Gadgets, Game & Mobile News

Samsung's more refined Galaxy Z Fold 4 goes on sale August 26th starting at $1,800

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00

While many other smartphone makers have yet to even attempt selling a foldable device, Samsung is already four generations deep. And on the new Galaxy Z Fold 4, instead of redesigning the entire device, Samsung is tweaking its formula to create a faster, more powerful and slightly sleeker phablet for all your multitasking needs. There's also a newly redesigned taskbar, revamped cameras, and perhaps most importantly, even more apps have been optimized to take better advantage of the phone's flexible display. 

In terms of hardware, new components on the Z Fold 4 include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, an upgraded 50MP main camera, a longer telephoto cam with a 3x optical zoom (up from 2x on the previous model) and a brighter 7.6-inch flexible display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The Z Fold 4's durability has also improved, with Samsung using its Armor Aluminum alloy on the phone's hinge and frame and moving up to Gorilla Glass Victus+ on both its front and rear panels. And just like you got on the previous model, the Z Fold 4 features IPX8 water resistance that can withstand submersion of up to 5 feet for 30 minutes. 

For 2022, upgrades to the Z fold 4's flexible main screen include better brightness, a 120HZ adaptive refresh rate, and a revamped under-display camera with less noticeable sub-pixel arrangement. Samsung

Meanwhile, even though the Z Fold 4 will still be a somewhat bulky device compared to more traditional handsets, Samsung says it has slimmed down its dimensions with thinner bezels and a slightly smaller hinge. And all this comes in a body that's just a touch wider than before, which is meant to make stuff like typing on the exterior Cover Screen a bit easier while also improving one-hand usability. 

That said, the biggest change on the Z Fold 4 may be its software. Not only does Samsung claim the phone is the first device to ship with Android 12L, the company also redesigned the Z Fold's taskbar for enhanced multitasking. Now, instead of being positioned to the the side, the taskbar spans the bottom of the phone which provides more room for apps while new swipe gestures help you quickly switch between full-screen, windowed and split-screen views. And for those who like drawing or taking handwritten notes, the Z Fold 4 still supports stylus input and has a new Standing Case with built-in S Pen storage.

One of the biggest upgrades on the Z Fold 4 is new software that features a redesigned Task Bar, expanded support for Flex Mode and more apps that have been optimized for the phone's large display.Samsung

Additionally, Samsung has continued its partnership with Google and Microsoft to expand the number of apps that support Flex Mode, which are special functions that are available when phone is half open. On top of that, both Chrome and Gmail now support drag-and-drop functionality for sharing things like files and links, while Outlook has gotten a more tablet-like UI to better utilize the phone's large main display. 

Finally, other tweaks include an updated UDC (under display camera) that features a new "scatter-type sub-pixel arrangement" that should make it a bit less noticeable. There's even a new virtual touchpad that works with apps that haven't been fully optimized for the Z Fold 4's screen that's intended to make it easier to zoom in and out of media or control playback while watching videos. And you're the type of person who always needs more room for apps and media, a 1TB model is available exclusively from Samsung. 

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 will be available in four colors including graygreen, Phantom Black, beige and burgundy, the latter of which is exclusive to Samsung.com.Samsung

The one downside is that with a starting price of $1,800 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the Z Fold 4 is still expensive and has not received a price drop compared from last year's Z Fold 3. The phone will be available in four colors: "Graygreen," Phantom Black, beige and burgundy, the latter of which is exclusive to Samsung.com. Pre-orders start today ahead of the phone's official release on August 26th and will include free upgrade to 16GB of RAM, $100 of Samsung store credit, a Standing Cover case and a discount of up to $1,000 with eligible trade-ins. 

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 series offers evolution, not revolution

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00

We’ve known since early July that Samsung was preparing a gentle upgrade to its Galaxy Watch series this time around. After all, the Watch 4s were the first to get the new-and-improved WearOS after Google and Samsung decided to collaborate on its development. Consequently, the words of the day are evolution and refinement on the Watch 5, rather than anything too gee-whizz, with better sensors used to drive better data, and therefore give you a clearer picture of your overall health.

Both watches, for instance, get a reshaped back design with a larger surface area for better contact with your wrist. Samsung says the tweak will offer more accurate readings for your vital statistics, alongside a new infrared temperature sensor which can measure the ambient heat as well as what your skin’s throwing out. The BioActive sensor which drives many of the health features on the watch first made its debut on the Watch 4, but Samsung says the data it provides is far smarter now.

For instance, users can expect to see snapshots of their overall health, as well as personalized workouts that’ll help them get closer to their goals. Hell, you’ll even get recommendations on how much water to drink when you’re cooling down, based on how much sweat the watch thinks you’ve produced during your efforts. Similarly, a month-long guided sleep program is designed to help you get better rest (and will tailor your home accordingly if you’ve got the right gear).

