Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 Design: What We Know So Far

Foldable phones are one of the more curious members of the mobile tech market. They seem like an answer looking for a problem, though some consider them as something they never knew they needed until they laid hands on one. It’s not exactly a stable market either, but that’s stopping Samsung from pushing out new models every year. 2024 won’t be any different, but the Galaxy Z Fold 6 might be, at least in some ways. Unlike its early days, Samsung seems to be content to move more slowly this time, letting its designs simmer longer even while its hardware grows by leaps and bounds. That’s especially true for its next foldable based on unofficial information, but that also paints a very mixed picture that could leave Samsung playing catch up in the very market it created.

Designer: Samsung

Thin and Square

While foldable phones over great flexibility, they come at the cost of not only complexity and price but also ergonomics. These devices are practically two narrow smartphones joined together, so their combined thickness when folded is also twice that of regular smartphones. The most basic solution would be to make the device thinner, but like with regular smartphones, you’re bound to hit the limits of how thin you can go without compromising durability or safety.

Pushing those boundaries has been one of the biggest obsessions that foldable phone makers have, and it seems that Samsung is joining the fray this year. According to the latest leak, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will be 11mm thick only when folded shut, a significant diet compared to the 13.4mm thickness of the current Galaxy Z Fold 5. That would make the unfolded form only about 5.5mm thick, which is crazy thin even by regular tablet standards. If true, that hopefully won’t come with compromises to the phone’s structural integrity and battery life.

The profile isn’t the only thing expected to change in the Galaxy Z Fold 6. The external Cover Screen is also tipped to be a bit wider this time around, more in line with the standard aspect ratios of non-foldable phones. In theory, this would make it less awkward to use it as a regular phone when folded, but that also means that the unfolded aspect ratio will be more square than any Galaxy Z Fold before it.

S Pen No Home

Making the Galaxy Z Fold 6 thinner is going to be a dream come true for some fans, but it will also probably disappoint a certain group because of the consequences of that change. If you make a phone thinner, you either have to shrink or reduce the size of other components, for example, the battery, or spread them around wider. Either way, it’s going to be a cramped space inside, which leaves no room for an S Pen silo yet again.

Although the Galaxy Z Fold series has supported Samsung’s Wacom-powered stylus since 2021, the S Pen never really had a proper home inside the device itself. Contrast this with the Galaxy S Ultra series that, inheriting the Galaxy Note spirit, came with an S Pen as part of the package. There might be debates on the ergonomics of such a thin stick, but owners at least had the option of not buying two extra accessories just for that writing and drawing experience.

Yes, two accessories, because you’re likely to buy a compatible case if you’ll be investing in an S Pen Fold Edition. There really is no other convenient alternative to making sure that you don’t lose the stylus in your pocket, bag, or anywhere else. Unfortunately, designs for these cases feel more like works in progress and it seems it will continue to be the case for another iteration.

Camera Shy

The biggest disappointment, however, might come from the Galaxy Z Fold 6’s cameras. The latest word is that the upcoming foldable will sport a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide shooter, and a 10MP telephoto camera on its back. The external front camera will be a 10MP selfie shooter while the internal front-facing camera has a 4MP under-display sensor.

Those are very much the same cameras used in the Galaxy Z Fold 4 from 2022, and although we don’t know yet of any hardware or software tweaks that Samsung will make, they’re still disappointing to hear. This is one area where the brand is being left in its competitors’ dust and where the product doesn’t feel deserving of its premium price tag. Some might actually forgive Samsung for putting a large camera bump on the phone’s back compared to reusing the same cameras for the third year in a row.

Of course, all of these are still unofficial information, so we might be pleasantly surprised by a more noteworthy Galaxy Z Fold 6 in August. Given the trends, though, that doesn’t seem to be likely, as Samsung is taking a more iterative approach to design with its large foldables. Maybe it doesn’t feel the heat from its rivals that don’t have the same market reach as the tech giant, but it’s also very close to stagnating and killing off the very trend that it started.

