Samsung launches Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Tab 7, Tab 7 Plus, Galaxy Watch 3, new Buds, teases Galaxy Z Fold 2

Here's everything Samsung announced to build out its product portfolio for the second half of 2020. Look for Galaxy Tab 7 to garner interest and the Note 20 to face stiff competition in 5G.

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Samsung launched a series of Galaxy devices with the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, two tablets with the Galaxy Tab 7 and Galaxy Tab 7 Plus and wearables with a refreshed Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Buds. Samsung also teased the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and promised more details in September. 

At its Unpacked virtual event, Samsung outlined devices led by the Note 20 designed for "doers and achievers" with the aim of capturing as much of the 5G upgrade cycle as possible. The Galaxy S20 launch was largely focused on consumers, but the Note 20 and Tab 7 franchises are designed more for business and productivity as well as remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking from Korea, Dr. TM Roh, president of Samsung's Mobile Communications division, called the Note 20 a productivity powerhouse that can balance work and play and boost efficiency. Tools such as annotating PDFs within the Samsung Note app and more integration with Microsoft applications such as OneNote and Outlook are designed to bolster productivity. The Galaxy Note 20 and the updated portfolio is designed for the "next normal."

"Everyone in technology has promised to change the world," said Roh. "It's easy to forget the opposite can happen. The world can change us."  

The Note 20 smartphones will be available Aug. 21 with preorders starting Aug. 6. Customers who preorder get a $100 Samsung credit on the Note 20 and $150 on the Note 20 Ultra. 

Samsung also introduced the Galaxy Z Fold 2, a new foldable device that will be available in Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. More information about Z Fold 2 will be available in September. 

What's unclear is whether that distinction in product lines is as relevant given the move to remote work and education. The biggest difference between the Galaxy S20 lineup and Galaxy Note 20 duo is the S-Pen, which has more air gestures and lower 9 millisecond latency compared to 42 milliseconds in the Galaxy Note 10.

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Samsung

One technology to watch in the Note 20 line is the use of Ultra Wideband Technology (UWB), which can enable advanced sharing and locating. Two Note 20 devices can share files, documents and videos by pointing and the devices could replace key cards in the workplace and offices. These Note 20 devices could also be used for location services within buildings.

The Note 20 starts at $999 and the Note 20 Ultra starts at $1,299 but runs higher with the 512GB storage option and SD card support. In other words, there's no middle ground with the Note 20 lineup, which has 128GB storage or 512GB. The lower-end Galaxy Note 20 will compete with flagships from OnePlus with OnePlus Pro 8 and Motorola's Edge.

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Samsung gave the Note 20 Ultra a camera with specs aligned with the S20 Ultra and 50x zoom without loss of quality. Note 20 has 30x zoom.

The company added that the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra have Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865+ processor and can support all types of 5G devices. DeX has also been given wireless capabilities to form a desktop without connectors to the Note or Tab and can now handle multiple screens.

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Samsung

Of the products announced, Samsung's Galaxy Tab lineup is especially interesting due to the integration of the S-Pen, the ability to double as a laptop and tablet, and wireless DeX connectivity. For remote workers, the Galaxy Tab line has real potential.

Samsung is updating the keyboards that go with the Tab lineup. The keyboard to the Tab 6 was a bit awkward and one of the few drawbacks of the device.

The Tab 7 starts at $649 and the Tab 7 Plus starts at $849. According to Samsung, a third of Tab buyers started out wanting a PC. The Tab duo are also 5G capable. Add it up and the Galaxy Tab 7 could compete with the Note 20 franchise based on budget and mobile computing needs.

The B2B upgrade cycle

The Galaxy Note 20 and Tab 7 lineup lands at an interesting time for business technology users. Workers are going remote and policies for device use are changing.

Taher Behbehani, general manager of Samsung America's mobile B2B unit, said he expects pent-up demand for the Note 20 and the company's flagship devices. "We find that flagship products are usually for SMBs with less than 1,000 people," said Behbehani. "Once the product is in market for 6 months, we see enterprises come in since they have a longer technology approval cycle than SMBs. There's another spike when the government approves the device." 

He added that employee buying programs also bring Samsung's flagship devices into the enterprise. What's changed amid the COVID-19 pandemic is that IT departments are buying devices with more high-end specs and then lengthening the replacement cycle, said Behbehani.

"30% of our new sales pipeline with larger enterprises account for the requirement of the new situation of working remotely," said Behbehani. "These companies are in the fortification stage and would rather play it safe with best in class technology vs. cheap."