The watch crystal has been swapped out for a tougher, sapphire crystal glass that Samsung says is significantly stronger than its predecessor. The batteries in both the 40mm (284mAh) and 44mm (410mAh) Watch 5 models are bigger, and both will get enough juice to track eight hours’ of sleep with just eight minutes on the charging pad. Both will run Wear OS 3.5, with One UI 4.5 sat on top, which has already been floating around for about a month or so at this point.

Image of the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 ProSamsung

Of course, Samsung also has a watch just for the more serious adventurers among us, the Watch 5 Pro. The big difference between the Pro and its vanilla siblings is the materials used in its construction, with a titanium body and a sport band. What the Pro has going for it otherwise is its bigger 45mm display and its longevity, since there’s a 590mAh battery nestled inside. You’ll also get some smarter navigation features for when you’re out and about and want to rely on your watch when your sense of direction might not cut it.

Now, let’s talk price. The Watch 5 will set you back $280 for the 40mm Bluetooth version, and $330 for the LTE model. The Watch 5 Pro, meanwhile, costs $450 for Bluetooth, and $500 if you want LTE thrown in for your trouble. If you’re the sort of person who has opinions about averages, tees and, uh, I’ve run out of Golf terms, you can also get a Galaxy Watch 5 Golf Edition. That ships in the same case sizes as the regular Watch 5s, but you’ll get a different strap, custom Golf-themed faces and an unlimited subscription to the Smart Caddie app thrown in.

Samsung is also throwing in a bunch of retail incentives for pre-order customers, including a Wireless Charger Duo if you lay down cash early for a Watch 5 Pro. It’s expected to hit store shelves on August 26th, and the company adds that you can also use Samsung’s bespoke studio to customize your phone and watch styles if you’re looking for something a bit more personal.

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hands-on: A design that works

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00

Samsung’s first foldable phone might have been the Galaxy Z Fold, but most of us want the Galaxy Z Flip. The company said as much itself, announcing that 70 percent of its foldable customers picked the clamshell option. Compared to the Galaxy Z Fold series, the Z Flip phones are not as thick, not as big and not as expensive. While Google’s Android team is still getting to grips with the bigger-screened foldables, when it comes to the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Samsung took the smartphone interface as we know it, and, well, folded it.

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 isn’t a major departure from what last year’s Z Flip 3 offered. Unlike the Fold series, which has seen a few design changes for 2022, it’s a little trickier to discern the differences here. However, Samsung has focused on making the most of the Flip series’ unique form factor.

Let’s start with the 1.9-inch AMOLED front display. It’s the same size as the one on last year’s Z Flip 3, but Samsung has added more controls and widget customization and the color theme can be paired with your Samsung wearable, if you have one. You can still add your own photos to the screen, but there’s more control over what else shows up here.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hands-onEngadget / Mat Smith

In addition to widgets offering weather and calendar information, there’s a quick settings widget and quick-dial options for your closest contacts. Unlike the last-gen Z Flip, you can now delete whichever widgets you don’t want, saving on swipes. You can also access Samsung wallet functions to make contactless payments without flipping the device open — something that was missing from its predecessors. On the Z Flip 3, you could answer incoming calls, but now you can call and text without opening your phone. Is it as useful? Not hugely, but it’s at least possible now. Hopefully, software updates will add some of these features to older Z Flip devices.

The experience of using the outer display as a camera viewfinder has also been improved. You’re no longer constrained to shooting your selfies in a square-ish format, and you can tap through to the same selfie view you’d get from shooting it on a typical smartphone – just with (probably better) cameras. There’s also a decent portrait mode, and you can record video directly from the outer display, too. The screens will auto-rotate as you manipulate camera angles, which means you can kinda hold it like a ‘90s camcorder. It’s cute.

Flex mode has been improved further, too. This includes interface upgrades for video streaming and calling, beyond Google’s own Android apps like Meet. It should work with Instagram (both Reels and Stories) Facebook, Zoom, WhatsApp and YouTube, among others.

There’s also a new floating touchpad to control apps not yet supported on the Z Flip 4, when you’re running them on half of the display. It adds a pointer to navigate the app, as well as the ability to tap through, and you can interact and scroll through content too. While the Z Flip 4 isn’t the multitasking foldable – that's the Z Fold 4’s purview – you can split the screen in half in Flex Mode, launching secondary apps with a two-finger swipe from the bottom. Of course, there’s still the usual dividing line icon between the two apps if you’re looking to swap around app placement or maximize one of them.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hands-onEngadget / Mat Smith

With an even faster chip, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, the Z Flip 4 handled everything I was able to throw at it during my short time with it. Another notable upgrade is battery capacity, up from 3,300mAh on the Z Flip 3 to 3,700mAh. Given that battery life was one of our biggest complaints with last year’s Z Flip, hopefully we can expect a foldable that runs a little longer. Samsung's Super Fast Charging is now supported on Z Flip4, which should charge the foldable up to 50 percent in around 30 minutes.

