The Morning After: What to expect from Samsung’s Unpacked event this week

It’s almost time for Samsung to unveil another generation of its flagship Galaxy S smartphones. Fortunately for us, leaks have revealed a lot of the major beats ahead of the February 1st event. It seems all the show-stopping features will come to the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Rumors have long pointed to the highest-end S23 model sporting a 200-megapixel main camera – and then Samsung revealed a new camera sensor that pretty much fits that specification. You may not see other sweeping changes, design-wise, but according to leaked images, the camera array on the S23 and S23+ may drop the cut-out look of last-gen, making it look more like the Ultra.

TMA
Nieuwe Mobiel

Across the whole S23 family, which will probably include the S23, S23+ and Ultra, well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Samsung will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, rather than its in-house Exynos chips. Exynos-based Galaxy phones have a reputation for worse performance and battery life, so this could be a good thing.

Alongside the phones, we expect Samsung to launch a new ultra laptop, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. The company’s mobile president TM Roh even mentioned in a blog post that there will be Ultra products in “more device categories,” so this must be it. Samsung Display said the high-end Galaxy Book line will feature OLED screens with built-in touch, much like smartphones. The Ultra is also expected to arrive in tandem with more conventional Galaxy Book 3 PCs.

– Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

Watch the latest ‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ trailer

It pits Cat Mario against Donkey Kong.

TMA
Nintendo

Nintendo shared a surprise trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The 30-second clip shows additional footage from a scene first featured in the trailer Nintendo released last November. More importantly, it marks our first chance to hear Seth Rogen’s take on Donkey Kong.

Continue reading.

Mac mini review (M2 Pro, 2023)

A Mac mini Pro, in all but name.

TMA
Engadget

The M2 Pro-equipped Mac Mini is a powerhouse in a small-form-factor disguise. The $1,299 model offers tremendous performance for creators who don’t want to shell out $1,999 for a Mac Studio. But, as is often the case, beware of Apple’s exorbitant upgrade costs for RAM and storage. Check out Devindra Hardawar’s full review.

Continue reading.

Microsoft will continue to ‘support and grow’ Halo, amid layoffs

That’s from Xbox head, Phil Spencer.

Xbox CEO Phil Spencer says Microsoft remains committed to the Halo franchise and its developer, 343 Industries. In an interview following this week’s Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct showcase, Spencer told IGN “the heart and soul of Halo is with 343, and I have the utmost confidence in the team that's there.” The Halo studio was reportedly “hit hard” by Microsoft’s recently announced company-wide layoffs. The number of employees Microsoft let go at the studio is unknown, but according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Halo Infinite’s campaign team saw significant cuts.

Continue reading.

Meta’s pricey Quest Pro VR headset is $400 off right now

It's a hefty first-time discount.

Meta’s pricey Quest Pro headset is on sale for the first time. After a hefty 27 percent discount, the headset is currently $1,100 – that’s $400 off – through Amazon and other retailers. Thanks to its Snapdragon XR2+ chipset and 12GB of RAM, the Quest Pro is 50 percent more powerful than the Quest 2. It also features solid built-in speakers with support for spatial audio. That said, the Quest Pro isn’t for everyone. There are still few apps and games that take advantage of all this advanced hardware.

Continue reading.

Samsung’s entry model Galaxy S23 could feature slower storage

How much storage you decide to configure the Galaxy S23 with could be a more meaningful decision than with some of Samsung's past phones. According to frequent Samsung leaker Ice Universe (via Android Police), the 128GB variant of the base model S23 will make use of a UFS 3.1 chip instead of Samsung’s newer UFS 4.0 standard. Consumers will need to pay extra for the 256GB version if they want the company’s latest storage technology. Ice suggests the reason for this is that Samsung doesn’t produce a 128GB UFS 4.0 chip.

Samsung has made big claims about UFS 4.0 since announcing the standard last year. The company says the new chips are twice as fast as its older UFS 3.1 memory. UFS 4.0 offers sequential read and write speeds of up to 4,200MB/s and 2,800MB/s, respectively. The new silicon is also 46 percent more power efficient, an upgrade that could lead to longer battery life on phones that make use of the technology.

