Is this the best smartphone ever? Samsung unveils its slick new waterproof Galaxy S5 that comes with super-fast Wi-Fi, a 16MP camera - plus a matching smartwatch and fitness band that monitors your heart
- The flagship model was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona along with Gear Fit - a wearable fitness device
- It has a 5.25-inch screen, 16MP camera and runs Android KitKat 4.4
- Software and icons now look similar to Apple's 'flatter' iOS design
- Handset comes in four colours: black, white, blue and gold and is dust and water resistant
- Prices have not yet been announced but it will be available in April
In a world almost bursting at the seams with fitness bands, smartphones, wearables and cameras it takes something special to stand out - and Samsung hopes its new Galaxy S5 will do just that.
The Galaxy S5, dubbed the 'superphone' has handpicked features from its competitors and put them all into a single handset.
Samsung claims it crams in a professional camera and a powerful fitness tracker while being water and dust proof - and comes with fingerprint sensor technology, just like arch rival the iPhone 5S.
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Like Apple's iPhone 5S, Samsung's latest handset has a Finger Scanner, providing a secure, biometric screen locking feature, but the real innovations come inside with super fast Wi-Fi and a host of fitness functions
142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm, 145g
5.1" FHD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080)
2.5GHz quad-core application processor
Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
16MP (rear), 2.0MP (front) camera
Ultra HD 30fps video recording
Selective Focus camera
Finger Scanner, Heart rate sensor
Dust and water resistant
Ultra Power Saving Mode
WiFi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac HT80, MIMO(2x2)
2800mAh battery - Standby time: 390 hrs / Talk time: 21 hrs
The new flagship device includes a built-in heart monitor, pedometer, fitness apps and fingerprint recognition.
It will go on sale in April, although prices have not yet been announced.
The Galaxy S5 is at the head of a move by tech giants to turn the ever more sophisticated mobile phone into a substitute doctor and personal trainer.
Samsung’s S5 has its own health functions, but it will also connect to the company’s second generation smartwatch, the Gear 2, as well as a new wearable band device, the Gear Fit, which will play a role in measuring fitness.
The watch and fitness band can pick up the pulse through the skin on the wrist and display it on the small screen throughout a normal day, or during a workout.
All of the information gathered by the devices can be used to calculate the number of steps taken, calories burned and general fitness.
The Galaxy S5 (pictured) has handpicked features from it's competitors and taken it's lead from the professional photo industry to launch an outstanding device
The firm’s ‘S Health 3.0’ software creates graphs or tables of the results to track changes in activity and health over time.
Samsung’s apps can then develop a fitness regime, including a range of activities from jogging to climbing the stairs rather than using the lift, to help people improve their health.
'Exercise, food, sleep, stress, and weight.
'You can monitor and track each of these areas with Samsung's Lifestyle Coach app. Part of the S Health suite,' the company said.
'We’ve decided to go back to basics with the Galaxy S5 and focus on the features and things that matter the most to our customers – namely the camera, ability to view and download data and content quickly and their health and wellbeing,' said Simon Stanford, Vice President of IT & Mobile division, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland.
Samsung¿s apps can then develop a fitness regime, including a range of activities from jogging to climbing the stairs rather than using the lift, to help people improve their health. Here, CEO J.K. Shin talks about the different fitness features at Mobile World Congress
Samsung has unveiled a new flagship device (pictured) that includes a built-in heart monitor, pedometer, fitness apps and fingerprint recognition
'People want a smartphone that enhances and enables their mobile life.
'The Galaxy S5 represents just that and we’re excited to see the response to our latest flagship smartphone device.'
The S5 has a 16MP camera - an improvement on the 13MP camera seen on the S4 - and features a number of advanced editing and focus tools similar to those on the 5S.
The new camera has twice as many megapixels as Apple's iPhone 5S.
MAILONLINE'S VERDICT - AN IMPRESSIVE DEVICE
During the launch event, Samsung’s president and CEO JK Shin stressed to the audience that the firm had focused on ‘simple, practical’ enhancements, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel – but that almost plays down the Galaxy S5’s achievements.
It’s an impressive device with a wide range of impressive features.
Samsung has gone almost back to basics by focusing on three areas – battery life, durability and the camera. During our brief hands-on we couldn’t fully test the battery claims, but on durability, the device feels much sturdier than the Samsung S4.
It’s still a large device, and this takes a little getting used to, but compared to some of the larger models launched at today’s Mobile World Congress, the S5 feels comfortable and natural to hold.
The heart rate scanner seems like a gimmick - especially when sold alongside the Gear Fit designed especially for, and more suited, to fitness – and the novelty wore off quite quickly. It’s also slow; it took almost nine seconds to take a reading every time we tried. The position of the scanner felt awkward too.