Most of the other significant specs are unchanged. The main screen is a 6.7-inch FHD+ (2,640 x 1,080) AMOLED screen capable of up to 120Hz refresh rates, with three storage options (128GB, 256GB, 512GB), all of which come with 8GB of RAM. The screen is bright and vivid, but if you’re hoping for a life without creases, it’s not here just yet, even on these early demo devices.

Samsung says it has enhanced the durability of its foldables, with improved super thin glass across the main display and an enhanced panel strip that supports the display during your pokes, prods and swipes. Yet again, the Z Flip 4 is IPX8 waterproof as well. If you're a Z Flip 3 owner, you might notice the thinner hinge.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hands-onEngadget / Mat Smith

When it comes to cameras, it gets a little more complicated. On paper, the Z Flip 4 appears to have the same array as its predecessors (read: two 12-megapixel sensors). However, these are improved cameras. The 12-megapixel ultrawide camera has an f/2.2 lens, while the 12MP wide camera has an f/1.8 lens and bigger 1.8-micron pixels. Samsung says these bigger pixels translate to better low-light performance and sharper shots, and the company claims it will capture 65 percent more light. The new Z Flip has also improved stabilization and subject tracking for stills and video. During my brief testing, the cameras seemed more responsive and capable than when I used the Z Flip 3’s camera. That said, the Z Flip series was never at the cutting edge of smartphone photography, which is likely to continue.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 will start at $1,000 with 128GB of storage. It’ll launch in four color options: Blue, Pink Gold, Black and Bora Purple. (Bora means purple, so that’s... Purple Purple.) If those aren’t quite to your tastes, the Z Flip 4 will also arrive alongside a Bespoke customization service offering 75 different color permutations. Samsung plans to share more information during its livestream today. You’ll be able to preorder the device starting today, with a launch set for August 26th. Stay tuned for our full review very soon.

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer improved audio and ANC for $230

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00

Samsung typically reveals a new set of true wireless earbuds alongside its latest phones, and today is no different. In addition to the Galaxy Fold 4, Galaxy Flip 4 and new watches, the company is debuting the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the follow-up to the Galaxy Buds Pro that debuted early last year. While not a complete redesign, this new model offers enough of an overhaul with smaller buds, improved active noise cancellation (ANC), retooled audio and a host of other handy features. All of the upgrades will cost you though: the Buds 2 Pro are $30 more than their predecessor. 

In terms of design, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are 15 percent smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro. Samsung says the "new compact, ergonomic design" is built to offer a secure fit that won't move around in your ear, even during workouts. The design should also relieve pressure, thanks to a vent and nozzle grille that facilitate air flow. So while the buds may look similar to the previous model, they are indeed different. The case, on the other hand, appears to be mostly unchanged. Like the previous model, the Buds 2 Pro are IPX7 rated for water and sweat resistance, although Samsung made it clear the same protection doesn't apply to the case. Should you lose an earbud, the Buds 2 Pro can be located with SmartThings Find either in the case or out.

Inside the Buds 2 Pro, two-way speakers (woofers and tweeters) handle the sound. In addition to 360 Audio (Dolby Atmos) that debuted on the Buds Pro, this model also offers 24-bit HiFi audio via Samsung's Seamless Codec (the buds also support AAC and SBC). The company says this produces 256 times "richer sound" than 16-bit audio. When it comes to canceling noise, Samsung explains that three high new mics are capable of blocking subtle and high-pitched sounds with three more decibels of overall reduction. 

There's ambient sound and a new Voice Detect feature on board as well. With Voice Detect, the Buds 2 Pro can determine when you're speaking. The tool temporarily changes to ambient sound mode and lowers the volume so you can have a quick convo without removing the earbuds. Sony has offered something similar with its buds and headphones for a while now, but its Speak-to-Chat tool fully pauses the audio when you talk. And yes, Bixby handles voice control on the Buds 2 Pro, a feature that works across Samsung's phones, tablets and even its newer TVs. 

Unfortunately, battery life is unchanged from the Galaxy Buds Pro. You can expect up to five hours of use with ANC on (18 hours including the case) or eight hours with it off (29 hours with the case). If you were hoping Samsung would reinstate iOS compatibility with this model, you're going to be disappointed. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will work with those devices, but with Bluetooth only — there's no companion app to unlock the full suite of features. Those are reserved for Android (Galaxy Wearable app), PC (Galaxy Buds app) and Samsung's 2022 TVs. Speaking of TVs, the company has added those to its compatible devices for audio switching. Basically, you can quickly change between Galaxy phones, tablets and TVs via the Auto Switch feature without having to enter pairing mode. 

