Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event: what to expect – The Verge

On February 1st, Samsung will hold its first in-person smartphone launch since the Galaxy S20 way back in February 2020. The company is widely expected to announce its new flagship smartphone lineup at the event, namely the Galaxy S23 series. But, as is tradition, Samsung will almost certainly include a couple of additional product announcements for good measure. Here’s a roundup of everything we’re expecting at the event, which is due to kick off at 1PM ET / 10AM PT / 6PM GMT on Wednesday. 

Let’s start with some context because past events often provide clues about what’s coming. Samsung held a very similar launch event last year in February 2022 when it announced the Galaxy S22 lineup consisting of the S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra. Alongside it, the company also launched new tablets, the Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8 Plus, and Tab S8 Ultra. 

This year, rumors suggest Samsung could shake things up a little bit. It’ll apparently still have a new lineup of smartphones to announce, but rather than tablets, it’s expected to have new laptops. The keen-eyed have spotted that Samsung’s reservation page for the upcoming launch specifically name-checks a new “Galaxy Book” alongside the new smartphone, and rumors suggest this will be a lineup of Galaxy Book 3 devices. 

Here’s everything we think we know about what’s coming:

The Galaxy S23 series

This one’s easy, and not just because Samsung has announced a new flagship smartphone lineup like clockwork at the beginning of each year for a decade. No, it’s also easy because Samsung’s upcoming smartphones have more or less leaked in their entirety already, meaning we have a pretty good idea of their looks and specs even if we don’t yet know exactly how this will translate into real-world performance.

Like last year, the lineup looks to be three-strong. There’s the standard Galaxy S23, the slightly bigger S23 Plus, and finally, the high-end Galaxy S23 Ultra. Rumors suggest the first two will share similar designs and specs, while the third will be more visually distinct with at least one significant unique feature.

A leaked image claiming to show the S23 and S23 Plus.

Image: WinFuture

We’re referring, of course, to the S23 Ultra’s main camera, which has consistently been rumored to be using a high-resolution 200-megapixel main sensor. That’s almost double the 108-megapixel sensor found in last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra. As my colleague Allison Johnson wrote last August, higher resolution sensors like these matter because they mean phones can bin more pixels together to gather more light and produce brighter, more detailed shots. The exact sensor is expected to be Samsung’s ISOCELL HP2, which Samsung announced just weeks ago. 

Alongside this 200-megapixel sensor, a leaked spec sheet suggests the Galaxy S23 Ultra will have three additional cameras, a 12-megapixel ultrawide, a 10-megapixel telephoto with a 3x optical zoom, and another 10-megapixel telephoto with a 10x optical zoom. It amounts to a significantly better camera system than both the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, whose own leaked spec sheets suggest will both have triple-camera systems consisting of 50-megapixel main sensors, 12-megapixel ultrawides, and 10-megapixel telephotos.

Leaked images suggest it won’t just be the camera systems that distinguish the S23 and S23 Plus from the S23 Ultra but their designs as well. The Galaxy S23 Ultra will seemingly have square corners and an accompanying S Pen stylus, reiterating its status as the spiritual successor to Samsung’s discontinued Galaxy Note phones. Meanwhile the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus have much softer rounded edges, even if they’ve ditched the camera bump that distinguished the S22 and S22 Plus from the S22 Ultra last year. 

A leaked image showing the S23 Ultra’s squared-off design next to the S23 and S23 Plus.

Image: WinFuture

Next up, screens. As its name suggests, the Galaxy S23 is the smallest of the three phones, with a 6.1-inch 1080p 120Hz OLED display. The S23 Plus is slightly bigger at 6.6 inches, though its screen specs are otherwise largely the same. Finally, the S23 Ultra has a larger screen still at 6.8 inches, and importantly, it bumps the resolution to 1440p. It’s still OLED and still 120Hz.

Those same leaked spec sheets we mentioned earlier suggest all three phones are going to be powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor in Europe, and historical precedent suggests we’ll see the same processor used in North America as well. What’s interesting is that there’s no sign of Samsung’s own Exynos processors in the Galaxy S23 lineup, which the company has historically used to power its phones in select regions around the world like Europe and India. Qualcomm suggested as much in an earnings call last year when chief financial officer Akash Palkhiwala said Qualcomm’s processor share would increase from “75 percent in G S22” to “global share in G S23.”

