It’s now just a matter of weeks until we see what the Samsung Galaxy S5 will offer, with just under a year gone since we first glimpsed the Samsung Galaxy S4. With so little time left until the official launch, we’ve seen a lot of rumours and have a fair idea of what the new phone will offer.
It’s clear from everything we’ve seen that Samsung wants to make the S5 a clear improvement over the Galaxy S4, giving people a reason to upgrade, while continuing to put the pressure on Apple. Read on to find out everything you need to know and check back often, as we’re constantly updating this article with the latest information.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 RELEASE DATE
The one thing that we know with absolute certainty is that the Galaxy S5 is due to launch on 24 February at MWC, thanks to Samsung’s official invite (below).
Titled, ‘Unpacked 5’, the name of the invite is a not-too-subtle hint that we can expect to see the 5th generation Samsung Galaxy Smartphone at the Centre Convencions Internacional in Barcelona during MWC.
Samsung’s obviously not giving anything else away in the invite, but the company has been teasing more via its @samsungmobile Twitter account.
— Samsung Mobile (@SamsungMobile) February 11, 2014
There’s still not a lot to go on there, but we know that we can expect a faster phone (from the icon it looks like faster data, too), more fitness integration and more privacy. This image still leaves a lot to the imagination, but it shows that Samsung’s keen to make the Galaxy S5 more than just a phone, but an essential bit of kit that you can use for everything.
As far as stone-cold facts that’s as much as we know for definite about the handset for now. However, from previous leaks we know that it’s very likely that the specs (see below) are correct and that the new Touchwiz interface (see below) will make an appearance. Read on to find out everything that you need to know.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 SPECS LEAKED
The high-resolution screen should come as no surprise to anyone, with a 2,560×1,440 AMOLED display set to appear. This will make the Samsung Galaxy S5 the highest-resolution smartphone. Screen size will increase from the Galaxy S4’s 5in, up to 5.25in. This is still comfortably smaller than the 5.7in screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
The camera should be upgraded, with the sensor moving from the 13-megapixel sensor of the Galaxy S4 up to 16-megapixels for the Galaxy S5. We don’t know if Samsung intends to introduce hardware optical image stabilisation (OIS).
Internally, the Galaxy S5 will have a choice of processors, with the 64-bit Exynos 6 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 both available. The Exynos 6 will use ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture, which means it will have four low-power cores available when the phone’s not doing much, and four high-power cores for more intensive tasks.
The choice of CPU is similar to the Galaxy S4, which had versions with an Exynos 5 chip and Qualcomm chip. In the S4’s case, this was because the Exynos didn’t support LTE; however, with the Galaxy S5, the Exynos 6 does support LTE, so there’s no clear split between models.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 TWO VERSIONS
At first, the Samsung Galaxy S5 was definitely going to be made of metal, then it was definitely going to be made of plastic, then it was definitely going to be made of metal again. So, what is it? Well, it really depends on who you want to believe.
Current rumours, as highlighted by the specs listed above, have the Galaxy S5 coming in two versions. That’s something that most people seem to agree on now, but the differences in versions are where the real disagreements happen. Some say that the two versions will differ by build quality, with one premium metal version next to a regular plastic version.
However, another rumour says that the Galaxy S5 will be made from plastic, but the versions will differ on specs.
A new report, published on Apple Insider stated that Samsung would be sticking with the polycarbonate shell that it’s been using for a while. The report was written by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good track record with this kind of thing.
He did say that rumours that there would be two versions of the Samsung Galaxy S5 were true. The smartphone will be available as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime versions. Rather than the Prime having a metal case, the differences will come down to the screen. The Prime will have a 5.2in 2,560×1,440 display, while the standard model with have a 1,920×1,080 screen. Both models would otherwise be the same.
This makes sense in a way, as we’d bet money that a 2,560×1,440 display would be hard to manufacture, resulting in lower numbers being available. With a big smartphone release, this wouldn’t be good enough. With a Prime and a standard model, Samsung makes sure that there’s enough volume out there for most people, while giving people that want to spend more money an even better handset.
More evidence of two Samsung Galaxy S5 models surfaced in recent benchmarks.
