By Taylor Martin | January 21, 2014 5:58 PM
The rumor mill is churning out lots of interesting – and often conflicting – reports on Samsung’s upcoming flagship iteration, the Galaxy S 5.
Some say it will come with an iris scanner, while others say it will come with a fingerprint scanner instead. One set of rumors claimed the Galaxy S 5 would bear a metal frame. Others have since claimed its chassis, like its predecessors, will be made of plastic but will feature a new design language.
An array of different specifications have been thrown at us from every angle; a possible new UI has leaked; and Samsung executive Lee Young Hee went on the record with Bloomberg a few weeks ago, spilling some vague details on the the Galaxy S 5.
So what do we make of all the rumors? What do we want from Samsung’s next flagship? Our not-yet-official Galaxy S 5 wishes and desires await you below!
New, lighter UI
Each of Samsung’s new tablets, which were revealed at CES at the beginning of the month, featured a brand new look. Samsung called the new interface Magazine UX, though it’s merely an addition to TouchWiz UX, rather than a complete overhaul.
Hoping for Samsung to scrap its recent efforts (and literally dozens of software features) is little more than a pipe dream.
Although the software is cluttered, bloated, notorious for performance hiccups, and a giant hurdle for Samsung to scale with each firmware update, it isn’t likely Samsung will simply walk away from TouchWiz altogether. However, Magazine UX-like screenshots from a handset have since leaked, leading us to believe Samsung is at least working on making TouchWiz prettier, if nothing else.
At the very least, we can beg Samsung to optimize the software (for once) and focus on performance whilst also applying a little makeup. Cut the bits of software no one ever uses (such as the broken custom vibration creator), and lighten the load a little.
Optical Image Stabilization
Samsung’s smartphone cameras, at least by comparison to its closest competition, has never been bad. The Galaxy S II provided a decent image sensing experience, and the Galaxy S III led the Android pack in 2012.
The Galaxy S 4, on the other hand, didn’t come equipped with the greatest camera experience. Sure, the software features made up for some of the shortcomings. But with options out there like the Nokia Lumia 1020′s 41-megapixel sensor or LG’s optically stabilized 13-megapixel camera, the Galaxy S 4 never stood a chance.
Since the Lumia 920 in late 2012, optical image stabilization (OIS) has become more and more common. And we’re seen time and time again that hardware stabilized cameras perform significantly better, particularly in low-light scenarios.
We wouldn’t be devastated if Samsung utilized the same sensor as the Galaxy S 4 in the Galaxy S 5. But we’re crossing all our fingers and toes for OIS.
Rumor has it, the Galaxy S 5 will ship with a 2,900mAh battery. While 300mAh is a significant bump over the 2,600mAh cell in the Galaxy S 4, we wouldn’t mind Samsung cramming even more juice in its upcoming flagship.
Thin and light smartphones are nice. But Jaime said it perfectly last week, “I would prefer a thicker iPhone if it made it better.” That very concept can be applied to practically any high-end flagship these days. In my humble opinion, the Galaxy S 4 was too light – only 130g. And its 7.9mm thickness was just fine. But the 8.3mm thick Galaxy Note 3, even at 168g, wasn’t terribly clunky or weighty.
We’d love to see the Galaxy S 5 come with a 2,900mAh battery. But if Samsung could (which it likely can) make it just a smidgen heavier, maybe even a millimeter or so thicker, and put the battery capacity at Galaxy Note levels, we’d be smitten for sure.
The Galaxy S III design was a pretty significant bump over the Galaxy S II. Not everyone was a fan of the wide radius corners and hyperglaze finish, though. With the Galaxy S 4, Samsung made the flagship lineup look markedly more professional and less … feature phone-esque. Unfortunately, it didn’t fix that dreaded hyperglaze finish.
The Galaxy Note 3 came with a faux-leather finish with faux-stitching, however. And while the Note 3 is made of practically the same materials as the Galaxy S 4, it feels significantly better, both in terms of in-hand feel and quality. Not to mention, it’s infinitely easier to hang on to.
We originally thought the faux-leather finish was specific to the Note brand, since we’d only ever seen it on the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, and the Galaxy Gear charging case (which was once specific to Note devices). With the launch of the Galaxy TabPRO lineup, however, we learned faux-leather is a large part of Samsung’s future design language.
We’re not certain it will find its way onto the Galaxy S 5, but we wouldn’t be terribly upset if it did. Frankly, I’d be happy with the same sort of plastic with a smooth, matte finish. Either way, executive Lee Young Hee told Bloomberg, “For the S5, we will go back to the basics. Mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.”
Change is coming, let’s just hope it’s for the better.
More storage and memory
One rumor points to the Galaxy S 5 featuring 4GB of RAM. It may have a 64-bit processor, a 2K display, and a host of other top tier specifications. Give or take any of those rumored features, there are two that will need to be in place: storage space and memory.
No, 4GB isn’t likely necessary at this point. But from a future-proofing perspective, it’s smart, especially with 2K resolution looming ahead. That said, just as important as memory is storage space. Samsung has used 16GB as its base storage model since the Galaxy S II. While most people can manage just fine on 16GB, that will soon change with the introduction of higher-resolution graphics.
We know Samsung is working on 8Gb memory chips, and we know it began mass production of 128GB eMMCs (embedded multimedia cards) in late 2012. The price of flash storage is dropping, and games, applications, and other files are constantly growing in size. It’s time to bump the minimum storage option to 32GB and add a 128GB model for a premium price.
Your turn …
What do you want to see in Samsung’s next flagship? What specifications, design, materials, display, or software changes do you want Samsung to make? Join the discussion and sound off in the comments below!