Samsung went virtual with its Galaxy Unpacked launch event, and we just did a liveblog of the entire thing while socially distancing, too. What happened? Well, its biggest Android phone of 2020 just got announced, and so did its new true wireless earbuds, smartwatch and tablets.
Here’s what we’ve covered so far, and here’s what happened (in reverse chronological order):
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 launch live blog
All times in Eastern Standard Time (EST)
11:45am: Okay, now Samsung has ended the live stream and we’re ending the liveblog. Be sure to check out the the TechRadar team’s coverage excellent on the watches, tablets, buds and, of course, the phones in the links above. There’s a lot to…Unpack (yes, that’s how I’m ending this). Thanks for joining.
11:43am: Finally the Buds Live and Galaxy Watch are launching right away. You can get them as soon as tomorrow. The Buds Live are $169, while the Watch 3 starts at $399. That’s a price hike over the original Galaxy Watch, sadly, which started at $329. (Looking for UK prices? They’re in our hands-on and first look coverage).
11:42am: The Tab S7 and S7 Plus is coming on August 21, starting at $649 and $849. LTE will cost extra (add $100) and 5G will cost even more (add $200).
11:39: Finally some new information and less marketing fluff: the Note 20 price will cost $999, and the Note 20 Ultra will cost $1,299 and launch on August 21. These are US prices and all versions are 5G. There is a Note 20 4G option available in the UK.
11:30am: OK, Samsung isn’t done yet. They’re doing a Q&A that’s pre-scripted and fluff. What we will say, as the Note 20 Ultra is in the background of this discussion: the Note 20 punch hole camera is the smallest we’ve seen yet. Samsung didn’t tell us a size, but it’s smaller than the Note 20 – another reason to get the bigger version. We’re one small closer to a completely all-screen smartphone (without having to resort to a pop-up selfie cameras).
11:29am: Samsung is wrapping up Unpacked 2020, and we’re wrapping up this liveblog. The last remarks from the company regard 5G and foldable, calling it the major pillars of Samsung’s future. As for our closing marks? Review will be major pillars of our Samsung coverage going forward. Stay tuned.
11:27am: Samsung is going to share more details on the Z Fold 2 on September 1. Pre-orders will go live then, too. There’ll be one more version: a Thom Browne (yes, that’s spelled correctly) partnership, as Samsung did with the fashion designer on the Z Flip.
11:24am: Brand new is the fact that the phone will stay open at multiple angles. This is due to a brand new hinge. Samsung says there must be a gap for parts to move, but a new sweeper mechanism keeps debris out (and hopefully prevents this thing from breaking like the first iteration of the Fold 1).
11:23am: Samsung says this is the “most advanced flexible display ever”. Z Flip remains on sale as Samsung’s small and narrow phone, while the Z Fold 2 is large and wide.
11:21am: Updates coming in fast – Samsung has a 7.6-inch 120Hz display, using its ultra-thin UTG glass that was a part of the Z Flip. The outer screen is 6.2 inches, and more fits its “full cover display” name now. It’s 100% glass, says Samsung, not plastic or “Glasstic.”
11:20am: It’ll come in Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black, be 6mm thin, and sport a smaller punch hole camera – not that side notch business. There appears to be a triple-lens rear camera and side fingerprint sensor again.
11:18am: Apparently Samsung has contracted the KPop band BTS to introduce the Z Fold 2 for 20 seconds? They’re uber popular, so maybe I should change the liveblog headline to include BTS to juice up the traffic? Tons of new screaming TechRadar fans.
11:17am: Samsung appears to be righting everything we didn’t like about the Galaxy Z, including a larger outside screen.
11:16am: Here it is: the oddly named ‘Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2’.
11:15am: OK, someone at the FDA must have been tuned into Samsung’s presentation because Samsung just announced it got clearance for the blood pressure monitoring and ECG. One thing: it may not be there at launch, simply because it’ll probably require an update.
11:14am: Samsung is playing a very Samsung sizzle reel of everything is announced during the liveblog. That means… maybe the Fold will be revealed now. Please?
11:13am: Big caveat: UWB is limited to the Note 20 Ultra, so far. This means all of your friends better have this pricey new smartphone?
11:10am: Ever since the collapse of Android Beam, companies have been trying to come up with a new solution to send photos and video between devices without having to resort to file sharing or email programs. Its Nearby Share feature is supposed to combine UWB and AR technology to make the hand-off via a secure digital key.
