Samsung really wants you to buy a foldable phone. At its second annual Galaxy Unpacked event, the company didn’t show off a new version of its long-standing Galaxy Note series, which is what Samsung watchers may have expected to see. Instead, the the company debuted two new iterations of its folding phone designs. Say hello to the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3.
This virtual event also featured two new smartwatches—the Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic—the first wearables running Wear OS 3, the Google-owned operating system that’s being codeveloped with Samsung and Fitbit. And what’s a Samsung event without a new pair of wireless earbuds? The company has been releasing earbuds at a steady clip since the Buds of 2019. After that came the Buds Plus, Buds Live, and Buds Pro. Today, we get the Buds2. That naming scheme doesn’t quite add up, but at least the new wireless earbuds look nice.
Here’s a breakdown of what these new gadgets are all about. They’re all available for preorder now, and they go on sale August 27.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 and Flip3
Samsung currently sells two folding smartphone models: one that opens like a book called the Fold, and another that opens like a compact mirror called the Flip. The Fold is for anyone who wants a mini tablet in their pocket; the closed phone opens up to reveal a large 7.6-inch screen. In its folded state, a large touchscreen on the front allows you to use it as a normal phone. But the Flip is for anyone who has ever complained about how big phones are getting these days; it’s the snazzy compact phone for you.
Neither of the two devices unveiled Wednesday—the third iteration for each—reinvent the formula, but both phones have meaningful upgrades that make them more reliable as everyday gadgets. For example, the Fold3 and Flip3 finally have water-resistance ratings (IPX8), so they can take a dunk in the bath and still function fine. The main displays on both phones use a new protective film that’s 80 percent more durable and scratch-resistant than the last versions, and the glass on the back and front is the latest Gorilla Glass Victus, which is 50 percent more durable than the Gorilla Glass 6 used in the prior versions.
Even the aluminum frame and hinge are 10 percent stronger and lighter. And having a lighter phone is important, especially on foldable designs, which can be chunky and heavy. So the Fold3 shrinks a bit. It’s 11 grams lighter and 0.8 mm thinner than the last Fold.
Both the Fold3 and Flip3 are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chip, which powers most flagship phones this year, including Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series. That means there’s robust 5G support in both devices too.