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What you missed at Samsung Unpacked July 2024: Galaxy Z Fold 6, Watch Ultra, Ring, AI, more

This week Samsung unveiled several new products, including two foldable phones, smartwatches, earbuds, and the company's very first smart ring.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6, Z Flip 6, Watch Ultra, Galaxy Buds 3 Pro
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Samsung this week held its summer Galaxy Unpacked event, unveiling a host of exciting new wearables and two new smartphones available as soon as later this month. As expected, artificial intelligence (AI) took center stage, as Samsung's Galaxy AI ushered in new features across the devices.

Samsung's two new flagship foldable smartphones are the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and the Galaxy Z Flip 6, updated versions of last year's models that feature larger screens, better batteries, more capable cameras, and a big bump up in durability, all while weighing less.

Also: Here's why Samsung's new Galaxy Z Fold 6 is a major design success

In the wearable department, Samsung announced two new smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 7, an upgrade to last year's Watch 6, and the first of its kind, the Galaxy Watch Ultra, a high-end timepiece designed to compete against other premium wearables, but with a host of durability and sensor enhancements to withstand any weather and climate.

Lastly, Samsung announced the Galaxy Ring, an accessory packed with health sensors and trackers (and with no subscription fee!), and the new Galaxy Buds 3 series, a premium set of earbuds for the Samsung ecosystem. If this all feels like information overload, we've got you covered with the highlights below.  

1. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Back in April, ZDNET's Kerry Wan covered details about the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6, expressing careful optimism about Samsung's latest flagship foldable smartphone -- while admitting that it has some ways to go to catch up with competitors.

Also: I went hands-on with Samsung's $1,900 Galaxy Z Fold 6, and it still feels like a dream

Well, the new Fold 6 is thinner, lighter, and more durable than last year's model, while featuring an updated processor, a slightly better camera, and a host of new AI-related software features -- not to mention some slick new colors. Here are the highlights: 

  • The new Fold 6 weighs just 239g (down from last year's 253g) while featuring an enhanced aluminum frame with 10% improved scratch resistance.
  • The Galaxy Z Fold 6 will cost $1,899 for the 12GB RAM/256GB configuration.
  • The Fold 6 comes equipped with the updated Snapdragon 8 Generation 3 mobile processor, which Samsung says will contribute to faster performance and more efficient battery life. 
  • It has a slightly better camera than its predecessor, with a new 12MP ultrawide lens coming from the main triple-lens on the rear.
  • The Galaxy Z Fold 6 is AI-ready with Samsung's latest Galaxy AI features, including Circle to Search, the ability to translate and transcribe PDF documents, generative AI based off of people or objects in photos you snap, and a potentially-handy Sketch to Image feature that turns quick sketches into high-quality images.
  • The Interpreter feature displays translations in real time, with the ability to fold the phone and display transcriptions on the screen facing the person you're talking to.
  • The Fold 6 features some upgraded gaming capabilities, with a larger vapor chamber for more efficient cooling, along with support for ray tracing on the 2,600-nit display. I have to admit, mobile games definitely take on a new dimension with the 7.6-inch unfolded display.
  • The new IP48 ingress protection rating means that the handset is protected against dust and dirt particles over 1mm in size, and is technically the first foldable to receive this kind of dustproof rating. Regarding water resistance, the Fold 6 can survive submerged in up to 10 feet of water without damage.
  • Increased durability with its dual-rail hinge design, which Samsung says greatly improves its shock distribution. Additionally, the folding edge has enhanced resistance to pressure and sharp objects. 
  • The Fold 6 comes in three new attention-grabbing colors: Pink, Navy, and Silver Shadow, plus two online-exclusive colors: White and Crafted Black.

2. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 is the smaller sibling to the flagship Fold 6 smartphone, featuring a clamshell form factor and simplified hardware specs (and a more approachable price of $1,099, about half the cost of the Fold 6).

Also: I went hands-on with Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 6, and it's basically a high-tech fidget spinner  

This year's version of the Z Flip 6 will go up to 12GB of RAM (from last year's 8GB), and feature an upgraded 50MP main camera, and improved durability with the same IP48 rating as the Z Fold 6. Here are some other highlights:

  • It features an upgraded Snapdragon 8 Generation 3 mobile processor.
  • The external display -- or flex window -- has been enhanced with suggested replies from the on-device AI, a feature Samsung says will provide one-handed contextual responses.
  • The flex window has been expanded to allow additional widgets, while AI-powered wallpaper on the display changes in real time based on the time of day and location.
  • The camera has been upgraded with new 50MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide sensors with AI-zoom up to 10x. 
  • The Galaxy Z Flip 6 weighs just 187g (6.6 oz) and will come in Silver Shadow, Yellow, Blue, Mint, and three online-exclusive colors: Crafted Black, White, and Peach.

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra and Galaxy Watch 7

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7
Prakhar Khanna/ZDNET

Samsung is stepping up its wearable game with the new Galaxy Watch 7 and Galaxy Watch Ultra, its first premium-tier smartwatch. The new watches come with several new health-tracking features including exercise and movement levels, sleep quality tracking, and AI functionality that tracks stress levels and diet. 

