Yesterday Galaxy lovers, Android aficionados, and smartphone consumers watched as Samsung announced the S5 features from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and while the specs are impressive, Samsung continues to build on the success of the Galaxy line with improvements that make it tempting for iPhone users to switch and S3 and S4 users to break their contracts and upgrade.
But what do the numbers and tech talk really mean? Lots!
I’ve long considered the Samsung Galaxy line to be the Cadillac of Android devices when reviewing the SII and S4 and am here to translate the specs to share what the numbers really mean. Many improved features make the Samsung S5 an even better device for parents if you’re consider pre-ordering or purchasing it in April when it becomes available in stores.
Incredible Camera to Capture All of Life’s Moments
- Specs: 16 MP rear camera, 2.0 MP front camera, and HDR (Rich tone), Selective Focus, Virtual Tour Shot, Shot & More, with video stabilization
- Translation: We capture so many of life’s moments on our smartphones and Samsung knows it. From their smart cameras to smartphone cameras, they are putting the consumer first by creating imaging tools that are easy for taking, editing, and sharing photos. The S5 features dual cameras like the S4 and iPhone but the specs have improved. Galaxy S5 boasts a 16 megapixel camera (compared to iPhone 5s’ 8 MP and S4’s 13 MP), the world’s fastest autofocus speed of 0.3 seconds, and High Dynamic Range (HDR) that reproduces natural light and color with incredible intensity.
What this means for you: Better photos and videos than you’ll get from your S4 or iPhone plus an arsenal of tools that will have you reconsidering the purchase of the DSLR you’ve been eyeing. The Selective Focus feature does what a DSLR would do but without the need for a special lens while the fast autofocus speed means that you can capture even the most active child at their best on your S5.
HDR means the S5 is one of a few select smartphones able to capture 4K video. This means you can throw previous generations of video cameras away and just use your phone for home movies. For best resolution, connect your S5 directly to your television, preferably a 4K Ultra High Definition one that were all over the show floor at CES this year.
Another cool feature is the new Selective Focus that provides the user with the ability to tap the screen and focus on a specific area while blurring the background that only adds to our arsenal of mobile photo tricks. After all, what Samsung S4 user doesn’t already love Shooting Mode features? It’s ok. You can admit to always using Beauty Face and Instagram filters for those perfect headshots.
Integrated Heart Rate Monitor
- Specs: Heart rate sensor and S Health 3.0
- Translation: Fitness wearables may be hot but you won’t need one with the S5, whose heart rate sensor tracks your pulse and then provides data via the S Health 3.0 fitness monitoring app.
What this means for you: While you may be interested in the recently announced Samsung Gear Fit or the Gear 2, if you exercise with your phone, the S5 may do everything you need it to since it will still count steps and keep track of calories burned like its predecessor.
- Specs: Finger Scanner, Kids Mode, and Private Mode
- Translation: If you aren’t concerned about mobile safety, you should be. Samsung has followed in Apple’s footsteps by introducing a Finger Scanner, a biometric way to ensure your phone’s security by reading your fingerprint.
What this means for you: Biometric screen locking is a helpful feature especially if your phone is lost or stolen since it prevents someone from accessing your information, kids from downloading apps from Google Play without your knowledge, or your spouse from using Google Wallet via your device.
TechCrunch reports that the S5’s fingerprint sensor allows you to register up to three different fingerprints. This means that you can authorize your spouse and a child to have access to your phone if you so choose.
According to ReadWrite.com, Kids Mode “is designed for parents whose children use their devices; it limits what those younger users can access.” To me, it sounds a bit like Kindle Free Time that allows kids to have access to age appropriate content on a device that is also designed for parent use.
What about Private Mode? According to a representative from Samsung Mobile’s public relations, “Private Mode works with Finger Scanner to keep documents, photos and apps private if someone uses your phone.”
Dust and Water Resistant
- Specs: IP67 dust and water resistant
- Translation: Having a dust and water resistant phone is nice but it’s hard to say how much abuse the S5 can really handle without the opportunity to test it. Chances are it will do just fine with occasional splashes but might not survive a dunk in the pool come summer.
What this means for you: A little less worry when it comes to the usual dust, dirt, water, and grime that comes from regular use and protection from the grubby mitts of the youngest members of the family. Just remember that the S5 isn’t invincible though and it will probably still need a protective case to protect the sides and screens from bumps and drops.
