The beginning of the year is always a fruitful time in the tech world.
If you’re a lover of all things mobile, Samsung Unpacked is an annual gem sandwiched between CES and the Mobile World Congress.
What happened this year, then?
Well, with MWC 2020 canceled due to coronavirus concerns, Samsung Unpacked still remains uppermost in our minds. The event was streamed worldwide from one of the S20 handsets forming the main product launch for 2020.
We’ll get right down to business and highlight the key takeaways from Samsung Unpacked so you can see what’s on the horizon if you’re an Android fan.
The Ever-Expanding Samsung Galaxy
- S20: A Trio of Models
- Galaxy Z Flip
- Galaxy Buds+
- Smart Speakers: Galaxy Home and Home Mini
Galaxy S20: A Trio of Models
20 years ago, Samsung launched their debut camera phone.
Fast forward to 2020 and cameras are the primary selling point across the new Samsung Galaxy S-Series.
You could almost argue that these new devices are cameras with phones rather than phones with cameras.
Apple recently bypassed iPhone 9 to celebrate the device’s tenth anniversary with iPhone X. Samsung are storming into a new decade by supplanting the S10 with the crop of S20s about to drop.
Expect 3 distinct models:
This base model comes in both 4G and 5G versions.
- S20+ 5G
- S20 Ultra 5G
Before we highlight the key differences between this trio of forthcoming S-Series phones, what can you expect that’s new for 2020 and is it worth upgrading your older Galaxy for?
S20 for 2020: What’s New?
The first benefit of the new line of S20s is 5G connectivity.
While Samsung rolled out 5G last year on the S10, 3 of 4 of the new S20s come 5G-enabled.
The role of cameras on phones has evolved substantially over the past couple of decades since Samsung’s SCH-V200. Resolution was a now-laughable 350,000 pixels and storage limited to just 20 photos. All S20s pack powerful cameras but the S20 Ultra gives you the tools to take professional standard photos with relative ease. With the 100x optical Space Zoom, you can snap photos that are literally out of this world.
8K video recording gives you the speed and editing finesse to create your own little movies. In Pro Video Mode, you can manually adjust shutter speeds, color tones, and exposure.
Samsung has rolled out some new colors for the S20s including:
- Cloud Blue
- Cloud Pink
- Cosmic Black
- Cosmic Gray
The Exynos is the S20’s new processor claimed to be 25% faster than before with a 35% increase in efficiency. In real terms, this translates to quicker and smoother operation whatever you’re doing on your phone.
The battery is the biggest yet for Samsung delivering all-day performance.
Now you’ve seen what’s new, how do these S20s differ between models, then?
Differences: S20 vs S20+ vs S20 Ultra
- 4G or 5G?
- Space Zoom
- Battery Life
All new S20 models are tall. The S20 stands 6 inches, the S20+ 6.3 inches, and the S20 Ultra 6.5 inches.
Size matters with these phones are they’re constructed to help you see and do more.
Screen sizes are equally spacious with the S20 giving you a 6.2-inch display, the S20+ coming in at 6.7 inches and the S20 Ultra delivering an enormous 6.9 inches of screen real estate.
Weight varies correspondingly with the S20 weighing 5.7oz, the S20+ nudging 6.6oz and the bulkier S20 Ultra tipping the scales at 7.7oz.
4G or 5G?
If you’re reluctant to make the leap to 5G, you can still opt for the base model S20. This still represents a worthwhile upgrade on an S10. The S20 4G shares the same specs as the 5G model in all respects bar this connectivity.
For anyone ready to embrace the lightning speed and promising future of 5G, all three models come 5G-enabled. Kiss goodbye to lagging and buffering and usher in seamless downloads and glitch-free comms.
All S20s have 8K resolution @ 24FPS.
Super Steady and Pro Video Mode help you handle action shots while Single Take allows you to transform your video clips into still images.
If a show-stopping camera tops your list of requirements, you’re in for a bounty when the S20 line hits the shelves.
All models pack an AI Smart Selfie Angle function but what is this? In plain English, you’ll find group selfies optimized with the focus automatically widening.
At the top of the range, the S20 Ultra boasts an exceptional 108MP pro-grade camera capable of returning stunning landscapes from home and away. The Ultra has a 40MP camera at the front ensuring first-class selfies for Insta and FB.
The mid-range S20+ has a 64MP telephonic lens, a 12MP wide camera, and a 10MP front camera so you’re still getting a wonderful suite of cameras.