Along with the usual host of functional biometrics surrounding sleep, diet, fitness, and energy levels, the watches feature FDA-authorized sleep apnea detection -- the first of its kind -- as well as real-time heart rate monitoring, and Samsung Galaxy Ring synergies. The Galaxy Watch 7 and Galaxy Watch Ultra are both available for preorder starting today, with general availability on July 24. 

Galaxy Watch Ultra:

Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra
Kerry Wan/ZDNET
  • The Galaxy Watch Ultra is available in one size: 47mm, and comes in three colors: Titanium Gray, Titanium White, and Titanium Silver, and retails for $699. 
  • Samsung claims the Galaxy Watch Ultra features a vastly improved battery, up to 100 hours while in power saving mode, and 48 hours in exercise mode.
  • The watch can track blood pressure with real-time monitoring, and includes an electrocardiogram (ECG), and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). 
  • It houses a dual-frequency GPS system that uses two satellites for ultra-precise location updates. 
  • The Galaxy Watch Ultra supports new double pinch gestures that connect with a Samsung smartphone or Galaxy ring to perform various functions.
  • It supports both 4G and Bluetooth connectivity and features the same sapphire and 3D glass as the base version, but with titanium casing.
  • The emergency siren feature can sound off in case the wearer is in danger with a single click. 
  • The Galaxy Watch Ultra features improved water resistance with a 10ATM rating. 
  • Both the Watch 7 and Ultra have Super AMOLED displays and come with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (double the storage on the Galaxy Watch 6.)

Galaxy Watch 7:

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7
Kerry Wan/ZDNET
  • The Galaxy Watch 7 is available in two sizes, 40mm and 44m, and starts at $299.
  • The Watch 7 includes an improved 3nm processor as well as an enhanced BioActive sensor that Samsung says will increase the accuracy of biometric readings. 
  • The new AI-empowered sleep algorithm is the first of its kind to be FDA-authorized to recognize signs of sleep apnea in its wearers, as well as providing a host of valuable sleep metrics. 
  • The Watch 7 allows you to build your own workout routines and track more than 100 exercises with the new Workout Routine and Race apps. These apps are designed to allow wearers to compete against themselves by comparing past performance records to current metrics in real time.
  • The 40mm watch band is available in Green and Cream, while the 44mm watch band is available in Green and Silver.

5. Samsung Galaxy Ring

Samsung Galaxy Ring colors
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Samsung is officially in the smart ring business now with the introduction of its Galaxy Ring, a wearable fitness and biometric tracker designed for 24/7 health monitoring. Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about the ring right off the bat, however, is that it doesn't require a subscription, something that almost every other big-name smart ring on the market now has. 

Also: Samsung Galaxy Ring hands-on: Should Android users consider anything else?

ZDNET's Prakhar Khanna wrote about the Galaxy Ring earlier this month before its debut, saying that there were three main things he wanted to see in the device to make it worth buying: an app that allows you to locate the ring if it gets lost, a charging case over a charging puck, and no subscription fee. Samsung must have been listening, because all three wishes have been granted. Here's the breakdown of the biggest features: 

  • The Galaxy Ring weighs 2.3 to 3 grams depending on the size, and features 10ATM water resistance.
  • The Galaxy Ring continuously syncs with the Samsung Health app for real-time updates. 
  • The ring features a concave design and Titanium Grade 5 finish, and is available in three colors: Titanium Black, Titanium Silver, and Titanium Gold.
  • The ring comes with sizing kits that help the wearer fine-tune the right-sized ring from nine options.
  • The ring integrates with the Samsung Health app, where all the metrics are stored and tracked. Access to this app doesn't require a subscription. It also pairs with the Galaxy Watch Ultra and Galaxy Watch 7 for additional accuracy across the two devices. 
  • Galaxy AI in the ring generates a comprehensive energy score based on your activity level, sleep quality, and other health metrics, with the idea of providing insights through a series of health tips and motivational messages. 
  • The ring's AI-powered algorithm powers its sleep tracking mode, recording insights such as movement during sleep, sleep latency, respiratory rate, and heart rate, all available each night in the app as a comprehensive sleep score. 
  • Samsung Find allows you to locate the ring if you misplace it in your bedsheets or elsewhere. 
  • Double-pinch gestures with the ring equipped can activate certain actions on a Galaxy smartphone, such as snapping a photo or turning off an alarm.

6. Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro and Buds 3
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Last but certainly not least, Samsung unveiled its next-generation earbuds, the Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro. The new earbuds have several AI-powered features that go beyond music playback, such as a translation mode, voice commands, two-way speakers, and adaptive ANC, and come in a canal type (with the Buds 3 Pro) and an open-ear type (with the Buds 3). Here are the highlights: 

  • The Galaxy Buds 3 start at $179, while the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro start at $249. 
  • They're available for preorder starting today, and generally available July 24. 
  • The Galaxy Buds are available in two colors: Silver and White.
  • The interpreter setting leverages AI to translate foreign language dialogue in real time. 
  • The Galaxy Buds adapt to their surroundings automatically, adapting volume and noise-cancellation settings based on what kind of ambient noise they pick up. 
  • The Super-Wideband feature allows the earbuds to leverage machine learning to isolate and restore the quality of voice audio on calls by removing ambient noise and background sounds.
  • The Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are equipped with two-way speakers with a planar tweeter and dual amplifiers. 
  • The Galaxy Buds have a voice command feature that allows control over music playback, volume, and other settings without touching the earbuds or the phone.
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