I’ll note here Ice Universe’s information isn’t definitive. A handful of leaks have suggested all S23 models will start with 256GB of storage. Yet other reports have said that Samsung will offer a storage upgrade to people who preorder the Galaxy S23. Either way, UFS 4.0 should be a meaningful upgrade, but if you decide to save a bit of money by going for a potential 128GB model, don’t overthink things. It’s not like Samsung is reportedly planning to outfit the base Galaxy S23 with eMMC or UFS 2.1 storage.

Ford recalls 462,000 SUVs over rearview camera issue

Ford has issued a recall for 462,000 vehicles worldwide over the possibility that their rearview cameras could suffer from faulty video output. According to the Associated Press and Reuters, the recall covers some 2020 to 2023 model Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators, as well as a bunch of 2020 to 2022 model Lincoln Corsairs. The affected vehicles come with 360-degree cameras that display live view footage on the in-car entertainment touchscreen console. The majority of the affected cars — over 382,000 — are in the US. 

According to a document (PDF) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency contacted Ford in late 2021 about allegations that the live view camera was showing a blue image instead of what was happening outside. That came after an earlier recall in 2021 for the same problem. Ford worked with suppliers to analyze those reports, but it wasn't until December 2022 that the automaker was able to replicate the issue in the laboratory and in-vehicle, which is most likely why Ford has only issued a recall now. 

Apparently, 2,115 warranty reports had been submitted about this issue as of November 30th, 2022. Also, the automaker is aware of 17 minor accidents that allegedly occurred due to the vehicles' rear camera blue screen problem, but it hasn't heard of any injuries. Reuters said even the vehicles that were recalled in 2021 are part of this recall, so dealers can also update their image processing module software.

Ford recalls 462,000 SUVs over rearview camera issue

Ford has issued a recall for 462,000 vehicles worldwide over the possibility that their rearview cameras could suffer from faulty video output. According to the Associated Press and Reuters, the recall covers some 2020 to 2023 model Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators, as well as a bunch of 2020 to 2022 model Lincoln Corsairs. The affected vehicles come with 360-degree cameras that display live view footage on the in-car entertainment touchscreen console. The majority of the affected cars — over 382,000 — are in the US. 

According to a document (PDF) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency contacted Ford in late 2021 about allegations that the live view camera was showing a blue image instead of what was happening outside. That came after an earlier recall in 2021 for the same problem. Ford worked with suppliers to analyze those reports, but it wasn't until December 2022 that the automaker was able to replicate the issue in the laboratory and in-vehicle, which is most likely why Ford has only issued a recall now. 

Apparently, 2,115 warranty reports had been submitted about this issue as of November 30th, 2022. Also, the automaker is aware of 17 minor accidents that allegedly occurred due to the vehicles' rear camera blue screen problem, but it hasn't heard of any injuries. Reuters said even the vehicles that were recalled in 2021 are part of this recall, so dealers can also update their image processing module software.

Mercedes is the first certified Level-3-autonomy car company in the US

At CES earlier this January, Mercedes announced that it would become the first car company to achieve certification from the SAE for a Level 3 driver assist system. That became official on Thursday when the automaker confirmed its Drive Pilot ADAS (automated driver assist system) now complies with the requirements of Nevada Chapter 482A, which governs the use of autonomous vehicle technology on the state's roads. That makes Drive Pilot the only legal Level 3 system in the US for the moment.

"An unwavering commitment to innovation has consistently guided Mercedes-Benz from the very beginning," Dimitris Psillakis, President and CEO of MBUSA, said in Thursday's press statement. "It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the US market."

Level 3 capabilities, as defined by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), would enable the vehicle to handle "all aspects of the driving" when engaged but still need the driver attentive enough to promptly take control if necessary. That's a big step up from the Level 2 systems we see today such as Tesla's "Full Self-Driving," Ford's Blue Cruise, and GM's Super Cruise. All of those are essentially extra-capable highway cruise controls where the driver must maintain their attention on driving, typically keeping their hands on or at least near the wheel, and be responsible for what the ADAS is doing while it's doing it. That's a far cry from the Knight Rider-esque ADAS outlook Tesla is selling and what Level 2 autonomy is actually capable of.

