Samsung Galaxy Unpacked Event 2020 Highlights: Samsung hosted the Galaxy Unpacked launch event today where the company finally showcased the much-awaited Galaxy Note 20 series. Alongside the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, the South Korean giant has also unveiled the Galaxy Buds Live and the Galaxy Tab S7 series.
The company also unveiled its next generation foldable device, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the company will not be hosting an on-ground event and will rather rely on a pre-recorded video for the online live stream launch event.
Samsung’s upcoming online launch event is scheduled to begin at 7:30 PM IST today. The event will be live-streamed via the company’s official YouTube channel as well as Samsung.com. The company will also be hosting the livestream via its social media platforms.
At the launch event, Samsung launched the much-awaited Galaxy Note 20 series. This time around, the series will consist of two models, the regular Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Besides that, the South Korean giant has also launched the successor to the Galaxy Watch, the Galaxy Watch 3. The smartwatch comes in two sizes, 41mm and 45mm. Also, the consumers will be able to choose from an LTE model or a Bluetooth only model.
The South Korean company’s new version of the Galaxy S20 feature’s mostly high-end specs and is available in ‘Mint,’ ‘Lavender,’ ‘White,’ ‘Navy,’ ‘Orange’ and ‘Red’ colour variants, all with a hazy tinge to them.
Galaxy S20 Fan Edition offers a flat 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display and a 1080 x 2400 pixel resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The phone’s front-facing display hole-punch is 3.4mm, which is smaller than any other of Samsung’s flagships, according to the company. Size-wise, the device fits between the S20 and an S20+ and offers a pixel resolution lower than both.
The handset also sports Android 10 and One UI 2.5 and a Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 256GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. Only the 128GB model seems to be available in Canada.
Additionally, the handset features a triple rear-facing camera with a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture, an 8-megapixel f/2.0 telephoto shooter with 30x digital zoom and a 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide camera. Furthermore, there’s a 32-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture on the front.
The phone also packs the same size battery as the S20+ with a 4,500mAh source capable of 25W charging and reverse-wireless charging.
In Canada, the S20 FE starts at $949.99 outright through Samsung’s website pre-orders start October 1st and the phone goes on sale on October 16th. In the United States, the phone is available to pre-order right now. Samsung says the phone will also be available at Canadian carriers.
Samsung says it plans to launch more Fan Edition smartphones in the future.
And today, Microsoft topped all of that off by shipping us a “non-final” Series X of our own—and I have immediately begun testing it.
As the above gallery shows, Ars Technica received a package from Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, containing a “non-final” Xbox Series X console, the brand-new Xbox gamepad, and a 1TB “storage expansion” card, as built to the Xbox Velocity Architecture spec and made by Seagate. Nothing else came in this box (besides an HDMI 2.1 cable and a power cord, anyway).
Microsoft sent us this package under severe conditions, and the biggest is that, as of today, we cannot preview or describe any of the above contents beyond showing you photos. You likely have a lot of questions about them. My colleagues sure did, as evidenced by the explosion in Ars staff-chat activity as soon as the package arrived.
In the meantime…
For now, I can point to prior coverage to catch you up, since some of your brand-new questions may already have answers:
The data-transfer standard of Xbox Velocity Architecture is meant to unify “next-gen performance” across Series X and Series S, which means any locally installed games on your next-gen Xbox must be installed on an NVMe 4.0-rated drive. Should you wish to expand either system’s built-in storage capacity (1TB for Series X, 512GB for Series S), you’ll need to purchase a proprietary NVMe 4.0-rated expansion card. The card in the above gallery is the previously revealed 1TB model made by Seagate. We do not yet know pricing for this card or if other manufacturers are on board to produce and sell similar drives.
Microsoft has previously confirmed that external drives connected via USB Type-A 3.1 connections will be compatible with both Xbox Series models. These will only boot previous generations’ software; Series-gen games can be stored on older, external drives, but they won’t boot until moved back to the system’s NVMe drives. Microsoft has not yet publicly confirmed how classic games loaded on older drives will compare to the same games loaded on NVMe 4.0 drives, but at the very least, Microsoft has assured fans that their older Xbox One add-on drives are compatible (and will leave precious space open on the built-in drive).
In addition to the new, proprietary “expansion card” port, Series X’s ports include the following: three USB Type-A 3.1 ports; one HDMI 2.1 port; and one Ethernet port, rated 802.3 10/100/1000. Unlike all Xbox One models, Series X and S skip the “HDMI-in” port that worked with set-top boxes. In terms of wireless features, Xbox Series X supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity and the dual-band Xbox Wireless protocol.
In March 2020, Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter explained how Series X’s array of ventilation dots—and fans directly beneath them—figure into the new console’s cooling system:
Air gets pumped in from the bottom, goes through the system… in a PC, airflow isn’t just defined by having inlets and outputs so to speak. You want physical air space in it. But there’s nothing in this. It’s airtight. Everything goes through the design, and it’s packed in there. Then [air] reaches the top to a 130mm diameter fan and goes straight out of the top. We also had [Series X] on its side, [airflow] seemed to work just fine going out there.
Last of all, the disc drive on the front of Series X supports 4K UHD Blu-Ray, which it has in common with Xbox One X and Xbox One S. It’s also compatible with existing Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One discs, and loading older, compatible games into the Series X disc drive will prompt some form of file download to your system’s local storage. How exactly that works on Series X, on the other hand, has yet to be seen.
If you have additional questions after seeing this hardware, there’s a 5-percent chance we can point you to other existing information or coverage to answer them. Otherwise, if we don’t reply, please do not fret. We’re listening. And as soon as we’re allowed to tell you more (on dates we can’t publicly confirm just yet), we will.
For now, here’s a cheeky peek at me holding all 9.8lbs of the Xbox Series X.
In the years since its launch, Xbox Game Pass has become one of the best deals in gaming, costing just $10 a month for a curated library of over 100 games — a coup from Microsoft’s Xbox division in a console cycle dominated by Sony’s PlayStation 4. Moreover, every major Xbox game published by Microsoft — from “Halo” to “Gears of War” to “Forza Motorsport” — is published to the service’s library. While it sounds a lot like Netflix, games in the library must be downloaded, not streamed, to play.
Microsoft’s success with Game Pass has been a notable exception across the last seven years, as Sony’s PlayStation 4 regularly outsells Microsoft’s Xbox One.
Sony’s success is largely attributed to its portfolio of highly-acclaimed first-party games — including “God of War,” “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” “The Last of Us: Part II,” and “Bloodborne” — that can only be played on the PlayStation 4. While Microsoft’s Xbox One has a handful of such games (“Gears 5,” “Sea of Thieves,” and “Halo: The Master Chief Collection”), the company has instead focused on its Xbox Game Pass service.
Game Pass offers up a Netflix-like library of games that can be downloaded to your Xbox/PC or played remotely via the cloud on Android smartphones. A monthly subscription to the service starts at $10, and includes all of Microsoft’s first-party games at launch.
It is, in short, a tremendously good deal for consumers — and with over 15 million paid users, Game Pass has been the most successful of Microsoft’s recent major pushes for Xbox against the dominance of the PlayStation.
It’s this service in particular that Microsoft is bolstering with the purchase of Bethesda Softworks.
“We will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass for console and PC,” Xbox leader Phil Spencer said in the acquisition announcement post. Moreover, those games will arrive on the Game Pass service on the same day they launch otherwise for the next-gen Xbox consoles and PC.
When Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox consoles arrive this November, Xbox Game Pass is expected to launch alongside them.
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