Samsung Galaxy S5 – what to expect

February 17, 2014

Samsung Brand Shots CES 2014-3

Mobile World Congress is quickly approaching, and it’s a pretty safe bet that we’ll be seeing the Samsung Galaxy S5 come February 24th. While Samsung has yet to officially confirm that the handset will be shown off at their MWC press conference, their current teasers make it pretty obvious.

Okay, but what exactly can we expect from the Galaxy S5 when it arrives? Sometimes we have such solid, unified rumors that it’s easy to say for sure “this is exactly what the next flagship will offer” . Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those times.

There are a ton of rumors regarding the GS5, and it’s hard to say what the rumor mill got right, and what is flat wrong. Nonetheless, we can at least take a look at some of the most prevalent rumors and reports to come up with at least a rough picture of what the next Galaxy S flagship will offer.

Design

More than one executive has made it clear that the GS5 will be a fairly different animal from the Galaxy S4. In fact, Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, recently mentioned that the “display and the feel of the cover” would be the most noticeable changes.

Samsung Galaxy S5 will reportedly come in two variants

So what exactly does that mean? Turning to the rumor mill, we’ve heard that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will reportedly come in (at least) two variants, one with a plastic casing, and the other with at least a partially metallic design.

The former of these models is said to be a base version with slightly lesser specs, and will likely at least somewhat follow the design language introduced with the Galaxy Note 3. If the metal version does in fact exist, it is expected to have more premium specs and may or may not debut under the Galaxy F name.

As for the front of the device? Rumors suggest that the device may have a 2K display, though it is probable that the handset will still rock physical buttons and a design that is pretty close to what we’ve seen from Samsung in the past.

Galaxy S5 Concept

Galaxy S5 Concept

Hardware

Over the last few months, we’ve heard varying reports about what kind of hardware the Galaxy S5 will pack. At one point, it was believed we’d see an iris scanner, now this is looking unlikely.

Based on the most recent (and likely most accurate) ‘leaks’, the GS5 is expected to debut with a 5.24-inch 2560×1440 AMOLED display with 560ppi. It is important to note, however, that a New York Times report claims that the handset will actually have a 1080p display, and not a so-called 2k screen. So which rumor is right? Perhaps both. If Samsung really is preparing two versions of the handset, it is possible that the base model will have a 1080p display and the premium model will instead opt for a 2560×1440 resolution.

Aside from the display, the Galaxy S5 is rumored to come in both a Snapdragon 800 (or maybe 805) and an Exynos variant. Other specs include 3GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, 16MP rear cam, a 3.2MP front cam and a 3200 mAh battery. It’s unknown whether the above-mentioned specs will be roughly the same for both the metal and plastic variants or not.

The new fingerprint scanner will be integrated into the physical home button.

Another new hardware element for the GS5 could be a fingerprint scanner, as several reports have mentioned in the past. Originally we heard that the scanner might somehow be integrated into the display, but a new report from SamMobile tells a different story.

The new fingerprint scanner is now believed to be integrated into the physical home button. Activating the reader will require you to keep your finger flat while swiping across the home button. Reportedly the reader will be able to recognize/store up to 8 different fingerprints.

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Software

Late last month a report surfaced claiming that Samsung and Google had reached a new agreement that would cause several changes take place in the world of Android. Reportedly, one of these changes would be that Samsung would scale back some of its own ecosystem efforts in order to better represent Google’s vision for Android.

We might see less focus on some Samsung features like the Hub this time around

We don’t know how much this agreement (if it is true) will influence the Galaxy S5’s software, but we do know that leaked GS5 app screenshots have shown off a look that is flatter, more vibrant and has a KitKat-esque design to it.

Some of the leaked images include a redesigned S-Voice app, a new Life logging app and a redesigned S-Health app.

s-health-updated

Bottom-line, while Samsung will certainly bring plenty of new software features to the table with the GS5, we might see less focus on some Samsung features like the Hub this time around, and more of a push towards Google services and UI design language.