Mercedes' Drive Pilot system can, "on suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density," according to the company, take over the bumper-to-bumper crawling duties up to 40 MPH without the driver needing to keep their hands on the wheel. When engaged, the system handles lane-keeping duties, stays with the flow of traffic, navigates to destinations programmed into the Nav system, and will even react to "unexpected traffic situations and handles them independently, e.g. by evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers."

To perform these feats, the Drive Pilot system relies on a suite of sensors embedded throughout the vehicle including visual cameras, LiDAR arrays, radar and ultrasound sensors, and audio mics to keep an ear out for approaching emergency vehicles. The system even compares its onboard sensor data with what it is receiving from its GPS to ensure it knows exactly where on the road it actually is. 

Drive Pilot is only available on the 2024 S-Class and EQS Sedan for now. Those are already in production and the first cars should reach the Vegas strip in the second half of this year. 

Mercedes is the first certified Level-3-autonomy car company in the US

At CES earlier this January, Mercedes announced that it would become the first car company to achieve certification from the SAE for a Level 3 driver assist system. That became official on Thursday when the automaker confirmed its Drive Pilot ADAS (automated driver assist system) now complies with the requirements of Nevada Chapter 482A, which governs the use of autonomous vehicle technology on the state's roads. That makes Drive Pilot the only legal Level 3 system in the US for the moment.

"An unwavering commitment to innovation has consistently guided Mercedes-Benz from the very beginning," Dimitris Psillakis, President and CEO of MBUSA, said in Thursday's press statement. "It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the US market."

Level 3 capabilities, as defined by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), would enable the vehicle to handle "all aspects of the driving" when engaged but still need the driver attentive enough to promptly take control if necessary. That's a big step up from the Level 2 systems we see today such as Tesla's "Full Self-Driving," Ford's Blue Cruise, and GM's Super Cruise. All of those are essentially extra-capable highway cruise controls where the driver must maintain their attention on driving, typically keeping their hands on or at least near the wheel, and be responsible for what the ADAS is doing while it's doing it. That's a far cry from the Knight Rider-esque ADAS outlook Tesla is selling and what Level 2 autonomy is actually capable of.

Mercedes' Drive Pilot system can, "on suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density," according to the company, take over the bumper-to-bumper crawling duties up to 40 MPH without the driver needing to keep their hands on the wheel. When engaged, the system handles lane-keeping duties, stays with the flow of traffic, navigates to destinations programmed into the Nav system, and will even react to "unexpected traffic situations and handles them independently, e.g. by evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers."

To perform these feats, the Drive Pilot system relies on a suite of sensors embedded throughout the vehicle including visual cameras, LiDAR arrays, radar and ultrasound sensors, and audio mics to keep an ear out for approaching emergency vehicles. The system even compares its onboard sensor data with what it is receiving from its GPS to ensure it knows exactly where on the road it actually is. 

Drive Pilot is only available on the 2024 S-Class and EQS Sedan for now. Those are already in production and the first cars should reach the Vegas strip in the second half of this year. 

LG, Samsung and TCL TVs drop ahead of the Super Bowl, plus the rest of the week’s best tech deals

Right around the Super Bowl is typically a good time for TV deals, as the major brands often lower prices on their older models in order to clear out inventory for their newer (and subsequently more expensive) sets arriving later in the year. In many cases, though, those older TVs can still represent good value. We're seeing this trend again this week, with well-reviewed options from LG, Samsung, TCL and others all available for all-time lows. We've noted a few highlights below, including a 48-inch LG C2 OLED TV for $947 and a 55-inch TCL 5-Series Roku TV for $370. Besides TVs, our weekly deal roundup includes Amazon's Fire HD 10 for $85, plus discounts on a handful of Anker chargers and Samsung storage devices, among others. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

The 48-inch version of LG's C2 OLED TV is down to a new all-time low of $947. While LG is promising improved brightness with its 2023 lineup, last year's C2 should still offer an excellent image in darker or moderately-lit rooms, with the kind of high contrast, deep black tones and wide viewing angles that are expected from a premium OLED panel.

