Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2021: How to watch and what to expect

Samsung Galaxy Unpacked
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event is here. Today, the company will take the wraps off its third-generation foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, and possibly much more. 

In addition to the foldables, leaks have also shown us the Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, Galaxy Buds 2, and Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. We know the wearables are a lock for the event as Samsung itself indicated the new Galaxy Watch was coming at Unpacked this summer, but the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy S21 FE are less certain.

Here’s a look at what we know so far about everything that Samsung could announce at Galaxy Unpacked 2021 this week.

How to watch Galaxy Unpacked August 2021

Galaxy Unpacked will once again be virtual, starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time on August 11. You can watch the live stream on YouTube below. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 

Check out our Galaxy Z Fold 3 hub for all of the latest details on this phone. Here’s a look at some of the highlights based on leaks and some official details from Samsung.

The overall design of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 won’t represent a major change from the Galaxy Z Fold 2, and that’s fine. That device looked like a multi-generational leap from the Galaxy Fold and Samsung appears to have made a few notable upgrades, even if they aren’t really visible.  

Those upgrades are related to durability, one of the biggest concerns with foldables. Samsung confirmed that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be compatible with a new custom S Pen; this suggests more confidence in the display’s durability than the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Perhaps even more exciting are rumors that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will offer IPX8 water resistance. Getting caught in the rain or even submerged in water will no longer be a death sentence for your pricey foldable.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 unofficial renders

(Image credit: @OnLeaks/Digit.In)

Speaking of expensive, the rumors on a discount from its predecessors’ $2,000 price tag are enticing. Up to a 20% drop in price has been rumored, which would bring the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to as low as $1,600, roughly aligning with the $200 price cut we saw on the Galaxy S21 models this year. Our experts’ consensus was that pricing has been the biggest challenge for foldables to date, so here’s hoping this comes true. 

Displays and cameras are rumored to be roughly the same as on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. On the display side, that’s not a problem, but I would like to see at least some movement on the cameras. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra spoiled me and, while I didn’t think we’d get its 108MP monster sensor or 10x optical zoom, it would be nice to see the Galaxy Z Fold 3 move closer than a trio of 12MP sensors.

Leaked image of Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: @evleaks)

Inside, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 should get the same Snapdragon 888 processor found in the Galaxy S21 models and leaks have pointed to 12GB of RAM with the possibility of a 16GB model, mirroring the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Storage should once again be 256GB.

It’s not the transformational change that we saw with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but the durability, pricing and S Pen support could make this a much more compelling option for power users ready to take the leap on a foldable.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 

You can check out our in-depth look at the Galaxy Z Flip 3 if you want all of the leaks and rumors, but these are the biggest expected changes. 

Like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the biggest potential change has nothing to do with the hardware — that being the rumored price drop of up to 20%. That could bring the Galaxy Z Flip 3 to around $1,149, roughly in line with top-end flagships like the Galaxy S21 Ultra or iPhone 12 Pro Max. While it doesn’t match up with those phones spec-for-spec, it comes close enough that its unique benefits should be more broadly compelling at that price point.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is getting a much more notable design update according to the leaked images and specs. This includes a significantly larger cover display at 1.9 inches compared to the tiny 1.1-inch cover display on the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. That could be a game-changer for usability as it will allow for full notifications to display and dramatically improve its capabilities as a viewfinder.

Renders of alleged Galaxy Z Flip 3 design

(Image credit: Evan Blass (@Evleaks))

Other rumored changes include that same upgrade to IPX8 water resistance and more cosmetic updates. Multiple leaked renders show a two-tone look with the top section of the phone all in black then a number of options below including, dark green, violet, beige and black. 

The camera array in the leaks shows a vertical alignment rather than last year’s horizontal alignment, but it still houses only an ultra-wide and wide-angle sensor, so no telephoto for Galaxy Z Flip 3 buyers. Like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, these are also rumored to remain 12MP sensors. 

If the pricing rumors prove true then the Galaxy Z Flip 3 will be the most affordable foldable we’ve seen yet.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2

(Image credit: 91Mobiles)

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 

The Galaxy Buds 2 haven’t seen the same volume of leaks as Samsung’s other devices, but we have seen a few rumors that pointed to an August release for the headphones

The Galaxy Buds 2 are rumored to come in at around $149 to $169, placing them as a direct competitor to the standard AirPods. Leaks have suggested that they won’t offer active noise-cancellation (ANC), but will include some more advanced features like a transparency mode, automatic wear detection, audio tuning, and wireless charging. 

Leaked images don’t offer any additional feature clues, but show that the Galaxy Buds 2 will come in all white cases with the interior of the cases color-matched to the buds in white, black, green, or purple.

Let's hope the Galaxy Buds 2 are sold at the lower end of that projected price given  how Samsung’s own excellent Galaxy Buds Pro offer ANC, a a similar look, and can frequently be found for $169. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

(Image credit: 91mobiles)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic 

Both the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic have been the subject of multiple leaks. They’ve also been discussed by Samsung in generic terms due to the company’s announced partnership with Google on the new version of Wear OS

The rumored name change for the two devices is worth noting; the Galaxy Watch Active will become the Galaxy Watch and the Galaxy Watch becomes the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. If true, this is a good move by Samsung as the “Active” name never really fit as both are standard smartwatches that offer a range of fitness features.

