Barcelona, Spain — Samsung unpacked its fifth-generation flagship Galaxy S smartphone, adding stepped-up Wi-Fi and LTE performance, faster CPU, enhanced camera capabilities and fitness tools.
The Galaxy S5 is also Samsung’s first phone with fingerprint scanner, which appears on the display screen to unlock the device, unlock user-selected content and make secure mobile payments.
Separately, Samsung announced a fitness band promoted as the industry’s first with curved touchscreen display. The Gear Fit incorporates health-monitoring features and displays smartphone notifications.
Both products and the previously announced Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smart watches will be available April 11 in almost 150 countries, including the U.S. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have already announced plans to offer the phone.
The Android 4.4.2 phone with 5.1-inch display is said to offer the fastest autofocus speed of any smartphone up to 0.3 seconds. It’s also the industry’s first phone with built-in heart-rate sensor, the first to combine Wi-Fi 802.11ac with 2x2 MIMO to accelerate Wi-Fi speed, and the first to bond Wi-Fi and LTE to further accelerate data speeds.
The phone features 5.1-inch FullHD screen, only slightly larger than its predecessor’s 5 inches. The CPU steps up to 2.5GHz quad core from 1.9GHz quad core, and LTE is upgraded to 150/50Mbps Category 4 LTE. Up to eight bands of LTE will be supported.
The phone also adds water- and dust-resistance and ability to store Ultra HD video at 30 fps. It wasn’t clear whether the main camera captured Ultra HD video.
Like before, it features 2GB RAM, and 16GB or 32GB embedded memory, but in a change, the new model supports 128GB MicroSD cards compared with the predecessor’s 64GB card slot.
In other camera enhancements, the phone adds a selective focus feature to focus on a specific area of an object and blur out the rest, making it unnecessary to use a special lens kit to create a shallow depth-of-field effect, the company said.
The phone’s cameras feature 16- and 2-megapixel sensors compared with the S4’s 13- and 2-megapixel sensors. The phone also adds a more advanced HDR (high dynamic range) feature.
A new ultra-power-saving mode extends standby time by 24 hours when the battery drains to 10 percent capacity by changing the screen to black and white and shutting down nonessential apps and features. The phone’s battery goes to 2,800 mAh from the predecessor’s 2,600 mAh to deliver 10 hours of LTE web browsing or 12 hours of video playback.
The new phone also adds an adaptive display that analyzes ambient light and the screen’s content to optimize the viewing experience. A new super dimming mode lets users dial down the screen brightness so they don’t disturb others in the dark.
A one-click kids mode lets parents restrict applications available to children.
Other key features include a cleaner user interface, such fitness tools such as a pedometer and personal fitness tracker, and a new perforated pattern on back to provide a surer grip and make the back side shimmer. The phone will be available in multiple colors.
Wireless ANT+ technology enables communications between the S5 and sports and fitness accessories using that technology.
The Galaxy Gear Fit can be used as a standalone device or connect via Bluetooth to 20 Galaxy devices. It also incorporates ANT+ technology to communicate with ANT+ accessories.
The Fit features 1.84-inch curved Super AMOLED 432 by 128 touchscreen, changeable strap, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, IP67 dust and water resistance, heart-rate monitor, pedometer, stopwatch and timer. It also connects via Bluetooth to 20 Galaxy devices to display notifications and caller ID, reject calls and respond to a call with a canned message.
The battery lasts three to four days under typical usage, the company said.
Separately, the company noted that the Galaxy Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smart watches incorporate speaker, microphone and camera (in the case of the Gear 2) into their bezels instead of in the watch bands so users can change bands.
The Galaxy Gear Fit fitness band (shown below) is the industry’s first with curved touchscreen.