Samsung Fold 6 and Flip 6 – The Good and The Bad

Samsung recently hosted an event to unveil a slew of new hardware, including two new phones: the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and the Galaxy Fold 6. In addition to these smartphones, they also introduced the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro earbuds and the Galaxy Watch Ultra. While the hardware is undeniably impressive, a significant portion of the event focused on AI features, which left some of us underwhelmed. Let’s dive into the hardware first and see what’s new and noteworthy.

Galaxy Z Flip 6: A Refined Classic

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 comes in four stunning colors: Blue, Mint, Yellow, and Silver Shadow. Despite the Silver Shadow’s titanium-like appearance, it remains an aluminum device. The new Flip 6 boasts three significant hardware upgrades over its predecessor:

  1. Increased RAM: The base model now features 12GB of RAM, up from the previous 8GB. This improvement ensures smoother multitasking and better overall performance.
  2. Larger Battery: The battery capacity has been bumped up to 4,000mAh, providing longer usage between charges.
  3. Enhanced Camera: The main camera now uses a 50-megapixel sensor, while the ultrawide lens retains the same sensor as the previous generation.

The screen sizes remain unchanged, with both the inner and outer displays staying the same as before. Similarly, the weight and dimensions are almost identical to the Flip 5, with the Flip 6 being slightly thinner but not noticeably so. Aesthetically, the Flip 6 doesn’t deviate much from its predecessor, maintaining its sleek and compact design.

Galaxy Fold 6: A New Dimension

The Galaxy Fold 6 introduces three new colors: Silver Shadow, Pink, and Navy. This year’s Fold is thinner, lighter, shorter, and wider, leading to new screen aspect ratios. The front screen is slightly larger at 6.3 inches, while the main inner screen remains 7.6 inches but with a broader aspect ratio.

Despite these changes, the Fold 6 retains the same camera hardware, featuring a 50-megapixel GM3 sensor. The camera bump now includes a series of concentric rings around each lens, adding a touch of elegance but also a strange sharpness that can be felt when touched. The Fold 6 still packs 12GB of RAM and a 4,400mAh battery. The device is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, offering improved performance, particularly in GPU tasks, making it an excellent choice for those seeking high performance.

Galaxy Buds 3 Pro: A Surprising Change

The Galaxy Buds 3 and Buds 3 Pro mark a significant departure from Samsung’s traditional design language. Since 2016, Samsung’s wireless earbuds have been known for their compact, stemless design, a stark contrast to Apple’s AirPods. However, the new Galaxy Buds 3 come with stems, making them look more like AirPods.

In my brief time with the Buds 3, I found that controlling them with the stems was more precise than tapping the sides of the previous buds. The Buds 3 Pro, in particular, features a light strip that indicates battery status and color-coded markings for easier placement in the case. Despite the design change, the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro sounded fantastic, outperforming the Apple AirPods Pro 2 in my short listening test.

Galaxy Watch Ultra: A Rugged Companion

The new Galaxy Watch 7 is impressive, but the Galaxy Watch Ultra steals the show. Built to be rugged, it features a longer battery life and a titanium body, much like the Apple Watch Ultra. The Watch Ultra has a more squarish shape, deviating from Samsung’s usual round watch design. The white model, in particular, looks striking with its white strap and casing.

The Watch Ultra includes an orange-accented quick button, which, during my testing, only launched workouts. The bezel doesn’t rotate but has markings that might suggest otherwise. The watch face has a technical look, and the device is water-resistant up to 100 meters, capable of operating in extreme temperatures and altitudes, and includes a siren for emergencies. However, it lacks a depth sensor, which is surprising for a watch designed for rugged use.

AI Features: Underwhelming Innovations

Samsung spent a lot of time discussing AI features, which, in my opinion, didn’t live up to the hype. Earlier this year, Samsung introduced Galaxy AI with the launch of the S24 series. This included AI photo editing tools, live translation, text summarization, and more. While these features are fun and useful, none of them are essential.

At the recent event, Samsung showcased new AI tools, including a sketch-to-image feature where you can draw something, and Galaxy AI generates an image. Although the idea is cool, the execution is slow, and the results are underwhelming. Another feature allows AI to assist with writing, checking grammar and spelling, and altering writing styles. While useful, these tools aren’t groundbreaking and have been seen on other platforms.

Samsung’s AI storytelling tool, which generates stories based on prompts, feels more like a tech demo than a practical feature. Compared to Apple’s upcoming intelligence product, which promises deep integration and real utility, Samsung’s AI features seem fragmented and lacking a cohesive vision.

Conclusion: Great Hardware, Questionable Software

Samsung has once again delivered impressive hardware with the Galaxy Z Flip 6, Fold 6, Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, and Galaxy Watch Ultra. However, the AI features leave much to be desired. As always, Samsung’s hardware innovations are top-notch, but the software doesn’t seem to match up.

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Let us know what you think of Samsung’s latest offerings in the comments below!

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