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Samsung Galaxy Unpacked Part 2 live blog: what came and what we thought of it

New phones, watches or... something else?

Samsung main header image with lots of blocks
(Image: © Samsung)

Samsung's October tech event has wrapped up - it began at 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm BST today (or 1am AEDT on October 21), and only went on for 20 minutes - that's incredibly short compared to most similar events.

The company held what it calls 'Galaxy Unpacked Part 2', with part one being the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3, and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 back in August, and part 2 today. 

So what happened? The highlight was the launch of Galaxy Bespoke, or the ability to customize the colors and design of certain Samsung products. At the moment it's limited to the Watch 4 and Z Flip 3 but it could roll out to more devices.

One UI, the company's new smartphone software, was also detailed, as were a few upgrades to the Galaxy Watch 4, most notably gesture controls.

While the event has officially wrapped up now, you can read our beat-by-beat live blog below with our analysis and news as we wrote it from the event. We're not updating it any more though.


Welcome to our live blog, where we'll be highlighting anything, everything and all the in-between that Samsung announces today.

We're not expecting as many announcements as at the Galaxy Z Fold 3 launch, and in fact there might not be any new products at all, with customization for its existing foldable phones looking the most likely, but Samsung may well have some surprises up its sleeve too.

There's also an outside chance that we'll see the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, so it's worth following along even if foldables aren't for you.

Today's the day of Samsung's next Unpacked event, the - third? fourth? of the year - and we're a little less confident on what we're going to see at this event.

Our fingers are aching after the Google Pixel event yesterday and the Apple October event the day before, but today is the last day of the (tech) week.

If you want to watch along with the Unpacked event, we've got a guide on that here, or just keep a tab open with this live blog so we can give you all our clever words.

Google Pixel 6

(Image credit: Future)

This is the Google Pixel 6, launched last night alongside the Pixel 6 Pro. We're not expecting Samsung to have any close rivals to them tonight - the Galaxy S22 will likely come in early 2022 - but you never know.

Fans of Samsung tech might be happy to know that we recently published our review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. This took quite a bit of testing, as we had trouble with some of its exercise and fitness tracking modes.

Some rumors suggest we could see new Galaxy Watch 4 features shown off today, maybe bringing new health or lifestyle tools to the premium Wear OS device.

With the Apple Watch 7 recently out, Samsung could overshadow its close rival by bringing some useful new features not available on Apple smartwatches, but we'll have to see.

Samsung curiously hasn't been making much of a big deal about the Unpacked event on its Twitter accounts - this suggests to us there isn't going to be that much happening. 

Case in point: the last post on the Samsung Mobile US account was about taking pictures of people (whose face you can't even see because of motorcycle helmets) and nothing to do with the event.

The brand did make one allusion to its own event...

... in a tweet subtle discussing Google's event last night.

So the brand's not exactly working overtime to build hype for the event, and that's why we're not sure anything big is coming. No Galaxy Tab S8 for sure.

If you're checking out our live blog now you're a little early still, and nothing's really happening yet - so it's a good opportunity to check out some other mobile news doing the rounds.

In the UK, the Royal Mint (which makes physical money, nothing to do with the sweet flavor) has announced it's going to start using the gold from recycled mobiles in cash in the future. Remember physical money?

Mobile gaming fans should check out Townscaper, a popular PC indie game which just had its mobile port released on iOS and Android. Also, we've heard a launch date for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 and seen an early image that shows an iPhone-like device.

There are less than three hours to go until Samsung Unpacked kicks off - that's enough time to make lunch, relax, finish your work, watch a few episodes of TV - It's also just about enough time to watch Ridley Scott's The Last Duel which I saw a few days ago and recommend.

We're having to put our Sherlock hats on for this, but there's a tiny bit of evidence to suggest the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 could get something at the event in a couple of hours.

A tweet from Samsung mobile from two days ago welcomes in week two of the company's Health Project, oriented around the phone, out of a four-week jaunt.  

This is basically a promo for the watch and its health features - but what better way to celebrate this promotion than by unveiling something new about the watch at the Unpacked event?

Sure, we could be reading too far into a tweet, but with little in the way of leaks or rumors letting us know what's coming later, we're having to read way too far into things to make guesses.

