The Samsung Galaxy S5 was just officially announced at Mobile World Congress. The new flagship device will be available worldwide beginning April 11, 2014, including all major U.S. and international carriers.
With over 200 million Galaxy devices sold to date, the S5 doesn't stray too far from the trend, at least not aesthetically. We've still got a high-grade plastic shell with perforated back covers, and four color choices at launch.
Our highlights of the release event are as follows.
Samsung wasn't interested in touting specs for the device during its release, and for good reason—they aren't far-and-away better than the S4's, and they were leaked with great accuracy. Here's the rundown, with a breakdown of core features below:
- Processor: 2.5 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800
- Memory: 2 GB RAM with 16/32 GB on-board storage (expandable to 128 GB)
- Display: 5.1" 1080p FHD 1920 x 1080 AMOLED
- Camera: 16 MP rear and 2 MP front with selective focus, HDR, and more
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi with MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output)
- Battery: 2800 mAh with 390 hours standby and 21 hours talk time with Ultra Power Saving Mode
- Additional features: Water and dust resistant, fingerprint reader, IR blaster, kids mode, private mode
The Galaxy S5 is spilling over with new camera features—Samsung has kept the base of its powerful camera and included a few new features, including a dedicated image processing chip and the fastest shutter speed on any smartphone—0.3 seconds.
High-dynamic-range, better known as HDR, is a mode that enables photos which more accurately represent the object in real life viewing. While the concept isn't new, the S5's HDR mode will be faster (10 second processing) and easier to use (better image stabilization), and will be the first of any smartphone to allow HDR video.
With a new, faster phase detection autofocus (AF) clocked in at 0.3 seconds, you will be able to better focus on specific objects in photos, and add depth-of-field blur effects to really show off the focused object.
The S5 will have a slightly bigger screen (5.1") than its predecessor, with full 1080p using a FHD display.
Samsung is also touting Local CE, or curve enhancement, to address issues regarding the display in various types of light. Hopefully this means we won't have to crank up the brightness just to use our phones in bright sunlight. On the flip side, the device has a feature called "Super Dimming", which should make the phone actually usable when on low brightness levels.
The biggest physical addition to the Galaxy device, the built-in fingerprint scanner, will serve to unlock your device, hide sensitive data such as photos and videos, and as a faster way to verify mobile payments.
Private Mode will allow you to store sensitive data like pictures and videos in a secure "vault", only accessible by scanning your fingerprint.
With a partnership with PayPal already in play, you can say goodbye to passwords and security questions—one scan of your fingerprint and a secure payment can be on its way.
Samsung has bucked their trend of releasing "active" devices and will ship the S5 with water and dust resistance.
With an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of 67, the Galaxy S5 offers total protection against dust and protection against low pressure water jets. This means that while the device cannot be submerged for long periods of time, it can withstand periods of direct water, like in a shower.
Compared with Sonys "waterproof" smartphone, the Xperia ZR with rating of either IP55 or 58, the S5 holds up nicely. While the higher rated Xperia (IP58) holds up better when submerged, the dust resistance is better on the S5. Check here for a breakdown of Ingress Protection ratings.
One of the core talking points revolved around "staying fit", and the release of the new S Health app, in addition to the new Gear Fit, show a trend in increasing exercise metrics. But what sets the S5 apart from the rest is the inclusion of a heart-rate monitor, the first of its kind on a smartphone.
The device will also use ANT+ technology to facilitate communication between various devices, including the Gear smart watches as well as scales and other fitness measurement equipment.
Samsung has introduced a new power saving mode, to accompany bigger battery. Since running out of juice is one, if not the biggest, concern with modern devices, these new features are a welcome addition to the flagship.
This mode is designed to shut down non-essential functions, like Bluetooth and NFC, is order to keep your device functioning as a phone—the claim is up to 24 hours standby in Ultra Power Saving Mode with only 10% battery remaining.
Add to that a fairly large removable battery, and we've got a device that should last an entire day with heavy to moderate use.
The device will be released worldwide on April 11th, 2014, but many carriers and resellers are letting your pre-register today for information, including MetroPCS, Sprint, RadioShack, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.