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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Z Flip 3: Unfolding Advanced Foldable Experiences at More Affordable Price Points

  • The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 are the world’s first water-resistant foldables.
  • The Galaxy Watch 4 series has the first smartwatches powered by a 5nm chipset.
  • Counterpoint estimates foldable smartphone shipments to triple in 2021.

Samsung unveiled four new products – Galaxy Z Flip 3, Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Buds 2 – at its virtual ‘Galaxy Unpacked’ event on Wednesday. Since Samsung has decided to skip the Galaxy Note this year, it is positioning the Galaxy Z Fold 3 not only as the most premium offering but also as a great productivity tool with S Pen support. The new wearables also bring a big leap, both in terms of software and hardware. Here are the key announcements and our analysis from the event.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3: Stylish, Compact & Going Mainstream

Samsung is looking to make the new foldables available at more accessible price points. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 now starts at $999 for the SKU with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. This is an important milestone for Samsung in bringing the Fold experience under $1,000. For context, a third of iPhones sold globally cost over $1,000, allowing Samsung to target these users with a novelty form factors. Carrier discounts and trade-ins can further help reduce the cost, and make the new foldables even more affordable.

counterpoint samsung unpacked galaxy z flip 3
Source – Samsung

Despite the cost reduction, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 does not compromise on the hardware or features. It is the world’s first foldable smartphone to come with an IPX8 rating for water resistance (under 1.5 meters for 30 minutes). Do note that the rating is for freshwater, and not meant for seawater and pools.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Improved toughness with armor aluminum and Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus.
  • Bigger 1.9-inch AMOLED cover screen to display time, weather, notifications, and more.
  • 7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex display (unfolded) with 120Hz adaptive refresh rate.
  • 5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB/256GB (UFS 3.1) storage.
  • eSIM, 5G connectivity: Standalone (SA), Non-Standalone (NSA) – Sub-6Ghz, mmWave.
  • Dual 12MP cameras (wide and ultra-wide) on the outside, and a 10MP selfie camera inside.
  • 3,300mAh battery, wireless charging.
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Knox Security, Android 11 with One UI.
counterpoint samsung galaxy z flip 3 specifications
Source – Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: More Durable, and a Great Productivity Tool

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has more headline features to talk about. Just like the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the Z Fold 3 is also IPX8 rated for water resistance. The price for the 12GB RAM + 256GB storage model starts at $1,799, which is $200 less than the Galaxy Z Fold 2. The foldable smartphone also comes with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus and armor aluminum frame, making it strong and sturdy. It is also lighter at 271 grams compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 2 that weighs 282 grams.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 overview
Source – Samsung

Samsung is also introducing its first “under-display camera” with the main screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The implementation aims to eliminate the need for having a notch, pop-up camera, or a hole-punch cutout on the display for a cleaner design and better viewing experience. We expect shipments of smartphones with under-display cameras to reach 15 million units in 2022 and 110 million units in 2025.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 under display camera
Source – Samsung

Another important addition to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the support for S Pen. In association with Wacom, Samsung will be offering two different types of S Pen (sold separately) for the smartphone. The first is the non-Bluetooth Fold Edition with a dedicated button for Air Command support. This will only be compatible with the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

counterpoint samsung unpacked galaxy z fold 3 s pen
Source – Samsung

Samsung will also be selling the S Pen Pro, which will feature Bluetooth connectivity and come with a built-in battery that can be charged using the USB Type-C socket. It will support Air Command and Air Action gestures to let you click photos remotely, and control media and presentations among other features. The S Pen Pro will have a switch to toggle it to use it as a regular S Pen with compatible Galaxy S, Note and Tab models, or with the Z Fold.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 s pen pro
Source – Samsung

Key Features and Specifications

  • 2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED screen on the outside with 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate.
  • 6-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED, Infinity Flex main screen with 120Hz refresh rate.
  • 5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, 12GB of RAM, 256GB/512GB storage.
  • eSIM, 5G connectivity: Standalone (SA), Non-Standalone (NSA) – Sub-6Ghz, mmWave.
  • 12MP triple rear cameras – wide, ultra-wide, and 2x telephoto zoom.
  • 10MP front camera on outer screen, 4MP under-display camera on the main screen.
  • Dolby Atmos, stereo speakers.
  • 4,400mAh battery, wireless charging.
counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 specifications
Source – Samsung

On the software front, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 boots Android 11 OS with One UI skin on top. Samsung has also included labs feature in the UI that optimizes all apps for the foldable screen. For quick switching and multi-tasking, the pinned taskbar is now present on the right side of the main screen. Users can also split the screen into two halves, allowing multi-tasking with two apps side-by-side.

