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I’m not into foldables, so what does Samsung have for me at Unpacked?

Opinion
By 

Last updated: July 13th, 2023 at 21:25 UTC+02:00

For the longest time, Samsung has been in the unique position of launching two flagship smartphones in one year. The Galaxy S flagship would arrive at the beginning of the year followed by the Galaxy Note in the second half. In recent years, these lineups were expanded to multiple models, so you’d have as many as five flagship phones from Samsung in one year.

I’ve always been a fan of the Galaxy Note handsets which is why I used to be more excited about the Unpacked event in the second half of the year. I’d fly over to New York, where many of Samsung’s Galaxy Note devices were unveiled, to attend the event and be one of the first to get my hands on it.

As you can probably imagine, I was gutted when the company discontinued the lineup. Yes, the foldables that have replaced it are good, but they don’t get me as excited about a new device as the Galaxy Note phones did. While I realize the benefits of this unique form factor, it’s just not for me, and I would much prefer a trusty Note flagship.

I prefer having the best specs in the phone I choose to buy. That’s why the Galaxy Note also appealed to me so much. The specs would almost always marginally be better than the Galaxy S flagship that came out earlier in the year. Samsung also had a habit of introducing new major camera upgrades in the second half of the year with the Note lineup. So by delaying my purchase for the year, I’d end up with the best version of Samsung’s smartphone technology for that year.

All that has changed since Samsung went all out on foldable phones. Its Unpacked event in the second half of the year is now focused entirely on foldables. We get the new Galaxy S phones in the first couple of months of the year as always. They’re then followed by new iterations of the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold in either August or September. We’re getting them a bit earlier this time around as Samsung’s next Unpacked event is scheduled for July 26.

The Galaxy Z Fold devices don’t replace the Galaxy Note but they are the most focused toward “pro” users in the company’s foldable lineup. You get a foldable display that’s about the size of a small tablet. There’s even support for the S Pen, the Galaxy Note series’ loyal companion. However, even though they may use the same chipset as the Galaxy S flagships of the year, these devices are lacking in other departments. The cameras are particularly not on the same level. We’ve expressed this concern in the past as well, that the lack of importance for camera on the foldables is counterproductive.

The dilemma for any Samsung fan that’s not particularly sold on foldables right now is that they don’t have a new conventional flagship phone to look forward to in these months. Sure, one can make the argument that the Galaxy S Ultra models are now basically a reincarnation of the Galaxy Note, and that it’s enough to fill the void. It’s not really the same thing, though, since the mid-cycle upgrades that we could previously get with the Galaxy Note models don’t exist anymore. We have to wait the entire year until the new Galaxy S series comes out.

Samsung’s Unpacked events have always been a source of immense joy for its fans, but it hasn’t felt like that lately, because I’m among those fans that feel there’s nothing for us in these Unpacked events anymore. By depriving us of a bona fide flagship phone that ticks the boxes we want it to tick, Samsung’s basically nudging us towards a product that we don’t want to buy right now.

Perhaps my aversion to foldable phones may change in the years to come, or perhaps it may never. That’s difficult to say since it’s been a few iterations and I haven’t been sold on them yet. What I would much prefer is a proper flagship phone in the conventional form factor that’s made available in this part of the year. This isn’t a desperate pleading to get Samsung to bring back the Galaxy Note series. That’s never going to happen. It’s a gentle reminder to the company that it shouldn’t risk alienating some of its most loyal customers in its relentless mission to dominate the foldable smartphone market.

Opinion Galaxy Z Flip 5Galaxy Z Fold 5
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