Camera

Although the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3 both have rather impressive cameras, expect the Galaxy S5 to be a pretty big leap forward, at least if all the rumors prove correct.

The Galaxy S5 is expected to feature a 16MP sensor on the back and may even feature ISOCELL technology. For those that don’t know what this is, basically this new technology promises increased light sensitivity and higher color fidelity, even in poor lighting conditions.

We also imagine that the Galaxy S5 will include software improvements to better take advantage of the 16MP shooter. Very little information has been leaked about the new software, but we expect that its UI will at least be redesigned to fall in line with the other updated GS5 apps.

samsung galaxy gear aa 20

Galaxy Gear 2 support

Despite the fact that the Galaxy Gear hasn’t been on the market very long, we’ve heard several rumors that indicate the Galaxy S5 will launch alongside a next-gen Galaxy Gear. Whether this is a full-blow successor or just a revised variant remains unclear. If a new version of the Galaxy Gear is on its way, we can expect some form of integration with the Galaxy S5.

Whether this is a full-blow successor or just a revised variant remains unclear.

So why would Samsung release the Galaxy Gear 2 so quickly after the original? Since the first-gen hardware received mixed reviews, it’s possible that the company wants to quickly address their mistakes in order to make a bigger dent in the wearable market.

Keep in mind that we don’t know with any certainty whether or not the Galaxy Gear 2 is really on its way in time for MWC.

Pricing and Availability

It’s obviously too early to say exactly when the Galaxy S5 will hit store shelves, where or how much it will cost. That said, we can look back at Samsung’s history to get a better idea on pricing.

Considering the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4 were both $199.99 with two year contract and around $550-600 outright, it’s likely that at least one of the Galaxy S5 models will follow suit. Several rumors have suggested that the premium Galaxy S5 will cost more than past generation Galaxy S handsets, however. How much more is anyone’s guess.

As for availability? Lee Young Hee was quoted not too long ago stating that the Galaxy S5 release date will fall somewhere in March or April. Considering the GS5 will be unveiled at the tail end of February, we imagine early-to-mid March seems likely, but that’s just speculation on our part.

We aren’t so sure on what countries will get the handset when, but we do know that the Galaxy S4 launched with on 327 carriers in 155 countries, so we imagine a similar (or even larger) rollout will occur for the GS5.

Wrap up

Although the Galaxy S4 was a solid handset, there were many folks that felt it was too similar to the Galaxy S3 in terms of design and overall device size (even if the display was larger). We might not know all the specifics about the GS5, but we are fairly confident, based on both rumors and Samsung exec remarks, that the Korean giant is intent on delivering an experience that will truly stand out and take the Galaxy S brand to whole new heights.

What do you think of the Galaxy S5, based on the current rumors? What killer features do you hope to see offered with the next-gen Samsung flagship? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Comments

  • AndroidBoss

    Hopefully we don’t get any fake metal or another laggy version of Touchwiz. A smooth one will be good.

    • SSDROiD

      Exactly what about TouchWiz is laggy? I am genuinely interested in knowing, as I see lots of people complaining about it, but none of them provide actual examples. Please elaborate!

      • RusticKey

        Not sure, all Android phones lag. I’ve seen a Nexus 5 and Note 3 head to head in person; both lagged.

        • dandroid13

          This.

        • AndroidBoss

          Do you need to go to an eye doctor?

          • RusticKey

            I don’t. The reason why I sold my Nexus 5 was because it’s only a placebo in terms of smoothness for me. The Note 3 catched up with the 4.4.2 update.

        • AndroidBoss

          Yeah you need to go see one.

          • dandroid13

            Android will always lag, no matter you believe it or not, blame Google and the Java RT..

          • AndroidBoss

            It’s so obvious you haven’t used an Android device, especially a stock Android one.