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Foldable Phone Designs are about to get more interesting but also less diverse

The number of foldable phones launching each year is slowly rising, suggesting that these former novelty items are here to stay. To manufacturers’ credit, the phones are getting more reliable and attractive, even if their prices are still prohibitive for most people. With more players in the market, it’s bound to become a somewhat livelier place, with brands putting their own spins or changing designs to match or challenge their rivals. It now seems, however, that the still niche foldable phone category is about to enter another tumultuous phase with new designs that could shake up the market and some companies throwing in the towel, leaving only a few designs to stick and stagnate.

Triple Folding Phones

The biggest and perhaps only reason for a foldable phone would be to provide a device that can be used as a regular phone when wanted but can transform into a tablet when you want more screen real estate. The current crop of foldable phones does meet those requirements, though almost barely. As tablets, they’re painfully tiny even compared to the already small iPad mini and some 7-inch slates. As phones, some designs make them awkward to use because of their narrow and tall external screens.

One possible solution would be to have a large screen that can fold in three parts, turning into a phone-sized slab, albeit probably a bit thicker than even today’s foldable phones. Samsung has, in fact, been working on such a design for years and it finally showed off a prototype two years ago. It turns out that it might even launch its first tri-fold phone slash tablet later this year.

Designer: Samsung

This timeline is reportedly due to one of Samsung’s biggest rivals trying to make a move first. Huawei, who is rebuilding its empire in some markets, is rumored to be launching a foldable phone that transforms into a 10-inch tablet. Just for the title of being the “world’s first,” Samsung could be taking a big risk and making a leap of faith to get that triple foldable phone out the door quickly, even if it means repeating the mistakes of the first Galaxy Fold.

Stylus Support Inside and Out

One of the biggest draws of foldable phones is, of course, their big screens. They’re not just perfect for showing more content, but they’re also great for actually creating content. With tablets now being seen as productivity and creativity tools thanks to the iPad Pro, these foldable phones are truly powerful laptops you can fit in your pocket, at least in theory. Ironically, very few of the brands actually support such a use case with the right accessories. Even Samsung forces you to buy the S Pen Fold Edition if you want to scribble and doodle on your foldable phone like a notebook.

The newly launched mouthful that is the Honor Magic V2 RSR Porsche Design bucks the trend by actually including a stylus inside the box. Granted, the price of this limited edition would make you think it should include such an item, but you’re also paying for other luxuries at the same time. For example, you get two charging bricks instead of one. Some foldable phones other than Samsung don’t even advertise support for a stylus even if they’re capable of supporting one.

Designer: Honor

More interesting, however, is how the Honor Magic V2 RSR Porsche Design actually supports that active stylus not only on the large internal screen but also on the smaller cover screen. That one-ups even Samsung who is famed for its stylus-enabled Galaxy Note phablets, now sold under the Galaxy S Ultra brand. Honor is showing that such a set of features is possible, and it could lead to a long-overdue trend in the foldable smartphone market, presuming there’s still one in the next few years.

Design Monoculture

One of the reasons why the foldable phone market seems to have stabilized a bit is because of the number of players now in the ring. Of course, you have Samsung and Huawei leading the charge, but now you also have Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, Tecno, OnePlus, and Honor in the running. Unfortunately, there are whispers that two of these are bowing out of the race, and their absence could actually have an indirect though significant negative impact on foldable phones as a whole.

Those rumors claim that both OPPO and vivo are calling it quits in the foldable market. The cited reason is not exactly surprising, with both brands suffering significant losses in foldable phone sales last year and they don’t believe they can throw in more resources to recover. It’s unknown at this point whether OnePlus will also be following its cousins, though there’s a real possibility that these manufacturers will pull out sooner rather than later.

