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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Samsung Unpacked 2020: Here is your ready reckoner on what was announced and why it matters

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra will have three cameras, and new colour options

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi |
Updated: August 6, 2020 8:40:18 am
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the largest Note device ever

Embracing what it calls the “next normal”, Samsung has announced its latest flagships, the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, and a range of other devices including a smartwatch that tracks oxygen saturation, BP and ECG readings. While there were no really big features in any of the device, they all push the envelope on what to expect from a top-end Android phone. And like Samsung has been doing for the past few years, with each iteration its flagships get better and more flawless.

Addressing the virtual audience at this year’s Samsung Unpacked event, T M Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, said it is strange how even as we kept saying tech can change the world, we forgot how the world can change us.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2, which Samsung got K-Pop icons BTS to unveil, take the foldable phone story ahead and has premium written all over it. But with the thinner body, this is a model that has been perfected from its earlier generation. The front screen is now wider, because a lot of people use the phone closed too, as we noted in our review of the Galaxy Fold last year. Having learnt from the first Fold, Samsung seems to have improved on a lot of features and elements in what is its third foldable phone in a year.

If there was one thing that captured everyone’s attention this time, it was the new mystic colours: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Green, Mystic Gray. All very unique, and all flowing across the multiple products announced at the event.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has the largest screen in a Galaxy Note yet with 6.9 inches and offers a refresh rate of 120Hz which will endear it to gamers and make the S-Pen doodle look way smoother than before. Both the Galaxy Note 20 series phones have a 108MP wide-angle main camera flanked by a 12MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto lens. Also, Samsung is trying to stay away from the quad camera craze with the Note series, where t is saying three is more than enough. Also, on the front, there is just one 10MP front camera. So more is not always better. But Samsung is promising “cinema-quality video recording”, not all companies with three caremas at the rear can say that.

But what makes people choose a Galaxy Note instead of a Galaxy S series flagship is the S Pen. With the latest version, Samsung has announced syncing of Samsung Notes to OneNote one the PC, thus making the phone an input device for the PC in a way. There is nothing else here that we have not seen before.

There is the Galaxy Tab S7 in 11 inches and the Tab S7+ at 12.4-inch with the S-Pen now tucked away in a groove a the rear of the device. The tablet offers new multi-window options with up to three screens at the same time. The display will offer 120Hz again, so it could be picked up from some gamers too, not just compulsive doodlers. The tablets now come with a better keyboard with a trackpad and shortcuts, almost like a Windows PC. That is a clear challenge to the iPad Pro series.

The Galaxy Watch3 is in a way designed for the new normal we are all living in now and comes with the ability to measure and track oxygen saturation over time, a good indicator of a Covid-19 infection. Plus, there  “cuff-less blood pressure and electrocardiogram” measurements, but only in select markets. Also, the watch will alert pre-designated contacts if the user takes a fall. So this is the perfect watch for the pandemic-induced lifestyles we are all going to be stuck with for a while.

The new Samsung Buds Live will come with active noise canceling and sync with all other Galaxy devices. So again a challenge to the AirPods Pro and Samsung is claiming is nice cancelling and call quality will be way better.

So while there is no big headline feature, the Samsung series for the pandemic times is better and more relevant.

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