When it comes to first impressions, Engadget Deputy Editor Cherlynn Low "loved the fit" and noted that the ANC worked well too. UK Bureau Chief Mat Smith explained that the smaller size is indeed more comfortable and the Buds 2 Pro feel "less obtrusive." He also said Voice Detect worked well, but it could be duped by coughs and humming since it relies on a voice pickup unit to detect vibrations. For what it's worth, this is also a downside to Sony's automatic-pausing speech detection. 

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available for pre-order starting today in graphite, white and Bora Purple for $230. General availability begins 26th. Both the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds 2 will remain in Samsung's true wireless lineup if you prefer open wear or more affordable options, respectively. 

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

Now Samsung's New Foldables Are Partially Made From Recycled Fishing Nets, Too - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
This comes after Samsung began using ocean-bound plastics in the Galaxy S22 lineup.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 hands-on: It's what you don't see that makes the difference

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00

It’s hard to believe how far Samsung has come with the Galaxy Z series. Just three years ago when it launched the original Galaxy Fold, the idea of a functioning phone-tablet-hybrid with a bendable screen felt like a pipe dream. Yet, despite a rocky launch and durability issues, Samsung is today launching the fourth generation of its flagship foldable. After ironing out most of its kinks and adding fan-favorite features like S Pen support to last year’s model, the company has become the reigning king of foldables, keeping competition from companies like Motorola, Huawei and Oppo at bay.

In fact, Samsung has achieved so much with the category that it’s not surprising that this year’s updates are mostly minor hardware tweaks and software additions. The biggest differences this time are improved cameras, and Android 12L — an interface designed for larger and foldable displays.

But just because most of the changes are small doesn’t mind they’re not welcome, and many of them do bring meaningful benefits. The Fold 4 has a slightly wider aspect ratio and a stronger display panel, as well as a relocated taskbar and new touchpad interface.

From our brief hands-on at Samsung’s recent demo event in New York, I wasn’t able to tell if these tweaks will make for a substantial improvement in long-term use. But I can say that the Fold 4 feels less awkward to use in one hand, thanks to its slightly wider shape.

Its 7.6-inch internal display now has a 21.6:18 aspect ratio, compared to the Fold 3’s 22.5:18, while the external screen has a 23.1:9 format instead of last year’s 24.5:9. The difference is pretty minimal, but I felt like it was easier to stretch my thumb across the Cover Display and tap apps that would previously be slightly out of reach.

Another update that could make the Fold 4 more pleasant to use with one hand is its weight. It’s just 8 grams (or 0.28 ounces) lighter than its predecessor, and though I didn’t really notice the difference when I held a Fold 3 next to the new phone at Samsung’s event, I imagine even the littlest reduction will go a long way in the real world.

A hand holding up a closed Galaxy Z Fold 4 with its external display facing the camera.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

More importantly, the company said the Fold 4’s internal display is now 45 percent stronger than the last generation. This should offer greater peace of mind to those who worry about scratching their expensive foldable’s fragile panel, though from my coworker Sam Rutherford’s long-term experience with a Fold 3, it seems like you might need to be more concerned about the durability of the screen protector. Samsung told Engadget that though the material of the protector hasn’t changed, it did use stronger adhesive and improved how that’s applied. A company rep said that it “should help minimize some of the peeling issues that our users were faced with… six, seven months after launch.”

The demo units I spent hands-on time with all appeared pristine, which is to be expected, and we’ll have to wait till we have a sample for real-world testing to better evaluate the more-durable display.

Samsung said the new Fold had a slimmer hinge and bezels, but honestly, even when I placed a Fold 3 and 4 next to each other, I could barely tell that any of the borders around the internal screens were any different. Our video producer Brian Oh said it seemed like the bottom bezel on the latest device might be slightly thinner, but if the company hadn’t pointed out this tweak, neither of us would have noticed a thing.

The same goes for the Fold 4’s under-display camera (UDC), which Samsung said is better camouflaged and “less visible” thanks to a new “scatter-type subpixel arrangement.” But again, even with a side by side comparison at the hands-on, I didn’t notice any difference. The lack of discernible improvement isn’t a huge deal, though. What matters more is that, when I watched a fullscreen video on the Fold 4, I wasn’t distracted by the UDC. Samsung also said this would make for better selfies taken with the camera.

A Galaxy Z Fold 4 unfolded slightly more than halfway, with its internal screen facing out.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

As usual, Samsung served up a gorgeous display here, with the AMOLED panels on both the inside and outside of the Fold 4 delivering sumptuous blacks and rich colors. I wish the 6.2-inch cover display was a little sharper, since it runs at a relatively low resolution of 2,316 x 904. But the company doesn’t seem to expect people to use the outer display that much, anyway.