The overall design, though, is a vast improvement.
It’s still made of plastic, so doesn’t have the premium feel of say an Apple iPhone, but it’s weight and smooth casing puts it on the right path.
We were also surprised with the quality of the display, colours appear sharp and bright, and noticeably brighter than on the iPhone 5S and Nokia Lumia 1020 when side-by-side.
We were unable to fully test the water resistance, camera features and power modes.
The camera has phrase-detect as well as contrast-detect autofocus, which Samsung claims is the fastest autofocus in any smartphone.
Samsung's Galaxy S5 has got better battery life than its predecessor.
Even when the battery is on 10 per cent, it has 24 hours of time left before it gives up the ghost.
The smartphone is also the first with Wi-Fi MIMO, which Samsung claims nearly doubles Wi-Fi connection speeds.
The S5 has a 16MP camera - an improvement on the 13MP camera seen on the S4 - and features a number of advanced editing and focus tools similar to those on the 5S and 'flattened icons' (pictured right) like its high end Apple counterpart
Samsung's new flagship device is thought to include a built-in heart monitor, pedometer, fitness apps and fingerprint recognition. The Galaxy S5 is at the head of a move by tech giants to turn the ever more sophisticated mobile phone into a substitute doctor and personal trainer.
HOW THEY STACK UP - THE 5S VS THE S5
|Samsung Galaxy S5 ||Apple iPhone 5S|
| || |
|5.5 x 2.85 x 0.31 inches; 5 oz||4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches; 4 oz.|
|5.1-inch full-HD IPS; 1,920x1,080 pixels; 431ppi||4-inch Retina Display; 1,136x640 pixels; 326ppi |
|16 Megapixel, UHD Video ||8-megapixel; 1080p full-HD video|
|Fingerprint Scanner||Fingerprint Scanner|
The Galaxy S5 features a perforated pattern on the back cover creating a 'modern glam look'.
Its new contoured shape comes in an array of colours, including: Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold. It is dust and water resistant.
Like Apple's iPhone 5S, Samsung's latest handset has a Fingerprint Scanner, providing a secure, biometric screen locking feature.
VP of electronic communications at Samsung, Jean-Daniel Amye, said: 'The finger scanner uses your fingerprint as the ultimate password to your identity.
'All it takes is a simple swipe of your finger to make secure payments.
'Also finger scanner unlocks Private mode where secure files can be stored. I can now keep my passport in a secure way'.
'ONE TRUE SUPERPHONE' - WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
On paper, the Galaxy S5 is packed with more features than any other smartphone currently available, thanks to a combination of its fingerprint sensor, heart rate sensor, clever camera tricks and waterproof design. It's taken the most innovative features from other phones - the Xperia Z1's waterproof design, the iPhone 5s' fingerprint sensor - and combined them all into one true superphone.
Esat Dedezade, Stuff
There's no question the S5 is an iteration on the S4, rather than a complete overhaul. But they're all iterations in strong areas. At our briefing for the Galaxy S4 we were told the then-new phone would let you scroll text up and down by tilting the phone. This time we're told we can shoot HD videos with high-dynamic ranges applied in real-time, underwater. We'll let the reader decide which of those two announcements is more exciting.
Nate Laxon Wired
The heart rate monitor might be a bit of a gimmick and even the fingerprint sensor could be considered that - but they're good to have as extras and to add greater potential future software development options. Combined with the Gear 2 or Gear Fit the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a complete life tracker and complete life managment device - we can't wait to get our review sample to really push its apparently near-boundless limits.
Luke Edwards Pocket Lint
Like the new Gear wearables, the Galaxy S5 looks and feels familiar, but offers a number of improvements over last year’s edition. Samsung had a successful formula with the Galaxy S4, and for the most part, it looks like it has retained that with the S5. Things are faster, nicer feeling, and easier to use, but it’s still a Samsung smartphone through and through, and will likely be just as successful if not more so than its predecessor.
Dan Seifert The Verge
All told, it's very much a run-of-the-mill Galaxy S flagship, but there are enough new hardware features and software tweaks to make it feel fresh.
Brad Molen, Engadget
The smartphone's contoured shape comes in an array of colours, including: Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold. It is dust and water resistant. The colours can be seen here on show at the event
GEAR FIT SPECIFICATIONS
Display: 1.84inch curved Super AMOLED
Includes: Pedometer, exercise and heart rate sensors, stopwatch and timer
Notifications: For SMS, calls, emails and apps
Strap: Changeable in three colours, the band is IP67 dust and water resistant
Connectivity: Bluetooth v4.0 LE
Dimensions: 23.4mm x 57.4mm x 11.95 mm
Battery: 210mAh with 3-4 days of typical usage or 5 days of low usage
Mr JK Shin, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics said: 'Samsung has been one of the major contributors of the mobile industry's high growth.
