Samsung’s Galaxy S5 was finally unveiled last night during the company’s UnPacked 5 press event in Barcelona, Spain – and while a lot of the features seem more evolutionary than revolutionary, that was definitely the point. Samsung wanted to add build on to features that it says consumers want in a device. So far, it looks like the company really delivered on that promise. Let’s take a look at five of the top Galaxy S5 features now.
1. The 16-Megapixel Camera
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has the best camera the company has ever offered on a smartphone. It’s a 16-megapixel shooter and loaded with features like automatic real-time HDR, 0.3-second face-detection auto-focus and even a dedicated chip to help make image processing quicker, and to help present the clearest photos possible. There are other options that let you add blur, too, so your pictures look more like they would if they were snapped with a DSLR. It might be a gimmick, but it’s also an option should you want it.
2. The Fingerprint Reader
Apple wasn’t the first to add a fingerprint reader on a smartphone, but it was the first to add one on a massively popular device. Now Samsung is entering that arena — the Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint reader on the home button. With one swipe, you can unlock your device, access a secure folder with images, videos and other files, or even make payments online with PayPal. Samsung hasn’t discussed other third-party partners just yet, but we hope to hear more soon. It would be really cool if the firm inked a deal with Google for Google Play payments, or if you could use your fingerprint to launch apps — a feature HTC added on the One Max last year.
3. Heart Rate Monitor
Samsung put a huge focus on health monitoring during its press event, and as part of that focus it’s launching S Health 3.0 with brand new features. One option is to track your heart rate, and you can do so thanks to a new sensor on the back of the Galaxy S5. Simply launch S Health 3.0, hold your finger over the LED, and the display will start showing you your heart rhythm and your beats per minute (BPM). The jury is still out on how accurate the reading is – we’d like to see analysis from a doctor first – but we imagine it will help you during workouts.
4. IP67 Water and Dust Resistance
This is a huge and awesome feature – Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has an Ingress Protection rating of 67, or IP67 for short. That means it’s resistant to both water and dust. You can drop the phone in a puddle by mistake, for example, without having to worry too much. Samsung also suggested you could use it in the shower, though that seems risky considering the firm’s Galaxy S4 Active was prone to water damage, despite a similar promise. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean it’s water proof, so don’t go swimming to the bottom of your pool with the Galaxy S5.
5. The Best Samsung UI Yet
Samsung didn’t really say what its UI is called, but it’s definitely an evolution of Nature or TouchWiz or whatever you refer to the old one as. Icons are flatter, much like we saw Apple do in iOS 7, and the notification shade is much easier on the eyes. The colors are still there, but they’re more toned down. Samsung also did a good job of keeping the boatloads of features available on the Galaxy S4 out of your main view. Everything is still there as an option, but you’re not bombarded by icons for various features. Meanwhile, Android 4.4 KitKat paired with a Snapdragon 801 processor seems to help keep everything super fast. Hopefully it stays that way.
There’s a lot more to like about the Galaxy S5. It has a larger 5.1-inch display, a more premium feeling back panel, support now for up to 128GB microSD cards instead of just 64GB microSD cards and more color options. Samsung also promises amazing battery life thanks to technology that turns the screen black/white to save power when you’re running low, faster downloads with 4G LTE/Wi-Fi working together and more, though we’ll need to try everything out before we label those as the best features yet. Either way, there’s a ton to look forward to.