Designer: OPPO

While that indeed sounds like a win for Samsung and Huawei (and Honor), it might not actually be good for the entire market in the long run. Competition often breeds innovation, with these brands pushing each other to develop new designs and features at every turn. With only two contenders, each with their own separate kingdoms, there might not be enough incentive to push the boundaries, leading to stagnation and eventual death of the market.

Designer: Vivo

Uncertain Tomorrow

Of course, there’s still no confirmation that OPPO and Vivo are indeed making an exit strategy, but it does paint a picture that isn’t as rosy as these brands try to paint. Even with the popularity of clamshell-style foldables and with new models coming out year after year, actual sales might actually reveal a very different and less encouraging situation. Given the way technology is developing, foldable and rollable displays will eventually be a staple of tomorrow’s devices, but that doesn’t mean the market won’t experience a few flops first along the way.

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Google Pixel Fold prototype shows it could have been a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Although there were plenty of rumors and high expectations, it was still a bit of a miracle that Google came out with a foldable phone. After all, it didn’t exactly hold tablets in high regard, so a phone that transforms into one would have probably been even less within Google’s radars. Of course, that’s now history with the launch of the Pixel Fold, Google’s first and so far only foldable, which turned out to be quite popular, especially with its design. It turns out, there was a slim possibility that the Pixel Fold could have turned out very differently and looked more like Samsung’s design, at least based on a prototype that is now running over the Internet.

Designer: Google (via Mishaal Rahman)

Phone manufacturers go through numerous prototypes before settling on a final design, especially when the device is rather new or unconventional. That’s true for seasoned brands like Samsung, and even truer for the likes of Google, and a device codenamed “jumbojack” was spotted nearly four years ago as Google’s foldable prototype. Now that name has become a real device, at least based on what is allegedly that very same prototype device which happens to be a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

This “jumbojack” foldable doesn’t look like a custom prototype made by Google but an actual Galaxy Z Fold 2 that has been repurposed to run “stock” Android stripped of Samsung’s branding. It’s pretty much a quick and easy way for Google to test its Pixel user experience on a foldable without having to go through the trouble of assembling a prototype. That said, the final flavor of Pixel is quite different since it was designed to work on a foldable with a distinctly different form factor.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

The prototype does raise the question of whether Google actually considered following in Samsung’s footsteps to adopt a design that was already in use for a few years by that time. That meant that it would have used a design that resulted in a narrower external display, a squarish unfolded shape, and possibly a gap at the hinge when folded. Perhaps it was for the best that it went the other way and used a design more similar to the OPPO Find N, which was wider, a little smaller, and also a bit more comfortable to hold.

Then again, the “jumbojack” prototype might have simply been used to test the software without committing to the device’s design. Unfortunately, there are now rumors that Google might actually be heading towards Samsung’s direction for the Pixel Fold 2, along with a camera design that’s sure to cause some controversy. If anything, this alleged prototype only proves that there is still plenty of room for improvement in the foldable phone design space, but recent rumors are already painting a rather bleak future in that regard.

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Samsung triple foldable phone rumor hints at a 2024 launch

Foldable smartphones are an attempt at solving an old problem with two diametrically opposed goals. On the one hand, people want large screens that give them enough space for their content, from videos to social media to even work. On the other hand, they still want a device they can conveniently carry around, especially inside their pockets. Today’s generation of foldable phones similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold deliver a phone that does transform into a tablet, but the latter is admittedly still a small piece of screen real estate, even smaller than the iPad mini. Having a regular tablet-sized display requires drastically changing the design and construction of a foldable phone, which isn’t exactly easy to pull off, judging by the current state of foldables. That’s not to say that manufacturers haven’t been working on a feasible solution, and Samsung itself might be ready to unveil its answer this year to beat one of its rivals to the punch.