If you want a larger step up, Samsung's S95B is generallyregarded as a superior TV overall, one that can get bright and saturated enough to look good in well-lit rooms but doesn't sacrifice the typical benefits of an OLED display. It's back down to $1,448 for a 55-inch panel and $1,798 for 65-inch panel; neither of those are cheap, but both deals match the lowest prices we've seen.

If you're looking to pay less than $500 on a new TV, reviewers we trust at Rtings, Wirecutter and elsewhere have praised TCL's latest 5-Series TVs for delivering impressive contrast and color performance at an affordable price. The panel tops out at a standard 60Hz refresh rate, but it has full-array local dimming and supports all the major HDR formats. Both the 55- and 65-inch 5-Series TVs are down to new lows at Amazon and Best Buy this week, coming in at $370 and $500, respectively.

Just note that these are Roku TVs. If you prefer the Google TV interface, Hisense's U6H is a good alternative that's available for the same prices, but it doesn't get as bright as TCL's model.

Amazon's entry-level Fire HD 10 is on sale for $85, which is $10 more than the 10.1-tablet's previous low at the retailer but still about $30 below its typical street price in recent months. This is the slate to get if you just want something competent for less than $100: Its hardware is nowhere near as nice as an iPad, but its 1920x1200 display is perfectly serviceable, it gets 12-ish hours of battery life, and it's performant enough for basic streaming and web browsing. Just remember that, like all Amazon tablets, it it comes with lockscreen ads unless you pay extra and lacks (official) access to Google's Play Store.

Anker's Nano II 65W is an ultracompact GaN charger with enough power to charge most phones, tablets and even some laptops at full speed. Right now it's on sale for $35, which is $3 above the lowest price we've seen but $15 off its usual going rate. This deal comes as part of a wider range of discounts on Anker charging gear going on this week; other standouts include a multi-port variant of this charger for $46 (with an on-page coupon), and a MagSafe-compatible wireless charging pad for $45.

The 512GB version of Samsung's Evo Select microSD card is currently on sale for $47, which is only about $2 more than the lowest price we've tracked. Typically, it retails closer to $55. The U3- and V30-rated Evo Select isn't the absolute fastest microSD card in a vacuum, but it's still more than capable of handling 4K video or storing games with minimal fuss. At this price, it's a good value if you just want to dump a bunch of storage into a GoPro, Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck or the like.

Along those lines, the 2TB version of Samsung's 980 Pro SSD is on sale for $180, which is roughly $25 below the NVMe drive's average street price over the last few months. If you don't need that much space, the 500GB model is also on sale for $75, which matches an all-time low. A PCIe 4.0 drive like this isn't essential for most, and the 980 Pro is technically an older model now, but we note it here because it meets Sony's requirements for expanding the PlayStation 5's storage. You'll just need to add a cheap heatsink along with it. (Samsung sells a variant with an integrated heatsink, but it costs more.)

If the 980 Pro runs out of stock, note that the WD Black SN850X is also on sale for $10 more at Best Buy. That one is a bit faster than the 980 Pro, though its gains aren't as noticeable in the context of a PS5. If you're looking to upgrade an old computer's HDD to a cheap SSD, meanwhile, Crucial's MX500 is a dependable SATA drive, and it's currently down to an all-time low of $62.

The bird-themed board game Wingspan is down to $39 at Amazon, which matches the lowest price we've tracked. We've previously recommended this one in past gift guides; apart from being gorgeous to look at it, it's a thoughtful engine-building game that is welcoming to less experienced players. Games typically last between 40 minutes to just over an hour, and up to five players can join in, so it should be a worthy addition to any family game night rotations you put together.

There always seems to be at least one PC game sale going on at any given time, but if you're looking for something new to play, that's not a bad thing. This week it's Humble's turn, as the digital storefront has kicked off a "Winter Sale" that's scheduled to run until February 7. 

There are too many games included in the sale for us to list them all here, but some personal picks include the open-world Western Red Dead Redemption 2 for $20, the tricky 2D platformer Celeste for $5, the classic JRPG Persona 4 Golden for $14, the relaxing puzzle game Unpacking for $14 and the charming 3D platformer Psychonauts 2 for $20. 

