Samsung Galaxy S5: Everything Australians Need To Know

Right on schedule: the Galaxy S5 is here, and we've got everything you need to know about the new waterproof, dustproof, fingerprint sensor-packing, HD screen flashing and rad software-toting flagship. In short? It's awesome, and we have details for Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile.

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Specs

Here's the important stuff:

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will run a Qualcomm 2.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB and 32GB storage variants (expandable with MicroSD). Keeping it alive is a 2800mAh battery.

The screen itself is a 5.1-inch Full HD SuperAMOLED, with a resolution of 1920x1080. On top of it is Android 4.4 with Samsung TouchWiz.

It's packing a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2.1-megapixel front facing camera for video calls, and packs a USB 3.0 charging port which is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports.

It weighs just 145 grams.

Design

The Galaxy S5 is packing a 5.1-inch Full HD SuperAMOLED screen, making it 0.1 inches bigger than the Galaxy S4 in terms of screen size.

Samsung is changing its design language for the new Galaxy S5, once again taking design cues from the enormous Galaxy Note 3. Gone are the nature-inspired finishes, sounds and imagery.

Instead Samsung is calling its new design language "Modern Flash". Basically it's an attempt at fusing technology with high-street glamour with shiny finishes, bright colours and unique textures. The S5 will come in four colours, branded as Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold.

New security options have been introduced into the handset, with the S5 packing a biometric fingerprint scanner under the home button.

Best of all, the S5 is now waterproof and dustproof, so you won't get done for dropping your phone in the toilet now.

Connectivity

The Galaxy S5 will support 4G/LTE with compatibility spanning across 26 different markets around the world.

More importantly however, the S5 will support 802.11ac Wi-Fi and MIMO technology, meaning Multiple Input, Multiple Output for speeding up transfer speeds. Samsung is also sticking its download booster tech into the S5.

Basically, download booster mans that it uses both Wi-Fi and LTE to pull files over two different connections, which theoretically doubles your total speed.

Because it can potentially use a heap of your data across two different connections, Samsung says it's disabled by default, but it isn't a bad idea to boost your 4G connection however you can when you get to home, school or work.

Camera

Samsung really wants to leap ahead with its camera tech in the flagship Galaxy S5, and it's looking at the capabilities of the compact mirrorless camera market to do it.

The 16-megapixel camera boasts phase detection auto-focus with a 0.3 second capture time.

Samsung's new processor in the S5 also allows the camera to do real-time previews of HDR images before you capture them, rather than having to press capture and wait a few seconds to see how your photo came out.

The Galaxy S5 also has the ability to refocus an image after you've captured it. Don't be fooled into thinking it's the same as a Lytro light-field camera, however: it's more like the Nokia Refocus app in the way it works.

The phone captures between three and four images and combines them into a single file. The Album app then allows you to "edit" the photo and select between Close, Near and Far focus presets. Because the Selective Focus images are four photos large, the file sizes range between 14MB and 20MB each shot.

The camera also has the ability to shoot 4K/UHD video at 30 frames per second. We can't see any support for the H.265 compression codec, however, meaning that these file sizes will also likely be massive.

Software

Samsung is running Android 4.4 Kit Kat on the Galaxy S5, with a less obtrusive version of TouchWiz than we've seen on previous devices. Odds are that the bottom dock will still be locked in the Australian software version, however, which is disappointing.


The S5 will also carry an updated version of S-Health, with support for an optical heart rate monitor on the back of the device next to the flash for measuring your pulse.

TouchWiz also has a setting that lets you dynamically switch off features to enable a massive battery life in a new feature called Ultra-Power Saving mode. Ultra-Power Saving changes the screen to greyscale, limits the number of usable applications, prevents apps from using mobile data in the background and turns off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. By doing so, the battery lasts for around 20 hours before dying. It isn't meant to keep you alive with all the features you'd want, but it's meant to give you basic phone features when you're away from power for an extended period of time.

Samsung's Flipboard skin, My Magazine, has been moved to the far left screen where Google Now is on the Nexus 5.

Pricing And Release Date

Pricing information for the Galaxy S5 has finally been released. It'll be available on Telstra, Vodafone, Optus and Virgin, as well as outright through various online and bricks-and-mortar retailers. You can find all the pricing and availability info for Samsung's latest flagship in our dedicated post.

Luke Hopewell travelled to Mobile World Congress as a guest of Samsung.

