In 2013, we saw the rapid growth of Samsung and the release of 2 of their flagship devices, the S4 in April, and the larger Note 3, in September. These phones were immensely successful, with over 40 million S4s flying off the shelves within 6 months and 10 million Note 3s sold in the first 2 months of release. Now though, it is time for Samsung to release the new eagerly anticipated S5.
There have been lots of news coming from the S5 rumour mill, and we have consolidated all the rumours into this article. Do check back often as we will be constantly updating this article with the latest information.
2 DIFFERENT MODELS?
Rumours have been circulating around of 2 different versions of the S5, a cheaper version, dubbed the SM-G900F, and a premium version with better specs, called the SM-G900S. This is somewhat similar to what Samsung did to the S4, releasing 2 different versions, the GT-I9500 and the GT-I9505. The former is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa chipset, with 8 cores, and the latter is powered by a less powerful quad-core Snapdragon S600. Unfortunately, only the quad core version was available in Singapore and that was a disappointment to some, so hopefully, Samsung have learnt their lesson and will stock the premium version in Singapore this time around.
Last week, Vivo became the first manufacturer to release a 2K resolution phone, the Xplay 3S (read more about it here). Many other companies also have plans to include a Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) screen on their flagship devices, so it is highly likely that the S5 will follow suit with a 1440p AMOLED display. The screen size will likely be similar to the Galaxy S4, at 5″, or upped slightly to 5.25″. This works out to be around 587 pixels per inch (ppi) for a 5″ display, or 560 ppi for a 5.25″ display, representing a 33% increase in pixel density compared to the S4’s 1080p display at 441 ppi. However, another benchmark for the SM-G900F indicates that the cheaper version will only come equipped with a standard 1080p display. Nevertheless, the difference between a Full HD and a Quad HD display is not really noticeable to the human eye, so it may not turn out that bad after all.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 will most likely not come with a curved display, sporting a conventional flat screen instead. This is unlike their own Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex released this month. So far, curved displays have not caught on completely in the smartphone market, so Samsung is afraid that they may lose out in sales if they go ahead with a curved display. It is also reported that Samsung is unable to produce its curved screen in sufficient quantities for the S5.
The Galaxy S5 is rumoured to come with a 16 MP camera for both variants. 16 MP is great quality for a smartphone camera, but we were hoping that Samsung could follow in the path of the Sony Xperia Z1, with a 20.7 MP camera, or even the Nokia Lumia 1020, with a 41 MP camera. That being said, a 16 MP camera is still good enough for a smartphone.
Rumours have emerged of the S5 sporting a 64-bit Exynos or Snapdragon chipset, similar to the A7 processor found in the iPhone 5s. The new Snapdragon S805, clocked at 2.5 GHz, with an Adreno 420 GPU, might make an appearance here as well. But then again, Samsung might pull off the S4 trick and release both versions with separate processors.
Coupled with 3GB of RAM, which is great for multitasking and memory intensive applications, and a 4000 mAh battery, which is more than enough to pull you through the day, this phone might set a new benchmark for flagship devices in 2014. It will also likely feature Android 4.4 Kit Kat straight out of the box, along with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface.
We are not done yet. The S5 is also rumoured to be equipped with an iris recognition feature. This allows you to unlock your phone with a quick eye scan, similar to other methods, like the fingerprint sensors on the iPhone 5s and the HTC One Max. Definitely a cool way to unlock your phone and authorise your payments.
Previous Samsung devices have used large amounts of plastic, including the S4. Despite repeated complaints about the plastic feel of the S4, Samsung has once again decided to use more plastic in the upcoming S5. This is unlike earlier rumours, which indicated that the S5 will come in a metal design. However, there is a slight possibility that the premium SM-G900S version will have a metal design, while the cheaper SM-G900F will come in a plastic.
Using plastic is not so bad after all. Their previous flagship devices came with removable batteries and expandable storage, which allowed you to swap out flat batteries and expand your memory space up to 128GB, which might justify the use of a plastic backing in the eyes of some.
The S4 was released in April this year, but with sales of the S4 slumping, Samsung might push forward the announcement of the S5 to as early as February, with a possible release in March. There has also been reports of the S5 entering mass production, so an announcement is imminent in the coming weeks. We might even see an announcement at the Mobile World Congress happening in February.
The S4 was priced at S$998 off contract, while the Note 3 was priced at S$1048 off contract, so we might see the S5 falling in this price range as well.
Samsung is usually the first manufacturer of the year to release their flagship device, so the S5 will likely set the benchmark for other flagship devices to follow, similar to what the S4 did this year. If the rumours are true, the S5 will definitely be one powerful machine and will be worth taking a look at.
Other brands, like Sony and LG, are catching up with Samsung, and next year will definitely be a bumper year for smartphones and innovative technology, with tough competition amongst the brands. So, can Samsung set the pace for next year with their S5 and remain the top seller in the Android market? Or will they lose out to the competition?