Two hours to go until the big event - or little event, depending on what actually shows up - that's enough time to pop to your local coffee shop to pick up a brew, as long as you live about 50 minutes from the shop and don't mind it being cold when you get back.

Still no tweets from Samsung about the event. Hopefully something will happen soon.

Could we see One UI 4 information at the Samsung event? 

That's Samsung's software for its smartphones based on Android 12, and it launched last week for select mobiles. However the company didn't make much of a fanfare about it, so lots of people didn't know it was launched at all.

Maybe the company will make more of a song-and-dance about One UI 4 at the event, perhaps listing its big features and making pledges for which mobiles will get it.

We've got a Twitter poll running about Samsung phones and we want your input:

Basically, if in a parallel world Samsung decided to blitz one of its phone lines out of existence, which would you prefer to go?

We didn't include the Galaxy Note line, because rumors suggest it's gone. Instead we've got:

S - the flagship line

A - the budget and mid-rangers

Z - the foldables

M - the budget phones only available in some regions.

Take a vote and let us know why you voted the way you did.

Less than an hour until the event kicks off. Time to start looking for your TV remote.

Interesting results from our aforementioned Galaxy cancelation poll.

Turns out Galaxy S is the most popular series, with only 16% of voters choosing it as their least favorite line. A third of voters have chosen the Galaxy M line, but that makes sense since it's not as readily available in all regions.

Most curious is that, when we launched this poll, most of the early votes wanted to get rid of the Galaxy Z line of foldables, but it's a much more even split now.

The poll still has 30 minutes until it expires, so everything could change.

Oh, we've had a few people asking: 'Part 2' in the title doesn't mean this is the second part of our live blog. Nope, that's what Samsung is calling this.

So the YouTube premier has officially started, even though the event is still 20 minutes away. Nothing's happening now though - we're just seeing the equivalent of a giant screensaver that's flicking through Samsung Unpacked logos.

You don't need to spring to action and load up YouTube just yet.

There's a link in the intro of this article to our guide on how to watch the livestream, but if you don't want to click through to another link, you can find it here:

10 minutes to go - time to make a hot drink (or get someone else to) and settle down for... whatever is coming. Get some nice snacks too. It doesn't sound like the event will be long enough to justify a whole meal though - not like you'd have time to cook it at this point anyway.

Here we go team, it's starting!

Galaxy Unpacked Part 2 is underway, and we're seeing four pastel-like colors swirling around in square shapes. A hint at something perhaps? It's looks like a folded Flip.

We've got an artist called Somi talked about how their Galaxy Z Flip 3 reflects who they are. We like how the curtains behind them match with the color of the phone.

At the moment, this seems like a showreel of Galaxy Z Flip 3 features, which isn't too useful since the thing already launched months ago. 

You can see the aforementioned curtain and phone combo below.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

A few posts ago, we mentioned how the introduction to the Samsung Unpacked showed four pastel colors in a range of square shapes.

The transitions between excerpts of this Unpacked event also use this colors in different ways. Maybe we're reading too far into this, but it seems that these colors are important. Could there be new versions of the Z Flip 3 in these shades?

Now we're into some of the meatier parts of the Samsung Unpacked - it's about personalization.

You'll now be able to personalize the design of your Galaxy Z Flip 3, by choosing different colors for the hinge and two sides: this is called the Flip 3 Bespoke Edition, and you can read much more about it in our news story here.

The four colors we previously talked about are the different shades you can pick, and you can mix and match them. According to Samsung, there are 49 different options in total.

Customizable cases were also mentioned, but we haven't heard more just yet.

We're seeing more adverts for the Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition.

We were on board with the appearance of the basic version of the phone, but after seeing this new version, we're on board - especially the pink-yellow or blue-yellow versions. 

After careful consideration, we prefer the black hinge over the silver one, but it's not a huge difference.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition availability has been announced: it's available right now, but costs a little bit more than the basic version of the phone.

The company has said you'll be able to swap around the colors after you've bought the phone - presumably the colored parts are replaceable, which is pretty cool.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

Onto the Galaxy Watch 4 now - they're currently highlighting pre-existing features, like the way you can design your own watch face for the wearable.

Oh, and we're onto One UI 4, the new software for Android phones based on Android 12. It's got a feature similar to Material You, so you can choose a color theme for the entire phone.