In fact, most of the improvements to the Fold 4 are about enhancing the big-screen experience and making it better for multitasking. The most obvious change here is the relocated taskbar, which Samsung has moved to the bottom of the page instead of the sides. This takes the row of icons at the bottom of your Android home page and turns it into a Windows-esque bar that appears whenever you open an app. Go back home, and this bar goes away.

Not only can you find your recent and most frequently used apps on this row, but you’ll also see shortcuts to find all apps, return home or go back at the bottom right. You can drag and drop icons from this bar to launch apps in split-screen or full-screen views, and be able to run up to three apps side by side. Fans of Samsung’s floating Edge panel will still be able to enable it, and it’ll dock to the left or right of the display and offer additional shortcuts.

The company also updated Flex Mode, which cuts the screen into half when the phone is slightly folded, and turns the bottom part into a control panel of sorts for the top of the display. This year, Samsung added a touchpad tool so you can control a cursor up top by swiping and tapping on the bottom panel. It’s meant to make the Fold 4 feel more like a laptop when you fold it and prop it up on a table, but honestly, even in my brief hands-on session, it was just so much easier to actually tap what’s on the screen instead of trying to move a cursor over and click. This might be more useful when you’re using one hand to navigate a document, perhaps, but if you are able to poke at the screen, this touchpad feature is pretty useless.

Samsung’s also been working with developers to help third-party apps make better use of the larger canvas, and that, in addition to the fact that the Fold 4 uses Android 12L, presents a promising premise. Theoretically, the Fold 4’s interior display will feature content that’s better laid out — like a two-column notifications shade or, like Samsung showed us at its demo, resizable columns in Microsoft’s Outlook app. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time with Android 12L or even try the Outlook app during my hands-on, so I can’t judge how much more productive I’d be on the Fold 4 yet. This is also something that we can better evaluate in a review, where we’d have more time to gauge how useful small interface tweaks would be.

A trio of Galaxy Z Fold 4 standing on a surface, with their triple rear camera systems facing out. Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Other things that we’d need to test in the real world include battery life, charging, performance and camera quality. The Fold 4 has a 4,400mAh cell like its predecessor, and supports both fast wireless charging and Wireless Powershare so you can use the foldable to juice up your Galaxy Watch or Buds. It uses a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip and comes with a respectable 12GB of RAM. Also like last year’s model, the Fold 4 supports input from the S Pen Pro and S Pen Fold Edition on its inside screen.

One final area that got a serious upgrade is the Fold 4’s rear camera system. Instead of last year’s trio of 12-megapixel sensors, the new model has a 50-MP primary sensor, a 12-MP ultrawide and 10-MP telephoto camera. The UDC and selfie camera up front (where the cover display is) are the same 4-MP and 10-MP setups respectively.

With the new imaging hardware, Samsung was able to bring a combined 30x zoom to the Fold 4, thanks to a 3x optical zoom via its telephoto lens. There wasn’t a lot of room at the demo space for me to truly judge the quality of zoomed-in pictures taken with the Fold 4, but I was indeed able to get super close to somewhat distant subjects like hapless Samsung reps hovering near us. The company said it also improved its portrait mode and "nightography" to deliver clearer pictures in low light, and while it was hard to find a dim spot in our brightly lit space, the photos I took of a relatively dark corner did come out bright and crisp.

Like I said before, though, camera performance is one of the features I’d rather test in the real world. If you’re already sold on the Fold 4 though, you can already pre-order one for $1,800. It’s available in black, gray-green and an oddly boring beige color. Check out our guide to pre-ordering the Fold 4 to secure the best deals from Samsung or your preferred carrier. As always, though, I’d recommend waiting till we get a review unit to put the Fold 4 through its paces before actually buying one.

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 4 lets you do more while it's closed

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00

As expected, Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Z Flip 4 — but the phone's greatest improvements might come through upgrades to software, not specs. The new clamshell foldable now lets you do more while it's closed. You can take higher-quality selfies from the 1.9-inch external screen, and start recording a video in Quick Shot that continues when you open the phone to the half-folded Flex mode. You can also use the closed Flip as a digital car key, for outbound calls and texts, for payments and for controlling SmartThings home scenes. You might not have to rely on the 6.7-inch, 120Hz 1080p main display as much as you think.

There are some meaningful (if modest) hardware upgrades, of course. The main camera now packs a 65 percent brighter sensor compared to its equivalent in the Galaxy Z Flip 3, while a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip provides the obligatory boost to processing power. Samsung is also tackling battery life complaints with a larger 3,700mAh power pack (up from 3,300mAh) and faster wired charging that brings the Z Flip 4 to 50 percent in about 30 minutes. You still won't get more than 8GB of RAM, but a new 512GB storage option should appeal to avid media consumers.

