The Galaxy S 5 is here: Samsung announces flagship at Unpacked event

The first really big smartphone launch of 2014 is upon us. We’ve talked in hushed tones about early rumors for months now, we’ve followed the analyst reports and evaluated the leaks, and now it’s finally time to move past all that mystery and step out into the light, as Samsung goes official with the Galaxy S 5.

CEO J.K. Shin took to the stage in Barcelona for the year’s first Unpacked event just moments ago, where he gave us our first confirmed look at the new Galaxy.

Sure enough, this is the very phone we saw just hours ago. It features a 5.1-inch display, offers a 16-megapixel main camera with software support for some advanced shooting modes, and has an integrated heart monitor, for use with Samsung’s S Health app.

Samsung finally hops on the fingerprint-scanning bandwagon, integrating a scanner into the phone’s home button. In addition to unlocking the phone, fingerprints can be used for app authentication, such as authorizing PayPal payments.

There’s no need for a separate Active version of the phone this time around; the stock GS5 is now water and dust resistant.

Connectivity-wise, we’re looking at extensive LTE support, including new high-speed Cat 4 networks. Even WiFi gets a boost, thanks to 802.11ac MIMO support.

Launch colors include blue, white, black, and gold.

But what about those two versions of the phone we heard about? A 2K, quad HD version as well as a 1080p version? There’s no sign of any new high-res handset; the only Galaxy S 5 we’re hearing about today has a 1080p display.

Battery and power consumption improvements means that Samsung says we can expect 10 hours of web surfing over LTE, or a solid half day of video playback.

The GS5’s camera is capable of autofocus speeds as fast as 300ms – a figure Samsung calls a record. There’s new HDR processing tweaks, and a selective focus mode allows amateur shutterbugs to experiment with shallow depth-of-field shots.

Samsung hasn’t yet specified the GS5’s SoC, only offering that it’s a quad-core 2.5GHz chip – could it be the new Snapdragon 801? We also see that it only gets 2GB of RAM, as opposed to the 3GB that’s rapidly becoming standard for flagships.

Sales of the GS5 begin in nearly 150 countries on April 11, just over six weeks from now.


Source: Samsung

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!