You might have missed it, but one one screen, we saw music playing - and it was Samsung's classic Over The Horizon being played by someone from BTS. Is that a hint for the Galaxy S22 line?

Aaand back to more Galaxy Watch 4. They're just listing features that already exist on the phone... again. But mentioning One UI 4 too. This is pretty eclectic.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

And some actual news!

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Bespoke Edition takes the same customization principles of the Z Flip 3 - detailed below - but with a smartwatch. They didn't talk much about this, but apparently on the website, you can choose colors for the device beyond the standard ones.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

Next, they're discussing a collaboration between Samsung and French-Japanese fashion brand Maison Kitsuné. The logo of the brand is a fox, but not the Firefox one.

Apparently, they're doing Maison Kitsuné-themed Galaxy Buds, with a little fox on them - there's also a Watch 4 version with a designed band. 

We'll be honest, they look a little silly - and they cost more than the basic versions of the gadgets. Hmm...

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Maison Kitsune Edition

(Image credit: Samsung / Maison Kitsune)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is getting a few tweaks and upgrades.

There are some new watch faces, and improvements to fall detection. The interesting addition is gesture controls - so shaking your wrist, or raising it, or rotating it, can trigger various functions.

We'll have to test this feature out more when the update comes to our Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, but it sounds intriguing.

So that's it - the event is over. But we've got some thoughts which we will continue to share for a little while more.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

We're currently on the Samsung website playing about with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition customization tools.

I'm liking the black-and-white combo more than I thought I would - particularly with a white front and black back - but my penchant for the bright and bold colors is shining through when I see the yellow and pink hues.

This is reinforcing what we thought during the event: replaceable panels would be best. I'd love to be able to customize my phone around whichever of my garish / funky / hipster shirts I'm wearing each day.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

We're playing around with the Galaxy Watch 4 Bespoke Edition customization tool now and - well, it's less impressive than the Flip one, but it's fine.

You can choose between a black, silver or gold body for the 40mm watch and black, silver or green for the 44mm, as well as black and silver for either size of the Watch Classic.

There are loads of bands to choose from; hybrid leather ones, sports bands, 'extreme sports' bands, milanese bands, 'ridge sport' bands, we don't know what half of that even means. Most of those have loads of colors too.

While the nature of a watch means the customization affects less of the design, there are quite a few more options here than for the Flip.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Bespoke edition

(Image credit: Samsung)

TechRadar's Home Entertainment Editor Nick Pino has given the verdict "that Unpacked was kind of weak" and we don't disagree.

There wasn't any new hardware - not unless you count new shades of old hardware - and One UI 4, which was mentioned quite a bit, actually launched last week.

There was no Galaxy S21 FE, Galaxy Tab S8 or anything similar for us to sink our teeth into. This could have been a press release, or an email, not a whole event.

At least it was only 20 minutes long - and skipped lots of the boring preamble lots of similar tech events have.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

Interestingly, there's a Galaxy Bespoke section on Samsung's website, as well as specific listings for the Z Flip 3 and Watch 4 Bespoke Editions.

If we were to put our speculative caps on, we'd say that points towards future Bespoke phones in the future. Paint-by-numbers Galaxy Z Flip 4 could be likely, but we'd like to see a colorful Z Fold 3 first - early rumors pointed to RGB lights along that foldable's hinge which would be amazing.

Maybe we'll see a Samsung Galaxy S22 range with customizable designs - we know from the S20 FE that Samsung is no stranger to interesting-colored phones, and this is just the natural extension of that.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

If you've got particular thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition, let us know on Twitter.

We've put out a call from the official TechRadar account asking you for your opinions: do you think it's great, or looks lame? Will you pick a colorful Flip, or stick to the original ones? 

And what do you think about the price increase for the Bespoke Edition - do you think it's worth the extra cost? Bear in mind the specs are the same.

We're scratching our heads over something... how can there be 49 different versions of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition?

Our reasoning is thus: since there are two different types of hinge, the total number of combinations must be divisible by two: that's because every color combo can either come with a silver or black hinge.

We made a list of every single color combination for the phone, and hit 50. So what's this mystery missing phone? Presumably we're making a mistake - we were hired to handle words, not numbers - but it's going to annoy us until we work it out.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung's Newsroom has an article on the Maison Kitsune collaboration, with some designs that we didn't see in the Unpacked event - you can see the post here.

