Samsung announced three new smartphones and a pair of wireless earbuds at its Unpacked event on Friday morning, but not everyone is happy about some of the changes in the new devices.
Much of the disappointment centres around what’s been removed rather than added to the new phones.
The Korean tech giant appears to have all but confirmed the Galaxy Note is on the way out, with support for the S Pen many bought the Note specifically for now being made available on the Ultra amid rumours the Note series was ending.
While Samsung drew attention to the S Pen support, it didn’t spend as much time talking about one thing it’s taking away: Expandable storage via micro SD.
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On most previous Samsung phones you were able to buy an external micro SD card that you could use to beef up the amount of storage – last year’s Samsung S20, for example, allowed you to add up to 1TB of extra storage.
With the removal of the micro SD, you’re now limited to a maximum of 512GB, which you’ll have to get the top of the range S21 Ultra for at an eyebrow raising $2149.
Speaking to The Verge, a Samsung spokesperson defended the choice by saying its upgraded storage options were cheaper than its competitors and customers could also use cloud storage services.
That’s all well and good unless you’re a loyal Samsung customer who wanted to pull the 1TB micro SD they’ve been using out of their old phone and put it in your new one.
Some have not been impressed by the news.
Hopefully — unlike Apple — the cable it includes does at least fit into the old charger you’re supposed to already have from being such a loyal customer.
Earlier this week some speculated Samsung would make that move after it announced an environmentally conscious “upcycling” sustainability program that would guide you through repurposing your old Samsung smartphones as connected home devices.
Elsewhere Samsung also announced the Galaxy Buds Pro, a pair of wireless earbuds designed to go with your new Samsung Galaxy.
The buds feature active noise cancellation as well as ambient amplification, so you can tune out the outside world when you’re trying to focus and maintain awareness of your surroundings when you’re on the move.
One feature the company described as a “game changer” is the ability for the Buds to intelligently adapt its volume as needed.
Samsung also talked up some new camera features during Unpacked and showed off its latest attempt at making the huge and frequently mocked “arrays” housing the increasing number of cameras in our smartphones attractive.
The new camera cluster on the Galaxy S21 series melts into the edge of the phone.
Reactions have been mixed about the design and the inflating number of lenses.
Some have been able to overlook the disappointing omissions from the new phones and can’t wait to get their hands on them.
But many of those people aren’t actually talking about the phones.
In a move of marketing genius that already worked for it the last time around, Samsung roped in viral K Pop band BTS to appear in marketing material it dropped online shortly after announcing the new devices.
BTS are incredibly popular, with “armies” of “stans” around the world, especially online.
Giving these fans a whole new set of high resolution photos featuring their idols cradling the new devices is a great way to get them all posting up a storm on social media, as some in the “army” have pointed out.
It does make it a little harder for us members of the press who are just trying to find some genuine reactions to Samsung’s news to put in their articles, but the attention it generates for the brand must surely be worth it.
Samsung’s Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra are available to pre-order now. The Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds are available to buy today.