Designer: Samsung (via @Tech_Reve)

The current design of foldable phones has never been the endgame. If you reference Samsung’s concept video back in 2013, you will realize its ambitions go beyond this simple foldable design. A phone that unfolds into a tablet would definitely need more than just one fold, and the company’s display manufacturing arm has been working on such a screen for years now. In fact, it demonstrated in 2022 how close it was to an actually usable form, suggesting that such a device is not only plausible but might even be just around the corner.

A new rumor adds fuel to speculations that Samsung might, in fact, announce this “Flex S” triple foldable phone this year, maybe even alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6. Samsung might be in a rush to push out this revolutionary new device due to rumors that long-time rival Huawei also has a tri-fold phone that it will be launching in the second half of 2024. Unsurprisingly, Samsung wouldn’t want Huawei to claim the title of “first,” even if the Chinese brand has extremely limited market reach these days.

A triple folding phone, under the prototype name of “Flex S,” will drastically change the game when it comes to foldables. Not only will it offer a much larger screen in tablet form, it also allows the collapsed phone form to retain a wider aspect ratio, unlike the Galaxy Z Fold designs so far. At the same time, it also offers new modes of use for the device, from a tent-like stand mode to a unique laptop mode that’s like having a mini dual-screen laptop.

That said, haste always makes waste and Samsung should have already learned its lesson five years ago. Even after years of R&D, the first Samsung Galaxy Fold (no “Z” in the name yet) was plagued with problems, especially when it came to reliability. Given how a new tri-fold design will once again test the durability of flexible screens, there will be even more risks and costs this time around. And with Huawei’s limited presence in global markets, Samsung has no need to be afraid of not being the first, but that has never stopped any company from rushing out a product launch anyway.

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Wider, more ergonomic Samsung foldable phone might be in the works

Samsung might be one of the pioneers of the whole foldable phone craze, but the disadvantage of being the first is that you risk getting things wrong the first time around. In contrast, hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and many of its competitors have used that advantage to catch up and even overtake Samsung at its own game. Of course, the tech giant isn’t content to just sit around while others outrun it, and it has been catching up with “innovations” like a hinge that lets the phone fold flat. Now it seems that Samsung will be catching up in another aspect, with a Galaxy Z Fold that’s a little bit wider when folded and, therefore, easier to use as a regular phone.

Designer: Samsung (via Pigtou and David Kowalski/xleaks7)

To be fair, Samsung was sailing on uncharted waters, so it was bound to miss a few marks. For its inaugural foldable phone, Samsung aimed for a tablet that was like a mini iPad mini or, closer to home, a smaller Galaxy Tab A, which meant it adopted a vertical or portrait format when unfolded. That meant it would have an extremely narrow phone when folded, which was heavily criticized for being awkward to hold and nearly unusable as a regular “candy bar” smartphone.

In contrast, foldable phones like the OPPO Find N and the Google Pixel Fold aimed for a more “traditional” horizontal or landscape tablet design, which had a few direct benefits in terms of consuming content like videos or even books. More importantly, however, it also meant that the folded form of the phone more closely resembles regular smartphones with a wider and sometimes shorter design. In over five generations, Samsung has never changed its design on that front, but that might not be the case with the Galaxy Z Fold 6 or later models.

OPPO Find N3

OPPO Find N2

Vivo X Fold 2

Google Pixel Fold

A recent patent filed by Samsung reveals a foldable design that is significantly different from its status quo in more ways than one. First, it is noticeably wider when folded, giving it a shape that will feel more natural to use compared to the recent crop of Galaxy Z Fold models. Additionally, it’s also significantly thinner, both folded and opened, which would go a long way in increasing the usability of an otherwise heavy and bulky device. In other words, it would be the foldable that Samsung should have launched in the first place if it had the benefit of hindsight five years ago.