Discovered by SamMobile the leaked Antutu benchmakrs show results for two handsets, the SM-G900H and SM-G900R4. As we know from previous leaks, the G900 is the code name for the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Both devices share the same 16-megapixel rear camera, but differ internally. The SM-G900H looks to be the Standard version of the Galaxy S5, with a Samsung Exynos 55422 SoC running a 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM, with a Full HD display.
The SM-G900R4, meanwhile, has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset running at 2.5GHz, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a massive 2,560×1,440 resolution display. Unsurprisingly with a screen like that, this is expected to be the Prime or premium S5 variant. It too appears to be running Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
Of course, this is still just hearsay and conjecture, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see two Galaxy S5 models launched in February, but we’re going to have to wait a bit longer to find out what really separates them.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 BATTERY
Given how much we use our smartphones battery life is one of the most important features. There’s good news, as the Samsung Galaxy S5 battery will last longer and charge faster.
According to PhoneArena, the S5 is set to get a 2,900mAh battery, up from the 2,600mAh battery of the Galaxy S4. This could well mean improved battery life, with the new smartphone lasting longer between charges.
Apparently, the new battery holds 20 per cent more charge by volume. This means that even though the new battery has more capacity, it’s only going to be the same size as the current one. This, in turn, will help keep size and weight of the Galaxy S5 down.
Perhaps even more exciting is the information that the S5’s battery will have rapid charge technology in it. This would allow it to be charged in just under two hours. It will mean that if you do run your smartphone down, you won’t have to wait long for it to be fully charged again.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 OPERATING SYSTEM AND UI
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that, as the Galaxy S5 will be an Android smartphone, it will run the latest version of the mobile operating system: Android 4.4 KitKat.
As well as faster multitasking and a new immersive mode, KitKat also has better cloud integration. It also supports, on the right hardware, the ability to be activated by voice without having to press a button first.
So far, so obvious, but with Samsung adding its own tweaks to the operating system, the question is, how far will it go with modifying the operating system? Many people thought that the Galaxy S4 felt like a minor improvement over the S3, so completely revamping the OS could do the job.
EVLeaks, which has a good track record, recently posted a picture on Twitter of Samsung’s experimental smartphone UI. This could potentially be the interface that we see on the Galaxy S5.
As you can see from the image above, Samsung appears to have tweaked both the lock screen and one of the home screens, opting for square widgets that lock together, although it has also left a traditional Android home screen.
What’s making us think that this could the way that Samsung wants to go, is our time with the Samsung Galaxy NotePro and Samsung Galaxy TabPro tablets, which were launched at CES 2014.
These tablets have Samsung’s Magazine UX interface. This creates new home screens, with special square widgets that lock together, giving you all of your data in one place, with home screens for work, personal and media. It’s not dissimilar to the leaked smartphone screenshot, so it may well be that the Galaxy S5 has its own Magazine UX-style user interface.
This was seemingly confirmed, when the Samsung Galaxy S5 TouchWiz UI overhaul was leaked ahead of launch.
Revealed by @evleaks, the screenshot is alleged to be from the customised version of Android that the Galaxy S5 will use. Where as the previous versions of the smartphone had an icon-heavy interface, the new one looks a little Windows Phone, with a tile-based layout. It’s hard not to notice the similarities with the Magazine UX interface revealed at CES 2014.
With a brand-new interface to match the new hardware, Samsung seems intent to radically change how its smartphones look and feel. This could give the company a more ‘Samsung’ feel, helping to attract people to the brand.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 PROCESSOR
Apple moved its entire new mobile platform to 64-bit with the launch of the iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini, so it’s time for Samsung to play catch-up. By all reports, the Samsung Galaxy S5 will ship with a 64-bit processor as well.
Samsung’s CEO of Mobile Shin Jong-Kyun has stated that the company’s “next smartphones will have 64-bit processing”. There were rumours that the chip would be delayed and wouldn’t appear until the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was released later in 2014, but it looks as though Samsung’s back on track.
A senior ARM executive stoked these rumours further, telling the Korea Herald that the company had finalised a deal with Samsung to provide the Galaxy S5 with a 64-bit chip. This would make it the first Android device to support 64-bit operations.
