Galaxy S5 Unpacked: Fingerprint Scanner, Waterproofing, And More

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Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) has finally shown off the Galaxy S5, which at first glance looks a lot like the Galaxy S4. However, underneath the hood, Samsung’s new flagship handset promises even better performance than the S4.

Galaxy S5 rumors finally put to rest

Today’s unveiling finally allows us to put the many rumors about the handset to rest. We’ve heard everything from waterproofing and dustproofing, a fingerprint scanner, a 16-megapixel camera, and possibly even a retina scanner. Of course all those rumors may make the actual unveiling of the Galaxy S5 seem almost like a non-event since there were pretty much no surprises this time around.

Galaxy S5 features slightly bigger display

The display on the Galaxy S5 is slightly bigger at 5.1 inches in size, and looks nearly indistinguishable from the display on the S4. It’s a 1080p Super AMOLED screen. One giveaway that this is Samsung’s new model, however, is a new button which features the fingerprint scanner we’ve been hearing about. The home button also has capacitive keys aimed at making multitasking, plus the usual back button you see on Android devices.

Once again, fans hoping for a Galaxy S5 with a metal casing are disappointed because it’s nothing but plastic again. However, the new USB 3.0 charging port now has a cover to make it waterproof. In fact, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) said the handset is IP67-rated for both water and dust resistance. According to The Verge, that basically means that the S5 can be placed into up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

Galaxy S5 looks different from the back

Although the front of the Galaxy S5 looks pretty much like that of the S4, the back looks quite a bit different. It sports a sort of soft-touch, dimpled look, which makes it easier to hold and less likely to slide off smooth surfaces. The finish also may be Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930)’s attempt to address the complaints about the cheap feel of the S4’s casing. The handset is available in blue, gold, black and white.

The new handset will launch with Android KitKat on board and the usual user interface from Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930), along with the company’s own features. It also has a faster quad-core processor, a bigger battery and a 16-megapixel camera.

Other features of the Galaxy S5

The handset also features an improved S Health app, along with a heart rate sensor on the back. It’s undoubtedly meant to go along with the Galaxy Gear 2 smart watch. The app on the S5 provides coaching and feedback to users as they exercise.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930)’s version of the fingerprint scanner differs a bit from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Touch ID sensor in that it can be used to authenticate purchases through PayPal as well as unlock the phone. The sensor in the iPhone 5S only unlocks the handset. Also Samsung’s sensor works by swiping the finger vertically across it. However, one disappointment is that the fingerprint authentication doesn’t work with the Google Play store. And like Apple’s Touch ID scanner, The Verge says Samsung’s fingerprint sensor appears to be very unreliable.

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