Of course, a patent doesn’t immediately mean it will be implemented, whether in the Galaxy Z Fold 6 or future incarnations. It is at least proof that Samsung is aware of the shortcomings of its current design and is taking steps to correct its course. It would definitely be grand if it could launch such a sleek foldable this year, but such a thin design would also go against calls for bigger batteries or a built-in S Pen. For now, other brands still have an advantage over Samsung in some aspects, including and especially the price of such a premium piece of technology.

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Galaxy Fit 3 leaked fitness tracker boasts an ultra-long battery life and advanced features

The recent leaks surrounding Samsung’s Galaxy Fit 3, especially those shared by Evan Blass and Ahmed Qwaider on social platforms, have shed light on the device’s design, features, and potential launch timeline. While speculation was rife about its introduction alongside the Galaxy S24, the consistent appearance of leaked images and specifications over the past months suggests an imminent unveiling.

Designer: Samsung

According to rumors, the Galaxy Fit 3 is expected to have a 1.61-inch display, which is 46% larger. It’s speculated to feature a bright OLED screen with a resolution of 256 x 402 and a pixel density of 302ppi. This marks a notable visual clarity and detail improvement, enhancing the user experience. The device’s build quality is also upgraded with an aluminum case, ensuring durability, an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, and a lightweight silicon wristband at just 21.39g, combining comfort and resilience.

Battery life stands out as a key feature, with rumors pointing to an ultra-long battery life of up to 21 days on a single charge, surpassing the Galaxy Fit 2’s 15-day battery life and offering a significant advantage over the typical battery life of Samsung’s Wear OS-based Galaxy Watches. While the Galaxy Fit 3 may forego wireless charging, the extended battery life presents a compelling trade-off for users prioritizing longevity over convenience. A new and potentially significant feature being introduced on a Samsung fitness band for the first time is a blood oxygen level or SpO2 sensor.

The device is anticipated to come in three colors: Grey, Pink, Gold, and Silver, catering to diverse personal styles. It’s expected to be equipped with an array of sensors, including an accelerometer, gyro, and heart rate monitor, alongside sleep-tracking capabilities. The inclusion of GPS remains uncertain, leaving room for speculation about the device’s navigational features.

Pricing rumors suggest an attractive $80 price point, positioning the Galaxy Fit 3 as an accessible option for fitness enthusiasts seeking a blend of style, functionality, and endurance in their wearable devices. This combination of features and the device’s focus on health and fitness tracking solidifies the Galaxy Fit 3’s place within Samsung’s wearable lineup, offering a fresh alternative to the more comprehensive Galaxy Watch series and promising several advancements in design, display, and battery life.

Samsung fans and tech enthusiasts appear to be super hyped about the upcoming Galaxy Fit 3. It’s going to be the perfect fitness companion, packed with all the latest tech from Samsung and designed with fitness enthusiasts in mind. So stay tuned for more details!

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Cheaper Samsung foldable phone might be on the horizon

Although foldable phones are now a hot topic in the smartphone industry, they are hardly the hottest-selling products in the market. There’s still significant pushback on buying these form-changing phones, partly because of durability concerns but mostly due to the price tags attached to them. There are more affordable foldable phones from brands like OPPO, Vivo, and OnePlus, but most people still look to Samsung as the golden standard for these devices, warranted or not. The Galaxy Z Flip clamshell style foldable almost fits the bill, costing almost as much as a high-end smartphone, but it also doesn’t embody the potential of foldable phones. For years now, there has been a lot of talk about Samsung launching a more affordable version of the Galaxy Z Fold, but nothing has come to pass yet. If industry rumors are correct this time, however, that cheaper Samsung foldable might finally hit the market really soon.

Designer: Samsung (via The Elec)

What makes a foldable phone more expensive than regular smartphones? Branding and R&D costs aside, the biggest cost in making these phones comes from the specialized hinges and, more importantly, the flexible displays. The latter alone can make up a huge chunk of the phone’s so-called build cost because of their low yield rates per production run, expensive materials, and expensive equipment used to put them all together. Finding a cheaper way to make these foldable screens without drastically downgrading their quality and durability could help drive down the prices of the final product.