11:08am: Samsung partnered with the US National Sleep Institute for deeper REM sleep tracking measurements. Most companies just shoehorn-in sleep tracking, so we’re interested in seeing if there’s an actual difference with the Galaxy Watch 3.
11:07am: A new feature the Galaxy Watch 3 has right now is blood oxygen level detection. That’s something you won’t find on the Apple Watch 5 – Apple could announce it for the Apple Watch 6, but that’s just a rumor for now.
11:06am: Ok, there’s the disclaimer. Samsung seems confident it’ll be coming to the US real soon, although that’s completely up to the FDA. That’s where the hold up it, apparently.
11:05am: Here’s what Samsung hasn’t told you about the ECG and blood pressure monitoring (so far). This feature is launching in Korea, but not in the US and worldwide yet.
]11:04am: One area where Samsung excels over Apple, besides having the circular display, is having more watch faces – even customizable ones the Galaxy App Store.
11:00am: It’s sleek and stylish and Samsung is taking to the stage to tout that it’s the only manufacturer with a rotating bezel as a control feature. It’s a lot like the original Galaxy Watch, launched to years ago, but now 14% slimmer and 15% lighter.
10:58am: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is (maybe) the latest big announcement, and the new product I’ve spent the most time with.
10:55am: Samsung just did a side-by-side comparison the Buds Live vs ‘Other Brand’ (we’re guessing it’s Apple, but they didn’t say). The noise cancellation is superior, but we’re skeptical of the validity of this testing. Again, we’ll be the judge of it all very soon.
10:53am: There are no tips for a true seal, but these open-style true wireless buds cut down out background noise by 97%, according to Samsung. The mics minimize the noise outside during calls, for example.
10:54am: “Even better, you don’t have that awkward step sticking out”, Samsung said… indirectly to everyone at Apple. Great line.
10:53am: Now for the smallest reveal of Unpacked 2020: the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. Our hands-on review of the Live is… live above. The Mystic Bronze color comes to the new buds, along with Mystic White and Mystic Black. Samsung it touting the fact that they’re eco-friendly, made of recycled material for the buds and case).
10:51am: Samsung just touted the Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (matching the S20 Ultra). The Note 20 (like the S20 and S20 Plus) has a Dual Pixel Autofocus (DPAF or 2PAF). The latter is technically better, but theoretically not ready for the 108MP sensor on the Nore 20 Ultra and S20 Ultra. Needless to say, we’ve had some issues with the PDAF. We’ll see how that plays out in our full review.
10:50am: Samsung is finally moved back to the Note 20 series and focusing on the camera.
10:49am: We’ve liked Apple Arcade, but Xbox games on your Android devices? That’s a much bigger deal, with established IP. They have an influencer/gamer on the live stream right now, playing Xbox games on the Note 20… with a controller and an of attachment. That’s serious dedication. I’m not sure most people will use that type of thing, but count us interested at least in trying.
10:45am: Xbox’s Phil Spencer just took over the Unpacked live stream. Maybe the biggest coup is the fact that Xbox cloud gaming is coming to Android phones, with Samsung out there in front in the marketing, “best possible gameplay experience” of Xbox Game Pass. It’s not limited to the Note 20 and Tab S7 series, but it should run on there best.
10:43am: Samsung has the hardest time with its ecosystem. It’s the one area in which it can’t touch Apple. The Microsoft integration gives Samsung a fighting chance in software, and we’ll have to see how it plays out in 2020. Being able to sync notes and to do lists (from pre-installed and default apps) with a PC is a step in the right direction.
10:41am: Microsoft is making the phone and PC closer together: there’s a long-needed Samsung Notes app coming to the PC… finally accessible from the computer. Why your all-important notes were locked down to a small-screened phone before made no sense.
10:40am: A Microsoft product person has taken over the live stream, and seems much more chipper and alive than the other presenters so far. He didn’t get the memo, I guess. Props for giving this virtual Unpacked an energy boost.
10:36am: Samsung and Microsoft’s partnership continues to deeper – for now. It’ll be interesting when Microsoft’s Surface Duo and Neo launch to rival Samsung’s own hardware.
10:34am: In addition to having the largest Super AMOLED on a tablet display to date, the Tab S7 and S7 Plus boast shorter 9ms latency on the S Pen – that’s a big jump Before it was 59ms. The S Pen hides in the back, behind the back of the keyboard cover, which sports a Surface-like kickstand. The kickstand goes from 90 degrees to 165 degrees. The touchpad is the largest for multi-finger gestures.