The Galaxy S23 could ship globally with Snapdragon

The rest of the lineup’s specs appear to be broadly consistent with previous Samsung flagships and the industry at large. We’re looking at between 8 and 12GB of RAM and 256GB to 1TB of storage in the Ultra, while the two other models will reportedly only ship with 8GB of RAM and between 128 and 512GB of storage. Battery capacities range from 3,900mAh to 5,000mAh across the three phones, with 45W fast charging on the Plus and Ultra and 25W on the base S23. 

In terms of pricing, internal Verizon documents posted to Reddit suggest we’re looking at a $799.99 starting price for the Galaxy S23, $999.99 for the Galaxy S23 Plus, and $1,199.99 for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is in line with last year’s models. European buyers might not be so lucky, however. In countries like Spain and Germany, leaked pricing suggests the starting prices may have increased by around €100 for certain models.

Galaxy Book 3

If Samsung’s reservation page is anything to go by, this year’s Galaxy S smartphone launch will be accompanied by a new line of Galaxy Book laptops. Rumors suggest we could see as many as five laptops announced, which MySmartPrice reports will be called the Galaxy Book 3, Book 3 360, Book 3 Pro, Book 3 Pro 360, and Book 3 Ultra. Last year, Samsung announced its laptops a little later in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

As you’d expect from its name, the Book 3 Ultra will reportedly be the highest-end model. According to leaker Ishan Agarwal, it’ll have a 16-inch 1800p OLED display, an Intel i9-13900H CPU, an Nvidia RTX 4070 discrete GPU, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and will be compatible with Samsung’s S Pen stylus. Its touchscreen could also be thinner and lighter than usual thanks to having its touch sensors integrated directly into the panel. 

The rest of the lineup is reportedly split between 360 laptops, with displays that can flip all the way around to be used tablet-style, and standard clamshell laptops. MySmartPrice reports that the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 will also be available with a 16-inch 1800p OLED display, with a choice of an Intel i5-1340P or i7-1360 CPU, integrated Intel graphics, 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, and stylus support. The non-360 Galaxy Book 3 Pro will reportedly be available with a 14-inch screen in addition to the 16-inch version. 

Images of the Galaxy Book 3 Pro, 3 Pro 360, and 3 Ultra were leaked last year by The Tech Outlet, showing the laptops’ USB-C ports, headphone jacks, and charging ports. 

There’s not much concrete information about what we can expect from the non-Pro Galaxy Book 3 laptops. MySmartPrice reports both will come with just a single screen size — 15 inches — but their exact specs are less clear. Judging by the rest of the lineup, however, we’d expect both to feature 13th Gen Intel processors. 

But probably no tablets, earbuds, or smartwatches

It seems unlikely that we’ll see Samsung announce a new lineup of Android tablets, true wireless earbuds, or smartwatches alongside this year’s Galaxy S23 smartphones. The best evidence we have, frankly, is that if an announcement was coming, it’d probably have leaked by now.

Samsung did announce a new lineup of Tab S8 tablets alongside the Galaxy S22 last year. But according to a report from South Korean outlet The Elec, the company pushed back the release of its upcoming tablets (presumably the Tab S9) from their original December 2022 release date due to a drop in demand for consumer tech. According to The Elec, however, we should still expect a new generation of tablets to release this year, which means they might still launch alongside Samsung’s anticipated Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 foldables at the company’s traditional summer launch. Just don’t hold your breath for an appearance in February. 

Expect more later this year

It’s a similar story with Samsung’s true wireless earbuds. The company currently has between two or three lines of earbuds, depending on whether you think it’ll ever release a follow-up to the (in my opinion excellent) Galaxy Buds Live. The company last updated its Galaxy Buds Pro lineup in August last year with the Pro 2 and released the non-Pro Galaxy Buds 2 in August 2021. That suggests the latter is due for an upgrade this year but maybe not for a few months yet. 

Finally, there are smartwatches, which last saw an update with last August’s Galaxy Watch 5 series. Samsung’s smartwatches have been on a 12-month release cadence for the past couple of years, meaning the most likely time we’ll see a Galaxy Watch 6 announced is in August 2023. 

Samsung’s Unpacked event will be livestreamed over on its YouTube channel on Wednesday, February 1st, starting at 1PM ET / 10AM PT / 6PM GMT.