Those two phones, however, weren’t the only products unveiled during the event. In fact, we saw quite a number of exciting new products from Samsung. If you didn’t tune into the livestream, we’ve rounded up everything you missed at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2017.
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Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
The headlining products and the worst-kept secret, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are the latest and greatest smartphones from Samsung. They offer a number of awesome features, such as how there’s no longer an Edge-only model as both the 5.8-inch S8 and 6.2-inch S8 Plus use Edge displays. Speaking of the display, you’ll notice a large reduction in bezel-size from the Galaxy S7. Samsung calls it the Infinity Display, and it covers 83 percent of the front body. It’s a gorgeous look, and it’s in line with the current trend of minimizing the bezel on the smartphone. Expect more devices to follow suit later this year.
Under the hood, the U.S. model of the phone will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, while Samsung’s comparable Exynos 9 Series 8895 processor will be in the international model). The S8 and S8 Plus come with 4GB of RAM, and a hefty 64GB of storage. It also boasts a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and 8-megapixel selfie camera. The only difference between the two, other than size, is battery — the S8 has a 3,000mAh battery capacity, while the S8 Plus packs a 3,500mAh capacity. Realistically, this will mean slightly better battery life for the Plus, but both will still get about a day and a half, like usual.
Another headlining feature on the phone is Bixby, Samsung’s new digital assistant aimed at going head to head with the likes of the Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri. There’s also facial recognition technology, a fingerprint sensor, iris-scanning software, a sleek TouchWiz user interface, and more.
You can check out our initial thoughts on the new Samsung Galaxy S8 here.
Samsung DeX dock station for the Galaxy S8
You can connect the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus to an external monitor and use Android’s desktop mode, all thanks to DeX. DeX is a docking station that your phone rests on and plugs into via a USB Type-C port. The back of DeX features an array of ports that lets you connect an external monitor, a mouse, and a keyboard. Once you connect the S8, a desktop version of Android will prop up on the monitor — Samsung has optimized several of its apps to offer resizable windows and right-click functionality.
Non-supported Android apps work, just not as well as supported ones. The DeX system currently works best with Samsung’s apps, but there will be a program for developers to support the new system. Samsung has partnered with both Microsoft, for Office, and Adobe, for apps that work well with DeX.
In our initial impressions, the Galaxy S8 offered surprisingly capable performance with virtually no hiccups on DeX. We’re hoping more manufacturers and developers build features like this, especially considering the fact that phones are powerful enough to function as basic desktop replacements.
Samsung Gear 360
Samsung has long been one of the more involved companies when it comes to virtual reality, and it’s showing no signs of slowing in its efforts. At Samsung Unpacked, the company unveiled the new Samsung Gear 360 — a new 360-degree camera that offers two 8.4-megapixel cameras that can capture 4K video at 24fps. When livestreaming, you’ll only get 2K resolution for bandwidth purposes. The specs aren’t necessarily the focal point of the device though — as the older Gear 360 offers some better specs.
Instead, this new model’s focus is compatibility. The original Samsung Gear 360 was only compatible with a few flagship Samsung devices, but the new model works with recent Samsung flagships, Android devices running version 5.0 or higher, the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7 and 7 Plus, as well as Windows and MacOS devices. The camera also offers Bluetooth 4.1 and a USB Type-C port.
Samsung Gear VR
The Gear 360 isn’t Samsung’s only VR-related product. In fact, the company also launched an all-new version of the Samsung Gear VR headset. The headset itself is largely the same as the older model, but now the headset comes bundled with the controller that debuted at Mobile World Congress. That controller offers a clickable touchpad like the Google Daydream controller, as well as a trigger, a home button, a back button, and a volume button. It also packs an accelerometer, gyroscope, and a magnetic sensor. It does use AAA batteries, however. Assuming 2 hours of use per day, it should last 40 days.
The update to the Gear VR headset is more about the controller, and how it can add new experiences to games and applications.
Samsung Connect and Connect Pro
Samsung is following Google’s steps with the introduction of a mesh network router called Samsung Connect. What’s unique is that it also doubles as a SmartThings hub. (SmarThings is Samsung’s Internet of Things platform.) Using the Samsung Connect app on your smartphone, you can control any SmartThings-enabled device. This works well with Samsung’s strategy, as the company sells numerous smart products like smart TVs, smart fridges, and more.