The as yet unnamed chip is expected to be known as the Exynos 6, making it the successor to the Exynos 5 found in the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition. However, previous Samsung smartphones used Qualcomm processors here in the UK compared to Exynos chips elsewhere in the world, so it’s unclear if Samsung intends to use a similar strategy for the Galaxy S5.
This is particularly true following benchmark results that were spotted online showing an unannounced Samsung smartphone with a Snapdragon 800 CPU running at 2.5GHz – a higher frequency than any other mobile device released to date.
Of course, a 64-bit processor isn’t much good without a compatible 64-bit operating system. While Apple made the jump to 64-bit using hardware and iOS 7, Samsung doesn’t write Android, so it will need Google to write a 64-bit version.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 CAMERA
The 13-megapixel camera was one of the highlights of the Galaxy S4, but since then we’ve seen the 20-megapixel Sony Xperia Z1 and the incredible 41-megapixel Nokia Lumia 1020. It’s fair to say, then, that competition is tough and Samsung could go in several directions to up the quality of its camera.
Currently doing the rounds, reported by Samsung Tomorrow, is that the company’s ISOCELL sensor technology could be used in the Galaxy 5. This new sensor technology physically separates each pixel, minimising electrical crosstalk, producing sharper pictures with less noise.
GforGames reported that during Samsung’s 2013 Analyst day a slide revealed that a 16-megapixel ISOCELL sensor was marked for 2014 and 2015 smartphones. Although not an outright confirmation, it’s the biggest indicator yet that the Galaxy S5 will include a 16-megapixel rear camera. Unfortunately there’s no mention of optical image stabilisation (OIS), which could prove problematic if other smartphone companies up their camera technology in 2014 as well.
Recent information points to a 16-megapixel camera, thanks to a staggeringly dull photo purporting to be from the Samsung Galaxy S5.
— @evleaks (@evleaks) January 29, 2014
Rather than the clue being in the image, it’s more the EXIF data that’s of interest. EXIF data is embedded in photos, giving extra information, including the type of camera that took the picture and its sensor resolution. In the case of the dull red picture, the EXIF data said that the ‘camera’ was a Samsung SM-G900V with a 16-megapixel resolution.
As we know from other leaks, the SM-G900V is the supposed code name of the Galaxy S5. If this photo is to be believed, then, the picture not only shows that the Galaxy S5 is real, but also unveils its camera as having a 16-megapixel sensor.
Of course, this information has to be taken carefully. EXIF data is super-easy to edit, meaning that anyone could have faked the information and put the photo up online. The fact that the original image has since been removed doesn’t prove that it’s Samsung pulling it, but rather someone else in order to increase the intrigue.
We’re a little dubious of the image. After all, how would a Samsung engineer accidentally upload this picture to Flipboard?
Depending on how quickly Samsung’s engineers make progress, the Galaxy S5 could even see a 20-megapixel camera. According to Korean news source ETNews, the company is developing a 20-megapixel smartphone camera sensor now, with a view to include it in handsets from the second half of 2014 onwards. This would seemingly be too late for the proposed Q1 launch date for the S5, although it’s always possible the technology is perfected ahead of schedule, or the phone itself slips to a later launch date.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 EYE SCANNER
Samsung smartphones are renowned for their extra software features, with Smart Stay and Smart Pause turning off the screen and pausing videos respectively when the front-facing webcam detects you looking away. The company may go a step further, with the Galaxy S5 adding eye scanning security if a new patent filing proves accurate.
A detailed analysis by PatentBolt reveals how an upcoming Samsung smartphone could use a retina scanner, much in the same way as current iris scanners work now. Crucially, the patent explains that this design would be cheaper to implement than existing iris scanners, which makes us think this is one rumour worth keeping an eye on.
We’re beginning to see more smartphones put an emphasis on security, with Apple’s iPhone 5s using TouchID fingerprint sensors and the HTC One Max following suit. Samsung doesn’t like to be left behind, so we’re betting that there’s a good chance some form of extra security will make its way to the Galaxy S5.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 PRICE
It’s pretty clear that the Galaxy S5 is going to cost the same as the Samsung Galaxy S4, so expect to pay around £600 SIM-free. If there’s a whole bunch of extra tech in the handset we could see the price go up, but as Apple stringently keeps the same pricing structure, we can’t see Samsung wanting to be seen as the expensive manufacturer.