It's time to find out just what Samsung has up its sleeve. And if you watch Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2024 online this Wednesday (January 17), you can find out exactly what Samsung has in store on the smartphone front.
The main focus of Galaxy Unpacked 2024 figures to be Samsung's new flagship phones. And while Galaxy S24 rumors have been circulating long enough to probably make you feel you already know all about the upcoming phones, there's still some questions to be answered — especially with Galaxy AI likely to play a central role in the new phones' features. There's even the possibility of other devices joining the Galaxy S24 on stage during Unpacked.
Samsung's holding its big phone launch in San Jose, California, and Tom's Guide will be there in person to cover the event. But if you can't make it there, Samsung is more than happy to bring the show to you, with a live stream of Galaxy Unpacked that you watch from wherever you are in the world. Here's what you need to know.
Where you can watch the Galaxy Unpacked live stream
Galaxy Unpacked takes place next Wednesday, January 17, with a live event in San Jose, California. Unpacked gets underway at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT/6 p.m. GMT.
Samsung plans to live stream Galaxy Unpacked, so you can watch the even from the company's YouTube channel. There you'll find the official live stream for Galaxy Unpacked, along with teaser videos hinting at some of the likley features.
What to expect at Galaxy Unpacked
Samsung typically holds at least two Galaxy Unpacked events each year, with the one in the first half of the year focused on its Galaxy S lineup. Although Samsung has yet to confirm its plans for the January 17 Unpacked, it's a pretty good bet that the new Galaxy S24 models will be a major topic of conversation next week.
If you're thinking that it feels early for a Samsung flagship phone release, you're not imagining things. Samsung has moved up the date for Unpacked for 2024. Last year's Galaxy S23 unveiling took place on February 1, and apart from the Galaxy S21's debut in the pandemic year of 2021, Samsung's flagship phone launch has taken place in either February or March every year for the past decade.
Why is Samsung so eager to get out the Galaxy S24 before a live audience? That's what we're hoping to find out at Galaxy Unpacked. Here's what we're expecting to see.
As in recent years, look for three new phones to make their debut under the S24 banner — a standard phone, joined by Plus and Ultra models. It's the Galaxy S24 Ultra that figures to see the most substantial changes, highlighted by a rumored 50MP telephoto lens that will replace one of the 10MP zoom lenses on the current Ultra. It's not all good news, though — supposedly, the 50MP telephoto camera will only support a 5x optical zoom after previous Ultras offered a 10x zoom length.
All three Galaxy S24 models figure to have larger screens than their predecessors, as Samsung is said to be shrinking the bezels on its new handhelds. That means the S24 models won't be any larger even with the extra display space. Speaking of displays, one rumor tips all three Galaxy S24 models to feature panels with a 2,600-nit maximum brightness — a big step up from the 1,750-nit maximum on the current Galaxy S phones.
It's largely expected that Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 system-on-chip will power the new phones, at least for Galaxy S24 models released in North America. A rumor claims that Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus phones rolling out to other parts of the world will instead use the Exynos 2400 as their chipset.
You're not the first person to conclude that these potential hardware changes aren't exactly earth-shattering. But Samsung may be planning something even bigger with the software running on the Galaxy S24.
Read our guide to the key upgrades likely coming to the Galaxy S24 lineup.
Late last year, Samsung let it be known that AI-powered features will have a more prominent role on its phones. The timing of that announcement — a few months before the likely Galaxy S24 release — told us all we needed to hear about Samsung's Galaxy S24 plans. As a result, we're expecting AI features to be front and center on the Galaxy S24, much like they are on Googles Pixel 8 devices.
Specific AI features coming to the Galaxy S24 are little more than rumors at this point. A leak of the One UI 6.1 interface that will run on the new phones suggests built-in AI will be able to summarize your notes and provide live translations during phone calls if the person on the other end of the line is speaking a different language from you. We're also expecting AI to play a role in new photo editing features similar to the Magic Editor on the latest Pixels that let you manipulate photos to your liking.
Earlier this month, Samsung spent CES 2024 detailing how AI figures into products like TVs, refrigerators and even mobile robots. It sounds like smartphones are getting their turn next week at Galaxy Unpacked.
Other potential product announcements
Samsung rarely focuses on just one product at Galaxy Unpacked. At the 2023 edition, for example, the company may have focused on its Galaxy S23 release, but it also took the time to showcase the Galaxy Book 3 laptops.
History's unlikely to repeat itself this year. Samsung already announced Galaxy Book 4 details in December, though the laptops only seem to be available in South Korea at the moment.
There had been talk of Samsung possibly releasing the rumored Galaxy Ring alongside its Galaxy S24 phones. The Samsung Galaxy Ring is supposedly a ring-worn wearable that doubles as a fitness tracker and health monitoring tool. It's tipped to have features like blood pressure monitoring and aFib detection.
While there's certainly room for competition for devices like Oura Ring, it seems like a Galaxy Ring appearance at the upcoming Unpacked event would be a longshot. For one thing, rumors have been relatively quiet compared to the drumbeat of Galaxy S24 details. For another, detailing all the Galaxy AI features onboard the new phones may take up the bulk of Samsung's time.
Galaxy Unpacked preorder deals
Whatever Samsung winds up announcing, you have the opportunity to save money off the price. Considering the Galaxy S24 Ultra is rumored to be getting a price hike, those extra savings could come in handy.
All you have to do is go to Samsung's website or the Shop Samsung mobile app and reserve your place in line to make a preorder after the January 17 event. There's no commitment — you just provide a name and email address. In return, Samsung will give you a $50 credit on any preorder you place for products announced at Unpacked. Your last day to register is today (Januayr 16)
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.