Welcome one and all to the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked July 2023 recap roundup. T3's Tech Editor, Mike Lowe, was on the ground in Seoul, South Korea, to attend the Unpacked showcase in Samsung's homeland, to bring you all the latest product reveals.
The second Galaxy Unpacked of 2023 revealed plenty: the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 being the big take-away, while the Galaxy Z Fold 5 upgraded the best foldable phone, the Galaxy Tab S9 series added a favourite new feature, while two new Galaxy Watch 6 products upgraded the company's wearables. Whew, quite the list!
Below I've featured a list of T3 deep-dive articles, reviews and opinions, many complete with hands-on photography from the event and pre-brief, so you can see the real deal of what these devices look like, in order to, um, unpack this July 2023 Galaxy Unpacked event more thoroughly...
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review (early verdict): it's flippin' great
- Flip off Fold, why the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is my choice of foldable
- 2 ways Galaxy Z Flip 5 bests Moto Razr 40 Ultra – 2 ways it doesn't
- Samsung Galaxy fans just got the ultimate flip phone upgrade
Samsung Galaxy Fold 5
- I tried Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5 – now you can forget the Google Pixel Fold
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Z Fold 4: what's new in the flagship foldable?
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 series
- I tried the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and here is my honest opinion
- I need Samsung to tell me what sleep animal I am in the Galaxy Watch 6
- My favourite Galaxy Unpacked announcement got 10 seconds of airtime
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 series
Original live blog from 26 July 2023 continues below:
Prepare to Flip out
I'm going to commence things by doubling down on that Unpacked poster: a silhouette of a Z Flip phone sat above the 'Join the flip side' phrase not only looks great, it's as good as confirmation for me that a Galaxy Z Flip 5 is assured.
And the Z Flip 5 is thought to be a big(ger) deal: as leaked lifestyle images have already shown, the latest Z Flip is said to feature a much larger cover display, which I think will be fundamental in delivering an upgraded and more advanced experience for this series.
Especially as 2023 has really seen brands upping the ante when it comes to flip phones: from the Oppo Find N2 Flip to the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, I've seen and used bigger-display handsets and it's a major shift in what these devices can do. So it'll be good to see Samsung's take on upscaling the cover display.
Show us the SUGA
I'm assuming we're not talking about D-DAY, his 2023-release album, rather a countdown to him coming on stage for Galaxy Unpacked? I'm only guessing, though, given that Samsung has long collaborated with the BTS gang.
The 11-second snippet finishes with a glimpse of the assumed-to-be Galaxy Z Flip 5, plus that tagline 'Join the flip side'. We're only six hours away from seeing what unfolds when the event kicks off at 20:00 Korea time (that's 12:00 UK).
Will you be watching live?
If you're just waking up in the UK and have a spare lunch hour from noon to 13:00 local time then will you be watching? I suggest you should, as Samsung is likely to put on a big show for this Unpacked homecoming. And if you've been contemplating buying a flip phone then it'll be even more valuable.
Exactly how can you get eyes on the Galaxy Unpacked event? My colleagues have written a How to Watch feature, which details the timings and includes the livestream video to view right there on the page.
Did someone say money off?
Everyone loves a deal, right? I certainly do. And with the incoming Galaxy products it seems as though Samsung does too! The official site has an offer for up to £150 off, plus free Galaxy Buds 2 Pro bundled in.
There's a bit of a catch, though, in that you have to register for this promotion pre-order before noon (BST) today (there's a different offer in the States, but you'll also need to pre-register for that).
Although the free earbuds appears to be an open offer, even if you miss the cash-off threshold, based on the offer's wording (so long as you transact before the end of 31 July). Can't argue with that, eh?
The best leaked images yet?
Hi, it's News Editor Rik Henderson tapping in to take over for a bit and I must admit that the device I'm most looking forward to seeing is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 itself. Recently leaked marketing images show it looking great, with what seems to be a dramatically improved hinge.
They also show the S Pen housed in a dedicated slot on what looks like an official case, so are fully expecting support for the stylus. And you even get a cheeky Z Flip 5 pic in there too, which is nice.
We'll bring you more leaked images, specifications and information that we've learned over the coming few hours.
Samsung boss spills the beans
If we were in any doubt on which products will launch during Unpacked, Samsung's own president and head of its mobile business, Dr TM Roh, put our minds to rest with his own blog post last week.
He confirmed that we'll get new foldables, albeit without naming them directly, a tablet or two, and a refresh of the company's Watch line.
Considering we're expecting him to kick off proceedings today – maybe even host the majority of the presentation – he should know a thing or two. He also revealed that the foldables will be "lighter and slimmer" than previous generations.
3 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 features already revealed
Although the watch itself is yet to be unveiled, we've already had official confirmation of three apps and experiences that will launch with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 later today.
Perhaps the biggest of the three new Watch 6 features is Samsung Wallet. The company combined its Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass services into a single app for its phones last year, now it's bringing it to the watch too. Samsung Wallet will allow you to purchase items and use concert tickets, etc, from your wrist.
