Samsung executives and engineers showed off the latest phones, tablets, and earbuds at Galaxy Unpacked 2020 on Aug. 5. The virtual event streamed from Korea reflected the mixing of work life and home life many people are navigating during the coronavirus. With faster phones and bigger tablet screens, the new products can help people work hard and play hard, according to Samsung.
The company saved the Z Fold 2 for the second-to-last slot during the live event. Victor Delgado, Samsung’s director of strategic alliances for global mobile B2B, showed off the device along with some unboxing help from Korean super group BTS. His brief presentation covered some of the concerns around the first version of the foldable phone, namely the durability of the hinge, the gap between the two halves of the phone, and the strength of the glass screens. Samsung engineers got a few minutes in the spotlight to explain the mechanics of the hideaway hinge and the UTG glass. Delgado didn’t share any details about price or availability except to say that more information is coming in September.
TM Roh, the president and head of mobile communications at Samsung, closed the event with the promise that 5G and foldables will be the major pillars of the Samsung future, so there will certainly be more to come on both topics.
Meanwhile, preorders for the other devices start on Aug. 6 with deliveries to start on Aug. 21. Here’s a look at the devices that are most worthy of business budgets.
The Galaxy Note 20
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a bigger screen and a fancier camera but the Note 20 is the best choice for work. There are several productivity improvements in this release and the S-Pen got an upgrade as well.
Samsung engineers used artificial intelligence to improve the feel of writing with the S-Pen. They decreased the latency of the Pen and incorporated AI into the interface so that the device can predict the Pen’s next point of contact with the screen. These improvements bring the experience “one step closer to the feeling of writing on paper,” as one Samsung engineer described it during the live event.
Samsung has improved the Link to Windows feature as well to make mobile apps available on a Windows 10 PC and to sync tasks and reminders with Outlook.
The Tab S7+
While business users may not need to spend the extra cash for a bigger phone screen, it may be worth upgrading for the fancier version of Samsung’s latest tablet release, the Tab S7+. The 12.4-inch AMOLED screen offers more room to work with multiple apps at one time and better viewing during conference calls.
The keyboard also receives a few upgrades with this release. Both new tablets feature a wider touchpad with multitouch gesturing. The S7+ keyboard has a new sixth row of function keys, an expanded touchpad, and multitouch gesturing to create a more traditional PC feel combined with the portability of a tablet.
The Tab S7+ and the S7 are the first tablets with 5G capabilities available for purchase in the US, according to Samsung. These new capabilities, of course, can only be used if 5G is available in your area. There are still gaps in 5G coverage around the US, although Samsung users in Korea will be able to access these faster speeds now.
The Galaxy Watch3
The new watch has more options for staying healthy and connected even if your phone is not in your pocket. There are both Bluetooth and LTE models available. With the LTE version, a user can receive notifications and complete NFC payments using the Watch and Samsung Pay even if the phone is still at home.
This latest version adds more health tracking features including a measure of blood oxygen levels and an EKG monitor. The new sleep tracking app measures breathing, vitals, and REM cycles. A trip detection feature uses the accelerometer to detect when a user has tripped on a run or slipped down the stairs and has an option to send a custom SOS message.
Yoonie Park, the head of Galaxy S Flagship, global brand marketing at Samsung Electronics, said at the live event on Aug. 5 that these new health apps are not a replacement for medical care but taking the measurements can create a baseline of health.
Park said that the Samsung Health App offers 120 professionally designed fitness programs to help users get their exercise time in wherever they are.
The new watch is thinner and lighter than the last version and still has a bigger screen. The battery lasts two days, according to Samsung.
Galaxy Buds Live
This new product should help business people listen in on conference calls and participate with less background noise. Samsung’s new earbuds have a kidney-bean shape with no “awkward stems,” as Park described them. The company has reduced low-band background noise by 97% which allows the buds to drown out some sounds while letting others come through. These are Samsung’s first open-type headphones in the Galaxy series that let some noise from the room mix with the audio from the headphones.
“That way you can listen to your music without missing your subway stop,” Park said.
The buds also have three microphones and a voice pick up unit. The Music Share feature allows one user to share music or a podcast with another Buds user and control the shared volume level. Users can control music selections from the buds without pulling out the phone.
The case and the buds are made from recycled materials.