Samsung Galaxy S5 has been announced ahead of an expected April release date and overall, the announcement did not disappoint.
As I have speculated before the market has reached a point where changes to the hardware are not going to be massive and the category of smartphone has mostly reached a stage where gradual improvements will be more commonplace than changes that would be called revolutionary.
Kicking off with the screen, the S5 has grown a tiny .1 of an inch from 5 inches to 5.1 inches, the screen is a nice AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic LED) display with 441 pixels per inch that matches the S4 display. At this density the picture quality would not be expected to suffer over the additional .1 of an inch so you can still expect to get a vibrant display.
The Camera also gets a bump in specs from 13 Megapixels to 16 Megapixels, the main camera rivals most entry level point and shoots with enough resolution to have prints blown up to some pretty substantial sizes. The fast and versatile focus outperforms the iPhone 5s but in low light the image may appear grainy compared to the Apple rival. The HDR is “live” giving you the option to see the impact HDR will have on the shot before you take it which is a plus.
The rear camera got a slight upgrade from 2MP to 2.1MP which could be viewed as just a play at the numbers as I would challenge anyone to be able to point out the difference in .1 MP.
Video recording on the main camera gets a noticeable feature allowing videos to be shot at 30 frames per second at up to 4K resolution (Ultra HD) making this a good choice for people planning to take advantage of the best display technology available today and in the future.
The operating system also gets and expected upgrade to Android KitKat 4.4.2 with Samsung TouchWiz which thankfully according to reports does not make too much of a mess of Android.
There is a tip of the hat to the iPhone 5s with the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor which relies on swiping instead of pressing the finger to the sensor. This sensor also allows the user to not only unlock the phone but lock it which will be interesting to see if this causes any frustration for users.
The USB port is a new USB 3.0 compatible port that also support USB 2.0 which could mean faster backups to computers and possibly faster data transfers to other devices over the USB port.
The battery is a sizeable beast providing an extra 20% over the S4 at 2800mAh and positively dwarfing the iPhone 5s 1570mAh. This could result in good talktime figures even though it may be powering a bigger screen and much faster processor. There are also some clever tricks with power management such as reducing the display to monochrome and only running a few selected apps when the power dips below a certain threshold. Smart stuff to make the last of the battery go further which will mean the difference in getting that last SMS out in an emergency.
As expected, the overall dimensions of the phone are a little larger and heavier to accommodate all these improvements but they might be hard to notice if you are not doing a side-by-side comparison.
This is where the comparisons end.
A heart rate monitor is a noteable feature that the iPhone does not cover (let see how this turns out by the second half of this year when we can expect to see the new iPhone 6) which picks up your heartbeat on the back of the phone and when paired with the newer Galaxy gear range of smart watches and smartbands will be able to track your heart rate without having to hold the phone in your hand.
The big plus in the corner of the Galaxy S5 is that the phone now complies to IP67 standards meaning that the phone is waterproof (up to 30 minutes at 1 metre) and dustproof making for a very tough smartphone before you put it in a case to protect it from knocks. This could well be the phone that outlasts the competition
These two new features are giving a window into the features that will find their way into other manufacturers products if they want to keep up the pace.
The expected price is set to be lower than the iPhone 5s which could clinch the deal for many consumers.
As for me? I am pretty dug into the Apple world but something like this is making me very curious about the Android life. If I was due a new phone around April, then this would definitely be making my short list.