All of those are deals we've seen before, but all match or are close to the lowest prices we've seen. If you prefer to buy on Steam, a number of the sale's discounts are also available there. Steam has a few others of note, too, such as the co-op friendlyHalo: The Master Chief Collection for $16 and the wild FPS Titanfall 2 for $3.

We gave LG's latest CineBeam ultra short-throw projector, the HU915QE, a review score of 87 earlier this week, praising its contrast and color performance, decent built-in speakers and classy design. Our main complaint was that its asking price is too high, but a new deal at Wellbots alleviates that concern a bit, as you can now grab the projector for $4,297 if you use the code ENGTV700 at checkout. 

Clearly, that's still not cheap, but it at least brings the HU915QE closer to other UST projectors we like such as the Formovie Theater. For reference, this device has typically retailed closer to $5,000 in recent months. If you do take the plunge, just be aware that we found the CineBeam's input lag to be a bit too high for gaming and that there's no support for Dolby Vision HDR.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

LG, Samsung and TCL TVs drop ahead of the Super Bowl, plus the rest of the week’s best tech deals

Right around the Super Bowl is typically a good time for TV deals, as the major brands often lower prices on their older models in order to clear out inventory for their newer (and subsequently more expensive) sets arriving later in the year. In many cases, though, those older TVs can still represent good value. We're seeing this trend again this week, with well-reviewed options from LG, Samsung, TCL and others all available for all-time lows. We've noted a few highlights below, including a 48-inch LG C2 OLED TV for $947 and a 55-inch TCL 5-Series Roku TV for $370. Besides TVs, our weekly deal roundup includes Amazon's Fire HD 10 for $85, plus discounts on a handful of Anker chargers and Samsung storage devices, among others. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

The 48-inch version of LG's C2 OLED TV is down to a new all-time low of $947. While LG is promising improved brightness with its 2023 lineup, last year's C2 should still offer an excellent image in darker or moderately-lit rooms, with the kind of high contrast, deep black tones and wide viewing angles that are expected from a premium OLED panel.

If you want a larger step up, Samsung's S95B is generallyregarded as a superior TV overall, one that can get bright and saturated enough to look good in well-lit rooms but doesn't sacrifice the typical benefits of an OLED display. It's back down to $1,448 for a 55-inch panel and $1,798 for 65-inch panel; neither of those are cheap, but both deals match the lowest prices we've seen.

If you're looking to pay less than $500 on a new TV, reviewers we trust at Rtings, Wirecutter and elsewhere have praised TCL's latest 5-Series TVs for delivering impressive contrast and color performance at an affordable price. The panel tops out at a standard 60Hz refresh rate, but it has full-array local dimming and supports all the major HDR formats. Both the 55- and 65-inch 5-Series TVs are down to new lows at Amazon and Best Buy this week, coming in at $370 and $500, respectively.

Just note that these are Roku TVs. If you prefer the Google TV interface, Hisense's U6H is a good alternative that's available for the same prices, but it doesn't get as bright as TCL's model.

Amazon's entry-level Fire HD 10 is on sale for $85, which is $10 more than the 10.1-tablet's previous low at the retailer but still about $30 below its typical street price in recent months. This is the slate to get if you just want something competent for less than $100: Its hardware is nowhere near as nice as an iPad, but its 1920x1200 display is perfectly serviceable, it gets 12-ish hours of battery life, and it's performant enough for basic streaming and web browsing. Just remember that, like all Amazon tablets, it it comes with lockscreen ads unless you pay extra and lacks (official) access to Google's Play Store.

Anker's Nano II 65W is an ultracompact GaN charger with enough power to charge most phones, tablets and even some laptops at full speed. Right now it's on sale for $35, which is $3 above the lowest price we've seen but $15 off its usual going rate. This deal comes as part of a wider range of discounts on Anker charging gear going on this week; other standouts include a multi-port variant of this charger for $46 (with an on-page coupon), and a MagSafe-compatible wireless charging pad for $45.

