Galaxy Unpacked 2023: Hollywood, watch out
Galaxy Unpacked 2023: Hollywood, watch out
It’s no secret that the smartphone has significantly cannibalized the traditional digital camera space over the past few years. According to Statista, global digital camera revenues were US$21.26 billion in 2022, up from a peak of US$29.03 billion in 2014.
At Wednesday’s Galaxy Unpacked 2023 event in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy S23 series. Judging by the specs and new features of this new line of smartphones, it’s hard to imagine how the traditional digital camera space will ever recover.
Also, Samsung had a few things to announce in the laptop space. Here are a few things that caught my attention.
S22 Ultra on Steroids
While it could be said that the new S23 Ultra is simply an iterative update of the existing S22 Ultra, the revised features are not to be overlooked: an updated Snapdragon processor, a new 200 megapixels and a relatively modest change to the body of the device.
The S23 Ultra retains an integrated stylus, its S Pen. Thankfully, Samsung opted not to raise the prices over the existing flagship S22 Ultra. Samsung followers will be pleased to see that the S23 Ultra’s starting MSRP is $1,199, but it now comes with 256GB of storage, double that of last year’s model. Unfortunately, don’t expect the egg industry to emulate Samsung’s pricing strategy.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra specs (Image credit: Samsung)
As has been the case for several years, the big new feature is the S23 Ultra’s high-end high-res camera. The camera goes from 108 megapixels in last year’s model to 200 megapixels this year. However, before one gets too excited to capture 200-megapixel images with (just imagine the file size), the S23 Ultra’s computational photography capability stitches together 16 pixels to improve light and produces a much more pragmatic 12-megapixel image.
Of course, you can change the phone settings to take a 200 megapixel image, but these sizes are usually only needed by professional content creators who need high resolution wall images. Far more helpful is Samsung’s claim that the main camera’s optical image stabilization is significantly more robust, automatically correcting for 3 degrees of vibration compared to the S22 Ultra’s current 1.5.
A few other subtle “under the hood” tweaks to the S23 Ultra caught my eye. The S23 Ultra incorporates a “vision amplifier” tone mapping algorithm that not only enhances the screen for viewing in very bright environments, but can also adapt to a wide range of lighting conditions, allowing the device to improve the performance of its battery.
What also stood out to me about the event was that Samsung continued to position its high-end smartphones as a fundamental replacement for professional film and video production.
To that end, acclaimed director Ridley Scott, in a taped interview aired during the event, spoke effusively about how he uses high-end Samsung smartphones to shoot almost all of the footage for his latest movie, video quality professional quality and the ability to shoot in small spaces that are simply not possible with larger traditional DSLR cameras.
Director Ridley Scott explains how he uses Samsung smartphones to shoot video footage. (Image credit: Samsung)
Of course, it’s a bit of a “me too” aspect, given that Stephen Spielberg used an iPhone to shoot a music video last year.
Nonetheless, Samsung’s (along with Apple) adoption of computational photography in its high-end smartphones is here to stay. Like Stephen Spielberg’s young alter ego in ‘The Fablemans’ – which is nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars – it’s breathtaking to contemplate the impact of the modern smartphone on young filmmakers.
New Galaxy laptops
Image credit: author
While Galaxy Unpacked 2023 was devoid of any new tablet, earphone or smartwatch announcements, Samsung’s new laptops caught the eye. Samsung has a modest laptop market share in the US compared to rivals like Dell, HP and Lenovo, but these new models might raise eyebrows.
Galaxy Book3 Ultra
Slim and attractively designed, Samsung’s new Galaxy Book3 Ultra is a believable challenge to the much-vaunted Apple MacBook Pro. With a 16″ AMOLED display with 2880×1800 3K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, this laptop has one of the brightest and most vivid screens I’ve seen.
Featuring a high-end 13th Gen Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processor with the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, it’s perfect for gaming and professional content producers.
Galaxy Book3 Ultra (Image credit: Samsung)
I like Samsung’s choice of discrete graphics cards because it supports Nvidia’s streaming capability with eye contact correction, which is essential for podcast production and video conferencing. With so much power in a compact and incredibly thin form factor, I’ll be interested to see how well the unit performs, which was impossible to gauge given the ambient noise in the demo area of the event.
With a starting price of $2,199, it’s an intriguing, more affordable alternative to a comparable MacBook Pro.
Galaxy Book3 Pro 360
More moderately priced laptops have also been announced. Samsung’s new Galaxy Book3 Pro 360, which also comes with a 16″ AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh, has a built-in touchscreen and styling. This model uses the 13th Gen Intel i5 or Core i7 processors and includes optional 5G radio support and standard Wi-Fi.
Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 2-in-1 laptop with S Pen (Image credit: Samsung)
Available in multiple memory and storage configurations, the Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 has a starting price of $1,399.
Galaxy Book3 Pro
Finally, Samsung announced the entry-level Galaxy Book3 Pro with a starting price of $1,149. This model is available with 14″ or 16″ AMOLED displays, 13th Gen Intel processors, and more modest memory (8GB, 16GB, and 32GB) and storage (256GB, 512GB, and 1GB) configurations. To).
Galaxy Book3 Pro in graphite (Image credit: Samsung)
It’s hard to assess the Galaxy Unpacked 2023 event in the right context until Apple starts showing its cards, starting with WWDC in June, followed by its alleged iPhone 15 announcement, which has usually takes place in September.
Right now, Samsung continues to push the throttle on the digital photography aspect of the smartphone. Interestingly, no new foldable smartphone designs were announced during Galaxy Unpacked 2023, signaling limited market appeal for these devices due to high prices and unconvincing usage patterns.
Samsung may not like to acknowledge it, but the company – and the industry – needs Apple to enter this category and validate the space. However, if industry rumors are correct, Apple might not release foldable smartphone (or tablet) models until 2024 or 2025.
Beyond the hardware aspects of the laptops launched yesterday, it should be noted that Samsung emphasizes the importance of an integrated ecosystem among consumers. Apple has built a multi-billion dollar business by convincing consumers that there are integration virtues in owning Apple-branded devices that can seamlessly share content and resume work from device to device. another with a common user experience.
Samsung’s Galaxy Book experience puts a user’s entire library of Galaxy apps and features in one place, making it easier to manage the user’s Samsung account.
Introducing the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro multi-device experience. (Image credit: Samsung)
Other PC vendors have attempted to do this with lackluster results, primarily due to OEM differentiation dynamics and the open nature of Windows, which doesn’t easily facilitate a shared experience. It remains to be seen if Samsung can pull this off.
It also doesn’t help that iPhone users – roughly half of the entire smartphone market – aren’t part of the legacy Windows ecosystem from a text messaging perspective. The inability to access iMessage on a Windows device is one of the main reasons I remain rooted in the Apple ecosystem, even though Windows-based devices often have more attractive pricing and features than Apple products. comparable. I suspect I’m not the only one stuck in this quagmire.
Either way, due to its historical presence in the smartphone market, Samsung is one of the few companies that can offer an attractive alternative to Apple’s ecosystem. As the company catches up with Apple to some extent, give Samsung credit for presenting a credible choice to consumers, as it’s always a win for consumers when they can make smart selections that best suit their needs. of their usage pattern.