According to sources in the industry, Samsung is close to achieving this objective by switching to a different method to produce the flexible display panels it uses for making its foldable phones. Without going too deep into the technical details, the insider tip claims that Samsung has found a more affordable process to make the bezels that will hide the circuitry of these foldable panels, which is apparently one of the reasons why these screens are expensive. This is the same process Samsung Display uses for iPhone screens, so there’s little concern about the quality, at least for regular rigid screens.

Making the flexible panel less costly will have a rippling effect that could help make it possible to save off some digits from the retail price as well. It’s not a done deal, though, especially if the cheaper displays turn out to also be less reliable. Furthermore, Samsung could also use the opportunity to add more features and upgrades to the foldable phone, offsetting the cost savings and keeping the product’s premium price tag in the end.

That said, it would definitely be in Samsung’s best interest to offer a more accessible foldable phone, especially the “regular” book-type Galaxy Z Fold. Its competitors have almost caught up to it with more affordable designs, and Samsung’s only advantage now is the weight of its brand in a very small number of exclusive features. When it comes to the foldable experience, however, some might even say that Samsung is the one trying to catch up, so any advantage, especially when it comes to price, will help it regain its lead.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch non-invasive glucose monitor will be a live-saving game-changer

While there seems to be a rising interest in smart rings as condensed fitness monitors, smartwatches are hardly done growing. Smart rings, at least in their current incarnation, promise a discreet way to keep track of your body’s state, but smartwatches have more room for more advanced sensors and features that you can never fit inside a ring. Some of those features might even make the difference between life and death, as proven time and again by Apple Watch anecdotes. Samsung, however, is setting its sights on a more ambitious goal that’s considered to be one of the Holy Grails of home healthcare. In the near future, its Galaxy Watch line could tell the wearer if their blood sugar is dangerously low or high, all without having to prick their skin and draw blood.

Designer: Samsung (via Bloomberg)

Next to heart-related disorders, diabetes is considered to be one of the most serious diseases plaguing people today. In fact, it’s also labeled as a “silent killer” because of how too late a diagnosis often comes. Monitoring one’s glucose or blood sugar levels, after all, is a literally painful procedure that most people would avoid, including diabetics themselves. There is a great and urgent demand for non-invasive glucose monitoring solutions, and Samsung is apparently already eyeing that achievement.

According to the company’s digital health chief, Hon Pak, Samsung is really pushing hard to make this innovation available in a future version of its Galaxy Watch wearables, like the Galaxy Watch 6 pictured in this piece. A non-invasive blood sugar monitor, together with continuous blood pressure monitoring, would definitely put Samsung at the head of the race. Of course, it’s easier said than done, and even the exec can only hope that the technology and the product will be available within the next five years.

It can’t take its sweet time either, because in addition to medical equipment manufacturers trying to cash in on this potentially lucrative future market, Samsung is also racing against Apple. The Cupertino-based company whose Apple Watch has become synonymous with life-saving wearables, has long been reported to be working on a solution as well. Such a smartwatch with a non-invasive glucose monitor will surely be a reality, but whoever gets there first will be able to claim a large share of the market.

Then again, diabetics and healthcare workers probably care less about who launches a design first, as long as a reliable product does indeed arrive. There are already a few non-invasive monitors that indirectly compute glucose levels from other biometrics, but their accuracy is often still in question. A smartwatch might not even be as accurate as those, but anything that will give wearers the faintest clue is still significantly better than not knowing at all until it’s far too late to make a difference.