'Especially, the Galaxy S series has been a key driver of smartphone growth.
'A total of 200 million people use Galaxy S devices, he added.
'People are easily excited about technology - disruptive and breakthrough. We're interested in meaningful innovation.
'It's surprisingly simple.
'Our customers don't want eye-popping technology, they want design.
'Our consumers want a simple yet powerful camera.
'Our consumers want powerful and seamless connectivity and our consumers want a phone that helps them stay for,' he said.
JK Shin unveiled Samsung's Gear Fit by simply pulling back the sleeve on his left arm. The wearable device (pictured) gives notifications about SMS, missed calls, and the like, while also serving as a way to monitor a person's heart rate while exercising.
Mr Shin unveiled a companion device to the new phone - Gear Fit - by simply pulling back the sleeve on his left arm.
The wearable device gives users notifications about SMS, missed calls, while also serving as a way to monitor their heart rate while exercising.
It has a 5.1inch Full HD Super AMOLED display that can be dimmed - 'it is equipped with a screen that fits perfectly on your wrist,' he said.
Samsung's Gear fit (pictured) has a 5.1inch Full HD Super AMOLED display that can be dimmed
JK Shin of Samsung shows off the company's new Gear Fit fitness band during its launch at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
The Samsung Gear Fit is designed to 'comfortably contour to the wrist while offering a vivid Super AMOLED display,' Samsung said.
The company claims it provides 'much more' than other fitness bands as it keeps users up to date with incoming calls, emails, SMS, alarm, S-planner and third party apps while they are on the move so they can stay connected.
For style-conscious wearers there are changeable straps in black, orange and grey and it's water resistant.
Interestingly, there are built in heart rate monitors in both the Gear 2 (middle) and Gear Fit (right) and the company admitted that users would have an 'overload' of sensors if they tried to use both the Gear 2 and Gear Fit alongside the new handset (left)
Weighing just 27 grams, the Gear Fit will offer real-time fitness coaching and personalised workout advice when it goes on sale in April.
The Gear Fit is compatible with 20 Galaxy devices.
Interestingly, there are built-in heart rate monitors in both the Gear 2 and Gear Fit and the company admitted that users would have an 'overload' of sensors if they had both the Gear 2 and Gear Fit.
Mr Shin said: 'Gear 2 and Gear Fit - quite a team.
'Well, if you buy both and the S5, you'd have an overload of heart rate monitors.
'Surely one is sufficient.'
While there appears to be a fair amount of overlap with Samsung's new products, it's clear that the firm is making each one marginally different to attract the widest range of users as possible.
It's unlikely one customer will buy all three but Samsung is undoubtedly hoping that by attracting a new user to one or two of its devices it will develop a loyalty that will last into future releases.
The Gear 2 smartwatch, unveiled at the weekend, lasts three times longer than the first watch, which was criticised for being chunky and expensive at £300.
The Samsung Gear 2 (right two watches) and Gear 2 Neo (left three watches) feature a camera built into the watch face, as well as a fitness tracker and LED which allows them to be used as a remote control
SAMSUNG'S SMARTWATCH - THE GEAR 2
The Gear 2, and sister device the Gear 2 Neo (pictured) will let users track their heart rate while exercising
Samsung unveiled its latest smartwatch at the weekend which will work alongside its new Galaxy 5 smartphone.
The watch will double up as a TV remote and a fitness tracker as it tries to overcome the problems which plagued its first offering.
The Gear 2, and sister device the Gear 2 Neo, will let users track their heart rate while exercising, offer fitness coaching and allow people to design their own workout routines.
A built in LED will also let people control other electrical devices, such as their TV.
Sales of Samsung's first attempt, the Galaxy Gear, have been disappointing due in part to its poor battery life, clunky camera built into the strap and limited selection of apps.
On the new Gear the camera has been moved on to the watch face, but it is unclear what customers will make of other improvements and additional features, such as a range of colours and customisable clock faces.
Samsung's first Gear watch cost £300 and it is not known whether the second generation model will be any cheaper.
However, experts say the phone maker could still struggle to persuade users to upgrade.
The updates are so minor that on first glance most consumers would be hard pressed to notice that it has changed from the previous version,' Nick Dillon, senior analyst at Ovum said.
'Still, this should come as no great surprise, given the maturity of the smartphone market and the pressure on the Samsung not to mess with its winning formula.
'Samsung reminded us quite how successful this formula has been, noting that it has sold 200 million Galaxy S devices since launching the franchise in 2010.'
Hiten A. Raja
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