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August 12, 2021
✨ Good morning! To cap off the run of new smartphones, we have the Honor Magic 3 launching today. But first, what all the new Galaxy gear means...
A new Galaxy
Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 and Flip 3 rear panel
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung’s Unpacked event launched its new Galaxy Z Fold 3, Flip 3, its new Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and the Buds 2.

We don’t have full reviews yet — just first impressions, but there’s some hope here.

Fold 3:

  • The third generation of Samsung’s finest has moved past its prototype roots in the original Fold. The Fold 3 has, for example, mastered water, with an IPX8 certification against water ingress meaning it’s all sealed up, and it’s more metal and glass than ever. 
  • I wouldn’t be swimming with it, but it’s pretty cool that it’ll withstand a dunking or a coffee drenching. It’s very slightly more trim, too.
  • The outer panel is all sorted out. The Fold 2’s was fine but the latest is now 120Hz, and opening and closing should now feel smoother.
  • The under-display selfie cam is a nice implementation: no cameras visible. Samsung’s take is different, using a pattern of the top of the punch hole. When you need the camera, the display above the camera turns off, so you can see where you need to look. Otherwise, the big display is full screen.
  • That big display is protected by a new PET plastic that’s more durable and less scratch resistant.
  • The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has S Pen support and that’ll either be great or meh depending on your take. At least it seems more useful on the big ol’ 7.6-inch display.
  • It’s now going for $1,799. 
  • Truly though, once again, Samsung has such an array of offers from its own store and via carriers to drop that price down: trade-in bonuses, credits, inclusions.
  • It depends on your region but all I saw yesterday on Twitter was friends and colleagues amazed at just how much they could get off, via trade-ins on old and even broken phones.

Flip 3:

  • The Flip 3 is now the “affordable” foldable and it’s been given a set of sturdy improvements, the outer display is way better, and it’s also IPX8 protected for those water splashes.
  • I liked the blending of the outer display with the camera housing too, and Samsung has done a good job of making it more useful.
  • When you open it, you’ll find a 6.7-inch AMOLED interior screen that runs at 120Hz. There’s a seam but it’s less obvious.
  • On both the Flip and the Fold, Samsung has more custom software, and is working with big-time app developers like Spotify and Netflix and so on to make use of things like split-screen and multiple apps at once.
  • What is interesting is that Samsung gently positions the Flip 3 as the less masculine option and more fashionable, but my tech pals who had hands-on thought it might’ve been more interesting than the Fold 3, partly due to it now being the same price as the S21 Plus, depending on final config. 
  • It has similar internals, the Snapdragon 888 chip being key, but the battery is much smaller at 3,300mAh — though if you keep it shut and mainly use the outer screen, you’ll eek out longer life.
  • At $999, it’s $400 cheaper than last year, and again, deals make it even cheaper.
  • Already, T-Mobile is offering the Flip 3 with a buy one get one free offer in case you can use two phones at once.
samsung galaxy watch 4 and galaxy watch 4 classic on table

Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic:

  • New chipset, new Wear OS, new health-tracking features, the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic come with more and better everything, including software improvements that look interesting to dig into.
  • The function of the physical rotating bezel everyone enjoys is coming back to the Watch 4 Classic, and there are two sizes at 42 and 46mm, plus LTE options.
  • The Watch 4 starts at $250 — the Watch 4 Classic adds some classiness and that bezel for $350.
  • Both devices have the same processor, memory, and storage, with the Watch 4 the lighter sporty edition with an aluminum back, while the Watch 4 Classic goes for stainless steel and weighs a little more.
  • Keen to see reviews of this, but Samsung’s added a body composition monitor which offers more insight into your meat sack: It details your skeletal muscle, basal metabolic rate (BMR), water retention, and body fat percentage, all with a wrist-sensor.
  • All the other health tracking (heart-rate monitor, ECG, activity tracking, SpO2 levels, sleep, stress, etc) are improved, but reviews are crucial here to understand exactly how far Samsung has stepped up the competition.
  • And, it’s not compatible with iOS, and some functions are only with Galaxy smartphones. And curiously, you can’t track blood pressure in the USA or Canada and some other regions due to health authorities requiring approvals.

Galaxy Buds 2: After all the coverage and leaks, these do look handy, but now Samsung really has confused its lineup:

  • Samsung’s better, more robust flagship earbuds remain the Galaxy Buds Pro. The Buds 2 cost $150, yet the Buds Pro are regularly on sale for just $20 more.

⚖ Senate bill would make Apple and Google loosen their grip on app stores, but a long way from a Senate bill to law, and a lot of lobbying too (Android Authority).

♻ WhatsApp to finally allow iOS to Android migration, though only on two Samsung phones for now (Android Authority).

🔜 Android 12 is now at the brink of stable release as beta 4 dropped yesterday, somehow Google timing it to hide away with Samsung’s Unpacked taking all the headlines (Android Authority).

📸 Google Pixel 6 camera and chipset details hinted in latest Android 12 beta (Android Authority).

👉 Motorola’s latest G series phone is the G60S, and it’s aiming squarely for the Brazilian market (Android Authority).

👩‍🏫 Zoom’s new focus mode could keep students from distracting each other: see the teacher, only, not other students (The Verge).

📨 Mailchimp is exploring a sale at $10B+ valuation: It never raised outside funding, interestingly (Bloomberg).

🐤 Yes, Twitter changed its font, to something called Chirp (The Verge).

🔋 Ford delays Mach E orders due to the global chip shortage (Engadget).

⛓ Lionel Messi received a ‘large number’ of crypto fan tokens as part of his PSG package. Probably more just marketing than substance, given the exact number wasn’t given… (The Block).

🤔 “I think an AI is flirting with me. Is it OK if I flirt back?(Wired).

🐲 Almost a dragon: A pretty terrifying flying dinosaur has been found that definitely terrorized Australian creatures in the ancient inland seas (CNET).

💉 2021: Russian marketing firms tried — and failed — to smear vaccines with weak Planet of the Apes memes. Real users mocked the whole thing. (Ars Technica).

😷 “Why did we go from a Delta variant of COVID straight to Lambda? What happened to Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, and Kappa?” (r/askscience)

💪 Fun: Here’s the hydraulic press vs the Nokia 3310 (r/gifs).

Throwback Thursday

The first electronic mail message from space was sent by the crew of the Atlantis space shuttle mission this week in history, back on August 9. 1991. The shuttle carried an Apple Macintosh Portable and communicated via AppleLink.

That email:

“Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time, wish you were here,…send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby,…we’ll be back!”

  • “cryo” meaning cryogenics, which is to say: air and supplies (which I think was a joke…)
  • And CS stood for the Reaction Control System, which is asking for more rocket fuel for maneuvering the shuttle, meaning, they wanted to stay up a little longer.
  • It’s like emailing from summer camp to say you never want to go home!
  • The Mac did a few other things, but one fun one is that it functioned as an alarm clock for performing certain experiments.
  • And, the crew wore “custom WristMac watches” which connected via serial port.
  • It’s just like today, just everything was a little more clunky. Imagine what we’ll have in 30 years time! Hopefully more and different to the Apple Watch 36, or Galaxy Watch 34…

Just don’t think about it being the year 2051,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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