There's a Galaxy Buds case with the fox on it, which looks much more attractive than the logo one we saw during the event.

We also get a clearer look at the Maison Kitsune watch band, with a cut-out in the shape of a fox, which we did see in the event though only for a short amount of time.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung has a Newsroom blog post that discusses the Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition a bit more, and in particular Bespoke Upgrade Care.

This is the ability to swap around the colors of your Galaxy Z Flip 3 BE - apparently "Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition owners can register to replace their device panel with new colours at".

It sounds like you can't just buy replacement panels and swap them around yourself - you'll need to get someone at Samsung to do it for you. That's annoying, but makes sense - people could easily damage their device by replacing parts poorly.

If we were to rank the tech events of the last three days, we'd say Apple > Google > Samsung.

Apple impressed our computing experts with its new MacBook Pros, which are said to be super-powerful, as well as the AirPods 3. I personally was captivated by the $19 polishing cloth which went on sale too.

Google's event was okay, but the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro had been leaked to high heaven by the time the event started - we also didn't hear anything about the smartwatch, foldable phone or tablet we thought Google was working on.

Samsung was the damp squib of the trilogy, with nothing really new. That's fine, as Samsung didn't promise to change the world, but having the Unpacked after two huge tech events was perhaps poor timing.

Here's a screenshot from the event we just found we took. It shows a cute dog on One UI 4. They look very happy. We've got nothing more to add.

Samsung Unpacked Part 2 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

Some people have been querying the Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition's prices. It's slightly pricier than its standard (bes-nope edition?) counterpart.

The original Z Flip 3 costs $999 / £949 / AU$1,499 but for a Bespoke model, that goes up to $1,099 / £1,049 (about AU$1,500). It's a medium price shift, but for someone who wants a new phone, it's definitely something to consider.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

(Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

As we said, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 BE (we can't be bothered to write out Bespoke Edition every time - you get it) costs more than the standard version, but luckily Samsung's trade-in scheme applies.

This means you can lose up to $600 / £500 off the asking price if you send Samsung one of your older phones. Sure, for the biggest discount you need to trade in a really recent Sammy phone - think Galaxy Z Fold 2 or Z Flip 5G - but it's something.

Oh that's cute, Samsung – remember when they teased what felt like a surefire Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 BTS Edition? The K-pop supergroup did appear as part of the launch event...but just to promote the Z Flip 3 BE. Samsung even tweeted out what looked like a link to a seeming collaboration between the company and BTS...which takes you straight to the Bespoke customization screen:

Sadly, no follow-up to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus BTS Edition – you'll have to make your own in the Bespoke customizer.

Introducing the Z Flip 3 BE is great for consumers who wanted a little more personalization before pulling the trigger on the clamshell foldable, but what about folks who want the same in other foldables? Wil there be a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 BE? 

We reached out to Samsung and asked if more foldables would get the Bespoke Edition treatment, and it looks promising. Per a Samsung spokesperson:

“The Galaxy Z Flip3’s iconic design and personalization options naturally appeal to consumers looking to express their individuality in every aspect of their life. In fact, since the first launch, we’ve seen many consumers personalize their Z Flip devices with unique accessories and themes for their wallpaper or Cover Screen. Starting with the Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition, Samsung will expand this initiative to other devices moving forward.”

Wondering why the Z Flip 3 BE and its customization process arrived months after the Z Flip 3 launched in August? We did too – here's what a Samsung spokesperson told us over email:

“Customization in tech is rare as it requires the ability to make single devices, when operations are typically built to handle mass production. However, Samsung’s unique manufacturing process and craftsmanship allow us to offer something unique. Our e-commerce team has been working hard to create the Bespoke Studio and we’re excited it’s launching just in time for the holiday shopping season for Galaxy Z Flip3.”

One last note: yes, we were wondering if the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE would launch at Unpacked, especially one dedicated 'to the fans.' So we asked Samsung if the rumored phone had been planned to launch at this event. A spokesperson wouldn't confirm, but gave this statement:

We can’t comment on our product roadmap, but we’re focused on listening to consumer needs and providing options across our mobile portfolio for every price point. We’re seeing a lot of demand and interest in both our current S series lineup and our latest foldable devices. To meet our customers’ needs, we’re prioritizing those devices right now.”