The design will seem very familiar, but there are some noticeable tweaks. You'll see a slimmer hinge, straighter edges and contrasting hazed back glass. The body includes material from recycled fish nets. And yes, there are new colors — you can get the Z Flip 4 in blue and pink gold as well as the more familiar Bora Purple and graphite. Bespoke Edition customization is still available if you prefer to mix-and-match color choices.

As with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the Z Flip 4 is available to pre-order today and will reach stores on August 26th. The base price hasn't changed for the new model — it starts at $1,000 for a 128GB version. While that still makes it relatively affordable as far as foldables go, you'll still be paying a premium for a smaller footprint in your pocket.

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 Gets a $100 Price Cut Adding to Its Appeal - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
Samsung Unpacked was filled with announcements including the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4. But a cheaper Z Flip 3 aims to steal the show.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro Support Hi-Fi Audio as Long as You Pair a Galaxy Phone - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
Samsung's new Pro wireless earbuds highlight studio sound, but claims that a Galaxy phone will be required to get the most out of them.

Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro hands-on: Barely-there updates (and one new design)

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00

The big theme for Samsung’s August Unpacked event this year seems to be refinement. Across the devices it’s launching today, the company is bringing minor tweaks and improvements to increasingly mature products. On last year’s Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic, the company ditched its own Tizen OS in favor of a version of Wear OS that it co-engineered with Google, and brought a new BioActive sensor that combined three biometric sensors in one. It also introduced a body composition scanner using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) for more comprehensive health insights.

Compared to last year’s model, the Galaxy Watch 5 seems a little boring. The biggest change this time is a new skin temperature sensor that isn’t going to be active at launch, while the other upgrades, like improved durability and curvature, aren’t immediately obvious either. I can’t blame Samsung for an unexciting generation of smartwatches, though, since the Galaxy Watch line is already arguably the best wearable for Android users. After all, it’s hard to keep surprising the industry with breakthrough features.

Samsung did launch a new Pro variant designed for people who want a hardier option for outdoor adventures. It has a larger 45mm titanium case and a bigger battery, making it a compelling alternative to some Garmin sports watches. But more on that in a bit. I spent more time with a 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 than any of the other watches at a recent hands-on event in New York and, despite being underwhelmed by the lack of new features, I still dig Samsung’s latest smartwatches.

At first glance, the Galaxy Watch 5 doesn’t appear to be much different from the Watch 4. They come in the same 40mm and 44mm sizes, though the new ones feature technically larger screens that measure 1.2 inches and 1.4 inches (up from 1.19 and 1.36 inches, respectively). One of the changes this year isn’t visible — the watches now use Sapphire Crystal glass that Samsung said makes their displays 60 percent stronger against scratches than their predecessors.

The company also redesigned the underside of the watch case, tweaking the curvature to increase the surface area that would be in contact with your wrist. This should lead to more reliable and accurate biometric readings from the sensors, even as you flail your hands about. Without a side-by-side comparison, I wasn’t able to tell if the Watch 5 felt more snug on my wrist than the Watch 4, but it did seem to stay in place better than the Apple Watch Series 7 I wore to the demo event.

This design improvement is in service of more reliable sensor performance, but Samsung says its three-in-one BioActive sensor has also been upgraded, although it didn’t clarify what changed.

Side view of a purple Galaxy Watch 5 on a wrist, showing its profile and redesigned underside.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Having the Watch 5’s sensors sit snugly in place even when you’re unconscious should also help the device glean more accurate data while you’re asleep. Samsung monitors your breathing and heart rate to detect not only how long you’ve slept, but also the stages you’re in, like REM, deep or light sleep. It also monitors whether you snore, and uses all that information to assign you a score. This year, Samsung is introducing a Sleep Coaching feature that’s supposed to learn from your patterns and build a personalized plan to help you get better rest.

Samsung also added a new skin temperature sensor to the Galaxy Watch 5, but it won’t be activated until some indeterminate date post launch. I wasn’t able to use the watch to take a temperature reading, though I did measure my body fat with the onboard BIA tool. I was not only happy to see that my body fat percentage dropped a whole two percent since I took the same test at last year’s launch event, but I was also impressed that the reading took noticeably less time than the previous version.

I thought that this might be thanks to the dual-core Exynos W920 chip powering the Galaxy Watch 5, but Samsung said that aside from some algorithmic changes, the processor in the new Watch is the same as last year’s model. Still, in my brief time with the device, it was snappy and responsive. Whether I was swiping through the Wear OS tiles or choosing a new watch face, the Watch 5 never felt sluggish. Colors and text looked vibrant and crisp on the Super AMOLED panel, too. Oh, and in case you were worried, you can still use the bezel around the screen to navigate the system.

