Samsung’s annual summer launch event is almost here. The company will hold its August Galaxy Unpacked event on August 10th at 9AM ET, one year and one day after last year’s foldable-focused event. And, if rumors are to be believed, we’re set for lots of announcements consisting of a pair of foldables — the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 — a new lineup of smartwatches with the Galaxy Watch 5, and most likely some new earbuds.
We know there are foldables on the way because Samsung basically showed them to us in its promotional images and official trailer for its August 10th launch, and Samsung’s smartphone boss teased “new Samsung Galaxy foldables” in a blog post about the launch. The sheer quantity of Watch 5 leaks also has us pretty confident that it’s due for a reveal imminently. Last year also saw the announcement of a new pair of true wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds 2, and this year, we’re expecting to see the launch of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. We previously saw some renders of these last month, and a big last-minute leak seems to confirm they’re ready for the event itself.
Take note, no Note
Samsung used to use its summer launch events to announce a new generation of Galaxy Note phones. But last year, it skipped over releasing what would have been the Galaxy Note 21 entirely and officially confirmed it was discontinuing the brand earlier this year. Instead, the trademark features of the Note lineup have been integrated into the more premium devices in the Galaxy S range, with the Galaxy S22 Ultra sporting a Note-inspired design and built-in S Pen stylus.
In other words, don’t expect a Note 22 to be announced this week. Instead, here’s what Samsung could have on offer.
Galaxy Z Fold 4
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold devices are designed to pair the pocketability of a typical smartphone with the larger screen size of a tablet. That doesn’t look to be changing for the fourth generation of the foldable, which like last year, appears to pair a 7.6-inch internal folding display with a 6.2-inch cover display, according to a leaked list of specs posted by Twitter leaker Ice Universe.
Leaked press shots of the Z Fold 4 suggest it could also feature a very similar design to last year’s handset. They show a trio of cameras on its rear contained within an oval camera bump as well as what appears to be a centrally orientated hole-punch selfie cutout on the cover display.
But while the device as a whole appears similar, there are hints of some changes coming to this year’s phone. For starters, although the corner-to-corner size of the internal display appears to be staying the same, Ice Universe reports that the screen might have a slightly wider aspect ratio that’s closer to a square than the 5:4 aspect ratio we saw last time.
Reports suggest there are also some more tangible upgrades on the way. Obviously there’s likely to be a faster processor rumored to be a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 this time around, but it also looks like the Z Fold 4 could be getting a camera upgrade. Leaked specs suggest it’ll now feature a 50-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide, and 10-megapixel telephoto on its rear, according to Ice Universe — the same as what we saw on this year’s Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus. Last year’s model had a trio of 12-megapixel shooters instead, meaning we might be getting a higher resolution main camera at the expense of a slightly lower resolution telephoto.
Unfortunately, Ice Universe’s leaks suggest we might once again get an under-display selfie camera on the inside of the Fold 4, which was responsible for some truly mediocre shots on last year’s phone. It’s also reportedly still only 4 megapixels in resolution.
But perhaps the most interesting upgrade we might see with this year’s foldable comes thanks to Google, whose Android 12L update released earlier this year contains a number of optimizations specifically targeting large-screen devices. It’s also updating its own apps to work better on tablet-sized screens and pushing for third-party developers to do the same. These are all improvements that could lead to a better software experience on this year’s Z Fold 4.
Galaxy Z Flip 4
Leaks suggest we’re also in for a year of minor upgrades with the Z Flip 4, the next entry in Samsung’s lineup of clamshell foldables. Leaker Evan Blass has also published what appears to be official press renders of the Flip 4, which show a similar device to last year’s phone. There’s a two-tone design on the rear with a pair of cameras next to a small external notification display, and internally, it looks like we’re getting another hole-punch notch rather than an under-display camera (thank goodness).
That’s not to say there won’t be any noticeable changes. A couple of different leaks have suggested the Z Flip 4 might feature a less noticeable crease where the internal screen folds in half. Leaker Ice Universe reports that it’ll be “shallower” than the crease on the Z Flip 3, which certainly appears to be the case based on some apparent leaked photos of the device. That’s not to say the crease on the Z Flip 3 was especially problematic; my colleague Dan Seifert said he basically forgot about it after a couple of days of use, but hey, we’ll never say no to improved industrial design.
If leaks are to be believed, it won’t just be the internal display that’s getting some upgrades. Ross Young, a reliable source of display leaks, has said he expects to see a larger notification display on the Z Flip 4 of two inches or more rather than the 1.9-inch screen we saw on last year’s model. Other rumored improvements include a larger 3,700mAh battery and a faster processor, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1.
Galaxy Watch 5
Of all the devices on this list, we might have the best idea of what to expect from the Galaxy Watch 5. While last year’s Watch 4 range was divided into the standard Watch 4 and the Watch 4 Classic (which came with a fan-favorite rotating bezel), this year it looks like we’re getting a Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro — and there’s no physical rotating bezel in sight.
Images of the two smartwatches were made public at the beginning of July by leaker Evan Blass (who else?). The Watch 5 Pro seems to only be available in just one larger 45mm size (which will apparently allow it to pack in a bigger battery), while the standard Watch 5 will be available in two smaller sizes, widely presumed to be 44mm and 40mm, in line with last year’s Watch 4.
Details are slimmer on what new functionality the watches could offer. An FCC filing from June suggested we might see fast charging on this year’s models while another report claims we could see temperature sensing available (potentially useful to see if you have a fever).
Presumably, the watches will include support for Google Assistant at launch, whereas Google’s voice assistant only came to the Watch 4 months after its release. Given the huge splash Samsung and Google made about Samsung’s smartwatches running Wear OS rather than Tizen last year, it seems highly likely that the Galaxy Watch 5 will continue to run Wear OS 3.
Galaxy Buds Pro 2
We didn’t have a huge amount of leaks about the Galaxy Buds Pro 2 until just this week when WinFuture shared what it claimed were official pics and specs for the earbuds.
As per this report, we’re expecting the big features of the Buds Pro 2 to be a revised design and improved active noise cancellation whereby “even the loudest ambient noise” (to quote WinFuture apparently quoting Samsung) can be algorithmically muffled. Other specs include waterproofing up to IPX7, 10mm drivers, 360-degree audio, Bluetooth 5.3, and an eight-hour run time on a single charge, extendable up to 29 hours with the case. We’re assuming that eight-hour battery life is without ANC given that the Galaxy Buds 2 offered 7.5 hours of non-ANC battery and five hours with ANC turned on.
9to5Google previously reported that the earbuds could cost $230 (up from $200 for the original Buds Pro) and feature support for 24-bit audio, while WinFuture says they’ll be priced at €229 in Europe. Given last year’s more affordable non-Pro Galaxy Buds 2 were so good they undercut Samsung’s Pro models, the company needs to up its game to make the Buds Pro 2 stand out.
Although most of Samsung’s announcements typically leak ahead of events like these, there’s always some hope the South Korean company might have a surprise or two in store. Could we see the company announce new laptops? Some new smart home functionality for SmartThings? Or perhaps even the return of the Galaxy Home Bixby smart speaker? I’ll be honest, that last one’s unlikely. But it’s fun to dream, eh?