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Everything Samsung Announced at Galaxy Unpacked in Paris

It's a big day for Samsung. At its biannual Galaxy Unpacked event—held today in Paris just weeks before the Olympics kickoff—Samsung took the wraps off of eight new devices, one of which is an entirely new product category for the company: a health-tracking smart ring. The Galaxy Ring arrives at a time when there's growing interest and fresh competition in these miniature trackers from the likes of Oura and Ultrahuman.

Alongside the Ring are the Galaxy Z Fold6 and Galaxy Z Flip6—new versions of Samsung's folding phones that are now in their sixth generation. In the audio department, the company showed off the Galaxy Buds3 and Buds3 Pro wireless earbuds. The Galaxy Watch7 smartwatch series as usual comes in two sizes. But unusually, there's a new Galaxy Watch Ultra. It takes a lot of inspiration from the Apple Watch Ultra and, like Apple's premium wearable, it targets more serious athletes. (Samsung hosted WIRED at its media event in Paris and paid for a portion of our reporter’s travel expenses.)

Here's everything you need to know about what Samsung announced.

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The Galaxy Ring

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Most of us are used to tracking health and fitness data through a smartwatch or fitness tracker. Smart rings have been increasingly popular because the tech's miniaturization has improved, and who doesn't want to wear a small ring to do all this health tracking instead of a bulky watch?

Samsung's Galaxy Ring, teased earlier this year at CES, is a lightweight titanium ring that comes in black, silver, and gold finishes. The company will ship out a ring-sizing kit once you place a preorder, but these rings will also be available at select retailers later this year, in which case you'll be able to try them on in the store. (I, a 6'4" man, could fit only the maximum size 13 ring on most of my fingers, so I'm a little worried folks with thick digits might have trouble.) There are nine size options.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

It's IP68 and 10 ATM water resistant, so you can use it while in the shower or doing the dishes. It pairs with any Android phone through the Samsung Health app, but it won't work with iPhones. You do not need a subscription to access the full suite of features; all of the available features are included with the purchase. It also works with Samsung Find, so you can easily locate it if it's misplaced. It has a charging case that works exactly like the case for your wireless earbuds. Samsung claims the Galaxy Ring can last seven days on a single charge, matching the battery life of the Oura Ring.

The ring covers many health-tracking features you'd expect from a smartwatch, including sleep tracking, cycle tracking, high or low heart rate alerts, and auto-workout detection. Samsung has talked up its use of artificial intelligence on the Ring, using smart algorithms to monitor sleep patterns, snoring, and heart and respiratory rate to help you get more robust information about your sleep.

More important is a feature called Energy Score, also available in the new Galaxy Watches. Much like Fitbit's Daily Readiness or Garmin's Body Battery, it looks at your data and then recommends how ready you are to take on the day based on factors like sleep quality and your recent activity levels. You'll also get “wellness tips” throughout the day to keep you on your health goals. If you use both the Galaxy Ring and the new Galaxy Watch series simultaneously, some sensors may turn off in the watch to conserve its battery life, which is something I haven't seen before.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

The Ring does not provide haptic feedback, but you can perform some rudimentary gesture controls with your fingers for a few tasks, like dismissing an alarm or starting a video recording on your phone. These “Double Pinch Gestures” are also available on the Galaxy Watch7 series.

The Galaxy Ring is available for preorder today and costs $400. It'll officially go on sale July 24. I'll be slipping the precious on my fingers very soon to give it a test ride.

Sixth-Gen Folding Phones

Galaxy Z Fold6

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

The new Galaxy Z Flip6 and Fold6 don't break much new ground over their predecessors. I feel like I've been saying that with every new iteration over the past six years, but it's true! Samsung tends to refine its folding Android phone designs instead of making drastic changes. Both handsets are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, just like every other flagship Android phone of 2024. The Flip6 is Samsung's thinnest yet, and the Fold6 is shorter and wider than the last one. They're both boxier—gone are the rounded curves in favor of sharp edges.

Galaxy Z Fold6

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Most of what's new on these folding phones are the same Galaxy AI features Samsung announced with the Galaxy S24 series. That includes Circle to Search, which can take advantage of the larger 7.6-inch screen on the Fold6. These AI features have picked up new tricks, like how Circle to Search can now provide solutions to mathematical equations (and how to solve them).

One fun new addition is “Sketch to Image.” I opened a photo of seashells on the beach in Samsung's Gallery app, pressed the AI button, and drew a crude star. I tapped Generate and the phone drummed up a realistic-looking, star-shaped seashell right where I doodled. It's pretty remarkable. (These images with generated sketches will be watermarked to indicate they were made with AI.) Another to note is the real-time phone call translation feature—it's present on these phones, but now it works in any third-party calling app like WhatsApp and Telegram.

Samsung is emphasizing the improved durability of these folding phones, citing improved scratch resistance and a new fourth layer in the display that protects it from punctures. There's also a “dual-rail hinge” for better shock absorption in the event of a drop. This might explain the slightly improved dust resistance—they have an IP48 rating instead of an IPX8 rating like prior models.

Galaxy Z Flip6

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

On the Flip6, Samsung did not change the exterior screen; it's still a 3.6-inch display. This is the opposite of what Motorola did in its new Razr phones. I prefer the 4-inch external screen on the Razr+ as it offers more space to see more of an app or notification. What's new then? There are more interactive wallpapers and ones that react to real-time weather and the current amount of daylight. You will also find a wider variety of widgets on this external display, and you can customize the size of widgets and put multiple together if you like. Smart replies show up when someone messages you too—tap one of these AI-generated responses instead of opening up the handset if you can't be distracted for more than a moment.