          • dandroid13

            It’s obvious you don’t understand how Android works.

          • AndroidBoss

            It’s obvious you are some kind of troll with “Droid” in your name.

          • dandroid13
          • AndroidBoss

            Well go use iOS or Windows Phone, just get outta here.

          • dandroid13

            You must have anger issues.

          • AndroidBoss

            Nope.

          • Guest

            I do. Destroy yourself with fire please.

          • Jayfeather787

            The article’s bullshit.

          • Andy Roid

            It’s obvious you haven’t noticed he’s the Android Boss…

          • AndroidBoss

            Lol.

      • Android Developer

        True.
        The only thing I’ve noticed is the slow bootup of the contacts/dialer app, and that if it has both Hebrew and English contacts, its scrolling has “jumps” between them.

        • AndroidBoss

          Hebrew and English contacts, hmm what a random example.

          • Android Developer

            It’s not just contacts. any listView (an Android list UI component) that has both RTL language (right-to-left language, like Arabic and Hebrew) items and LTR language (left-to-right language, like English) has this issue.
            Even the settings screen has “jumping” scrolling issues if the device is set to Hebrew language.

            I don’t think it occurs only on Samsung devices.
            I think it happens on Nexus 4 too.
            It’s just that on Samsung devices, it’s very noticeable on the contacts app.

      • Naza Clemente

        Well my GS4 takes watly longer than it should to open the photo gallery but other than thay I don’t see any real lag issues.

      • AndroidBoss

        Well, it defiantly isn’t all that laggy, but you will notice lag while using it. I like to compare Touchwiz with stock Android like on the Nexus 5. Launching apps on Touchwiz is slower than on stock Android, especially with ART running on Nexus 5. Also, especially while multitasking, you get some lag here and there especially when doing things fast; so basically not smooth. Meanwhile, while doing this on stock Android, it’s buttery smooth and faster. One more thing when you’re in the app drawer on Touchwiz, and same thing on stock Android, and you press the home button, the transition is much faster on stock Android. These are basically what I noticed while using Touchwiz on S4 and Stock Android on Nexus 5.

        BTW I didn’t vote down your comment, someone else did.

        • dandroid13

          So it isn’t lag, just a different animation?

          • AndroidBoss

            A laggy animation.

        • Tarik Akleh

          The transmission is delayed because TW is awaiting another press of the home key to launch S Voice. Disable S Voice, the transition becomes as fast as Nexus 5.

        • mikegonzalez2k

          You can disable the animations in the Developer Options.
          I dd this to my GS4 and even TouchWiz ran much more smoothly.

          http://www.howtogeek.com/175033/how-to-speed-up-any-android-phone-by-disabling-animations/

      • Jayfeather787

        1) When ever I am on another screen and I press the home button.
        2) Whenever I swipe through the widget drawer.
        3) Whenever I switch between the apps and widgets.
        4) Whenever I tap to switch a page in the app drawer or widgets so you know its not depletion of the entropy pool.
        5) Any intense game that is slower than on a phone with the exact same specs.
        Just to name a few.

        • dandroid13

          So the average user keeps switching between the apps and widgets all the time or swiping through the widgets to kill boredom, clever.

          • Jayfeather787

            It doesn’t matter where it lags. It just does.

      • Amine Elouakil

        If you didn’t use another smooth device you’ll be under the impression that it’s normal since you don’t have a benchmark, try to go to a shop and compare the performance in day to day usage of an S4 to a N5 or an iPhone or an HTC One, heck even the G2 doesn’t have as much issues. You can reboot the device to check so

      • kstagg

        I’ve had the GS2 and now have the GS3. Neither of which is laggy. The GS2 I rooted. The latter I did not. It’s more of a “hey, I think it’s laggy too! Can I jump on this tw bashing bandwagon!” – effect. I actually like TouchWiz.