A red 44mm Galaxy Watch 5 and pink 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 next to each other on a table.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Like some earlier versions of the Galaxy Watch, the Watch 5 features a touch-sensitive bezel that you can drag your finger along to scroll through apps and notifications. I found myself accidentally triggering onscreen elements while I was trying to use the bezel to scroll through some workouts, though. If you miss Samsung’s physical rotating bezel, by the way, you can still buy the Watch 4 Classic, which the company will continue to sell alongside the Watch 5 series.

Though I couldn’t verify this during my demo, Samsung says the Galaxy Watch 5 is rated IP68 for water and dust resistance, as well as 5 ATM for underwater use. It also equipped the devices with larger batteries: The 40mm variant has a 276mAh cell compared to last year’s 247 mAh, while the 44mm version now has a 397mAh battery, up from 361 mAh. They’ll also charge faster, with Samsung promising you’ll add a 45 percent charge in 30 minutes. Samsung went as far as to say that an eight-minute charge can provide eight hours of sleep tracking, and that the Watch 5 can last up to 50 hours.

On the larger Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, Samsung included a 590mAh battery. Since the Pro edition’s 1.4-inch screen is the same size and resolution as the 44mm Watch 5, this bigger battery should deliver longer runtime. The Pro’s screen is also covered with a 29GPa Sapphire Crystal glass on the Pro that’s harder than the Watch 5’s 24GPa glass, making the former a bit more scratch-resistant.

A black Galaxy Watch 5 Pro on a woman's wrist.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

If most of your workouts take place outdoors, you’ll likely appreciate the new route-based activity tracking features on the Pro, too. Samsung added support for the GPX format for route tracking, which is available for the first time on a Galaxy Watch. You can log the paths you traveled during your hikes and share it with others in the Samsung Health app with a new Route Workout feature. The company says you’ll also be able to download hiking and cycling maps, and after you start your journey the system will provide turn-by-turn directions. The Watch 5 Pro can also help you get home with peace of mind through its new Track Back feature that Samsung says in its press release “takes you back the way you came.”

As someone with fairly small wrists, I found the Watch 5 Pro a tad overwhelming and heavy, but people who find a larger screen easier to read might appreciate it. The larger watch uses a D-buckle closure that folds and snaps into place on your wrist, and Samsung said this “offers rugged durability with a sleek and clean fit.”

I’m fully aware what I’m about to describe is not the best durability test but it was the best I could do at the hands-on event without outrightly breaking a demo unit: I punched the face of the Watch 5 Pro somewhat halfheartedly a few times and, to no one’s surprise, it did not break. Since the biggest difference between the Watch 5 Pro and the regular version is durability and battery life, it’s hard to tell from a brief hands-on whether the new model is worth the extra $170.

A trio of Galaxy Watch 5 units on a table, with purple, blue and red straps from left to right.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

For that, and other real-world performance testing, I’ll have to get a hold of a review unit to know for sure. If you can’t wait till reviews are out, you can already pre-order the Galaxy Watch 5 for a starting price of $280 (Bluetooth only; $330 for LTE) or the Pro for $450 and up.

Samsung is also launching a Golf Edition of the Watch 5, which comes with exclusive watch faces, a two-tone strap and an unlimited membership to the Smart Caddie app, along with other software preloaded. You can get the Golf variant of the Watch 5 in 40mm or 44mm, as well as in the 45mm Pro model. All of the things Samsung launched today will be available on August 26th, though, as always, I’d recommend waiting till we can test them out to find out more about battery life and overall performance before you spend your money.

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

'A League of Their Own's' Focus on Queer Representation Is a Game Changer - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
Review: Prime Video's TV adaptation examines an untouched side of its female baseball players lives. It also features fewer male coaches screaming at women.

Mortgage Rates for Aug. 10, 2022: Rates Increase - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
Today some key mortgage rates climbed higher. If you're in the market for a home loan, see how the Fed's interest rate hikes could affect you.

Mortgage Refinance Rates for Aug. 10, 2022: Rates Increase - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
Multiple key refinance rates advanced today. Though refinance rates change daily, experts expect rates to climb this year.

Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 4 Gets New Software Tricks, Bigger Battery - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
The new Galaxy Z Flip 4 has more software features, a bigger battery and an upgraded camera.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Better Design and Cameras, Same High Price - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 gets a wider cover screen and Galaxy S22-like cameras, but you'll still have to pay $1,800.

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 Now Includes a Pro Model and Better Battery Life - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 09:00
A few new changes are coming, including a skin temperature sensor, but you might want to wait for the Pixel Watch.

Upgrade Your Room With These Deals on Factory-Reconditioned Samsung TVs - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-08-10 08:51
You can have a cinematic experience right at home when you check out this huge selection of smart TVs with prices starting at just $530.