What do you think of the Galaxy S5? Let us know in the comments!


Comments

    Would have liked to have seen a bigger battery...

      You will be able to buy one just like you can for the S1, S2, S3 and S4! wow! much battery!

    I want to see how well the fingerprint scanner works.

    Samsung really needed to hit this one out of the park, they didn't. Small upgrades are actually starting to annoy me. I dont want to feel like my phone will be obsolete in 6 months because they realized they could have put a few more megapixels into the phone.

      Totally agree. This is uninspiring. Just another iteration. The "Ultra power saving mode" is not the battery tech improvement I was hoping for.

      Yeah I know what you mean. It's apple all over again doing small upgrades.

      Out of interest, what would you have expected/liked to see? Doesn't seem that incredible to me, but doesn't seem any different from any of the other updates to any other handset. I cannot think of a manufacturer in the world who just revolutionizes things ongoingly. Apple's latest update was heralded as fairly revolutionary but in reality it was just a different form factor (longer) and had a fingerprint sensor heh.

        of late? id say the lg g2 putting the buttons on the back. Love it or hate it, its interesting and bold. Personally i loved the idea so much, i went out and bought one and couldent be happier. I didnt like other phones where i felt i had to dislocate my thumb to reach the power button.

        Some people dont like it tho which is cool too, it just means that hopefully other companies will see and like the idea and make it even better.

        I would rather see companies innovate in other aspects of the phone instead of just adding in a faster processor that lets face it, you wont really see the benefit of.

        Example, they could add thin lcd screens to the sides of the phone for notifications, color etc or like miniguns or something

          a decent upgrade doesnt have to be a revolutionary screen
          just because its the most major feature of a phone, doesnt mean that if they dont change the layout or formfactor, that its not innovative

          Innovation doesnt lie only in aesthetics

          it takes more $ and RnD to develop faster processors and radios
          USB 3.0 and AC wireless with MiMo antennaes in such a small device is a big deal
          and a long time coming. Also samsung improves their screen technology each year. They use a tick tock approach like intels processors where they either give it a resolution bump or ugrade it to better OLED technology

          Just because you cant see it doesnt mean its not innovative

          Also unless graphene because fully productionised and we have paper thin, flexible electronics, we wont see a new leap in mobile design for a while.

          I predict the next true evolution is a folding or rolling up phone

          with curved and flexible wraparound displays (similar to your lcds on the side design) that LG and Samsung have prototyped to be the interim leap

          This phone is also miles ahead of apple's crap whove only really focused on software. The fingerprint scanner on both brand's devices is a bit of a joke because no financial institution would current use it to authenticate transactions, so pretty much a gimmick for logging in only

          Last edited 25/02/14 12:22 pm

      Such a pack of whingers. Nobody owes you an exponentially better phone every 12 months. I'll continue to buy the old models for 1/3 the price and be blown away by a genuine appreciation of what these people are doing with physics, electronics and code.

      Doesn't bother me. Most of us are on 24 month contracts. When mine expires later this year, i'll upgrade from the s3 to the s5.

      I think most people do the same thing. They're just slowly improving the product every year and so the get the every second one works well. You also don't feel like you've really missed out when the next phone comes out.

      When the s4 came out, I didn't feel like I was missing out terribly having an s3. S4 uses should feel the same and just wait for the s6.

        Most of you are not on 24 month contracts, you lot account for about 20% of the smartphone owning population in Australia. Pull your head in.

          Rofl at "pull your head in"

      There probably isnt a whole lot that they can add to this phone to make it the massive upgrade you were hoping for, without the cost being well over $1200

    Samsung is becoming like Apple with their frequent releases and pushes to upgrade to get slightly better specs. They're doing it right though, with about a third of the global market.

    Samsung needs to deal with the slow release cycle for upgrades to the OS. KitKat has already been available for 4 months and most Samsung devices in most countries still haven't received it. I have a Tab 3 and some sites are suggesting it might take until July 2014 for it to receive KitKat. That is absurdly slow!

      Samsung probably have to combine/test their crappy OS overlay with the new versions of android each time, I doubt they can just hit upgrade after google gives it to them.

        Agreed, but given that they caused the "problem" then it is theirs to fix. I don't want excuses; I want the upgrades for which I paid good money.