The 512GB version of Samsung's Evo Select microSD card is currently on sale for $47, which is only about $2 more than the lowest price we've tracked. Typically, it retails closer to $55. The U3- and V30-rated Evo Select isn't the absolute fastest microSD card in a vacuum, but it's still more than capable of handling 4K video or storing games with minimal fuss. At this price, it's a good value if you just want to dump a bunch of storage into a GoPro, Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck or the like.

Along those lines, the 2TB version of Samsung's 980 Pro SSD is on sale for $180, which is roughly $25 below the NVMe drive's average street price over the last few months. If you don't need that much space, the 500GB model is also on sale for $75, which matches an all-time low. A PCIe 4.0 drive like this isn't essential for most, and the 980 Pro is technically an older model now, but we note it here because it meets Sony's requirements for expanding the PlayStation 5's storage. You'll just need to add a cheap heatsink along with it. (Samsung sells a variant with an integrated heatsink, but it costs more.)

If the 980 Pro runs out of stock, note that the WD Black SN850X is also on sale for $10 more at Best Buy. That one is a bit faster than the 980 Pro, though its gains aren't as noticeable in the context of a PS5. If you're looking to upgrade an old computer's HDD to a cheap SSD, meanwhile, Crucial's MX500 is a dependable SATA drive, and it's currently down to an all-time low of $62.

The bird-themed board game Wingspan is down to $39 at Amazon, which matches the lowest price we've tracked. We've previously recommended this one in past gift guides; apart from being gorgeous to look at it, it's a thoughtful engine-building game that is welcoming to less experienced players. Games typically last between 40 minutes to just over an hour, and up to five players can join in, so it should be a worthy addition to any family game night rotations you put together.

There always seems to be at least one PC game sale going on at any given time, but if you're looking for something new to play, that's not a bad thing. This week it's Humble's turn, as the digital storefront has kicked off a "Winter Sale" that's scheduled to run until February 7. 

There are too many games included in the sale for us to list them all here, but some personal picks include the open-world Western Red Dead Redemption 2 for $20, the tricky 2D platformer Celeste for $5, the classic JRPG Persona 4 Golden for $14, the relaxing puzzle game Unpacking for $14 and the charming 3D platformer Psychonauts 2 for $20. 

All of those are deals we've seen before, but all match or are close to the lowest prices we've seen. If you prefer to buy on Steam, a number of the sale's discounts are also available there. Steam has a few others of note, too, such as the co-op friendlyHalo: The Master Chief Collection for $16 and the wild FPS Titanfall 2 for $3.

We gave LG's latest CineBeam ultra short-throw projector, the HU915QE, a review score of 87 earlier this week, praising its contrast and color performance, decent built-in speakers and classy design. Our main complaint was that its asking price is too high, but a new deal at Wellbots alleviates that concern a bit, as you can now grab the projector for $4,297 if you use the code ENGTV700 at checkout. 

Clearly, that's still not cheap, but it at least brings the HU915QE closer to other UST projectors we like such as the Formovie Theater. For reference, this device has typically retailed closer to $5,000 in recent months. If you do take the plunge, just be aware that we found the CineBeam's input lag to be a bit too high for gaming and that there's no support for Dolby Vision HDR.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

What to expect from Samsung’s February Unpacked event

Samsung is holding its first Unpacked event of 2023 on February 1st, and many expect the Galaxy S23 family to be the centerpiece. The company has even teased a few details, such as camera and performance upgrades. But will this phone lineup be a major revision, or a modest yearly refresh? Let’s take a look at what you’re likely to see when Samsung takes to the stage in San Francisco.

Galaxy S23 Ultra

If the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s main appeal was its Note-style pen functionality, the S23 Ultra may revolve around its camera system. Rumors from leaker Ice Universe and others have long pointed to the highest-end S23 model sporting a 200-megapixel main camera, and Samsung added fuel to the discussion by unveiling a sensor that could fit the bill. The ISOCELL HP2 promises extremely detailed photos and 8K video at 30 frames per second while still offering solid low-light capabilities. It might also capture more accurate colors in brightly-lit scenarios. The front camera may get a slight bump to 12MP as well.

