It’s no secret that Samsung is essentially the undisputed king of the burgeoning foldable screen device realm.
The Korean tech powerhouse has poured a fortune into R&D, and that gambit has provided big returns as the company devours more market share.
So it wasn’t a huge surprise that the more exciting announcements at this week’s Unpacked event revolved around the foldable offerings, with the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 owning centre stage.
Samsung saved some glory for its smartwatch and earbud wearable updates as well.
Samsung President TM Roh said, “Foldable users have enthusiastically embraced what we have created. Their response is our biggest motivation to push forward, and that’s why we are committed to this journey of seeking new possibilities for mobile innovation. … What was once a novelty three years ago, is now the preferred choice for millions.”
And research firm IDC backs that bold statement up—with foldable mobile phone sales reaching 7.1 million units in 2021, an increase of 264.3 per cent from the previous year.
“The recent success of the foldable devices from Samsung has given new life to the category as competitors rush to enter the market,” Anthony Scarasella, a research manager at IDC, said in the February report. “
We expect more players to attempt to take share away from Samsung as the form factor grows in popularity,” he said.
CRN takes a look at the five big updates to Samsung’s foldables and wearables.
Galaxy Z Fold4 ups camera game
Samsung seems to have taken the less-is-more approach with upgrades to the Galaxy Z Fold4.
It’s not that the upgrades aren’t impressive, but there isn’t a radically different experience, either.
One place where there is a major upgrade, however:
The cameras have been upgraded to the stunning quality found on this year’s Ultra S22 mobile phone lineup.
The phone unfolds to a near-tablet experience and features a new 50-megapixel main camera and Samsung’s impressive “nightography” system that allows phenomenal low-light performance.
With this phone at the very top of its game, pricing is NZ$2849.
Galaxy Z Flip4 improves software
Samsung’s clamshell Galaxy Z Flip4 may play second fiddle to the flagship Fold, but the lightweight foldable still packs a hefty punch.
The year-over-year changes for the Flip are relatively minor, but improved battery life may be enough of a selling point for many foldable enthusiasts.
Its folded height is about 1.5mm less than its predecessor and has slimmer bezels.
With a dual rear camera, external cover display (featuring improved software and functionality) and water resistance, this may be the compact foldable users have been dreaming about. It is priced at NZ$$1699.
Launch colours include Graphite, Pink Gold, Bora Purple and Blue.
Galaxy Watch5 brings uprated battery
Many reviewers were down on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 series’ stingy battery life, so the company addressed that major complaint with bigger batteries in the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro.
Samsung is also promising better durability and a nifty new skin temperature sensor.
The new watches feature sapphire glass normally found on luxury analogue timepieces, giving users a scratch-free experience.
While all batteries have been improved, the Pro model offers an even larger battery in a larger body.
The watches offer a wide range of options starting at NZ$499 for the Bluetooth-only model whereas the Pro model starts at NZ$749.
Galaxy Buds2 Pro with 24-bit audio
Samsung is hoping to get a leg up in the highly competitive earbuds market with its Buds2 line of audio products.
With a 15 per cent smaller design, the company touts a more comfortable experience with better tech like active noise cancellation, voice detect and ambient mode to better converse in the real world.
The new buds offer a better audio experience as well, supporting 24-bit high-fi audio utilizing Bluetooth. The Buds2 are priced at NZ$379.
New gear will be more Earth-friendly
It’s no secret that corporations are taking environmental concerns seriously.
Samsung took time during the Unpacked event to talk about its incorporation of recycled materials into its new product designs.
The company is using recycled fishing nets in materials used to make the Z-series foldables and the Galaxy Buds2 Pro.
“Samsung is taking consistent and impactful actions that help protect people and the planet,” Roh said.
“We marry sustainability and innovation in everything we do. … It’s been a humbling experience that enables us to continue on our journey towards achieving our sustainability vision,” he added.