Crazy new Samsung phones revealed
Samsung has confirmed the release of two new phones, showing off cutting edge designs and crazy camera capabilities at a special event in San Francisco on Wednesday morning.
The two phones are mainly about fashion and photography respectively.
For those who have been following all the leaks and rumours there was very few surprises.
Samsung marketing director Rebecca Hirst began by showing off the new Galaxy Z Flip, a "new kind of device to kick off a new decade of Samsung innovation".
The phone is a clamshell foldable smartphone, similar to the new Motorola Razr that hits stores at the end of this month.
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Samsung claims to use "ultra-thin glass that folds" over 200,000 times.
Whether this is real glass or a marketing term is still to be confirmed, but according to Ms Hirst there's nothing like it.
"You're not just bending glass you're bending the laws of physics," she said.
After the debacle surroundings the Galaxy Fold, Samsung is hyper aware of how important hinge design is in the new form factor, and took time to show off its design.
There was also attention paid to the flexible hinge that allows the phone to stay open at different angles like a laptop.
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But there was one thing the audience didn't get too excited about: the price.
Foldable phones are new technology and so are not cheap.
The Galaxy Fold was $2999, the Motorola Razr will be $2699.
The Galaxy Z Flip will cost $US1380 ($A2050, though local pricing is still to be confirmed).
"That's kind of a mixed response," Ms Hirst said in response to the tepid applause that met the phone's pricing.
The company also announced a (likely even more expensive) limited edition collaboration with fashion designer Thom Browne, known for his cropped suits.
"We're not just creating a new look we're showing how high fashion and tech go hand-in-hand," Ms Hirst said.
Mr Browne hinted there would be more to come at a special event in New York on Thursday in a prerecorded video.
Samsung's president and head of mobile communications business Dr TM Roh then took to the stage to introduce the company's new flagship S20 smartphone, which he said promises "innovation that is more private and secure … innovation that improves our customer's lives."
The privacy and security is thanks to Samsung's Knox, which the company claims is "industry-leading" and protects your phone and its contents from "chip level through to software level".
He then revealed the livestream being viewed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world was being shot on the phone itself.
Common trends like camera smarts, AI and 5G are all a focus on the new flagship.
Samsung considers the camera the most important factor for consumers picking a new phone, and it makes sense.
Modern communication is becoming more image-based, with video calling increasing in popularity and social media sites like Instagram dominating.
Few consumers still buy standalone cameras, as the more powerful smartphones combine their cameras themselves with advanced image processing and artificial intelligence you can get from a phone that is much rarer on a dedicated camera.
The cameras on the S20 models makes use of a larger sensor to capture more light, with resolutions of 64MP on the S20 and S20+ and 108MP on the S20 Ultra.
Those high resolutions are so you can easily crop and zoom in on photos while maintaining clarity.
The Ultra will also "bin" pixels into 12MP images for better low light performance.
Samsung also revealed the S20 models will shoot video in 8K, which would be great for the few consumers who have an 8K television if the industry making them could decide on what that is.
Samsung is also touting a new feature called "Space Zoom", an AI powered digital zoom that can magnify up to 30X on the S20 and S20+ and a staggering 100X on the S20 Ultra.
The S20 has a triple camera array with an ultra-wide, wide and telephoto lenses (similar to Apple's iPhone 11 Pro).
The S20+ and S20 Ultra have a fourth "DepthVision" camera, which can be used to isolate objects in an image from its background as well as take measurements.
"This camera isn't just good, it's in a class of its own," Samsung's head of US product management Drew Blackard said.
Samsung Australia's vice president of mobile Garry McGregor said the S20 was the perfect phone to take the company into the next decade.
"Last year, Samsung pioneered the first 5G enabled smartphones in Australia and now, in 2020, we will deliver an amazing connected mobile experience with the all new Galaxy S20 range," Mr McGregor said.
"The Galaxy S20 is designed to enhance almost everything we love to do with our phones. From capturing and sharing precious moments, disappearing into our favourite music and movies to the thrill of a unique mobile gaming experience. The Galaxy S20 is designed to simply exceed expectations … the Galaxy S20 will be the most compelling smartphone on the market."
The phone will also presumably be able to make calls.
The base model Samsung S20 with 128GB of storage will cost $1349 in Australia, with a 5G variant costing $1499.
Select retailers will also throw in a pair of the new and improved Samsung Galaxy Buds+ ($299), featuring better sound and longer battery life, if you pre-order the new phone which hits shelves on March 6.
Pricing on the other variants is as below:
• Galaxy S20+: $1499
• Galaxy S20+ 5G 128GB: $1649
• Galaxy S20+ 5G 512GB: $1649
• Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G 128GB: $1999
• Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G 512GB: $2249
What do you think of Samsung's new phones? Let us know in the comments below.