        • SSDROiD

          Finally I met someone who isn’t afraid to say they like TouchWiz! Personally I love TouchWiz (cue the downvotes!) and that combined with removable battery are the reasons why I think Samsung is awesome. But like you said, it’s hip and fun to hate on Samsung, so I guess instead of me waiting to see people admit they like it on the Internet, I should rather check Samsung’s future smartphone sales to measure exactly how many people actually like it.

    • NexusForLife

      Touchwiz is a stuttery and laggy piece of crap. Its just a bunch of bloatware running on decent hardware. Nexus for life. lol.

      • AndroidBoss

        Yeah sometimes, but doesn’t mean its a piece of shit.

    • Guest

      did “plastic korean” ring any bell ? that’s why samsung loves plastic, which is idiotic.

    • jay

      What to expect from the S5… a 5S

  • xchanot

    snapdragon 805 is unlikely.

  • dandroid13

    ISOCELL + OIS = killer camera

  • Chris Lutes

    Considering my carrier just came out with the s4 a few months and I got it right away, knowing the s5 is coming out only tells me my support and upgrades are quickly coming to an end. This seems to be an epic disappointment from most companies now. And for htc to boast 2 yrs guaranteed support and upgrades….I call bull$$$t. Samsung for me seems to be the leader in keeping happy customers. I really hope they keep it up.

    • Mystery Man

      S3 got kit kat so….

    • Teehee

      S3 is closing in on the 2 year mark and still getting updates, so most likely Samsung will support their flagship line for minimum of 2 years. Their low-end phones, most likely not.

      • Chris Lutes

        If my s4 gets long enough to cover the contract I’ll be very happy. Htc desire hd lasted 1 month into the three yr contract. I was pissed and done with htc for life.

        • Amine Elouakil

          huh? I had a Desire HD and I get like 3 or 4 major updates, while yes the device didn’t get ICS and beyond, it always got Sense update latest version of 2.3.x and security and fix updates, Speaking of update in that era, I’m pretty sure the S1 didn’t get any better updates and in fact, it lived with the previous version of touchwiz.

  • Gilles LeBlanc

    Nothing wrong with my galaxy gear and note 3. Only thing wrong with gear is the general dislike for wristwatches now a days.

  • Jesus

    Touchwiz brings many conveniences to the user… e.g. at the dialer, swiping left on a person means call them; right means txt. So simple, should be an Android standard. Also I love Smart Stay and Multi Window, and couldn’t live without those.

    But Touchwiz also brings stuff that people wouldn’t use… like S Suggest. I don’t need it.

    • Teehee

      They recently passed a law in South Korea, that phone manufacturers have to give the option of uninstalling pre-loaded apps. Hope this hold true for handsets in the U.S. since there are some I would use, and some I wouldn’t even touch.

      • Amine Elouakil

        the law only applies to the local market

      • Jesus

        I hope they pass a law like that, everywhere, not just South Korea…

  • Amine Elouakil

    Of course the device will be a success and will sell in millions the Galaxy S brand is strong, and Samsung is not ready to ease the billions of dollars they are porring in marketing but for me to consider this device it has to get fix some serious things

    1-No Pentile screen (once you see it you cannot unsee it) for those who doesn’t notice it they are fine but I do.
    2-Lag inefficient OS, Crapware, gimmicks….ect ect (The Note 3 was a good step forward from the horrible S3 and the sluggiesh S4 but it’s lags and shutter and some core apps)
    3-Built quality and this very important for me, If I’m going to pay premium price I want to have a premium product, or at least no fake chrome/faux metal and lether stetching, this is the worst for me, if you want to make a plastic phone that’s fine, just focus on making it feel better in the hand like a Lumia phone rather than wasting ressoureses of faking it, or at least just have an honest product like the Nexus 5

    As for the internals, there is nothing to worry about, I bet Samsung will have beffy hardware, with huge amount of ram, a great SoC, and what’s not