Apple's 256GB iPad drops to a new low of $399

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 08:29

Apple's base iPad is the most cost-effective way to get an iOS device, and now you can pick one up for even less than usual. In a rare sale, most models are down to record-low prices at Amazon right now. Key among them are the 256GB iPad for $399, which is $80 less than usual, and the base, 64GB version remains on sale for $299 as well. As for cellular models, you can pick up the 64GB tablet for $400 thanks to an extra $30 coupon that's automatically applied at checkout, or the 256GB version for $550.

Buy iPad (64GB, WiFi) at Amazon - $299Buy iPad (256GB, WiFi) at Amazon - $399Buy iPad (64GB, Cellular) at Amazon - $400Buy iPad (256GB, Cellular) at Amazon - $550

It may not look as slick as the iPad Air or the latest iPad Pros, but it's hard to argue the utility of Apple's most affordable tablet. We gave it a score of 86 when the latest model came out last year, and we consider it to be the best budget tablet you can get. It has solid performance and an excellent, 14-hour battery life, and since Apple upped the base amount of storage to 64GB from 32GB, you'll have a good amount of space even if you pick the cheapest option. That's important for those who download tons of apps and games, or those who plan on using the iPad to hold all of their personal, work or school documents. While we think some of the more advanced iPads make better laptop replacements, the base tablet would make a good on-the-go device if you pair it with accessories like the Smart Keyboard or the first-generation Apple Pencil.

The most dated things about the iPad are its chunkier bezels and the physical Home button that supports TouchID, although some may prefer the latter to FaceID. Otherwise, the slab has a 2,160 x 1,620 resolution Retina display with True Tone, an 8-megapixel rear camera and an updated 12MP front-facing camera with support for Center Stage, which will come in handy if you FaceTime a lot with friends and family. While it doesn't have many of the extra features you'll find on the iPad Air, those are fair trade-offs considering its low starting price.

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

Spotify is selling tickets directly to fans in its latest test

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 08:14

Spotify has quietly debuted a new website where fans can purchase tickets to their favorite artists' concerts directly from the streaming platform. There's no fanfare surrounding Spotify Tickets' launch, because it's strictly a test product at the moment, and it's only selling pre-sale tickets to a limited number of artists' upcoming events. The portal's debut artists include Limbeck, Annie DiRusso, Dirty Honey, Crows, TOKiMONSTA, Four Year Strong and Osees. According to MusicAlly, the tickets Spotify will start selling today will come from the artists' pre-sale allocations for upcoming concerts.

The music streaming service already has an in-app Live Events Feed where it links to ticketing partners, including Ticketmaster, AXS, DICE, Eventbrite and See Tickets. As TechCrunch notes, the events listed on the new website aren't available on the Live Events Feed yet, though that could change in the future. Spotify Tickets' official support page says that the company sells tickets on behalf of event partners, such as venues, event promoters, fan clubs and artists themselves. That means those partners set the tickets' prices, but Spotify will charge a booking fee that it promises to make clear to buyers before they hit the purchase button.

The service could become an important revenue stream from artists who'd rather sell their own tickets. It could also help ensure that tickets are purchased by real fans and not by scalpers. The service's support page says buyers may not "resell, assign or transfer" tickets except in select states. And since buyers will need to present a government-issued ID to enter an event, they'll have to transfer ownership of a ticket if they do decide to sell it. The process is quite involved and requires sellers to contact Spotify to change the name associated with a ticket.

Spotify told us it doesn't have much to share at the moment, since the service is just a test. There's no official launch date — or even assurances that it will make its way out of the testing phase — for the product right now. The spokesperson said: "At Spotify, we routinely test new products and ideas to improve our user experience. Some of those end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings. Tickets.spotify.com is our latest test. We have no further news to share on future plans at this time."

What can I say but I called it? #SpotifyTickets is now rolling out. https://t.co/EM7SorsERihttps://t.co/zJeAPxHlpL#NewSpotifypic.twitter.com/CeWsswJ93p

— ˗ˏˋ Chris Messina ˎˊ˗ (@chrismessina) August 9, 2022

Watch Samsung Unpacked 2022 with us at 8:30AM ET

Engadget - Wed, 2022-08-10 08:00

It's just about time for Samsung's big summer event, Unpacked 2022, where we're expecting the company to show off a bunch of devices. In particular, we'll likely see new foldables and smartwatches.

The company has strongly hinted that the next Galaxy Z Fold is on the way. We'll probably see an updated Galaxy Z Flip and a next-gen Galaxy Watch or two. Rumors also suggest Samsung has a new Galaxy Buds Pro model up its sleeve. There's always the chance of a surprise or two as well.

You can watch the livestream below. Samsung's event starts at 9AM ET, but we're kicking things off at 8:30AM with our pre-show. Join Engadget Deputy Editor Cherlynn Low and Senior Writer Sam Rutherford as they weigh in with their expert insight and break down what we expect Samsung to reveal.

Follow all of the news from Samsung's Unpacked event right here!

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