At Samsung’s Unpacked event in Brooklyn, New York, the tech giant unveiled a pair of Galaxy Note devices, recapped the launch of its Galaxy Active 2 smartwatch and the Galaxy Tab S6 tablet, and dropped a surprise announcement for the all new Galaxy Book S laptop.
Here are all the announcements so far:
Samsung Galaxy Note 10
Samsung pulls out all the stops with two models this year: the 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 10 that starts at USD 949, and the 6.8-inch Galaxy Note 10 Plus that starts at USD 1,099.
With the hole-punch selfie camera moved to the middle of the top of the smartphones, these devices have the highest screen to body ratio on any Note device and marks a departure of good ol’ forehead-and-chin sported on previous devices.
The 3.5mm jack is dead (long live the 3.5mm jack) on the Note 10 devices this year. That’s a surprising revelation, yet is an inevitable one, too. A pair of USB-C earphones are included in the box, although an adapter costs USD 10 from the manufacturer. The smaller Note 10 also lacks a microSD card slot, so there’s that.
Apart from additional microSD card support, the larger Note 10 Plus device also delivers a much larger battery (4,300mAh vs 3,500mAh), more RAM (8GB vs 12GB, and larger storage options (256GB for both, 512GB exclusive to Plus). Both phones have fast wireless charging, and also support 45-watt Super Fast Charging, although the fast charging brick is separately available for purchase. Samsung claims all-day battery with a 30-minute charge.
There’s also a Note 10 Plus 5G version that will cost USD 1,299. All three Note devices leverage on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset (with a largely equivalent Exynos alternative for Asian markets).
The phones also emphasise design, with a new Aura Glow colour scheme that scintillates and produces a myriad of colours in light.
True to the DNA of Samsung’s Note series of phones, the S Pen has been revitalised. Carrying over from the Tab S6 launched earlier this week, the S Pen on the Note 10 devices will deliver more ways to interact with your device remotely with gesture control support.
This means you can switch modes and zoom in within the camera app, control slide shows on device, and even control YouTube videos with native integration with the app. Samsung customers will also receive a complimentary subscription to YouTube Premium, although details have yet to be published.
With two separate price-points (and feature sets), Samsung might very well be positioning against competitors by offering a differentiated product to fill in any gaps in the phablet market.
Another pivot Samsung might be making is a solid one toward productivity. They’ve long provided the DeX interface that enables users to turn their smartphones into a more complete mobile computing device. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was on hand to share how Microsoft software was more fully integrated into Samsung’s ecosystem of Galaxy devices.
For example, handwritten notes on the Samsung notes app can be automatically converted to Word or PDF documents, and users can interface with their smartphones directly from their laptops with a tap in the control panel. Through this, they can reply texts, access photos and view notifications. Not only can the phone’s interface be mirrored, but touch and pen inputs for laptops will be supported. Calls will be supported later this year. This feature will also be available on Mac.
The Note 10 devices will also have a greater integration with OneDrive and Outlook, with a native option to sync to OneDrive. Scanned sensitive documents can also now be safely stored in the new Secure Vault.
Although the Note 10 devices are targetted at busy professionals, they have not forgotten the gamers. A collaboration with Discord now enables greater integration with the Note 10, with the app accessible from within a game centre overlay. To support performance, the phone also sports a vapour chamber cooling system.
The Note 10 devices sport largely the same cameras from the S10 Plus launched earlier this year. On both devices, we can find a 12-megapixel main dual-aperture lens, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Full support for the recently-released night mode is expected.
Contained within the hole-punch cutout is a 10-megapixel selfie camera that has enhanced software for selfie portrait mode.
On the Note 10 Plus is an additional 3D depth-of-field sensor that enables portrait video to throw the background into a blur, and also enables a new AR Doodle feature. This allows users to use the S Pen to draw on their camera app to overlay AR designs and elements on photos and videos. This can then be saved as a JPEG or movie file for sharing on open platforms.
The 3D camera also enables 3D scanning of objects and people, with the added option to animate said scans with motion capture.
Apart from portrait video, the Note 10 devices also deliver a new feature called zoom-in mic, that focuses the recorded audio information on the subject as you zoom in.
Samsung has also implemented large improvements to the Note 10’s video stabilisation, with added information from motion sensors augmenting its performance.
To work with all these improvements in the video department, the Note 10 will ship with a new native video editor that enables multiple clips to be blended on top of an audio track. This works with a specially-optimised version of Adobe Premiere Rush to deliver a polished end result.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (USD 949) and Note 10 Plus (USD 1,099) will be available on the August 23, with preorders available now.
Galaxy Book S
In an absolutely surprising move, Samsung announced the ultra-slim and light, 13.3-inch FHD touchscreen Galaxy Book S. Touting laptop-like form-factor, with the “essence of a smartphone”. Samsung hopes it will pioneer a whole-new product category.
At its heart is the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile chipset as the Note 10 phones, along with constant mobile internet connection. This means lower power consumption, with up to 23 hours of battery life. In fact, it uses the same charger as the Note 10 devices for charging.
The laptop will pack 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage and supports microSD cards up to 1TB in capacity.
Within, Windows 10 OS and support for Microsoft apps position it to be a productivity powerhouse. However, it will be limited by its single USB-C port (much like the MacBook).