In addition, Thermo Check will bring heat sensing to the wearable family. It will give you an accurate reading of the temperature of the watch's surroundings, so you can find out how warm the water is before you take a swim, for example.
Finally, WhatsApp now has a dedicated WearOS app and that'll also be available on the Watch 6 from the off.
Could Samsung SmartTag 2 also make an Unpacked appearance?
Although we're not expecting any major surprises during Unpacked, one recent product leak suggests that something other than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, Z Flip 5, Galaxy Watch 6 and Tab S9 could be launched too – perhaps more as an aside.
A Samsung Galaxy SmartTag 2 was reportedly spotted on the website for the Bluetooth SIG - the organisation that approves the Bluetooth connectivity in devices.
Not an awful lot is known about the next-gen item tracker at present, although it does make sense that Samsung is looking to replace the original SmartTag, considering it's been a couple of years since it launched.
Maybe you'll have to be eagle-eyed to spot it today – which is somewhat ironic, really.
The stars are out
Morning, tech writer Andy Sansom here. It's lucky that Samsung has gone so big on Nightography in recent launches as one of the biggest stars in the world is set to appear at Unpacked. SUGA from K-pop sensations BTS will be in attendance. Another reason to be jealous of our man in Korea (Tech Editor Mike Lowe).
Speaking of cameras, that's one area that foldable phones have been lagging behind in compared to their static counterparts, perhaps we could see a camera upgrade or two today?
Also, is anyone used to the new Twitter logo yet?
The road to Seoul
You might be wondering why this edition of unpacked is coming to you at UK lunchtime, well that's because it's live from Seoul. For the first time ever, Samsung is hosting the event on its home turf in the Korean capital.
Unpacked has been all over the place in its history but the home location should mean that Samsung has a lot in store for us today. It's worth mentioning that we're not just anticipating phones and smartwatches, there is also believed to be new information or Samsung's series of Android-powered tablets which we reckon could be the Samsung Galaxy tab S9 range.
Will it be enough to earn a spot on our best tablets guide? Only time will tell.
Flip vs Fold
Presuming we get a first look at both a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 today, you might be left with a very difficult choice. Which one to opt for. We're big fans of both here at T3, but choosing between the book like Fold and Game Boy Advance SP (or compact mirror) style of the Flip can be difficult. Aside from the folding method, they also tend to serve two different price points.
No foldable phone could be considered cheap just yet but of the current generation the Z Flip 4 is the more budget conscious option, launching at £999. The Z Fold 4 conversely launched at a princely £1649. With the Pixel Fold an eye-watering £1749, perhaps Samsung can undercut Google this year.
The future is foldable
It's less than two hours to go know until Samsung o'clock. The Korean giant has gone big on its "Join the flip side" campaign this year and I have to admit this horror movie inspired video is brilliant, although I still think they should have called it "Flipday the 13th".
Do you think that in five years we'll all be using foldable phones? The market is definitely growing. Samsung used to be the only big name in the foldable game but now Google, Oppo and Motorola all also produce some of the best foldable phones. Samsung though will be hoping to stay ahead of the pack, and they've certainly got the most experience.
Ready to Flip out
Good morning Samsung fans! T3's resident Staff Writer, Sam Cross, here to take you through to the unveiling today. As a massive fan of both smartwatches and foldable phones, this is like Christmas for me – both product categories are rumoured to get updated here.
Earlier today, we saw a new batch of leaked real world images of what looks like the Z Flip 5. You'll see the full effect of that rumoured redesigned hinge, with flush folding panels and a near-invisible crease.
Plus, take a look at that cover display. Rumours have persisted for a long time that it would take on a new form, and these certainly match up with what we've seen leaked before.
Watch this space
Let's talk about the watches, too. We're expecting to see the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 range unveiled, which is said to feature two models.
The standard model is present and correct, but what's really interesting is the rumoured return of the Classic variant. That was last seen a few generations ago, complete with a rotating bezel for navigation.
We might have even caught a glimpse of that recently. Tottenham Hotspur and South Korea football star, Heung-Min Son, was photographed at an airport wearing what appeared to be the new device.
How can I watch Galaxy Unpacked?
Just 40 minutes to go until the event kicks off!
The buzz is really starting to build now. T3's Tech Editor, Mike Lowe, is our man on the ground in Seoul. He's just sent us a host of snaps from the venue, which looks pretty much exactly how you'd expect – sleek, modern and full of eager tech fans.
If you aren't lucky enough to be in Korea right now, don't fret. The whole event will be live streamed and you can watch along in real time to find out what new goodies the brand have to offer.
Check out our guide to How to Watch the Galaxy Unpacked event, which will give you all the details you need – it will even have a live feed for you when the clock strikes midday.
One product I'm hoping to hear more about today is the Samsung XR headset. That device was touted at the last Galaxy Unpacked event, which saw the unveiling of Samsung phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The project sees Samsung, Google and Qualcomm join forces, in an attempt to produce an XR headset. The aim, it seems, is to put the Android world toe-to-toe with the Apple Vision Pro headset, which was unveiled recently.
