music and sometimes even hop on Google Maps for navigation. Sometimes I’d need to perform translations, and of course, there was communication through apps like WhatsApp, Line, and Google Voice. Sometimes I’d watch videos or get in some light gaming, pretty much just normal everyday use. I’ve never been a power user when it comes to smartphones, and I have generally been able to get by with just moderate battery drain after a full day’s use. But with the Galaxy Z Flip, things were different.

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I never managed to kill the battery, but I was always forced to be mindful, sometimes even enabling the power-saving mode to ensure that it would get through a full day when out and about. Sure, the phone packed a lot of power with its robust processor, but on the flip side, the battery life felt insufficient. Maybe my experience was a bit skewed, especially coming from a device that had a 5,000mAh battery and dropping down to a phone that has 3,300mAh. But looking back, plenty of phones that came out during that time had batteries large than 3,300mAh. I know there’s obviously a limitation when it comes to the construction of a foldable, but I think when you’re plopping down 1,000 for a phone, it should have a battery larger than 3,300mAh.

Imagine if Samsung released a traditional Galaxy phone for 1000 that looked amazing and it came with a battery that size, you wouldn’t hear the end of it. I think a lot of people give the Z Flip a pass because the phone folds, but in the end, it’s the consumer that has to sacrifice. This is a classic case of form over function. But the sad part is that the form doesn’t really add anything to the experience. I’m well aware of Flex Mode. But come on, I don’t think anyone really needs their app to be squished into a small window just so we can get access to clunky controls and features that make the experience go backward.

Tougher shell, but the display still was relatively delicate

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The Galaxy Z Flip is touted as having a tougher design, fortified by Corning’s Gorilla Glass, offering IPX8 water resistance and an Armor Aluminum frame. As far as the display goes, Samsung’s Ultra Thin Glass provides enhanced durability that has been tested through 200,000 folds. Perhaps the best thing foldable phones have going for them when it comes to durability is the fact that they can fold up to protect the display. But when you open the phone, it’s a different story.

I don’t know about everyone else, but when I used the phone for the first few months, I felt like I had to baby it. After a while, I got used to the experience, but no matter how much I tried to treat it like a normal phone, there was always a part of me that was concerned. It never felt like it was on par with a normal phone. Maybe I was overly protective of the display? But seeing enough horror stories online made me realize that no matter how protective I was, the display was just another part to be concerned about when I really shouldn’t.

Better low-light pics

The image quality of the Z Flip hasn’t been the best and was always a little bit behind Samsung’s flagships. The same applies to the Z Flip 3, and the same can be said about the Z Flip 4. This part is a little trickier to discuss because, in the past, Samsung has made a conscious effort to offer a lower-quality experience from its higher-end lines as a cost-cutting measure. It’s hard to say whether that kind of practice is still occurring in its latest model, but regardless, the quality of the cameras is good, it’s just not going to beat out other phones in the same price group. I hate to sound like a broken record at this point but again, for a 1000 phone, we are looking at sacrifice and compromise, and in one of the worst ways possible.

Foldables have their own compromises, so know what you are getting into

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I think we can kind of see a trend and where my mindset is after exploring just some of the pillars about the latest Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 or the Z Flip line as a whole. When it comes to owning or using a foldable smartphone like this, there are just compromises. You’re either okay with that somewhere in the middle, or you aren’t. But I think where I tend to get hung up the most is the amount people are paying for this experience.

Of course, maybe the compromises mentioned above aren’t dealbreakers for you, but for me, I just can’t stand it when I’m actively using it every day. But, I’m grateful that I got to experience it because without actually living with a foldable smartphone, you really just won’t know.

These are just some of the personal reasons why I think the Galaxy Z Flip line doesn’t need to exist. If Samsung is just taking a slab phone, a design that has been pretty much refined to the point of perfection, and then just adding a crease to it at the expense of convenience, battery life, durability, and features, this is when I think we need to step back, rethink the product line as a whole and ask ourselves how the Z Flip line can be better.

As a reminder, this isn’t a piece written to try and incite ill feelings, it’s just an opinion, and after all, these are just products. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Z Flip line, especially if you’ve found that the phone actually improves your experiences on a day-to-day basis.

The Biggest Rumored Samsung Gadgets to Expect in 2023

If history is any indication, new foldables and wearables could be in store.

Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom’s Guide.

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Samsung already launched several new phones this year, including the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy A54 5G. But assuming the company sticks to the same launch schedule as previous years, there’s plenty more to come in 2023. Samsung typically introduces new foldables and wearables in August, and the company also previewed new design concepts for bendable phones and tablets earlier this year.

Though Samsung regularly releases new products across many categories, including TVs, home appliances and monitors, I’m most interested in where its mobile devices are headed. Samsung is one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers by market share, meaning it has more influence than most other tech companies on the devices we carry in our s each day. Wearables have also become a large part of how Samsung intends to differentiate its phones from those of other Android device makers. It’s a strategy to create a web of products that keep people hooked, much like Apple’s range of devices.

Here are the rumored Samsung products I’m most excited to see this year, based on rumors, leaks and the company’s usual product launch schedule.

Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung’s next phone-tablet hybrid will likely support the S Pen just like the current version. But the question is whether the S Pen will be included with the device, or if Samsung will continue to sell it separately.

A report from The Elec suggested the Galaxy Z Fold 5 could be the first to have an embedded S Pen. That not only means the stylus would be included free of charge, but the phone would also include a slot for storing it, just like on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and S22 Ultra. If you want to use an S Pen with the Galaxy Z Fold 4. you have to purchase it separately, and there’s no mechanism for attaching it to or storing it in the phone without buying a case.

