Last Thursday, Samsung dazzled in New York with its signature fanciful illusion-creating screens and sound from 150-odd Samsung Galaxy Home smart speakers. DJ Koh and crew were all smiles as they unveiled the Note 9, the new Galaxy Watch and the Galaxy Home to scores of people in the area and streaming online.
Here are some of the highlights:
The big-face Samsung will continue to tower with its 6.4 inch diamond-cut screen, sporting four new colours on its bod. South Africa, typically, will only be getting it in three: Metallic Copper, Midnight Black and the ever-popular Ocean Blue. No Lavender Purple for us for a while – if ever - it seems.
Storage wise, we finally might have reached the point where you don’t have to delete that 17th selfie option, as thanks to the launch of the 512GB model paired with the soon-to-be-launched official Samsung 512GB SD memory card, we have the world’s first 1TB cellphone. There is also an entry-level 128GB option for the less over-eager.
The S-Pen also got its first proper update since 2012. It now has Bluetooth capabilities and can act as a remote. The Unpacked presentation itself was delivered with clicks of the Ocean Blue’s now signature yellow S-Pen. But the standout feature for its remote capabilities is probably the fact that you can take selfies with a click of the S-Pen’s button, giving influencers and tired-armed family portrait takers reason to rejoice.
The battery has been upgrade, with the phone getting the biggest in a note to date. Some might find this a curious step, considering the phone’s explosive past but Samsung insists the fire-starting problems will not continue, due to next-level cooling systems. But wouldn’t it be nice to imagine a world where the batteries of mega phones do actually do last a whole day of social media procrastination – outside of the realm of Nokia, who have been nailing it for quite some time, without the drama.
Entertainment wise Samsung have partnered with all the biggest names. Not only will we finally be able to play Fortnite on Android with superior mobile speakers thanks to AKG but, due to the partnership with Spotify, we now have seamless streaming across all Samsung products.
Everyone’s favourite form of phone entertainment/usage- the camera - is not pulling any punches. It too has the S9’s signature dual-aperture tech, so your nighttime shenanigans will still appear in bright glory. But the integrated chip has only got smarter, sending you a “hey” every time something external fudges the photo, like closed eyes in a portrait or a finger on the lens.
Dex is back with no pads attached. You can now just use a HDMI adaptor plug and play, turning your phone into the mini-computer it was always meant to be, all the while still being able to use it as, well, a phone.
The Galaxy Watch is back in two sizes, 6,000 face options and a girl edition – just in time for Women’s Month. More importantly, it finally has a standalone call option, so when you’re on your run there is no need to be disconnected from the office, which if we’re honest, is the whole point of the run in the first place. It also now detects six exercises and monitors 36 in total, in an attempt to take a swipe at Fitbit’s mini personal trainer abilities. It also spies on you when you sleep to provide an all-round health check-up.
Talking about spying and learning from you, Bixby also got an upgrade across all platforms. She talks to you in a more conversational way because she is able to retain information you gave her minutes before. She can causally call up apps that you don’t even have installed on your phone to give you all the info you need. Bixby can go as far as ordering an Uber for you - after telling you how much it will cost from your location.
The Note 9 will be available in South Africa at the same time as everywhere else – August 24. We might have to wait for the mega 512GB version but it’s still a cracker. The 128GB will set you back R18,999 or R799 a month. You can preorder right now.