Samsung go for a foldable future as 5G Galaxy Note20 unveiled

Galaxy Note20

In launching its 2020 luxury smartphones with the flagship Galaxy Note20, Samsung said its future lies with something else it unveiled – the foldable smartphone.

The new Samsung Z Fold2 has a front display screen so it can be carried around like a phone with an interior screen that can be opened to allow it to be used like a mini-tablet, depending on what a user needs at the time.

“Going forward, 5G and foldable will be the major pillars of Samsung’s future,” Dr TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, predicted at the company’s first Galaxy Unpacked virtual event from South Korea.

Samsung’s first foldable phone was released last year and turned out to be a flop, partly because it was too fragile even after the company delayed its release in an effort to deal with the issue.

The new version, Galaxy Z Fold2, has a 6.2-inch cover screen and a massive main screen of 7.6-inches, both larger than the Galaxy Fold. Samsung promises it is far more durable with ultra-thin glass and tougher hinges for unfolding the device. A price and specifications will be made available on 1 September.

Both Galaxy Note20 smartphones support both 5G networks and for the first time, Samsung’s tablets, Tab S7 and S7+, also support the 5G networks. Galaxy Note20 Ultra is US$300 more expensive than the Galaxy Note20 and there are differences in the specifications between the two smartphones.

Galaxy Note20, Samsung
The five devices released by Samsung at its first virtual Galaxy Unpacked event.

Samsung is hoping the US$1,000 Galaxy Note20 (128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM) and the US$1,300 Galaxy Note20 Ultra (128GB storage and 12GB RAM) will prove popular, even when hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs globally in the coronavirus pandemic. Samsung lost the crown of the world’s biggest selling smartphone maker to Huawei in the last quarter. Samsung’s smartphone shipments dropped 29% from last year in the April-June quarter, according to research firm International Data Corp.

Five devices were revealed during Galaxy Unpacked: Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra; Tab S7 and S7+; Galaxy Watch 3; Galaxy Buds Live; and Galaxy Z Fold2, Samsung stated in a media statement.

Comparing the Galaxy Note20 to the Galaxy Note20 Ultra reveals the cheaper version lacks features like a high refresh rate screen, microSD storage expansion and periscope zoom lens. Galaxy Note20 is 6.7 inches long, whereas the Note20 Ultra is 6.9 inches long.

Both smartphones share the S Pen, which has been improved. They support fast charging, wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. Samsung is also using the brand new version of Gorilla Glass that’s marketed as more resistant to scratches. They both have stereo speakers with Dolby technology, IP68 water resistance and ship with Android 10. Both can record video at 8K and support external microphone options. DeX now works wirelessly (via Miracast) and both phones have some important new Microsoft software tie-ins. Digital assistant Bixby is also on both versions.

Galaxy Note20, Samsung
Galaxy Note20 Ultra smartphone is everything Samsung has learned from and the latest innovations.

Note20 Ultra is as close to all-screen on the front as you can get, with a small hole punch and smaller top and bottom bezels. The camera bump will get you noticed. It’s raised. Note20 Ultra has a massive 6.9-inch 1440p OLED display capable of refreshing at 120Hz. It has three cameras on the back, a wide-angle camera is 108 megapixels, with two 12 megapixels including a periscope. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, which is slower than Apple’s A13 Bionic processor from last year. Samsung has removed the problems with the 108 megapixel camera sensor found on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, The Verge stated.

Galaxy Note20, earbuds
Galaxy Buds Live come with three microphones and Voice Pickup Unit so you can feel like you’re in the same room as your loved ones, even when you’re apart.

The Note20s also have a new finish, which Samsung calls ‘Mystic’. It is a textured finish on the glass that should improve the issue of fingerprints. The Note20 Ultra is available in bronze, black and white. The Note20 is in bronze, gray and green.

The Galaxy Note20 series and Tab S7 series will be available from 21 August, 2020.

Apple has indicated its next generation iPhones will be launched in October

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