Talking about Samsung’s decision to replace the Note with the Z Fold 3, Counterpoint Research VP Neil Shah said, “Samsung’s dual flagship strategy always had a segmented approach, with the S series offering latest and greatest new features, and the Note series focusing on a bigger screen with the S Pen support adding the productivity dimension. However, as the 6-inch and above display size has become a norm, the Note devices have been losing the point of differentiation. Replacing the Note series with a foldable device that has a “novel form-factor”, the most premium big display and S Pen support will help Samsung differentiate itself from competitors and command a premium at the same time.”

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Watch 4 Classic: Improved Focus on Health and Software Experience

Samsung’s new Galaxy smartwatches bring a generation leap, both in terms of hardware and software. Samsung aims to offer a holistic health experience and more with the new One UI Watch platform and a custom wearable chipset.

There are two smartwatches — the Galaxy Watch 4 with a touch bezel and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic with the iconic rotating bezel. The Watch 4 (40mm) Bluetooth model starts at $249.99, whereas the Watch 4 Classic (42mm) Bluetooth model starts at $349.99. Samsung will also be selling LTE variants, and other SKUs with 44mm and 46mm dials for the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic, respectively.

New Powerful and Efficient Chipset

Hardware-wise, both smartwatches are powered by Samsung’s new 5nm W920 processor, which is well ahead of competitors such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus processor that is fabricated on a 12nm node. The new W920 processor has two Cortex-A55 cores and a Mali G68 GPU, offering a 20% CPU performance boost and 10 times better graphics performance. There is also a dedicated Cortex-M55 low-power display processor for reduced battery consumption during Always-on Display (AOD), and an embedded 4G LTE Cat.4 modem for cellular connectivity.

One UI Watch Platform

Moving to software, Google and Samsung have partnered to merge the best of Android’s Wear OS and Samsung’s Tizen OS to offer a unified platform – One UI Watch. It will enable closer integration between the Galaxy smartwatch and Galaxy smartphones. The new APIs and tools will allow developers to easily build apps for the new smartwatch platform. Google’s Wear OS roughly has around 4% market share whereas Tizen OS has around 8%. Integrating Tizen OS with Wear OS, will help both Google and Samsung to go full force after the 3.5 billion Android user base.

counterpoint galaxy watch 4 one ui
Source – Samsung

Lastly, the integration will also open access to Play Store and more apps, including Google Maps and Google Assistant. Moreover, when you install an app on your smartphone, a compatible smartwatch app will automatically get installed on the smartwatch. Other features include syncing of important settings on the smartwatch, and the ability to control Galaxy Buds TWS features such as ANC mode, battery status, and more.

New and Improved Sensors for Better Health Tracking

Samsung has added a new 3-in-1 BioActive sensor that can track PPG, ECG and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). With over 2,400 data points and 98% accuracy, Samsung claims the new sensor can track and calculate skeletal muscle, fat mass, body fat, body water and BMI among other important aspects. There is also an advanced sleep management feature that can track snoring and blood oxygen level while you sleep.

counterpoint samsung galaxy watch 4 bmi
Source – Samsung

Key Specifications

  • 5GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage for installing apps, saving offline music, photos, and more.
  • 247mAh battery in 40mm (42mm) models, 361mAh battery in 44mm (46mm) models.
  • 40 hours of battery life on a single charge, quick charging feature, and more.
  • eSIM LTE connectivity, Knox Security, NFC Samsung Pay.
  • 5ATM water resistant.
counterpoint samsung galaxy watch 4 specs
Source – Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Premium Audio at Affordable Price

The Galaxy Buds 2 are one of the most anticipated TWS to launch this year. Even at a lower price point of $149, the new buds offer key features from the Galaxy Buds Pro. With a dynamic two-way speaker (woofer and tweeter), the new Galaxy Buds 2 offer an active noise cancellation feature using two outer and one inner mic. For those who want to be aware of the surroundings while listening to music, Samsung offers three levels of ambient sound control from the app.

Each earbud comes with a 61mAh battery and the case comes with a 472mAh battery, offering five hours of battery life on a single charge with ANC on, and 20 hours with the case. The fast-pair feature lets you connect the Galaxy Buds 2 with your PC, and a Buds app lets you control ANC and other features right from the computer.

counterpoint samsung buds 2 specifications
Source – Samsung

Counterpoint’s Take on Foldable Smartphones

According to Counterpoint Research’s latest Foldable Smartphone Shipment Forecast, we expect foldable shipments to grow 3x in 2021 and over 10x by 2023. We estimate that Samsung will continue to dominate the foldable smartphone market with a 75% share as its vertical integration controls a bulk of foldable display production.

While it is good to see Samsung making efforts to make foldable smartphones more affordable than before, there are supply constraints as the yield for foldable displays is still not good. Once these supply issues are resolved, we believe the $800-$1,000 price point will be a sweet spot for foldable smartphones over the next couple of years.

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