Video: Hands-On Preview with the Samsung Galaxy S5
Well, it finally happened. After months of rumors and reports, Samsung has finally unveiled what phone enthusiasts have been clamoring to hear about: the Galaxy S5. At this week’s Unpacked 5 event in Barcelona (at Mobile World Congress) and simulcasted across the world, Samsung not only unveiled the phone and all of its shiny new components, but it even gave us a release date: April 11 – and in close to 150 countries simultaneously, no less.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into what we now officially know about the Samsung Galaxy S5, having spent some time with it this week.
This latest handset from Samsung sports a quadcore, 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB of RAM, making the user interface snappy and responsive, even with the manufacturer’s overlay that’s been known to muddy the user experience on devices before. But here, it seems intuitive, clean, and fast – nothing seems crammed together, and that’s thanks largely to the phone’s 5.1 inch high-resolution screen.
Below the screen are three buttons, two of which are capacitive, meaning they’re flush with the device but react to touch, and those handle the back and multitasking functions at the Android level. The button in the middle, as we’ve heard rumors about for months, is a bit more special. The home button is also a built-in fingerprint sensor that unlocks your phone and links to mobile payment apps like Google Wallet – allowing you to complete mobile errands more quickly. There’s also a Private Mode linked to the sensor, which secures personal files and data on the phone when activated.
But the home button isn’t the only sensor on the S5, as the rear shell of the phone also has a surface that’s sensitive to your body, in that it detects your heart rate for use with a swath of fitness apps Samsung has built into the phone. This heart rate monitor can also be used by third party apps that use Samsung’s fitness SDK, which it will be making available to developers soon.
But let’s get to the nitty gritty: the specs. As mentioned, the device is powered by a quad core CPU and 2GB of ram, but uses that horsepower to run a 16 megapixel rear camera with HDR video and a 0.3 high speed auto focus lens – the fastest a smartphone has ever had, Samsung touts.
The battery in the S5 is accessible from the rear of the device (as is the sim card and a microSD expansion port), meaning it can be replaced if need be, and it can last 20% longer while in use. Part of this is due to it being 2,800mAh in capacity, but also because the S5 sports an Ultra Power Saving mode that turns off features that aren’t calling or SMS-related, and dims the screen to be black and white. With 10% battery left, Samsung claims the S5 can go a full 24 hours in this mode.
The phone also features what’s called a multiple-input-multiple-output Wi-fi card that allows you to use Wi-Fi and LTE networks simultaneously to get faster download speeds for large files – great for those lengthy podcasts.
Finally, the phone is water and dust proof. How neat is that?
Samsung also unveiled new iterations in the Galaxy Gear family, the Galaxy Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear fit. All of these smartwatches serve their own distinct purpose and style, which you can read about in the full report on the site. These watches should launch in April as well, if not alongside the Galaxy S5.
And that’s what we’ve gathered from Samsung’s presentation about the S5 and our hands-on time with it in New York. But now, it’s time to tell us what you think. Is this the messiah of all smartphones that so many hoped it would be, or just another splash in the tech pond until Samsung releases the Galaxy S6?
Let us know.
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