Samsung Galaxy Unpacked launch live: last-minute rumors on Galaxy Fold 5, Flip 5, Watch 6 and more


As relatively minor as it might seem in the grand scheme of phone upgrades over the years, I think I’m most excited by the larger cover screen on the Galaxy Z Flip 5. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not that I expect this exterior screen to become massively more useful by becoming larger – you probably won’t start using it to WhatsApp people or anything – but it could probably do more, and add a lot more personality to the phone at the same time. Take a look at this picture of the new Motorola Razr.

Motorola Razr Plus (2023)

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

I love the way the pattern on the screen complements the design of the phone, and having widgets such as music control gives you useful extra options without having to flip the phone open. It makes the cover screen on the Galaxy X Flip 4, below, look Stone Age in comparison.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review Bora Purple cover display

(Image credit: Future / Alex Walker-Todd)

BTS star and Stray Kids will be at Unpacked

It seems that phones won’t be the only big names at Samsung’s event – there’ll be some K-Pop stars there according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

The report says:

“BTS’s Suga and boy band Stray Kids will likely attend Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event on Wednesday, according to Samsung.  
‘Suga and Stray Kids will be appearing at the Unpacked event. But they will likely only attend the event without special performances stages planned,’ a Samsung Electronics spokesperson told the Korea JoongAng Daily on Wednesday.”

Now, I find it a little surprising that the Samsung spokesperson says they will “likely” only attend and not perform, because if anyone would know, it would be the people planning the event. But perhaps negotiations are on-going…

It’s possible we could learn about Samsung’s plans to incorporate AI into its One UI version of Android today. While there’s no real reason the phones need AI, every other company is doing it, so why shouldn’t Samsung?

There certainly are some interesting use cases for it in theory – fast email and text replies, productivity tools to summarise documents, a new digest in the morning, or a big upgrade to Bixby that can answer questions in depth. Whether those answers are accurate or not is another question, but there’s definitely scope for AI in phones.

Still, regardless of what Samsung isn’t planning, what it is planning is big enough for our US Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff, and Senior Staff Writer Axel Metz, to travel to Seoul to see. Their current state can be generously described as “a bit jet laggy”, but they’re there and ready to work. Actually it’s about 4pm there as I write this, so they might already be knocking off for some after-work drinks. As long as they come back by 8pm, that’s fine…

Those are the big four areas where we’re expecting launches from Samsung at Unpacked. We’re not expecting any laptops or VR headsets based on the current rumors, even though the company has form in both – and VR headsets have obviously become a hotter topic again after the Apple Vision Pro launch. 

But the rumors have been that Samsung is taking its own plans there back to the drawing board after seeing what Vision Pro is capable of. Or maybe those rumors are just being spread by Apple execs.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE looked like the rest of the family (Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

The one thing we’re not sure about (or maybe two)

The reason we know with certainty what Samsung is going to launch is thanks to our friendly neighborhood product leakers. In the days and weeks leading up to an event, as Samsung (or Apple, or Google…) prepares for the product launch, more and more details, photos, and actual products get shared widely. As the ship grows, it gets leaky. 

We’ve seen supposed photos and renders of just about every product that we’ve mentioned for Samsung Unpacked, except for the Galaxy S23 FE phone. Of all the new products, the FE devices have the spottiest track record for product launches. In fact, rumors suggest that a scheduled Galaxy S22 FE device was cancelled fairly late into planning, and the S22 never saw a bargain Fan Edition phone. 

It seems like a cheaper Galaxy S23 FE is more likely this year, or at least this generation, before the Galaxy S24 is launched early next year. We just haven’t seen any recent leaks, photos, or rumors about this device after we learned some disappointing news about its possible Exynos processor inside. 

It’s possible Samsung doesn’t want to muddy the crystal clear waters of its flagship product launch with a bargain phone. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 will likely be the company’s most expensive smartphone. The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra will be the most expensive Android tablet for sure, if the Tab S8 Ultra is a guide.

This is a party for the stars and the spotlight. It may not be the right venue to invite the fans. 

4. Galaxy Watch 6

The Galaxy Watch range looks likely to get two models: the simpler Galaxy Watch 6 and a Watch 6 Classic that brings a more traditional design to your wrist. We’re expecting a new processor with hopefully better battery life, more health features, and most significantly that Samsung will switch to wearOS for its smartwatch software, which could open up lots of new possibilities for these watches.

3. Galaxy Tab S9, Tab S9 Plus, Tab S9 Ultra

It’s also very likely that we’ll see a Galaxy Tab S9 family of tablets, including a possible papa bear Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra and mama bear Tab S9 Plus. The last Galaxy Tab S8 family was launched almost a year and a half ago in February, 2022. That older tablet is in need of an update.