Both watches will run the new version of Wear OS, a huge feature upgrade as it gives Google services and apps along with access to the more robust Google Play store. While Wear OS stagnated, it seems Google is finally putting more weight behind it so this should become even more of an advantage over the next year as developers are drawn to the unified platform.

The leaked images of the Galaxy Watch 4 suggest it will keep the circular design of its predecessor with a slimmer body and two elongated oval buttons on its right side. It is rumored to come in 40mm and 44mm with Wi-Fi-only and LTE models available in four colors: black, green, silver, and gold. The fastener appears to have changed as well and is more seamlessly integrating with the body of the watch.

Renders of alleged Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic design

(Image credit: Android Headlines)

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic also doesn’t stray far from its predecessor with the rounded face and the unique rotating bezel for navigation. The two buttons on its right side mirror those of the Galaxy Watch 4, changing to elongated ovals. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is rumored to come in stainless steel or aluminum models with either a silver or black finish. Band options, at least based on the leaked renders, are limited to white, black and gray, but there will undoubtedly be more available for purchase after launch or from third parties. 

Samsung boasted about upgraded fitness sensors in the new models during MWC 2021, including improved heart rate and sleep monitoring. Rumors also suggest that the company may have bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) available on one or both of the watches. This would allow for a body composition reading of body fat and muscle mass. 

Renders based on alleged Galaxy Watch Active 4 leaks

(Image credit: @OnLeaks/@GizNext)

Pricing leaks have been inconclusive for both watches, but they give us a general idea of what to expect. The Galaxy Watch 4 appeared on Amazon Canada briefly last month for $346.82 Canadian. That’s $277.25, which would be slightly pricier than the $249 starting price for the Galaxy Watch Active 2; that listing was for the larger 44mm model. MySmartPrice leaked Galaxy Watch 4 Classic pricing. If their information is accurate, it will jump to a nearly $500 starting price, up from $399 on the Galaxy Watch 3. That increase doesn’t seem likely given that Samsung has to remain competitive with the $399 Apple Watch.

Samsung stated at Google I/O 2021 and at MWC 2021 that its new Wear OS-based Galaxy Watch would launch “at Unpacked this Summer,” so despite the trailer leaving them out, these devices are a virtual lock for this event.

Alleged marketing materials for Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

(Image credit: Android Headlines)

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 

The foldables are unquestionably the stars of this show, but the Galaxy S21 FE could also make an appearance. This is the follow-up to the Galaxy S20 FE, one of our favorite phones from last year and unquestionably the best value. 

While it hasn’t leaked as much as its foldable companions, the Galaxy S21 FE has had its fair share with renders and specs from several sources. Android Headlines revealed the design in what appear to be official Samsung marketing materials. It follows the Galaxy S21 redesign with a Contour Cut camera housing, but it is integrated into the plastic back rather than extending from a metal frame. According to that leak, the phone doesn’t get the same splash of colors as its predecessor and will be available in lavender, white, olive green, black, and navy blue. 

The rear cameras will remain a triple array, but we don’t have specifics on the sensors yet, although we would expect them to be 12MP again. The front-facing camera is rumored to remain the same impressive 32MP sensor from the Galaxy S20 FE.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE leaked render

(Image credit: @OnLeaks/Voice)

The screen will allegedly get a bump to 6.4 inches (up from 6.2). It will otherwise remain identical with a Super AMOLED Infinity O-display with FHD+ resolution and an in-display fingerprint reader. 

Internal specs include the jump to a Snapdragon 888 processor, but RAM will remain at 6GB to differentiate the FE from the Galaxy S21. A series of leaks regarding the battery and charging suggest an upgrade to a 4,370mAh (up from 4,000mAh) and support for 25W fast charging. Finally, the Galaxy S21 FE may support a microSD card slot, something that has been missing from the standard Galaxy S models for two generations. 

The Galaxy S21 FE doesn't sound like a massive upgrade over the Galaxy S20 FE (it doesn't need to be), but the updated design and internals are enough. The real question for the Galaxy S21 FE will be its pricing. With the Galaxy S21 dropped to $799, it seems likely that Samsung will have to drop the FE as well, so we may be looking at a $599 or even $549 starting price. 

Whether it will be released at this event is unclear, but the Galaxy S21 FE has to be coming soon.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 loading PUBG

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold FE 

Last year, there were multiple rumors suggesting that a Galaxy Z Fold FE would be released in 2021, but those leaks mostly dried up in 2021. The concept was a lower-priced version of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or 3 depending on when it was released. 

This phone likely was or is in development, given the number of rumors we saw last year, but I suspect it has either been scrapped or at least pushed to a later release. The difficulty with this device is what Samsung could viably cut in order to bring the price down. The processor and even a reduction to two cameras wouldn’t be a multi-hundred dollar drop, and unless this were $400+ cheaper than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, it would be a tough sell. 

With the addition of S Pen support and the rumored waterproofing on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, it is becoming slightly clearer which feature cuts could deliver a more affordable Fold, but I suspect this may be a 2022 project now.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.