          You bought a tablet 3? I don't see how they owe you anything, you were never promised Kitkat in the advertising. As for the software problems, which other major manufacturers have rolled it out yet? HTC? NOPE! Sony? NOPE! LG? One handset and only with one provider. Look, it is going to take time, they probably have already finished most of the work it is just QA work left to be done to make sure there aren't a bunch of problems.

            Please do not tell me I am wrong when you have no idea what you are talking about!

            I am telling you that the advertising at the store where I bought the device, which was Samsung advertising, clearly indicated that it would be upgraded to KitKat. I SAW the advertising; you did not!

            I bought the device around the time that KitKat was being released and so it was an important issue for me as to whether or not to buy a device at that time or wait for next devices with KitKat installed. That advertising is the only reason that I bought the device - on the promise that it would be upgraded to KitKat and with the expectation that it would be done so within a reasonable timeframe.

              So it is Samsungs fault that a 3rd party miss represented them? That seems a little ridiculous. What feature that is not present in Jelly Bean that was added in Kitkat was so good that it MADE you buy said product? Last time I checked Kitkat is not exactly revolutionary.

                You really are not the sharpest pin in the tin are you? Clearly, actually reading and comprehending are beyond your abilities - though trolling to inflame a situation is certainly something about which you are adept.

                I have told you already that it was SAMSUNG ADVERTISING. I said nothing about it being 3rd Party advertising. Which bit of SAMSUNG ADVERTISING are you finding the hardest to understand? It is just two words.

                Why did you say 3rd Party advertising when I CLEARLY said that it was SAMSUNG ADVERTISING?

                You are wrong, just accept it and move on. Unless you have something of actual value to add to the discussion, then please do not bother responding, again.

                  When you lie do you die a little on the inside? The boxes for the Tablet 3 have never said anything about 4.4, samsung in general never advertise anything about updates. Jumping on the samsung hating band wagon gets you nothing except scepticism. As for you claims of me trying to troll you, well thats a joke, it is hardly my fault you are a keyboard warrior and feel the need to insult some one at the drop of a hat.

                  EDIT: I also don't see any part of your previous posts that states it was a Samsung advertisement, merely that there was an advertisement claiming so.

                  Last edited 25/02/14 3:43 pm

                  There you go again - you just makeup anything you desire to make yourself feel better.

                  1. I NEVER said that the advertising was on the box. To say so is just another concoction by you.
                  2. Being annoyed with a situation does not make a person a hater. My ONLY criticism has been of the release cycle of their updates.

                  If you believe that a person dies a little when they lie, then you must be moribund.

                  You seem pretty good at not replying to parts of my comments that are convenient to you so I will sum this up.

                  I was not trolling you originally, I made a statement about development times of which I was correct (if you look up update releases they are slow from all manufacturers), I then said that it was not Samsung's fault that 3rd party advertising was wrong (because you never stated it was Samsung, please re read your comments) and my final comment was about Samsung never advertising updates.

                  I only provoked a reaction because you decided to insult me, maybe you should calm down and take a moment to realise that being a key board warrior won't stop me from calling BS.

                  As some one who sells tablet 3's I can tell you that information has never been released about 4.4 for advertising purposes.

                  Last edited 25/02/14 4:27 pm

    Best of all, the S4 is now waterproof...

    The actual physical design still looks boring/dated as hell. I know they cant make them look like iphones, but do they have to make them look like a smartphone from like 5+ years ago?

    Last edited 25/02/14 7:40 am

      I quite like it. I hated the S3 design and the S4 was kind of neither here nor there. I don't understand nor like the needless curves on the other ones, but that's just my taste!

      Edit: The back does look pretty terrible, but id say that leather probably FEELS pretty nice!

      Last edited 25/02/14 10:55 am

    @riavan absolutely agree - so...damn...ugly. Minimal performance improvements and 6/10 for looks - I think I'll skip this and stick with my HTC One for another 12 months at least.

    Any idea if us S4/Note 3 owners are going to get an update to the "less obtrusive" version of TouchWiz??

    Oh, and 4.4.2 would be nice too...

    Every thing we need to know. That after months of hype and rumours most were dead wrong and what we have in another lame ass Galaxy update. As small a jump as the S3 -> S4. Looks the same, will be a bit faster than the S4. The only thing I like is a slightly bigger screen. One glimmer of hope maybe if the sensor uses the ISOCELL technology.

    However, they are not alone, the Sony Z2 was equally as insipid an update as will the HTC One+, leaving only LG to try and offer anything new (unlikely) on the G3.

