The Note 9, a smart speaker and a Spotify deal: What went on at Samsung
A new phone, a new watch, a new speaker. Samsung unveiled some fresh shiny things for you to spend your money on at its Unpacked event in New York this afternoon, and here's a breakdown of the bits you need to know.
The Galaxy Note 9
So the 6.4-inch Galaxy Note 9 underwhelmed most Samsung fans expecting a big update to the phonemaker's flagship product, hardly changing from its older counterpart. But here's a few things that are new, anyway.
Designed for ease in gaming, the Note 9 will have its loudest speakers ever, with a 10nm CPU inside and a 1.2Gbps download speed to power the latest games. In fact, Samsung Galaxy devices will be the first Android devices ever to support Fortnite, one of the world's most popular online multiplayer games. Other Android devices will get the game later this week.
The phone's edges are diamond cut, and it'll come in four new colours: black, blue, copper and purple. The blue edition will come with a yellow S Pen stylus, which is also undergoing its own revamp.
Now Bluetooth-powered, the S Pen can act as a remote for the phone to do things such as play and pause music, capture photos, and flip through a slideshow. It'll charge fully in less than a minute when inserted into the phone, and even if the battery runs out, it'll work like a normal stylus.
The Note 9's camera will be dual aperture as it was in the last phone, with low-light capabilities and functions to tell you if something went wrong with the photo, like someone blinking or it being too backlit.
In some smaller updates, the phone will have 128GB memory as standard, with the ability to buy an upgraded 512GB version and further expand it to 1TB using an SD card. The fingerprint scanner hidden under the screen is centralised in the phone to make it easier to hit.
It'll be available on 24 August, starting at £899 for the 128GB model and £1,099 for the 512GB version.
The new Galaxy Watch is water-resistant up to 5m, and can connect to LTE networks like Three and EE for use when away from its phone counterpart.
It will also feature some updated health-tracking functions, like reminding you to breathe when it spots that you're stressed from your heart rate. It'll also monitor your sleep, and do a better job of tracking your exercise.
It's biggest sell is mostly an extended battery life, in a similar vein to the Note 9. The Watch will be able to last for several days on one charge, with both devices able to be charged at the same time thanks to Samsung's version of a multi-device wireless charging pad.
All Samsung has to do is release that before Apple finally gets out its Airpower counterpart, which shouldn't be too hard given how long we've been waiting for it so far.
The Galaxy Home
Samsung's new circular smart speaker, powered by its voice assistant Bixby, was the star of the show.
Thanks to its shape, it'll send sound in every direction, and has eight microphones hidden inside to pick up sound from anywhere in the room. If you say the phrase "Soundsteer", it'll make a note of where you are and then play music in that direction.
The phonemaker has launched a partnership with Spotify to power the new speaker, and enable users to switch seamlessly from one Android device to another while playing music.
Laura Simeonova, a mobile phone and internet of things analyst at CCS Insight said that while Samsung superfans might get excited by the Note 9, "it remains to be seen whether these will be enough to impress those outside the fiercely loyal Note user base".