Space Zoom gives you 30x zoom with the S20 and S20+ while the S20 Ultra offers a scarcely-believable 100x zoom.
This quantum leap in zoom adds a new dimension to close-up cellphone photography.
All the new S20 handsets come with 128GB of storage as standard. You’ll also get an SD card slot if you need extra memory.
With the line-toping S20 Ultra, you can opt for a 512GB storage model if you tend to accumulate lots of media on your phone and you’re disinclined to keep trashing photos and video clips.
The S20 has a 4000mAh battery while the S20+ packs an even beefier 4500mAh powerplant. The Ultra’s 5000mAh battery serves up all-day juice allowing you to make the most out of that huge screen.
From the costly Galaxy S-Series to the world of foldables…
Galaxy Z Flip
Last year’s Galaxy Fold was a damp squib with problems manifesting and the folding handset failing to stand up to real-world use. A delayed launch, canceled pre-orders, a tweaked version still failing to deliver and that sky-high price tag means Fold was an admirable attempt but proved that folding screens still need some work.
The all-new Galaxy Z Flip was teased at during a commercial aired at the Oscar’s ahead of Unpacked 2020. Confirmed at the February 11 Samsung event for shipping from February 14, are we looking at the future of smartphones with foldables? We’re really not quite sure here at Smarthome but we’re looking forward to seeing how Z Flip stands up to real-life testing.
The clamshell design is more reminiscent of the new Motorola Razr than the first-gen Galaxy Fold.
Unfolded, the display measures 6.7 inches. When folded down, you’ll get a small exterior screen with lightweight functionality. You can check battery life, fire off a quick selfie, or check your notifications. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, there’s no dedicated secondary display.
The Dynamic AMOLED comes in a folding frame with proprietary Hideaway Hinge that disappears when the phone opens out. This is a solid counter to the issues that cursed the original Galaxy Fold. UTG (ultra-thin glass) is a flexible and scratch-resistant treatment used in place of the Galaxy Fold’s polyamide plastics.
Half-unfolding the phone allows for improved video calls and is a neat touch.
The camera doesn’t deliver the pro-photography experience you’ll find on Galaxy Fold or the current crop of S20s but it’s fit for purpose. There’s a dual 12MP sensor with ultra-wide and wide-angle lenses on each.
A fingerprint sensor and wireless charging round out another innovative Samsung handset likely to be priced closer to the Motorola Razr than the costlier Galaxy Fold.
One reason for the lower price tag – not that $1500 is exactly low – is the likelihood of Z Flip running on Snapdragon 855 rather than the more recent Snapdragon 865.
We’re looking forward to putting Z Flip through its paces and we commend Samsung for continue to innovate with phones.
Galaxy Buds, Samsung’s AirPods opponents, are now overhauled in the form of Galaxy Buds+.
The retooled earbuds look pretty similar to the original Buds. There’s nothing that needs changing there.
Improvements come in terms of sound quality which is ideal. The tweaked Buds+ now pack a dual-driver system and there are three mics in place of two on original Buds.
Expect up to 11 hours of battery life with the charging case serving up another 11 hours for good measure. PowerShare allows you to charge up your Buds+ with your compatible Galaxy phone. Simply holding the case of your Buds+ against your phone for a few minutes will yield another hour of runtime.
Pricing will be more in line with Amazon Echo Pods than Apple AirPods which is great news for you, the consumer.
Galaxy Home and Home Mini: What’s Going On?
The much-hyped Galaxy Home failed to materialize in 2019. The smart speaker resembling a witch’s cauldron didn’t rate at mention at Unpacked 2020 either.
What we might see sooner is Galaxy Home Mini. No firm launch date was specified at the recent Samsung extravaganza but something else happened…
This dinky device has been beta tested in South Korea and has been available as an optional extra with the 5G version of the S20 over on home turf.
We’re eager for a US release date and we’re excited to see how Bixby is now performing. Watch this space.
Samsung Unpacked 2020 was a mobile lover’s dream and at least some consolation for the lack of MWC this year.
Bookmark our blog and come back regularly since we’re always updating our content. From the latest smart home news to the best tech, from how-to guides to industry lowdown, we cater for beginners and seasoned home automation pros alike.
If you’re interested in getting even more great content pinged straight to your inbox, why not sign up for our email newsletter? As an added incentive, we’ll give all new Smarthome customers 20% off their first order. What are you waiting for?