Details have been remarkably light so far, with very little mention of the headset since that event earlier this year. Here's hoping we get some today.
Here's some last minute intrigue for you – the official Samsung Twitter account for South Africa has shared a video. In it, a host of devices appear to be shown side-on, before transforming into a hexagon, and then a square with a display in the middle.
The tweet asks users, "what do you think this represents?" And honestly, I'm not too sure. The accompanying "Expand Your Flip Side" text might suggest it's to do with the Z Flip 5 – maybe the cover display?
I'm stumped – but I certainly can't wait to find out.
Here we go!
And we're underway! Things are kicking off with a lovely montage to the Samsung innovations of old – with a neat nod to the Samsung Flip phones we're all here for.
TM Roh takes to the stage...
The Future of foldables
Well, there's no hanging around here! Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 have both been confirmed in the first eight minutes, along with teasers for the other product ranges mentioned previously.
"Immersive foldable experiences" is the tagline here, with the company expecting 100 million sales of foldable phones in the coming years.
We're looking at the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 first. Samsung's EVP & Head of Marketing, Stephanie Choi is leading the presentation.
Unsurprisingly, that redesigned cover display is the star of the show, showing off a wide range of apps and widgets which can be used on it – including a full-sized keyboard.
Popular actor, Sydney Sweeney, is here too, showing off the Flex Cam functionality.
The largest cover screen on a Z Flip phone. The 3.4-inch display looks pretty much exactly as we expected, with an offset design.
There's a lot of camera integration on offer, too. Select for different aspect ratios, adjust the zoom and more, all from the front display.
That Flex Cam technology goes even further. Improvements to the camera technology helps to keep zoomed in shots sharp, and low light shots bright. neat.
The same processor as the Samsung Galaxy S23 series can be found in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. As had been rumoured, that means the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will feature inside. Great news for flip phone fans.
We're also given a great look at that redesigned hinge. Samsung describe it as a "technological breakthrough", and the results do look fantastic, with an almost invisible gap.
No time to chat, though, as we're onto the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5...
That Snapdragon processor makes for the most powerful chipset on a Samsung Galaxy foldable. What does that mean for users? Well, there seems to be a big focus on mobile gaming with the Z Fold 5.
I can see why – that large 7.6-inch screen should offer a great platform for playing on. Plus, the 120Hz refresh rate should make gameplay look smooth.
It's also IPX8 rated for water resistance, if you fancy taking your new foldable for a swim.
There's a new S-Pen for the Z Fold 5, too. It's smaller and lighter, which should make it easier to keep on-hand. It still doesn't appear to be housed in the device, though shots of a case which keep in the back were shown.
Pricing was only given in dollars at the event, but expect those to marry up fairly closely in other markets.
Now we're onto the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 series. Sleep focus seems to be the big focus early on here.
Samsung have improved their sleep tracking technology, to help you get a better night sleep. You'll be met with a sleep score when you wake up, giving you data about your sleep, to help you understand what happened to your body overnight.
Plus, Sleep Coaching can help you to use that data for good, to change your habits and enjoy a better sleep. New watch faces also give users quick access to those scores, and pair you up with an animal. Our speaker is a penguin. No, we're not 100% sure what that means, either.
Fitness fanatics are getting a boost, too. Personalised heart rate zones are coming to the Watch 6 series, to help users stay in the optimal zone for their body.
The watch will even notify users when their heart rate goes too high or low for a particular zone, allowing them to stick in the optimal position for their workout.
Two sizes are on offer – 40mm and 44mm – which should be enough for most wrists. Oh, and there's a new one-click band, for easy customisation.
Wear OS 4 will be running on these watches from launch. There's also a few new apps coming – WhatsApp, which we knew about, but also confirmation that Audible and Gmail are coming soon.
Pricing is in for these, too. The regular Galaxy Watch 6 will start from $299, with the Classic variant starting at $399. Those are available from August 11th.
Now for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 series. A dynamic 2x AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate can be found across the series, with Vision Booster technology which picks up on your surroundings to optimise the picture quality.
Both the tablet and the accompanying S Pen are IP68 resistant, too. It's the first time that's been the case. That should be great for taking them on the go, whatever the weather.
Gamers are getting a boost here too. Ray tracing and improved graphics are on the cards in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 series.
There's also an improved cooling system, for maintaining better performance without large temperature spikes. A CU-Si TIM vapor chamber makes its first appearance on the Galaxy Tab series, while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 returns here to offer excellent performance.
Priced from $799 for the base model, $999 for the Plus and $1,199 for the Ultra, these devices are available right now.
That's all folks!
And that's a wrap! No messing around here – Samsung just busted out seven new products in under an hour!
We've also seen the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 series, with improved sensors and a new one-click strap adjustment system. That range also saw the return of the Classic variant, complete with a rotating bezel and options for 43mm and a positively gargantuan 47mm.
Lastly, we saw the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 series. Those pack in some fantastic looking display technology, such as the Vision Booster, which adjusts the image quality to match your surroundings.
That's all from us here at T3 – thanks for joining us, and see you next time!