Samsung isn’t shy when it comes to loading its top-of-the-range phones with headline-grabbing specs, and the Galaxy S5 is no different. Centre stage is its quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, which runs at a blistering 2.5GHz. This chip, paired with 2GB of RAM, means the phone shouldn’t have any bother smoothly running any app you throw at it. One thing to note: it isn’t 64-bit – that’s probably going to be a feature of next year’s Samsung flagship.
The phone comes with Android 4.4 KitKat and a new version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. There’s no word yet on whether or not a stock Android Google Play or Nexus edition will be be available.
Meanwhile, a 2800mAh battery should give the S5 enough juice to easily last a day (Samsung claims 21 hours of talk time), and as with previous Galaxy S phones it’s swappable.
You also get a choice between 16GB and 32GB of expandable storage (you can add up to 64GB extra via microSD), and there’s a microUSB 3.0 port for quick transfer speeds.
On the connectivity front, there’s both 4G LTE (supporting the speedy Category 4) and fifth generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 2X2 MiMo, plus a feature called Download Booster which uses both Wi-Fi and 4G simultaneously to download files more speedily.
The rumours claiming the S5 would boast a metal body have turned out to be hot air – Samsung has stuck with a mostly-polycarbonate build. That said, from our hands-on time we can say it’s the best build quality a Galaxy S phone has offered thus far. The dimpled, matte soft-touch back is much nicer to look at and hold than the faux-leather hard plastic of recent Galaxy Note phones and tablets, and the overall feeling is one of solidity and quality.
One major improvement over the S4 is IP67 waterproofing, bringing the S5 into line with Sony’s Xperia phones. It’s sealed to prevent any water or dust getting inside, so you can dunk the handset into water for as long as 30 minutes and it won’t protest one bit.
Oh, and we have the vital statistics too: it weighs 145g and measures up at 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm.
It’ll be available in several colours, including Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold.
In retrospect, speculation about the S5 toting a quad HD 2560 x 1440 screen always seemed a touch far-fetched, so we’re not particularly surprised to see that Samsung has retained a full HD 1080p resolution instead. The AMOLED screen, however, is slightly larger than the S4’s at 5.1in.
Fingertips of fun
Samsung has fitted the S5 with a fingerprint scanner, which serves three main purposes. First, it can swiftly unlock the phone, which works much like the Touch ID sensor on Apple’s iPhone 5s (albeit a little less snappy – but it’s much more accurate than the HTC One Max’s scanner).
The second function is instant online mobile payments via PayPal integration, and the third is to protect important documents with a Private Mode that’s unlocked by your fingerprint.
Round the back, there’s a heartrate sensor – the first ever seen on a smartphone, designed to play nice with Samsung’s revised S Health app.