10:32am: Samsung is letting you run up to three apps simultaneously on the Tab S7 and S7 Plus. We’ll have to see how this plays out in real life. It’s all about the fluidity of the UI.
10:30am: The screen sizes are 11-inch and 12.4-inch, and the 120Hz refresh rate is here, too. The 12.4-inch version seems a bit more portable than the largest iPad Pro (at 12.9 inches). Samsung also uses Super AMOLED displays, which should help with contrast and battery life. Beyond our hands-on, we’ll find out if this is true.
10:29am: There’s an S Pen, just like the Apple Pencil, but unlike the iPad Pro, Samsung includes it’s stylus with the tablet.
10:27am: Samsung has moved on to unveiled the Tab S7. There are actually two of these tabs for 2020: the Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus, and they’re really aimed at taking on the iPad Pro.
10:26am: Lower latency is a nice perk, but what we really like this new feature: being able to record audio notes and scribble down written notes. The S Pen will sync the audio, so when you go back and type what you write, it’ll pay back the audio from there. It’s a brilliant idea that’s been lifted from the mostly defunct LiveScribe tech. Students, journalists and avid note takes will love it.
10:25am: Ten minutes after unveiling the new Note 20, Samsung is finally mentining the S Pen. This stylus has taken a bit of a back seat over the years, but you should really pay attention with this update.
10:23am: Oddly, the Note 20 series charging (even on the Note 20 Ultra) is capped at 25W. The S20 Ultra and Note 10 Plus could do 45W charging. Clearly that wasn’t in demand enough to make the jump to the Note 20 series.
10:22am: Samsung’s touting a 50% charge in 30 minutes with an intelligent battery. That’s not as powerful we we’ve seen from some of the 100W charging tech out there (coming to phones in 2020 and 2021).
10:21am: The Note 20 Ultra rear cameras are a lot like the S20 Ultra cameras, with a 108MP main wide camera. Only it won’t push the zoom levels to 100x. That’s OK, the Note 20 Ultra stopping at a 50x zoom is where the quality stopped on the S20 Ultra anyway.
10:19am: The screen looks really good, but we found the Note 20 Ultra to look better. Its Quad HD resolution and 120Hz refresh rate really shine – but you still can’t use both of these at the same time.
10:18am: These are two big displays: 6.7-inch and 6.9-inch. No sign of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 yet. But that’s probably coming at the end of Unpacked – if it happens at all.
10:17am: Samsung: “I can tell you really want to see the new devices.” Me: ….Yes…. That’s why we’re here.
10:16am: Bold statement: Samsung says the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra will “work like a computer and play like a gaming console.” It’s certainly powerful with the Snapdragon 865 chipset or Exynos 990 chipsets (region dependant).
10:15am: Fifteen minutes in, Samsung has announced its two phones: the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. There’s no Galaxy Note 20 Plus this time around.
10:14am: Even though Samsung hasn’t announced the Note 20 on stage yet, our coverage is live. It’s talking up meaningful innovations and how the world has changed around us. Samsung says it’s ready to “embrace the new normal.”
10:10am: Today’s event is happening in Korea instead of the usual US venues in New York. That means we’re all working virtually to bring you the coverage.
10:08am: Not a minute too soon (seriously), Samsung Unpacked has started. This is a virtual event, so we’re seeing a small stage and a lot of Samsung crew on video in the background.
Played w/ the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra + Galaxy Watch 3 WHILE social distancing and wearing a mask 😷 in NYC #GalaxyUnpacked. Here are my watch impressions: https://t.co/O9SNUBrQ5t pic.twitter.com/kiORlrr2QmAugust 5, 2020
10:05am: Oddly, we’re still waiting for the Unpacked presentation to start….
10:00am: Matt Swider taking over for James Peckham – going to try to make sure you don’t notice the liveblog going downhill from here.
09:56 – Still nothing on the audio front. Will this be fixed by the time we’re watching the event unfold? Who knows!
09:53 – The audio has cut out for the entirety of team TechRadar. Not sure if this is just a preparation thing, but it wouldn’t be the best if Samsung’s first proper totally virtual launch was a silent film, would it.
Fingers crossed the audio comes back again soon, or we’ll be chatting you through it from what we can see rather than what is actually announced.
09:49 – This repeating video on the live stream is driving us a little bit crazy now. While we wait for the main event, let’s run you through what we’re expecting to launch today. Below are the main products that are heavily rumored:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra – Two new S Pen-toting phones from the company. It’s thought that this year there won’t be a Plus model, with Samsung opting for the Ultra moniker for its top-end handset.
- Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 – A new foldable phone. Rather than a flip design, it’s rumored to look like the original book-like device, but with a couple of design tweaks to improve it.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 – A sequel to our best smartwatch in the world right now. Leaks suggest the rotating bezel is making a return, but that Samsung has made some slight tweaks and included some new fitness features.
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus – Two new Android tablets that are sure to be premium devices. It’s not currently clear how the Plus model differs from the standard tablet, apart from the rumored larger size.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Live – Samsung’s next pair of true wireless headphones to compete with the Apple AirPods and other rivals. We don’t know much about these yet, but leaks suggest they’ll be unveiled today.
- Something else entirely? – Samsung may surprise us with something entirely different too. Note that everything above is still based on leaks and rumors for now, so it may not be exactly what we see announced later today.
09:40 – The stream has started, and we’re being treated to 20 whole minutes of Samsung adverts with looks back at older products and collaborators (such as the aforementioned BTS).
We’ll be getting started here properly in about 10 minutes time, so be sure to refresh then ready for our coverage heading into the big launch.
09:25 – There’s only one way for our Managing Editor Matt Swider to note down what he’s expecting to see today.
Samsung said it has 5 devices for us today. Based on the many leaks, these are my *notes* (pictured: last year’s Note 10 Plus) #GalaxyUnpacked. pic.twitter.com/wVBph6c2XLAugust 5, 2020
09:09 – We only have a live stream for the Samsung Unpacked 2020 launch. You can watch below along with Samsung’s stream, or there are a variety of other streams you can find on Facebook and the manufacturer’s own website.
We’re only an hour out now from the big reveal starting off. What are your last minute predictions? Be sure to ping them to our Deputy Editor John McCann on Twitter in a reply to this:
Big #SamsungEvent today. Rumors suggest we’ll see a bunch of new products – could be a really busy, and exciting one. I wonder if Samsung will have any surprises left though. 🤔We’ll have all the news, as it happens, on @techradar #SamsungUnpacked https://t.co/BxLVhxnZLaAugust 5, 2020
08:20 – If you’re a fan of K-Pop, you’re in luck. A rumor suggests one of the biggest boy bands in the world – BTS – is set to perform at the virtual launch today.
That makes sense considering they partnered with Samsung for a specific device earlier this year. If you’re just here for the tech news… you may have to watch a bit of K-Pop to be able to get to it.
07:05 – Why should you care about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live that are rumored to be unveiled today? There are two reasons.
TechRadar’s Home Tech Writer, Olivia Tambini, says, “Firstly, if the leaks are proven true today, they’re going to sport a design that we haven’t seen in true wireless earbuds before – how that will affect comfort and sound will be really interesting to see.
“Secondly, these earbuds could be Samsung’s first real rival for the AirPods and the AirPods Pro. Apple is the company’s biggest competitor, and so far, it hasn’t managed to outperform it with its previous true wireless earbuds. With that unusual design and the possibility of noise cancellation, the Galaxy Buds Live could be real winners.”
06:15 – Just hours before the first ever virtual Unpacked, a series of major leaks look to have almost fully revealed some the devices we can expect to see today.
They come via the often-correct leaker Evleaks, and you can see individual stories about all of the products below:
What can I say, I’m a perfectionist. pic.twitter.com/A6btpkyZGaAugust 5, 2020
04:55 – Looking forward to today’s big reveal? You can watch the show live, and we’ve got a full guide on how to tune in.
For the best experience we recommend watching the live stream, and following along here for reaction and analysis as the new devices are announced.
04:00 – So what are we expecting to hear about today? There’s a lot for Samsung to run through, based on the leaks and rumors we’ve heard over the last few months, and here’s a quick run-down of what we expect to see:
02:00 – It’s early, but we just can’t sleep because of the Galaxy Note 20 launch. Alright, we’ll come clean – we’re actually writing this from our London bureau, so it’s not quite as early as that timestamp suggests.
But that doesn’t mean today isn’t exciting, with the leaks and rumors pointing to a host of new devices from Samsung.
Bookmark this page for the rest of your day as we run you through the biggest leaks so far, and the build-up to the event – including any last-minute leaks, before talking you through the virtual Unpacked event itself.
So make yourself comfortable, and be sure to check back throughout the day as we introduce you to Samsung’s next range of S Pen-toting phones and more.