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Galaxy S24 Ultra by Caviar is a luxurious way to mark the Year of the Dragon

Smartphones are quite expensive these days, especially the fully-featured, high-end premium models, but that might still be enough for a few “well-funded” people. Limited Editions are not uncommon in this industry, but nothing says “limited edition” more than an extremely limited number of devices being made with extremely extravagant materials and designs. Luxury brand Caviar has for years been making these kinds of exquisite variations of already pricey smartphones, and Samsung’s latest flagship is unsurprisingly getting the same treatment. With the launch of the Galaxy S24 series so close to the Chinese New Year, the marque took the opportunity to welcome the Year of the Dragon with a special edition that’s laden not just with gold and jewels but with references to the union of East and West that Samsung’s smartphones embody.

Designer: Samsung x Caviar

Just one look at this Caviar interpretation of the Galaxy S24 Ultra and you can already tell it’s far from being ordinary. That golden Korean dragon is no mere painting or sticker but is a highly-detailed bas-relief covered with 24-karat gold. That dragon is seen descending from the top of the phone, in other words, the heavens, and wraps around the analog watch that is at the center of this design.

Yes, there is an honest-to-goodness mechanical watch on this phone’s back, one that boasts a CVR ELT3350A Tourbillon with a manual winding mechanism and 19 stones. This element does add quite a bit of thickness to the phone’s otherwise slim profile, but its novelty and beauty could very well be worth that price. Curiously, the watch is encircled by the 12 signs of the “Western” Zodiac, not the Chinese roster you would expect from a phone that commemorates the Chinese New Year. These symbols, made of enamel on PVD-coated titanium, represent that mix of European and Eastern culture that is representative of Samsung’s own business.

Every inch of this rather elaborate design was made with meticulous attention to detail and symbolism. The three diamonds in the corner not only mimic a constellation but is actually a homage to Samsung’s original logo, the “three stars” from which the company takes its name. The green color of the watch dial might seem like an odd mix to the prevalent gold and black motif, but it symbolizes rebirth and prosperity, which also happens to be the color and theme of the Year of the Wood Dragon.

If the $15,070 price tag isn’t enough to mark this design as something only the elite can afford, the fact that there will only be 24 such devices made will definitely cement that image. The chances of meeting another VIP holding the same phone would be as low as meeting a mythical Korean dragon, but the prestige of owning a rare and enchanting piece of craftsmanship is all that matters to those who will be scrambling to fall in that very short queue.

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How much is the Galaxy S24: Is it worth the price

Although it didn’t do so at the recently concluded CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Samsung is still starting the year with a bang with its own Unpacked event. To no one’s surprise, the stars of the show are, of course, the new Galaxy S24 trio, though the much-rumored Galaxy Ring also made a very brief appearance as an unambiguous teaser. Samsung’s early 2024 flagships are bringing the expected upgrades in terms of hardware, but they’re also riding on the AI train in their own, unique way. But with every new Samsung phone also comes the question of whether its price is worth its weight in gold. We take a cursory look at what the Galaxy S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra have to offer to bring you that answer.

Designer: Samsung

What’s New

Of course, there are the customary hardware upgrades you’ll see every year, but there are a few surprise twists here and there. All three, for example, are powered by a new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 “for Galaxy” chipset that’s marketed as a special flavor designed just for Samsung’s newest darlings. It’s presented as being optimized for hard AI work that we’ll get to later, but the exact performance differences between this and a vanilla Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 are probably going to be subtle.

Also subtle are the slightly larger displays on this year’s generation of Galaxy phones, at least for the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24+, and only by 0.1 inches. The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s screen remains the same large 6.8 inches, but the design change is actually greater in some other areas, as we’ll soon see. All three get brighter panels, though, so reading under the sun shouldn’t be a problem if it was before.

While most of the features are similar across the three models, differing mostly in screen size, things take a very different turn when it comes to the cameras. Suffice it to say, the Galaxy S24 and S24+ do not get any meaningful upgrade in terms of camera hardware, while the Galaxy S24 Ultra seems to take one step forward and one step back with at least one of four cameras. One of the two telephoto cameras gets a denser 50MP sensor but halves the optical zoom from 10x to 5x. Samsung assures, however, that the quality of a 10x “hybrid” zoom from that new sensor will just be as good, thanks to some AI tricks, of course.