It won’t surprise you to hear that Samsung is poised to give the S23 family a speed boost with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It’s supposedly over 25 percent faster than Gen 1 while offering hardware-accelerated ray tracing for more realistic lighting in games. You may see up to a fourfold improvement in AI processing, too. Qualcomm claims Gen 2 is up to 40 percent more energy efficient, and you might get emergency satellite communication in addition to WiFi 7 networking.

However, the biggest shock may be where you find that chip. Well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Samsung will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to power the Galaxy S23 in every country, rather than using its in-house Exynos chips in regions like Asia and Europe. Critics have routinely knocked Exynos-based Galaxy phones for having worse performance and battery life than their Snapdragon counterparts, but that might not be an issue this time around.

You may not see other sweeping changes, but that’s not necessarily a problem. If leaked images at Nieuwe Mobiel are accurate, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will have a slightly flatter design than its predecessor, addressing complaints about the 6.8-inch screen’s curved edges. You’d still find a 12MP ultra-wide camera, dual 10MP telephoto lenses, an S-Pen and up to 12GB of RAM. You may get a 1TB storage option, though, so you might not have to worry as much about that 8K footage chewing up all your free space.

Galaxy S23 and S23+

Samsung Galaxy S23+ leak
Samsung

Samsung’s more mainstream smartphones aren’t expected to receive as dramatic an update, but there could still be meaningful improvements. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the rumored 12MP front camera might arrive alongside an ever-so-slightly larger battery. The phones could also ship with 256GB of storage as the baseline — important if you’d rather not spend extra just to hold a sizable media collection.

Otherwise we’ll probably get the familiar 6.1- and 6.6-inch displays of the Galaxy S22 line, not to mention a 50MP main rear camera, a 12MP ultra-wide and a lone 10MP telephoto. Leaked pictures at Nieuwe Mobiel suggest Samsung is redesigning the camera array to look more like that of the Ultra family, so the conspicuous camera hump of the S21 and S22 may vanish.

Galaxy Book 3 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra leak
The Tech Outlook

Samsung rarely sticks to phone introductions at Unpacked events, and there are signs a high-end laptop may be the other star of the show. Samsung’s reservation page hints at a new Galaxy Book range, while the company’s mobile experience president TM Roh makes clear in a blog post that there will be Ultra products in “more device categories” besides phones. Expect an Ultra laptop, then.

Provided a leak at The Tech Outlook is authentic, that new model would be the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. It’s not entirely clear what that laptop might deliver, but Samsung Display said the high-end Galaxy Book line will feature OLED screens with built-in touch, much like smartphones. The Ultra is also expected to arrive in tandem with a more conventional Galaxy Book 3 Pro and a Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 convertible with pen support. We’d expect improved performance, and possibly extras like pen input and advanced display technology (this is Samsung, after all).

Wildcards: New Galaxy Tabs and Galaxy Buds

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

There hasn’t been much talk of other product unveilings at Unpacked, and there are even rumors casting doubt on potential releases. The Elecsources claim Samsung has pushed out the launch of a Galaxy Tab S9 family, possibly due to economic uncertainty and poor sales of the Tab S8 series. As it is, the company tends to wait longer between tablet revisions than it does phones — the Tab S8 arrived in early 2022 where its S7 predecessor arrived in summer 2020.

We also wouldn’t count on new earbuds. Samsung introduced the regular Galaxy Buds 2 in summer 2021, and the Buds 2 Pro a year later. Short of a revamp of the so-so Galaxy Buds Live, there’s no pressure on the company to update its in-ear audio roster.

Other products are only likely to appear at Samsung’s later events. Don’t brace yourself for new Galaxy Z foldables, Galaxy A budget phones or Galaxy Watch timepieces this early in the year.

What to expect from Samsung’s February Unpacked event

Samsung is holding its first Unpacked event of 2023 on February 1st, and many expect the Galaxy S23 family to be the centerpiece. The company has even teased a few details, such as camera and performance upgrades. But will this phone lineup be a major revision, or a modest yearly refresh? Let’s take a look at what you’re likely to see when Samsung takes to the stage in San Francisco.

