Samsung has revealed its new premium flagship smartphone, the Note 20, alongside the new S7 tablet, Galaxy Watch 3, a new foldable handset, and its redesigned Galaxy Buds.
During a virtual Unpacked event on Wednesday, streamed live from South Korea, the company confirmed it was committed to focusing on the Note series for its gaming capabilities, and announced a range of tie-ins with Microsoft products.
The company’s range of devices have escaped the production issues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, which struck rivals with manufacturing bases in China, as the majority of Samsung‘s production takes place in Vietnam – a country that never instituted a national lockdown.
Following on from the Note 10, which was launched last year, the Note 20’s upper-tier version – the Note 20 Ultra – is a 5G-compatible phone looking to take advantage of the next generation of connectivity for its gaming features.
As part of the focus on gaming, Samsung has partnered with Microsoft, aiming to offer an “Xbox gaming experience in the palm of your hands” according to Conor Pierce, Samsung’s head of mobile for the UK and Ireland, who spoke to Sky News.
Game Pass Ultimate offers users access to a curated PC and console games library, including more than 100 popular titles such as Minecraft Dungeons, Forza Horizon 4, and Gears 5: Ultimate Edition.
Similar to Google‘s cloud gaming platform Stadia, the Note 20 will allow users to play games using cloud computing – having the games run on hardware the phones are connecting to remotely, giving gamers the ability to play higher-quality games on their mobile devices.
The 5G connection speed is also hoped to allow gamers to avoid the latency issues often experienced when playing games online, and the phones use the Wi-Fi 6 standard to keep connections at home strong even if multiple devices are asking for bandwidth from the router.
Samsung says the Note 20 Ultra in particular has the brightest and most responsive screen it has ever developed, offering what it describes as “the vivid and bright” Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate.
“I think people will be incredibly impressed with the gaming experience on the Note 20,” Mr Pierce said.
The Note 20 will cost consumers £849, while the Note 20 Ultra 5G will set them back £1,179.
Samsung has 77% of the market for premium devices in the UK, considered to be smartphones costing £600 or more – and the UK is one of the most premium markets for smartphones in Europe.
Samsung performs even better in the ultra-premium segment of the market (devices above £900), where it has more than 50% of the market share.
Despite their different names, both the Galaxy Tab S7 and the S7+ 5G are compatible with 5G, and both offer 120Hz refresh rates on 11-inch and 12.4-inch screens respectively.
Both the Note 20 and the Tab S7 releases come with an upgraded S Pen, Samsung’s stylus for which the company has introduced a range of new dynamic controls, including shaking the pen in the air to rearrange objects on the screen.
The products also tie-in with Windows 10 computers as part of Samsung’s ongoing collaboration with Microsoft.
The company also announced the next generation of its smartwatch, Galaxy Watch 3, and its wireless earbuds, Galaxy Buds, which have been redesigned and include active noise cancellation and a voice pickup unit.
Also announced was the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which Samsung said came “after releasing two foldable devices and listening to user feedback on the most requested upgrades and new features”.
The launch of its first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, had to be pushed back from its original April 2019 launch date after reviewers experienced breakages within a few days, while there were also problems with the display.