Samsung’s first 2022 Unpacked event kicks off this week, and it might just be the most exciting one of the year. That’s because we’re expecting new versions of the Korean tech giant’s most popular flagship products, including Galaxy S22 series smartphones and Galaxy Tab S8 tablets. As some of the first flagship mobile products of the new year, these will set an early benchmark against which subsequent releases from other companies will be compared.
Samsung has done a rather poor job of keeping things under wraps, with multiple leaks outing the soon-to-be-revealed product lineups. While we have a good idea of what to expect, there is always a chance for a surprise reveal. Even if we don’t get one, Samsung will show these phones off in the flesh and potentially demo some of their best features on stage.
With that said, here is how you can watch the Unpacked live stream and what you can expect at the event.
Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET. The virtual event will be live-streamed on various platforms, including Samsung’s website, YouTube, and even (sorry, but I must say the word) in the metaverse.
Perhaps the most familiar method is to find the live stream on Samsung’s YouTube page. It should go up well before the event so it’s never too early to check for the clip. You can also view the event directly on Samsung’s Unpacked webpage where there is currently a download link to add the event to your calendar.
And finally, I regret to inform you that Samsung is also hosting the event in a virtual world that the company is calling a “metaverse.” Those eager to learn about the company’s upcoming products can watch the event at Samsung 837X, a digital recreation of the company’s flagship New York store located in a browser-based virtual reality world called Decentraland (warning: it’s all very crypto and NFT-heavy).
Now let’s dive into what we expect to see.
Like clockwork, Samsung debuts its flagship Galaxy S-model smartphones in the first few months of each year—typically in either February or March. This time around is no different. At Unpacked, we will almost certainly see the launch of Galaxy S22 series smartphones, and this year, the lineup is expected to consist of a Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22+, and Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Before we get going, let’s put this upcoming release into context. For one, Samsung is set to finally kill its Galaxy Note “phablet” and fold its features into the S-series phones to create a “one phone fits all” device. At the same time, the company faces renewed competition from Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, a pair of commercially and critically acclaimed devices. For these reasons, it feels as if there’s a bit more at stake going into this Unpacked.
Fortunately, leaks and rumors suggest Samsung has some worthy upgrades coming to the Galaxy S22 series. In terms of the design, the biggest change we’re expecting is a flatter shape on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which will mimic the look of previous Galaxy Note devices. As the spiritual successor to the Note, the S22 Ultra is said to house an S Pen stylus for jotting notes or tapping through web pages. Samsung even left us a clever little hint about the change, teasing the announcement of the “most noteworthy S series ever.” The Ultra is also tipped to use more durable materials, including Gorilla Glass Victus Plus and Samsung’s Armor Aluminum.
The other two phones, the S22 and S22+, will adopt the curvy, rounded design of their predecessors. Leaked images via WinFuture show a flat screen with a hole-punch selfie cam centered at the top. On the rear, these two standard models will have a shallow camera bump housing three lenses while the Galaxy S22 Ultra appears to nix the camera bump altogether and seamlessly integrate multiple cameras on the rear. In terms of colors, since-removed images posted by leaker Evan Blass showed four hues for each phone: black, white, and green on all three along with pink on the S22 and S22+ and purple on the S22 Ultra.
As for specs, these phones will likely be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chips in North America and Samsung’s Exynos 2200—the first SoC with an AMD-based GPU—in other markets. Rumors point to the S22 and S22+ being equipped with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage while the S22 Ultra will have multiple configurations: 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage.
According to WinFuture, the Galaxy S22 will have a 6.1-inch OLED (2340 x 1080) display while the Galaxy S22+ will measure 6.6 inches (2340 x 1080)—both of which are a 0.1-inch reduction from last year. They will supposedly have a higher peak brightness reaching 1,500 and 1,750 nits, respectively. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the largest in this trio with a 6.8-inch (3080 x 1440) OLED display. Each display will have a refresh rate of up to 120Hz.
Much attention will be paid to the cameras, and it seems like the standard models are getting more of an update than the Ultra. The S22 and S22+ will supposedly have a trio of lenses consisting of an upgraded 50-megapixel main camera, a 10MP telephoto for 3x zoom, and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. The S22 Ultra will stick with a familiar setup, with a 108MP main camera, two 10MP telephoto (3x and 10x), and a 12-megapixel ultrawide.
When it comes to pricing, the S22 will reportedly start at €849, or around $958, while the S22+ raises the price to €1,049 (around $1,183). The Galaxy S22 Ultra could be priced at around $1,400.
Mirroring these new flagship smartphones are Samsung’s next wave of flagship tablets: the Galaxy Tab S8, Galaxy Tab S8+, and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. Those two former models are successors to last year’s devices while the “Ultra” edition would be the first of its kind.
Again, Samsung has done a poor job of preventing leakers from spoiling the surprise. Heck, what is allegedly the official press release (from Blass’s Substack) for these devices was posted online a few days before the event, revealing their features and specs in full.
The highlight, and what is sure to attract headlines, is the “Ultra” model, which will be one of the largest tablets on the market when it debuts. The tablet supposedly has a 14.6-inch (2960 x 1848) display, a screen that would dwarf even the larger iPad Pro. In comparison, the Tab S8 is said to be the smallest of the bunch at 11 inches (2560 x 1600) while the Tab S8+ has a 12.4-inch (2800 x 1752) screen. The S8 Ultra and S8+ flaunt OLED panels while the standard edition is stuck with an LCD screen.
Alleged marketing materials leaked by Evan Blass spill even more details, showing how the Ultra model can be equipped with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage while the other versions top out at 12GB and 256GB. The processor is vaguely listed as a 4-nanometer chip but we can assume it’s the same one found in the Galaxy S22 devices.
Other interesting tidbits include support for a new S Pen that “uses a prediction algorithm for ultra-low latency,” and renders of the slates show the stylus can be docked on a rear magnet, much like the previous models. Samsung will also offer covers and keyboards for these tablets.
The leaked press release says the tablets will be available for preorder on Feb 9, but doesn’t contain pricing details.
I doubt it—unless Samsung somehow has a surprise in store that it miraculously kept secret, something it is clearly incapable of doing. And remember, the products described above are the company’s flagship models, so any other reveal would likely be overshadowed.
If Samsung does pull something out of the hat, my guess would be a pair of earbuds. The Korean tech giant has so many models that it’s hard to keep track of them all. The most likely candidates to get a refresh are the Galaxy Buds Plus, Galaxy Buds Live, or Buds Pro 2. I wouldn’t place any bets on it, but then who knows—it’s not like I predicted the Bengals going to the Super Bowl.