Samsung announced the latest batch of its Galaxy devices that includes smartphones, earbuds and watches at an event last evening.
The new devices include expected updates to its foldable smartphone lineup (unveiled around the same time last year) which comprises the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip devices. The immediate device in the latter series, the Galaxy Z Flip3, has been the bestselling foldable smartphone from the Korean device maker accounting for over 70% of all its foldable sales.
Galaxy Z Flip4
In this latest iteration, the Galaxy Z Flip4 comes with several improvements and feature upgrades even though its overall looks and design remain largely unchanged.
There are, for instance, straightened edges to complement the glossy metallic frames with the device’s shell itself being made from the company’s ‘Armor Aluminium’ material, something that the Galaxy Fold4 also benefits from. Samsung says that that is for “increased durability”. There’s Gorilla Glass Victus+ to cover the cover display and the main display area, further adding to their “durability”. Since we are talking about design, the Galaxy Z Flip4 keeps the IPX8 water resistance rating of its predecessor, something that, adding to its opening hinge mechanism (and the hinge has been strengthened here), truly sets it apart from other foldable devices out there except its sibling, the Galaxy Z Fold4, with whom it shares the latter feature.
The Galaxy Z Flip4’s cover display remains unchanged from the 1.9 inches on its predecessor, making it just big enough to handle most basic tasks and removing the need to flip open the device. The Galaxy Z Flip4 is just a glass flip phone, after all. The main display area, which is what you see and interact with when you flip the device open, also remains unchanged at 6.7 inches.
It packs a pair of 12-megapixel cameras at the back – one wide-angle and one an ultra-wide and a 10-megapixel selfie camera.
What many will like, though, is perhaps the upgraded battery. The Galaxy Z Flip4’s battery is now 12% bigger than the one on the Z Flip3.
Flex Mode, which Samsung is now calling FlexCam on the Galaxy Z Flip4, will still allow users to be able to do things like take photos with the device’s hinge partially open but now with better integration and support for their favourite social media apps, removing the need to use the stock camera app and then, later, transferring the same to Instagram, Snapchat and the like.
Galaxy Z Fold4
Like the Galaxy Z Flip4, the Galaxy Fold4 brings incremental updates to the Galaxy Fold lineup while cementing the lineup’s status as, perhaps, the one foldable smartphone that’s at the apex even more many are likely to go for its Flip sibling because of aesthetics as well as the elephant in the room: pricing.
Like its predecessor, it has a 6.2-inch cover display in that weird 13.1:9 aspect ratio and another 7.6-inch display when it’s opened up (tablet-style). It also comes with out of the box support for the S Pen, Samsung’s stylus even though, as it was with the Galaxy Z Fold3, there’s still nowhere to slot in the stylus when one is done using it.
In Kenya during the pre-order period, buyers of the device will be getting a free S Pen from Samsung.
The main camera gets a bump up to 50 megapixels for the standard wide-angle sensor which is backed by a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 10-megapixel telephoto lens. This telephoto lens has 3x optical zoom which is an improvement over the 12-megapixel lens on the Galaxy Fold3 that had 2x optical zoom. That’s at the back of the device. On the front, on the main display, is a 4-megapixel camera under the display. On the cover screen is a 10-megapixel camera.
Much as not much is changed, the Galaxy Z Fold4 still manages to sneak in a bit of history by being the first smartphone to ship with the tablet-friendly Android 12L, thanks to its large tablet-style display when opened up. This Android 12L is what makes Samsung pitch the device for its multi-tasking prowess as the software has been built around that.
Both foldable smartphones come with out of the box support for fast-charging (25W) but, according to reports, ship with no charger in the box.
Both devices also feature 120Hz refresh rates on their displays.
Like their predecessors, both devices have no expandable storage (read: microSD card slots) of any kind.
Both devices are, obviously, a part of Samsung’s new software upgrade direction and will benefit from at least 4 major software updates in their lifetime – clever speak for at least 4 years of major software upgrades and 5 years of patch updates. In short, if you bought one of these devices in Kenya, you can expect to have, at the very least, security updates to still be delivered by the time we go to the polls again in 2027.
Galaxy Buds2 Pro
These are Samsung’s flagship wireless earbuds this year and are an upgrade to the Galaxy Buds 2 that the company had previously released.
They pack a dual-driver setup like other Samsung earbuds available in the market right now. What sets them apart is the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature. They also come with a new Bluetooth version, IPX7 rating for water resistance (the Galaxy Buds 2, in comparison, had IPX2) and several other features (support for 24bit Hi-Fi Sound and 360 Audio).
Most of the Galaxy Buds2 Pro’s other features are everything that’s already found on the Galaxy Buds 2. Of course, it goes without saying that, while the latter will be cheaper, the Buds2 Pro are quite dear, at nearly Kshs 30,000.
Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro
Last year when Samsung debuted the Galaxy Watch 4 series, the excitement was the company’s move to team up with Google and bring the best of both (Android) Wear OS and its Tizen OS to watches from both companies.
This year, with the Galaxy Watch 5 series, there are further improvements. More on the hardware side than on the software side where they are still powered by One UI Watch 4.5, which is based on Wear OS 3.5 and the only visible updates are to Samsung Health and a bunch of already existing features like the sleep tracker and the like.
There’s a temperature sensor, finally!
The rotating bezel, which is a darling of many like yours truly on the Galaxy Watch 3, where it made a return after a brief hiatus missing in action and being mimicked by software on the Active watch models, is missing on the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro. Instead, the Watch 5 Pro has a design element that might cheat the eye that something of that nature exists only to realize that it’s just a concave bezel that has no functionality beyond just looking good – and consoling those of us who love the rotating bezel.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, obviously the superior of the two smartwatches, has a titanium body and a D-Buckle wrist strap. Compare this to the sapphire crystal display protection that Samsung says has up to 60% resistance to scratches.
Both watches have the same 5nm Exynos W920 chipset, 1.5GB RAM, and 16GB internal storage.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has a beefier 590mAh battery, a first for Samsung. Samsung says that, as a result, the Watch 5 Pro should go for up to 3 days or 80 hours of usage on a single charge.
Unlike the Galaxy Watch 5 which has two watch display sizes to choose from (40 and 44mm), the Watch 5 Pro has only one size: 45mm.
As is the case with the Galaxy Z Flip4 above, in some select markets, there will be a Bespoke version of the Galaxy Watch 5.
Pricing and availability
Pre-orders for the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Galaxy Z Flip3 open on August 11th and run through to the end of the month (August 31st).
Those who pre-order either of the devices will be getting a free phone cover from Samsung. Specifically for Galaxy Z Fold4 buyers, as mentioned above, they will be getting a free S Pen with their purchase.
Samsung is offering 24-months warranty and its Samsung Care Plus cover (which covers 1 accidental display damage within the first year of purchase – entitling the buyer to a free screen replacement).
The company has also partnered with phone trade-in company Badili to offer a trade-in service whereby those trading in older eligible devices for the Galaxy Z Fold4 will have Kshs 25,000 topped up over the traded-in phone value. The figure is Kshs 20,000 for those trading in an older device for a Galaxy Z Flip4.
For an undisclosed number of “limited” customers, they will also be able to enjoy interest-free financing during the first 6 months if they opt to get either of the devices through Samsung’s device financing partner Aspira.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is priced at Kshs 143,000 (12GB RAM, 512GB onboard storage) and the Galaxy Z Flip4 is going for Kshs 257,000 (12GB, 256GB onboard storage).