In addition, Behbehani argued that little features such as backing up Samsung Note to multiple storage options, being able to sign documents with a real pen and improving productivity matter in the new work landscape. "Little things go a long way in this environment," he said.

The current upgrade cycle for the Note 20 and Tab 7 also comes as Samsung is seeing strong demand for its Chromebook and tablets. "These devices are very strong in education, health and white-collar workers," said Behbehani. "These workers are going to be remote for a while and doubling down on what they know."

The big picture

Samsung uses two product releases a year to fend off competition and be set up for Apple's fall launch of new iPhones. This year, the Samsung launches are particularly critical given that they can give the company a big 5G device footprint and can be used as work-play-education hardware.

On Samsung's second quarter earnings conference call, JongMin Lee, vice president of the company's mobile communications business said:

The market has been showing a gradual recovery since June, but uncertainties related to the pandemic are still present. In addition, we expect competition to intensify as companies try to make up for the first half. We will timely respond to a demand recovery by region with the launch of new flagship models and strengthening of our mass market lineup.

In the third quarter, we expect our smartphone sales to expand quarter-on-quarter. In particular, we expect our product mix to improve, thanks to the launch of new flagship models such as Galaxy Note and Fold, which should boost overall performance. As COVID-19 brings a new era, every aspect of our lifestyle is changing, including communication, work, education, shopping and health care. Mobile technology has played a critical role so far, and we believe it will become more vital than ever before.

Lee added that 5G and foldable devices are expected to drive a smartphone replacement cycle. That upgrade cycle is a bit volatile amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but Samsung is betting 5G and new form factors will drive demand.

Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra specs

The Note 20 has the following:

  • 6.7" FHD+ (Flat) 60Hz display;
  • 12MP, 64MP, 12MP 3x Op, 30x Di rear camera setup;
  • 10MP front camera;
  • 4,300mAh battery
  • 8GB/128GB RAM and storage;
  • Snapdragon 865+ processor;
  • Sub6/mmWave 5G;
  • Colors: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Gray, Mystic Green;
  • Other: S-Pen 26ms, IP68, Stereo SPK;
  • Price: $999.

Note 20 Ultra has the following:

  • 6.9" WQHD+ edge display with 120Hz;
  • 12MP, 108MP, 12MP, 5x Op, 50x Di rear camera;
  • 10MP front camera;
  • 4,500mAh battery;
  • 12GB/128GB and 512G RAM and storage;
  • Snapdragon 865+ processor;
  • Sub6/mmWave 5G;
  • Colors: Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, Mystic Black;
  • Other: S-Pen 9ms, IP68, SD Card, UWB, Auto Refresh Rate, Stereo SPK;
  • Price: Starting at $1,299.99.


Galaxy Tab S7 and S7 Plus specs:

Galaxy Tab S7 has:

  • 11" 2560x1600 WQXGA 120Ghz display;
  • Android 10;
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+;
  • Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, Mystic Bronze;
  • 6GB/128GB or 8GB/256GB versions with microSD card support to 1TB;
  • 13MP, 5MP ultrawide and flash rear camera;
  • 8MP front camera;
  • Type C USB 3.2 Gen 1;
  • 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v 5.0;
  • 8,000 mAh battery;
  • Fingerprint with side key;
  • S Pen, book cover, book cover keyboard.

Galaxy Tab S7 Plus has:

  • 12.4" 2800x1752 WQXGA+, sAMOLED display 120Ghz;
  • Android 10;
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+;
  • Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, Mystic Bronze;
  • 6GB/128GB or 8GB/256GB versions with microSD card support to 1TB;
  • 13MP, 5MP ultrawide and flash rear camera;
  • 8MP front camera;
  • Type C USB 3.2 Gen 1;
  • 5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v 5.0;
  • 10,090 mAh battery;
  • Fingerprint on display;
  • S Pen, book cover, book cover keyboard.

Galaxy Watch, Buds

Samsung also launched new wearable devices with an update to the Galaxy Watch. The Galaxy Watch 3 is a mix of Galaxy Watch and Watch Active. The upshot is that Samsung is gunning for more of the fitness enthusiast audience.

There are two versions of Galaxy Watch 3 with one at a 41mm size and another at 45mm. Samsung has added stress level tracking, workout detections and voice commands.

Galaxy Watch will start at $399 for the 41mm version and $429 for 45mm. The LTE version starts at $449.

Samsung's new Buds also have some unique features such as air vents for airflow and comfort as well as 3 mics and 8-hour battery life. Samsung Galaxy Buds are available Aug. 6 for $169.99.