Galaxy S23 Ultra

If the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s main appeal was its Note-style pen functionality, the S23 Ultra may revolve around its camera system. Rumors from leaker Ice Universe and others have long pointed to the highest-end S23 model sporting a 200-megapixel main camera, and Samsung added fuel to the discussion by unveiling a sensor that could fit the bill. The ISOCELL HP2 promises extremely detailed photos and 8K video at 30 frames per second while still offering solid low-light capabilities. It might also capture more accurate colors in brightly-lit scenarios. The front camera may get a slight bump to 12MP as well.

It won’t surprise you to hear that Samsung is poised to give the S23 family a speed boost with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It’s supposedly over 25 percent faster than Gen 1 while offering hardware-accelerated ray tracing for more realistic lighting in games. You may see up to a fourfold improvement in AI processing, too. Qualcomm claims Gen 2 is up to 40 percent more energy efficient, and you might get emergency satellite communication in addition to WiFi 7 networking.

However, the biggest shock may be where you find that chip. Well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Samsung will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to power the Galaxy S23 in every country, rather than using its in-house Exynos chips in regions like Asia and Europe. Critics have routinely knocked Exynos-based Galaxy phones for having worse performance and battery life than their Snapdragon counterparts, but that might not be an issue this time around.

You may not see other sweeping changes, but that’s not necessarily a problem. If leaked images at Nieuwe Mobiel are accurate, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will have a slightly flatter design than its predecessor, addressing complaints about the 6.8-inch screen’s curved edges. You’d still find a 12MP ultra-wide camera, dual 10MP telephoto lenses, an S-Pen and up to 12GB of RAM. You may get a 1TB storage option, though, so you might not have to worry as much about that 8K footage chewing up all your free space.

Galaxy S23 and S23+

Samsung Galaxy S23+ leak
Samsung

Samsung’s more mainstream smartphones aren’t expected to receive as dramatic an update, but there could still be meaningful improvements. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and the rumored 12MP front camera might arrive alongside an ever-so-slightly larger battery. The phones could also ship with 256GB of storage as the baseline — important if you’d rather not spend extra just to hold a sizable media collection.

Otherwise we’ll probably get the familiar 6.1- and 6.6-inch displays of the Galaxy S22 line, not to mention a 50MP main rear camera, a 12MP ultra-wide and a lone 10MP telephoto. Leaked pictures at Nieuwe Mobiel suggest Samsung is redesigning the camera array to look more like that of the Ultra family, so the conspicuous camera hump of the S21 and S22 may vanish.

Galaxy Book 3 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra leak
The Tech Outlook

Samsung rarely sticks to phone introductions at Unpacked events, and there are signs a high-end laptop may be the other star of the show. Samsung’s reservation page hints at a new Galaxy Book range, while the company’s mobile experience president TM Roh makes clear in a blog post that there will be Ultra products in “more device categories” besides phones. Expect an Ultra laptop, then.

Provided a leak at The Tech Outlook is authentic, that new model would be the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. It’s not entirely clear what that laptop might deliver, but Samsung Display said the high-end Galaxy Book line will feature OLED screens with built-in touch, much like smartphones. The Ultra is also expected to arrive in tandem with a more conventional Galaxy Book 3 Pro and a Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 convertible with pen support. We’d expect improved performance, and possibly extras like pen input and advanced display technology (this is Samsung, after all).

Wildcards: New Galaxy Tabs and Galaxy Buds

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

There hasn’t been much talk of other product unveilings at Unpacked, and there are even rumors casting doubt on potential releases. The Elecsources claim Samsung has pushed out the launch of a Galaxy Tab S9 family, possibly due to economic uncertainty and poor sales of the Tab S8 series. As it is, the company tends to wait longer between tablet revisions than it does phones — the Tab S8 arrived in early 2022 where its S7 predecessor arrived in summer 2020.

We also wouldn’t count on new earbuds. Samsung introduced the regular Galaxy Buds 2 in summer 2021, and the Buds 2 Pro a year later. Short of a revamp of the so-so Galaxy Buds Live, there’s no pressure on the company to update its in-ear audio roster.

Other products are only likely to appear at Samsung’s later events. Don’t brace yourself for new Galaxy Z foldables, Galaxy A budget phones or Galaxy Watch timepieces this early in the year.