    Disappointed about the 2800mAh Battery, a 4000mAh would have been enough to turn me from the dark side.

      And just make the device like a third thicker? No thanks. People always forget this with batteries it seems.. It's a trade off for space. In theory each generation gets more efficient as WELL as more powerful, so while the battery is the same, the life of that should, in theory and depending on use (its more powerful so if you max that out 24/7 then this will clearly be untrue), be better.

        Going to have to disagree with you there. Phones these days so much power. When you use it for navigation, podcasts, bluetooth in the car, music etc the power is just not enough. I would tolerate a 1/3 thicker for more battery life. I am so sick of charging my phone at every point: home, work in the car.

          Welp, you are in the minority - thus why products don't do this. Using an inductive charger with my lumia 920 - about 5 minutes on charge simply by placing it on my desk gets me about 30-40 minutes of youtube or pandora or games.. So if I am at my desk for 30-40 minutes a day.. that's a hell of a lot of charge, in addition to the overnight charge.

          Just doesn't make good sense for that small amount of inconvenience (even plugging a damn cable in is like what, 2 seconds tops?), and even then, for the minority of users that are classifying themselves as "always running out".

            If you worked in a phone store, you'd know consumers that complain & have issues with battery life are definitely not the minority. I don't mean to come across like a jerk, but this is my experience anyway.

            The general smart phone user does not understand all the settings that destroy battery life like you would. There's such a massive list depending on the make of phone... push/fetch, automatic background updates & usage, wifi, BT, 3G/4G, all of Samsung's "smart" features etc etc...

    Looks good!!! Seems a lot of people want revolutions in their phones! It just doesn't work that way.

    all i can think about is various tech blog editors on youtube getting 90% of their predictions about its features

    wow thats one ugly phone. still no where near the design of the htc one or iphone. im more excited about the sony xperia z2

    Glad to know I'm not the only one who's underwhelmed by this update... is the processor 64bit or 32bit, do we know?
    And what's with the sudden leap into 4K video, is that really a thing already? Surely the quality is going to be appalling this early on? Who even needs 4K video quality out of a phone camera? Capture home movies in ultra-high definition! Seems a bit excessive to me...

    I don't get why it has a heart rate sensor. If I wanted a heart rate device I would buy a fit bit or similar device.

    Should this say S5? "Best of all, the S4 is now waterproof and dustproof, so you won’t get done for dropping your phone in the toilet now." Very excited about the new S5!

      Just noticed that, thanks very much for pointing it out!

    If they sold this in a "Google Play edition", I'd be slightly inclined to give up my Nexus 5 (which is only a couple of months old). The fingerprint scanning and waterproofing did it for me, as I'd use the first feature all the time, and the other one would be good to have anyway.

    how "meh"was this release. probably the most boring and uninspired they have done. im pretty underwhelmed.

    It's got some great improved features a few new ones and a couple of design improvements but I don't see it as a big jump from the s4... The major let downs are the yet again plastic body and no improvement on the speaker sound ... until I see it work under sunlight I'm bound to say even the screen is hardly better... If your going to focus on improved cameras a design feature then why can't u finally make a camera button? I can't comment on the finger scanner until I use it and let's hope the knox security mode works conveniently. A few nice spec improvements like dual download but 2gb ram and no major jump in battery performance makes me gringe... yet again ppl do expect too much ...After all they probably only got 9 months between th s4 and the s5 to come up with the product tested and rtm for distribution.

    Disappointing to see any amount of innovation this year at Wmc, everything left me with an overwhelming feeling of 'meh'. And the lack of any device running a Snapdragon 805 is interesting, given how long ago it was announced

    5.1" screen? What is with the constantly increasing size in phones? It's hard enough to hold the S4 in one hand and to reach all around the screen, let alone deciding to make it bigger.
    Now if they put this into a 'mini' version whilst not sacrificing key features/specs (Sony Xperia Z1 to Z1 Compact style), then I'll be on board in a heartbeat!

    Galaxy S6, Pico Projector in a phone

    A bit disappointing. The rumors were Exynos Octa 64 bit, no bezel screen, 2K resolution, multiple SKUs with a premium metallic casing, 32GB or 64GB internal storage (not 16GB and 32GB). We got none of this. It's a very incremental update, similar to Apple.

    The CPU is marginally faster than the Snap 800 which has been around for half a year now. Time to wait and see what the competition does.

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