bunch of fives
Samsung’s latest Galaxy is fighting off HTC while embracing the future, with fingerprint scanning, heart-rate monitoring and 4K filming in tow
MUCH LIKE htc’s one m8, THE Galaxy S5 is a carefully considered upgrade rather than a complete reboot, with Samsung running through a greatest hits of 2014’s headline phone updates before sprinkling a few esoteric extras on for good measure.
Fronting the whole shebang is a big and bright 5.1-inch Super AMOLED full-HD screen, with the same 2.5GHz quadcore Qualcomm 801 processor found on the HTC One M8. The rear brings more upgrades, with the camera boosted from 13 to 16 megapixels and able to shoot video in 4K. You’ll need a 4K TV to watch it, though, as the screen can’t display 3840x2160 resolution.
Following the success of Apple’s TouchID, Samsung has added a fingerprint scanner to the home button, providing extra security but also able to authenticate PayPal payments. Who takes advantage of this tech, much like Apple’s Passbook, will depend on future deals, but we’re hoping the convenience catches on.
Riding the fitness tech wave, Samsung’s also packed the S5 with a heart-rate monitor, activated by holding your finger over a sensor next to the camera flash for eight seconds. We’re not sure we’d trust it to be medically accurate, but it can assess the strenuousness of your workout (and bleep at you to do more). Imitation is the highest form of flattery elsewhere, too, with Samsung following Sony’s lead by making the S5 water-resistant for thirty minutes in up to a metre of water.
Yet the most compelling feature here is seemingly the most basic: Ultra Power Saving. Answering the constant tech cry for longer battery life, this disables non-essential functions and switches your screen to black and white when you’re running low. Put the S5 in this mode with ten per cent battery left and we’re promised an extra 24 hours of calls and texts. Yotaphone, come in, your time is up…
The Galaxy range has rarely turned heads like the iPhone or One, but the faux leather back might change that for the wrong reasons. Look beyond aesthetics, though, and the S5 offers a strong mix of cutting-edge features and smarts to give it an edge in the Android battle. Which should win upgrade hearts and minds? Come back next issue to find out…