The biggest news is that the base model Galaxy Tab S9 may use an OLED screen this year. In the past, the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus and Ultra models used OLED displays, while the Tab S8 base model used an LCD screen. This year could see all of the tablets using the high-contrast tech, which would make the more affordable model an excellent media tablet – especially if it has HDR support (though maybe Samsung will hold this back for the higher-end Tabs).

2. Galaxy Z Flip 5

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 should also get the mobile platform upgrades and design improvements that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 sees, including a hinge design that can close completely shut. We’re expecting a bit more from Samsung’s flip foldable, though. 

The cover display on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will see a major improvement, becoming a much larger screen that is actually usable for apps and features, not just notifications. Of course, it is unlikely that Samsung is going to top Motorola’s big 3.6-inch Razr Plus cover display, but the Z Flip 5 should be a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Z Flip 4 – this might be the best year-on-year improvement of the devices today.

Okay, let’s talk about what we expect from the actual products today.

1. Galaxy Z Fold 5

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 looks likely to get some year-over-year upgrades that are politely known as “incremental.”. The design will reportedly use an improved hinge that should let the two halves close shut, similar to the way the Motorola Razr Plus can close – that fill make it feel smarter and sleeker, no question. Otherwise, it should keep the same taller aspect ratio. 

Inside, we’re expecting a new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, similar to what the Galaxy S23 uses. We haven’t heard whether the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will get any special tuning on the Snapdragon platform.

There should be a camera upgrade on the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but we’re not expecting this phone to take on our favorite camera phone of the moment, the Galaxy S23 Ultra. We’ve heard that there will be new sensors on board to improve image quality, but not serious zoom or any world-beating improvements.

Can Samsung finally take foldables mainstream?

The big question for the fifth generation of Flip and Fold isn’t just what they’ll do and look like (though we’ll get to that, don’t worry), but whether Samsung can finally truly take the technology mainstream. As we mentioned before, they’re pretty popular in Korea, but less so elsewhere in the world – despite some pretty aggressive advertising campaigns (in the UK, where I am, Samsung has a big push going on to persuade people to switch to the Flip 4 from iPhone, even though the Flip 5 will be here imminently).

Are we getting to make or break time for folding devices globally? That’s what TechRadar Staff Writer Michael Allison explores in this piece.

Of course, long-term Samsung watchers will remember when August was for Galaxy Note releases rather than folding releases, but those days have passed [gazes wistfully into the middle distance].

Now, the classic Note is basically the Galaxy S23 Ultra, and the Galaxy Fold phones are the next level of note, giving you a bigger screen to write and draw on.

This late July launch is a departure for Samsung, which usually releases its foldable phones in late August. Of course, we may see an announcement today but with sales starting much later. 

But it’s possible that Samsung just doesn’t feel it can wait any longer. The Google Pixel Fold and Motorola Razr Plus both hit the market in June, giving those amazing foldable phones plenty of time to worm their way into people’s minds before the next Samsung phones come to play.

You probably saw at the top of this blog that the event will start at 4am PT / 7am ET / 12pm BST / 9pm AEST, which unusual in the world of global tech releases – but it’s 8pm in Seoul, South Korea, and that’s where the event is happening.

Why Seoul? Well, apart from Samsung being South Korean, Korea buys more folding phones than any other market, so it makes sense for the local hero and foldable phone leader to launch its big new folding phone there. A leaked press release claims that the adoption rate for foldable phones is 13.6% in South Korea, placing it well ahead of the rest of the world, where foldable phones are a single-digit phenomenon.

What we expect 

We have a pretty good idea of what’s coming based on earlier reports and our previous experience. We’ve already got a good run down of what to expect from from Unpacked, but we’re also cool with recapping here. 

Among the expected announcements, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 take center stage, continuing the innovative legacy of foldable smartphones that the Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 furthered. With improved software, sleeker bodies, and enhanced functionality, these new devices are likely to steal the show.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review Bora Purple open acute angled 16:9

(Image credit: Future / Alex Walker-Todd)

But that’s not all; Samsung’s product lineup extends beyond smartphones. The Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic are rumored to be on the horizon. These will compete with the Apple Watch and provide integration with the Samsung ecosystem, expected to be completed by the Galaxy Tab S9 family.

Welcome to Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2023

Samsung is gearing up for its second significant Unpacked event of the year in a matter of hours, and this time, the event’s taking place in its hometown, Seoul, South Korea.

A Samsung Unpacked 2023 invite

(Image credit: Samsung)

The company is all set to unveil the latest additions to its acclaimed Samsung Galaxy family. TechRadar’s Lance Ulanoff and Axel Metz are right on the scene, ready to deliver real-time updates as the event unfolds. Stay tuned for the exciting announcements!

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.

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