Samsung today unveiled the Galaxy S5, its newest flagship smartphone that comes with features like a heart rate monitor and fingerprint reader.
The device will go on sale on April 11 in 150 countries and all the big U.S. carriers will offer the Galaxy S5 — T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, MetroPCS, and US Cellular. Samsung didn’t reveal specifics on pricing, though you can expect something around $200 on a two-year contract based on Samsung’s past pricing strategies.
There aren’t any huge changes from the S4, but Samsung did make several improvements to its best-selling smartphone. Here are the key features of the S5, which will be available in blue, white, black and gold:
Fingerprint sensor: Like Apple’s iPhone 5, Samsung’s new smartphone will have fingerprint-reading technology for those that want to unlock their device in such a manner. However, the S5’s fingerprint scanner is swipe-based as opposed to the iPhone, which requires you to hold your fingerprint down in one place. You can also make payments via PayPal with your fingerprint.
Back design: The S5’s aesthetics looks similar from the front, but the plastic battery cover on the back has been replaced by a dimpled soft-touch finish. Samsung calls this a “modern glam look.”
Faster processor: A 2.5-Ghz chip is faster than the 1.9 Ghz and 1.6 Ghz chips found in the S4. The S5 will run Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
Dustproof, waterproof: The new device is water and dust-resistant and can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes at a time.
Better cameras: The S5 features an improved 16-megapixel camera, up from the S4’s 13-megapixels. It also has the “world’s fastest autofocus speed” of 0.3 seconds and can record video in 4K.
Improved battery: The S5 will allow for 10 hours of web-surfing or 12 hours of video playback.
Bigger screen: At 5.1 inches, the S5’s screen is slightly bigger than the S4 and features a 1920×1080 display.
Faster downloads: The S5 lets you download media using LTE and Wi-Fi at the same time, thus increasing overall download speeds.
Heart-rate monitor: The S5 has a built-in heart rate monitor just below the camera and can read your pulse in 5-to-10 seconds. Samsung also upgraded its fitness app, S Health, which can sync with the company’s wearable products.
Nick Dillon, a senior analyst at Ovum, notes that Samsung’s decision to make only minor changes with the S5 is understandable given the company’s success with its S line and the maturity of the smartphone market.
“In contrast to the Galaxy S4 which was packed with gimmicky features, Samsung has focused instead on a small number of enhancements with the S5,” Dillon said. “The challenge for Samsung will be to convince users to upgrade to a handset that offers little more than its predecessor.”