It’s a seemingly small addition, but one that could make the Galaxy Z Fold 5 much more useful as a productivity device. It would also give the Galaxy Z Fold 5 a clearer purpose and could boost its appeal among early adopters, artists and notetakers. Samsung could target the same audience of shoppers that’s usually interested in the Galaxy Ultra or its previous Galaxy Note devices.

But a more recent report from ET News indicates the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will not include a storage slot for the S Pen.

Among the biggest changes, however, is expected to be a new hinge that could result in a thinner design. Korean news outlets The Elec and ET News, as well as prolific leaker Ice Universe, have reported that Samsung will implement a new water-drop-shaped hinge for the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

Samsung typically releases new foldable phones in August, so we expect to hear more around that time frame. In addition to the rumors around an included S Pen, the Z Fold 5 will likely have the routine upgrades to the processor and camera. What I’m really hoping for, however, is new software that makes better use of the phone’s giant screen, along with a foldable display with a less noticeable crease. That’s especially true now that Google has announced the Pixel Fold, giving the Galaxy Z Fold some fresh competition.

Galaxy Z Flip 5

Samsung’s.friendly foldable will also likely get an upgrade around August, just like the expected Z Fold 5. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 already gets a lot of things right, and it’s one of the most practical and affordable foldable phones available. Yet there are plenty of ways Samsung can and should improve the Z Flip. Samsung’s flip phone could benefit from a larger cover screen, longer battery life and an upgraded camera that brings it closer to those found on the Galaxy S series, for example.

But the biggest reason I’m interested in seeing what’s next for the Z Flip is because of its price. The phone starts at 1,000 and is often available for less with an eligible trade-in, making the price similar to that of a standard, non-foldable premium phone. Samsung also kept the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in its lineup and dropped its price by 100 following the Z Flip 4’s launch. That further suggests the Z Flip is shaping up to be Samsung’s more affordable foldable phone option.

A Galaxy Z Flip 5 with a newer processor, better camera and larger cover screen for the same price as the Z Flip 4 (or perhaps a little cheaper) could be one of the most compelling foldables yet.

Galaxy Buds 3

If Samsung’s history is any indication, the Galaxy Buds 3 could arrive this August. Samsung released the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in August 2022 while the standard Galaxy Buds 2 launched in August 2021. That timeline suggests Samsung’s regular, non-Pro earbuds may be due for an upgrade.

We haven’t seen many leaks about upcoming Galaxy Buds yet. However, given that the regular Galaxy Buds are meant to be a more affordable alternative to the Pro model, we can probably expect them to cost significantly less than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Those earbuds are usually priced at 229 compared to the 150 Galaxy Buds 2. Although we don’t know what to expect, the Buds 3 could benefit from better water resistance and noise cancellation.

Galaxy VR headset

It’s already shaping up to be a big year for virtual and augmented reality headsets. Apple is expected to introduce a VR headset, and the Playstation VR 2 just arrived in February. Samsung has been surprisingly absent from the VR space in recent years, but that could change soon.

Samsung announced in February that it’s working with Qualcomm and Google on a new mixed-reality platform. The company did not mention whether any specific products are in development, nor did it provide a timeline for future mixed-reality hardware or services.

“It’s more of a declarative announcement about how we are going to get it right in trying to build the XR ecosystem,” TM Roh, president of Samsung’s mobile division, said through a translator in an interview with CNET ahead of the announcement.

The reveal comes after a report from ETNews suggested Samsung would release an extended-reality headset for developers in 2023, according to an English translation of the story.

Since there aren’t many details, it’s difficult to know what to expect. But Sameer Samat, Google’s vice president of product management for Android, said during Google I/O 2023 that the company will share more about its “immersive XR” partnership later this year.

A new type of Galaxy foldable

Samsung hasn’t said much about its future smartwatch plans, aside from revealing that its new One UI 5 Watch software will debut on new watches later this year. There also haven’t been many leaks or rumors about the Galaxy Watch 6 yet. But if the company follows its usual schedule, we should see new Galaxy Watches in August.

One of the few leaks to have surfaced so far comes from a well-known leaker who goes by the name of Ice Universe. According to this person, the beloved rotating bezel will return to the high-end version of the Galaxy Watch 6. Another, more recent leak, from Steve Hemmerstoffer, better known by the alias OnLeaks, also indicates there will be a rotating bezel. He shared renderings with the blog MySmartPrice that purport to show what one of the new Galaxy Watch models, reportedly called the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, will look like.

Otherwise, the upcoming watches will likely have the same health sensors found in the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro, which include those for measuring body composition, blood oxygen and taking an ECG, among others. There’s also a skin temperature sensor that still isn’t active yet in the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro.

Samsung’s Exynos W920 chip that powers the Galaxy Watch 5, enabled better performance for faster app launches and for 3D graphics like emoji avatars. It’s unclear whether Samsung will develop a new chip for the Galaxy Watch 6, but I hope to see longer battery life regardless. Since Apple and Qualcomm have both made efforts to expand the functionality of smartwatches in low-power mode, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Samsung take this route too.

Samsung is already experimenting with different opportunities for its wearables and phones to work together in new ways. For example, it recently announced a software update for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro that will enable the buds to capture 360-degree audio when recording video with a Galaxy phone. It also expanded the Camera Controller app for the Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 to include zooming support. Hopefully we’ll see more of this with the Galaxy Watch 6.

We’ll know more about Samsung’s future plans as August gets closer. But if Samsung’s 2023 launch cycle is anything like last year’s, we can expect to see new foldables and more.

Author

Kerariel

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