Unusually Samsung has chosen this week’s Mobile World Congress to launch its new 4G handset, the Galaxy S5. Perhaps Samsung has chosen to launch its flagship smartphone at the Barcelona event, rather than planning a separate higher profile launch, because the Galaxy S5 is essentially an upgrade from its predecessor rather than being packed with dramatic new features.
So what does make the Samsung Galaxy S5 different from the S4? Here are a few of the features of the new handset:
Fingerprint technology. Samsung’s new fingerprint technology is used to lock and unlock the device. Like the Apple iPhone 5 the main button on the front of the Galaxy S5 doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. The scanner can also be used to make Paypal payments with a single touch and to enable private mode, where users can store sensitive information using the scanner. Overall security has been a major theme at Mobile World Congress 2014.
Water resistant casing. The new casing for the Samsung Galaxy S5 is designed to be water and dust resistant which makes it a practical choice. Last year we saw the Galaxy S4 Active which was a distinct model with a water and dust resistant body, but it seems that Samsung are now making this a standard feature, to compete with handsets such as the Sony Xperia Z1. The S5 has an IP67 rating which means it is waterproof to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes; ideal for that very common occurrence of dropping your phone down the toilet.
Improved camera. The S5 has a 16 megapixel camera which is much faster than the camera on the S4. Samsung claim it is the world’s fastest auto-focusing camera. The new camera can be used to take 4K video and supports real-time HDR.
Heart rate sensor. Fitness technology is a major selling point for many new smartphones and the Samsung Galaxy S5 is no exception. There is a heart rate sensor under the camera flash that allows you to get a reading of your pulse and then see how your resting heart rate drops. You can also use the S Health 3.0 app to track your calorie consumption.
Power saving mode. The S5 features a power saving mode which changes the display to black and white and limits the phone to calls and texts, which could potentially extend the battery life for up to 24 hours according to Samsung vice president Jean-Daniel Ayme.
Although the new S5 may not have many outstanding new features, it is a solid upgrade from the S4. It has a slightly larger screen size and an overall better build quality, whilst still being lighter than the previous handset. Samsung suggests that it has “decided to go back to basics” with the Galaxy S5 4G phone, removing some of the gimmicks from the S4 and focussing on what customers really need. This might not sound very exciting but it has resulted in an overall better product. The 4G handset is likely to be available in the UK from April.