Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Samsung unveils the new Galaxy S5

After all the rumors, the time has finally come for us to know what Samsung has done with the new Galaxy S5 - their new flagship model that carries the burden of keeping up with the success of the previous models.

We all know it's getting increasingly difficult for manufacturers to wow consumers. In the past years, most launches have been incremental with "more of the same", and with the Galaxy S5 Samsung added just a few extra "gadgegtry stuff" to say it had something new, but kept most of it "the same". (Which might not be a bad idea, considering the "same" has been working well so far).

So, the Galaxy S4 comes with a 5.1" Super AMOLED Full HD display (not the insane higher resolutions some hoped for), a faster Snpadragon 800 quad-core CPU (and also a faster octa-core as well, depending on the market), 2GB RAM, 20% larger battery, USB 3.0, and a 16MP camera with Ultra HD 4K video recording.

Aesthetically, the S5 comes with a dimpled back cover that should provide a nice feel without causing embarrassments - unless you do like the fake stitched leather look of the Note 3 (which also feels nice, by the way).

More new stuff: the home button now has a fingerprint scanner, but one that requires you to swipe your finger downwards, and that it seems to be quite unreliable (reported by some that have tried it). If it really fails to work flawlessly, I'm afraid it will soon become just "one more thing you'll just use to show off to your friends but not actually use". In the back cover just below the camera you get an optical heart rate monitor reader: you need to place your finger there, and after a few seconds you'll have a reading.

Perhaps more important for our daily operations: the Galaxy S5 is now dust and water proof! It can be submerged in 3ft of water for up to 30 minutes. Which should be enough to save it from the occasional accidental drop, or even using it for some underwater photos and videos.

On the software side, Samsung still insists on "making over" their Android experience, which also makes sense, considering most Samsung buyers are already used to it.

The Galaxy S5 will be launched on April 11, in white, black, gold and blue.

[There are also new accessories for the S5 - the Gear Fit activity tracker bracelet - and the new Gear 2 smartwatches, that have ditched Android and run Tizen]

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