- Specs: 5.1”
- Translation: While the iPhone may boast an ergonomic design that comes from lots of research, let’s be honest, bigger is sometimes better. The Samsung Galaxy S4 already had a screen that was considerably larger than the iPhone’s 4” one but the S5 features a 5.1” screen versus the S4’s 5.0” screen.
What this means for you: More screen real estate means a larger space on which to view YouTube clips while waiting at the pediatrician’s office and play Flappy Birds. While it won’t necessarily prevent sibling squabbles over having to share one device, a bigger screen means larger overall images and less squinting. Yay for less overall eye strain for everyone!
Power Saving Features
- Specs: Ultra Power Saving Mode
- Translation: Nothing is worse than being in the red and Samsung announced that the S5 will come with Ultra Power Saving Mode that will turn the display to black and white, and shuts down all unnecessary features to minimize the battery consumption.
What this means for you: Going from a brilliant full color screen to black and white Ultra Power Saving Mode will be a little shocking but it’s good to know that by turning off extra features automatically when your battery is low, you’ll be able to receive that one last call or text you’ve been anxiously waiting for. Until I have a chance to test this, I’d still always recommend a portable power supply for recharging on the go.
- Specs: 142.0 x 72.5 x 81.mm, 145 g or 5.1 oz
- Translation: Since they’re always with us, smartphones are lifestyle accessories. This means that they need to be sleek and stylish for men and women alike which isn’t an easy task. Described as “sleek” by Samsung, the S5’s design goes along with the Galaxy brand that users know and love but will come in “charcoal Black, shimmery White, electric Blue and copper Gold to complement the style of the individual consumer.”
What this means for you: The colors are vivid and have a slightly metallic sheen to them and a bit of texture thanks to the little dots that punctuate the back cover. If you like using your phone with a case, then it can be gorgeous and sleek without the added bulk of a protective accessory.
The S5 weighs in at 15 grams heavier than the S4 but it’s hard to tell how noticeable this will be especially to users who are upgrading from the previous model. iPhone users will notice a significant difference since the 5s only weighs 3.9 ounces compared to the 5.1 oz S5.
- Specs: 2800 mAh
- Translation: According to Samsung, the S5 features 390 hours of standby time and 21 hours of talk time.
What this means for you: Nothing except that the battery is better than the one in the S4. Battery life in any phone always dependent on how what the user is running on. While the specs seem impressive, there are always other features that can drain battery. A smartphone that is constantly searching for wifi or Bluetooth enabled devices, syncing with cloud applications, and is running other apps uses more battery faster than an phone where some of these things are temporarily disabled.
- Specs: 2.5 GHz Quad core application processor
- Translation: Cores are central processing units (CPUs) that allow your computer or phone to multitask by running multiple applications. According to Make Use Of, “more cores help if you’re looking to do more at once.”
What this means for you: Do you know how many applications you’re currently running on your phone? Android users can visit the Task Manager (or swipe from the top of the home screen) to see how many applications are running at the same time. iPhone users can double tap the home button to view the apps that are running. Having more cores enables you to have all these apps working at the same time. If your phone feels slow, you may be overloading the processor.
Without doing a side by side comparison of the S5 against the S4, it’s hard to say exactly how much faster the processor is and how many more applications you can run on your phone at the same time. We’re pretty used to multitasking on our phones so chances are the S5 will allow you to continue running what you’re used to and probably more.
New features means that Samsung continues to be cutting edge with the S5 making it a huge competitor to Apple as it seeks to gain market share and tempt iPhone aficionados to join the 200 million Galaxy loyalists. Some things like networking ability (802.11ac and cat 4 4G LTE) and the operating system (Android 4.4.2- Kitkat) are exactly what you’d expect from a new generation of any phone.
The price for the Samsung S5 is yet to be determined but based on what has been announced, will you upgrade your Android device or bid your iPhone goodbye?
Honestly, there are things that I appreciate about both the Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone so until I can get my hands on an S5 for testing, I can’t exactly say what I’m going to do about my personal smartphone choice. Stay tuned as I hope to get my hands on a Samsung S5 for a full review soon after the April release date!
For more information, visit these links:
- For a full comparison of specs, Mashable’s Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. the Competition also has a great comparison chart showing how the S5 stacks up to the iPhone 5S, Nexus 5, and Nokia Lumia Icon.
- If you’re wondering if you should upgrade from your Galaxy S4 to the S5, DigitalTrends features an easy to read chart that puts the specs side by side.
- For the full press release, read Samsung’s press release: Samsung unveils Galaxy 5 to focus on what matters most to consumers.
- For more images, visit the Samsung Press Room.
No compensation was received for this post. All images courtesy of Samsung.