Samsung has finally unveiled its Galaxy S5 smartphone at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Head of Mobile JK Shin showed off the new smartphone at the legendary Unpacked event, held in a massive hall with a live orchestra introduction.
The S5 features a 5.1-inch 1080p display, a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU, a 16MP camera which can autofocus in 0.3 seconds, and is also IP67 waterproof and dustproof. It also includes biometrics, with confirmation that a fingerprint sensor will serve as a home button while a heart-rate sensor on the back can link up to the new smartwatches for call rejection and fitness tracking.
"With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is going back to basics to focus on delivering the capabilities that matter most to our consumers," said Shin.
“Consumers are looking for mobile tools that inspire and support them as they improve their everyday lives. The Galaxy S5 represents an iconic design with essential and useful features to focus on delivering the ultimate smartphone on the market today through people inspired innovation."
But how does the S5 stack up against the other new smartphone announcements this week at MWC? Let’s take a look at the Galaxy’s specs first:
Size: 142 x 72.5 x 8.1
5.1-inch FHD Super AMOLED display (1920 x 1080 resolution)
2.5GHz quad-core processor
2GB of RAM
16/32GB of memory
microSD support up to 64GB
16-megapixel camera with UHD 4K video recording
2.1-megapixel front-facing camera
Heart rate sensor for use with Gear Fit
IP67 Dust and Water Resistant
Android 4.4.2 KitKat with ultra power saving mode (over 24 hours when battery is at only 10%, apparently) private mode, and kids mode.
Highlights? The fingerprint sensor works similarly to the iPhone 5S, and allows the user to unlock the phone and carry out one-touch authenticated purchases. It’s not quite fully waterproof, but splashproof is good enough for now. Shin did encourage using the S5 for singing along in the shower with but I expect he’ll regret that once the drenched phones start getting returned.
The heart-rate sensor on the back is all part of Samsung’s get fit plan, and ties in rather nicely with the release of the Gear Fit smartwatch. The design of the phone has also been a hot talking point, with most people falling into two categories: love or hate. I was cycnical at first, but after touching it in real life today, the back feels a lot more premium than it looks, and the colours are fairly original.
The S5 will be released on April 11.
Shin also unveiled two other devices, the Galaxy Gear 2 and the Gear Fit, both smartwatches. The second generation of the Galaxy Gear watch, now runng on Tizen isntead of Android, is farily similar to the first Gear, but looks much better and lets you check messages, talk, and take photos with the built-in camera. Samsung has added a physical home button to the bottom of the watch face, which makes sense and works well, and there’s a lot more customisation options on offer.
The Gear Fit is s smaller, lighter, curved version of the Gear 2, which is orientated more towards the fitness benefits of the wearable series.
Sony Xperia Z2
With a 5.2-inch full HD screen, Sony’s latest offering is a smidgen bigger than the S5, and with Sony’s Colour LED tech, the screen is accurate and vibrant.
It’s still waterproof (IP58), like the Z1, and looks wise, both models share similarities. The size of the body is a little smaller and lighter than the Z1. Inside, the Z2 packs a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, with 3GB of RAM and 16GB storage. A 20.7MP camera is the highlight of the Z2 though, trumping the S5’s by a large margin.
Nokia X series
The Nokia X and X Plus models have a 4-inch screen, where the XL sports a 5-inch screen, and all three devices run on Android. All use the Nokia Fast Lane homescreen, which is tiled based much like the Lumia family. Inside is a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and the smartphone family comes in colours like red, green and yellow with 3MP cameras. For $89, no one can complain!
The announcement of the Q20 heralds the return of the QWERTY keyboard, and BlackBerry hopes the back to basics design will boost success with BlackBerry loyalists. The Q20 will feature a 3.5-inch screen. BlackBerry also announced the Z3 smartphone, with a five-inch touchscreen.