Bold Direction towards Flat Design

The Galaxy S24 series looks nearly identical to its predecessor at first glance, but once you take a closer look, you will notice some subtle yet important differences. The Galaxy S24 and S24+ now adopt a completely flat design on its front, back, and sides, except for the rounded corners that help it avoid a completely boxy appearance. This refinement, though small, does put it in the same boat as many notable premium smartphones these days, particularly the latest iPhones.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra only changes its screen design, but that actually has the biggest repercussion in this generation. Gone are the curved edges that used to mark high-end flagships, with a screen that’s completely flat across the surface. It gives it a more modern look, at least as far as current design trends go, but the more important consequence is that owners now have full access to the entire screen using the included S Pen. No more avoiding or accidentally sliding off the edges because you can now utilize every single inch and pixel on that large screen.

AI for a Price

With AI still reigning as the buzzword in consumer electronics, it was really only a matter of time before Samsung joined the bandwagon in this industry as well. There are plenty of AI-powered features being advertised on the Galaxy S24 and, to Samsung’s credit, they really do show what the technology can do and how we can harness it for our benefit.

Real-time translations are one of the best examples of this artificial intelligence, and both two-way Live Translate and split-screen Interpreter help break down language barriers when communicating with people around the globe. Samsung Notes also gets an AI-assisted Notes Assist for summaries and template creation, while Voice Recorder gets Transcript Assist for transcribing audio recordings. And, of course, there are also tons of AI-powered image editing features in the Camera and Gallery apps.

There is one particular application of AI that also demonstrates the continued cooperation between Samsung and Google, former frenemies on the Android platform. As the name clearly states, Circle to Search lets you simply draw a circle around an image or even a block of text on your screen to initiate a Google Search.

As useful as these may sound, it seems that Samsung will be taking a rather controversial approach to providing AI features on its gallery phones. Samsung’s suite of Galaxy AI features will apparently be available for free on these devices only until 2025, after which it could charge a subscription fee for using them. It doesn’t exactly state how much that will be or which features will be covered by this limitation, though Google’s Circle to Search and other third-party AI features are most likely going to be exempt. Nothing’s set in stone yet, but this will surely lessen the appeal of relying on these features heavily.

Should you buy it or upgrade?

And now for the most critical part of the decision-making process: the price tags. The Galaxy S24 starts at $799.99 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the Galaxy S24+ will go for $999.99 for 12GB RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. These are pretty much the same launch prices as the Galaxy S23 and S23+, which isn’t surprising considering very little has changed.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra, however, is a chunky $100 higher than last year’s model, now starting at $1,299.99 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It’s a considerable price jump, especially when you consider you might be asked to pay for those trendy Galaxy AI features in two years. That new telephoto camera might be partly to blame, among other things.

If you’re looking to jump into the Samsung ecosystem for the first time, then it’s really only a choice between the smaller and more affordable Galaxy S24 and the larger, fully-featured Galaxy S24 Ultra. The Galaxy S24+ might sound like it has the best of both worlds, but it’s actually the opposite. Its only winning grace is the larger screen and battery, both of which will set you back $100 more than the Galaxy S24 but still won’t have the better cameras of the Galaxy S24 Ultra at the very least.

Considering all these, it’s going to be tough to recommend upgrading to any of the three models if you still have a perfectly fine Galaxy 23 or even a Galaxy 22. Even the Galaxy S24 Ultra, with a creator-friendlier flat display, is going to be a hard sell considering it’s also more expensive. The jury is still out on the camera improvements, though it’s probably not going to be too mind-blowing compared to the already decent quartet on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Of course, if you have a Galaxy S21 series or older, then there’s almost no more doubt about making the jump or not.

The post How much is the Galaxy S24: Is it worth the price first appeared on Yanko Design.