Samsung Galaxy S5
The launch of a new Samsung Galaxy S device is always big news and the Samsung Galaxy S5 is no exception, and as usual the new Galaxy S is bigger and faster than any of its predecessors.
The display on the Galaxy S5 has crept up to a 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixel full HD panel, slightly bigger than the 5.0" display on the Galaxy S4 and a lot bigger than the original Galaxy S from 2010 which had a 4.0" panel. Inside is a monstrously fast 2.5GHz quad-core processor, although the RAM is just 2GB compared with some rivals that now have 3GB. The Galaxy S5 features 16GB or 32GB of internal storage plus a microSD slot.
On the back is a 16 megapixel camera which is capable of UHD video recording, or to put it another way 4K or 2160p. This makes it one of only a very small number of devices that can do this, but to be honest your playback options for this type of very high-resolution media are pretty limited at the moment. Perhaps new handsets such as the Galaxy S5 will nudge things forwards though.
The camera has been enhanced by the usual Samsung trickery, and it has what is apparently the world's fastest autofocus time of 0.3 seconds, plus a high dynamic range for improved colour capture and a novel selective focus feature. But despite the relatively high pixel count, it does seem that Samsung are losing ground to rivals Nokia, Sony and LG when it comes to digital imaging.. for example the Galaxy S5 lacks optical image stabilisation which is certainly a nice thing to have. There's also a 2 megapixel camera on the front of the Galaxy S5 for video calls.
This is an LTE-capable device, and it also supports some advanced WiFi features such as 2X2 MIMO and a feature called "Download Booster" that can simultaneously download on LTE and WiFi at the same time. All the usual Android smartphone features are here of course, and in addition the Galaxy S5 supports NFC, ANT+ and has a built-in infra-red controller.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Samsung say that the design of the S5 combines "iconic Samsung design" with modern tastes. In our opinion there is no such thing as an iconic Samsung device.. most Samsung handsets are pretty utilitarian and have the charm of a microwave oven. However, there is an interesting texture effect on the back similar to ones seen on other high-end Samsung devices and the Galaxy S5 does just about manage to avoid being a featureless slab because of this rather pleasing design feature. Available colours will be black, white, blue and gold.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is also waterproof and dust resistant to IP67 standards, something that rivals Sony have been doing for a while. While this isn't exactly a first for Samsung, it is the first time that we have seen this level of protection in a non-ruggedised device. One other unusual and highly useful feature is a fingerprint scanner
As we said before, the size of the S5 has crept up from the S4, coming in 11% heavier and with an 8% bigger footprint, although the large 2800 mAh battery and bigger screen will account for some of that. Samsung have stretched the battery life out with an "Ultra Power Saving" mode as well which shuts down unwanted functions and changes the screen to black and white (which apparently must have some sort of effect on the power drain of the Galaxy S5's Super AMOLED panel).
Samsung say that the Galaxy S5 should be available from April 2014 onwards. No guidance was given on price, but the existing Galaxy S4 retails for between €400 to €450 for the basic model and we would expect the S5 to come in at a similar price point.
Samsung Galaxy S5
GSM + UMTS + LTE
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA+
+ LTE + WiFi
5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
13 megapixels (main)
2 megapixels (sub)
142 x 73 x 8.1mm / 145 grams
16GB or 32GB
Yes (plus GLONASS)
21 hours talk / 16 days standby (3G)
2800 mAh cell