Galaxy Z Fold6

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

The cameras have been updated; the Flip6 has the same 50-megapixel main camera as the Galaxy S24 and an improved 12-megapixel ultrawide. The Fold6 has these two plus a 12-megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom. There's not much else new with the cameras, except that Samsung has taken a cue from Motorola and added a feature called “Camcorder Grip” for the Flip6. Hold the phone sideways, folded at a 90-degree angle like a camcorder, and it'll start recording, offering a zoom slider on the bottom screen as you record. It's a fun feature on the Razr and I expect it to be the same here.

There are two other notable changes in this flip phone. First, Samsung says it has installed the first-ever vapor chamber in a Galaxy Z Flip phone. These chambers are used on most smartphones today for better heat dissipation, allowing for smoother sustained performance when playing games. That should make the Flip6 run cooler overall. Second, it now matches the Galaxy S24's battery capacity at 4,000 mAh. Folding flip phones don't have great battery life, but every boost helps.

The Fold6 and Flip6 have some improvements to the Interpreter mode, which you use when translating a conversation IRL. There's a Conversation mode and a Listening mode. The latter will let you run the mic as someone talks in another language, and you'll see their speech translated as text on the screen. Conversation mode, on the other hand, lets you have a back-and-forth with someone, showing text translations of your speech to the other person on the exterior screen, and the translation of their speech on the internal screen. Google introduced this feature on its Pixel Fold last year.

Galaxy Z Flip6

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

The Galaxy Z Flip6 and Z Fold6 are now available for preorder and go on sale July 24. The downside? There's a $100 price bump over the last models, and it's difficult to stomach when the new phones are short on changes. The Galaxy Flip6 starts at $1,099, and the Fold6 costs $1,900. Ouch. If it's any consolation, if you ever scratch the screen protector on either of these phones, you can get a free replacement within one year from the date of purchase. If you crack the display, Samsung will offer a “reduced-free screen repair” for $200, which is way cheaper than what you'd typically shell out. Just know this latter offer expires after two years from purchase.

Galaxy Watch Ultra and Galaxy Watch7

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

For the first time, there's a Galaxy Watch Ultra. I wonder what prompted this addition to the lineup? This is a big 47-mm Wear OS 5 smartwatch (the first to run the latest version of Wear OS) with a squircle-ish design. It looks attractive, especially with the orange band, and Samsung has a few new sporty watch faces to complete the look. It's made of titanium, has a 10 ATM water resistance, and can operate in extreme altitudes like 500 meters below sea level up to 9,000 meters of elevation. (That's 29,527 feet—taller than Mount Everest, so you can summit any peak on Earth with it.)

Galaxy Watch Ultra

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

There's a new multi-sports tile if you want to track for a triathlon, a new capability that accurately measures maximum cycling power within minutes, and an advanced personalized HR zone to ensure you're exerting the proper amount as you exercise. And then there's a list of features Samsung more or less copied from Apple. Quick Button (aka Apple's Action Button) lets you control workouts or you can map it to other functions. There's an emergency siren to activate if things are perilous, and the screen will automatically switch to Night mode (where everything is red) for the best readability in the dark. Speaking of, the screen also hits a peak brightness of 3,000 nits.

A bigger watch means bigger battery life, and Samsung claims 100 hours in Power Saving mode and 48 hours in Exercise Power Saving mode. It's hard to determine what that translates to in average use, but considering the Galaxy Watch6 series typically lasts a day and a half, I expect the Ultra to last between two and three days. Brace yourself for the price: $650.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

The standard Watch7 comes in two sizes (40 and 44 mm) and isn't much of a visual change from its predecessor, though there are no more mechanical rotating bezels on any of these smartwatches anymore. (Boo!) These watches are powered by a 3-nanometer processor that's faster and more power efficient than the previous chips, and there's also dual-frequency GPS to better track your location.

Everything available on the Watch7 is available on the Watch Ultra, and the headline feature is FDA-authorized sleep apnea tracking, which can monitor for moderate to severe signs of the condition. Many other health-tracking features are still available but purportedly made better thanks to more accurate sensors in the watches; for example, heart rate measurements during intense workouts are up to 30 percent more accurate, according to Samsung.

Samsung didn't dive into details about this in my meeting, but apparently the Watch7 is also capable of tracking advanced glycation end products (AGEs) via an AGEs Index. This tool is supposed to help predict issues tied to metabolic health so you can seek preventative care if warning signs are present.

The Galaxy Watch7 series starts at $300 and preorders are open now with official sales kicking off July 24.

New Galaxy Buds

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Last but not least are the Galaxy Buds3 and Buds3 Pro—the first new Samsung wireless earbuds since 2022. Samsung says it spent 12 months collecting data to find the most comfortable fit and … well, I'm sorry to say that the answer turns out to be an AirPods clone. No, really. They look like a Cybertruck had a baby with AirPods. The Buds3 have a flat design, but the Buds3 Pro have eartips. They're both IP57-rated, so they're ready for sweaty runs.

The coolest trick these earbuds have up their sleeves is real-time translation via Samsung's Interpreter mode. It's powered by a Galaxy Fold6 or Flip6, but the earbuds' mics can pick up anything said around you and translate it to your language. There's going to be a small delay for the translations to trickle into your ears, so don't expect to follow fast talkers.

They have adaptive noise cancellation that can cut out blaring sirens or silence your music when someone starts talking to you, and Samsung touts the usual audio improvements, like 24-bit 96-kHz playback and enhanced call quality. The Buds3 cost $180 and the Buds3 Pro are $250. They're available for preorder now and go on sale July 24.

Source: wired.com

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