  • Ruz

    S5 still lacks a lot in terms of sound quality speakers, internal DAC’s, high quality noise cancelling mics, extra long battery, etc

  • Libano-Barcelonais

    All i can say is that i seriously hope that the S5 design is different than its predecessors ! i bought an S4 then sold it 3 months later because i was very dissapointed .. even if it was thinner with nice specs compared to its older brother (S3) .. at the end i felt i was like any other Iphone lovers, where they rush to buy the new iphone simply because they added an S to the same older phone …
    the 24th is around the corner .. we shall see …

  • curiousfox

    I’m tired of these “what to expect” articles on all these blogs, just a bunch of unconfirmed rumors! When news is dry they write these silly fillers!

    • richard w

      If you’re going to moan dont read it nobody has put a gun to you’re head and forced you…. idiot.

  • Groud Frank

    I think most people are overlooking one very useful feature that I think Samsung will implement and that is Always Listening and Vice Control that’s integrated with Google Now and not S-Voice(I hope).

  • Jermaine Smit

    In basic i already made something months ago about what we could see for the Galaxy s5. The only thing so far that i got wrong is the Screen size. I said it would probably be 5 inch. But next to that ram processor and more i got “correct” xD But it is pretty mutch putting 1+1 :) Anyway good article! And nice to see my concept here! (even though it is not my best concept..)

  • WhoIsDaveGalt

    The rumors all sound great, and I can’t wait to get one… But I sure hope it has a brighter screen. I can’t stand that my wife can read her iPhone in bright daylight, while I have to search for a shady tree in order to view my S2!

  • Jay Holm

    I would be very, very pleased if it had slimmer bezel similar to the G2. Also, can someone enlighten me on the benefits of ISOCELL?

  • cycad007

    Anyone hear that Samsung is using Tizen for Galaxy Gear? Read USAToday’s story…Samsung’s updated smartwatch to shun Android

    It’ll soon be Samsung Tizen vs Google Android!

  • Steve

    Super camera, processing power and killer display all accompanied by a battery that probably lasts only half a day under heavy use. What an achievement! When are you going to make a bigger battery Samsung? Come on already!

  • Tony

    What about incorporation of the Active’s rugged features in the S5..thats what I.’d like to see!!

  • Chico13

    samsung better not disappoint got a lot of hopes set high

  • wayne chan

    I wud buy the SGS5 if the price is right. I really dont care about the Camera upgrade. I am not big on picture taking addiction as such. My SGS3 Camera is a winner, with my latest snapshot of Boeing 787 Dream Liner at San Francisco International Airport. The Boeing 787 is unique and smart looking aircraft when on the ground and on air.

    So far I am happy with my SGS3 CAMERA. The most important feature of any smartphone for me is the INTERNET and not a new CAMERA upgrade!!!

  • kozjegyzo

    Hoping for a Play Edition again. Actually it would be cool, if all Android devices had the option to choose between the device maker’s ROM and AOSP at bootup…

  • DanDingello

    THIS BITDEFENDER AD IS REALLY ANNOYING! I CANT EVEN READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE

  • Dan

    I don’t understand the disdain for plastic. As long as it is not the glossy plastic from the galaxy S3, I am all for a rugged plastic. Plastic performs significantly better in shock absorption vs metal. Most people put cases on their phones anyway, so does it really matter THAT much? As long as the plastic isn’t hideous (which I wouldn’t assume because their most recent iterations are actually quite nice) then who cares? As long as the phone performs, that is all that matters to me.

  • Andro

    Samsung Galaxy S5 is a amazing product. It is better than previous product, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy SIII.
    Samsung Galaxy S5 have high performance and specification, equivalent with its price. For Indonesian people who looking for information of this gadget’s price you can look at here Daftar Harga HP Samsung Android

  • xd feng

    Consumers are generally into electronic consumer goods which mostly contain rigid flex circuits. Actually the FPC’s involvement is significant to the consumer goods’ appliaction.