Feature Article

February 24, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 Unveiled: Boasts Fingerprint Sensor and Heart Rate Monitor

Samsung’s new flagship phone matches up to be Android’s response to the iPhone 5s. There was a lot of hype surrounding the first unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S5 today at Mobile World Congress, which lived up to some rumors about fingerprint sensors and offered surprises on a built-in heart rate monitor and waterproof device.

As with any highly anticipated release, the rumors and expectations were flying leading up to today, but what Samsung brought to the table wasn’t too unorthodox — which likely disappointed some, and reassured others. Let’s start with what the Galaxy S5 doesn’t have.

Although it wasn’t likely, there were still rumors that Samsung’s 2014 flagship would feature a curved screen, or multiple displays, or some other out there feature. Well, that isn’t the case. The Galaxy S5 is a flat, single-display smartphone that pretty much looks like the Galaxy S4. There are some differences, of course.

For starters, the S5 has a slightly bigger display, besting the S4’s 5-inch Super AMOLED panel by a fraction of an inch to clock in at 5.1 inches. Meanwhile, rumors of an ultra HD resolution also turned out to be false as the Galaxy S5 sports the same 1080p resolution as its predecessor.

In fact, these types of marginal improvements are par for the course for the S5, which sports a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, CAT 4 LTE support, and a 16-megapixel camera — all nice, but fairly minor upgrades over the Galaxy S4. To be fair, though, the phone’s camera is capable of capturing video at 4K resolution, something the S4 can’t claim to do.

The trend of minor updates also applies to the physical design of the S5, which should look very familiar to S4 owners. That said, the S5 does mix it up with a soft-touch plastic back that should come as a welcome change from the glossy hard plastic typical of Samsung devices.

There was one S5 rumor that was at least somewhat correct: The phone does sport a fingerprint sensor, but it doesn’t span the device’s entire screen. Instead, Samsung went with a design similar to the iPhone 5S and embedded the sensor within the Galaxy S5’s home button. Unlike the iPhone, however, the S5’s fingerprint sensor recognizes swipe commands, is able to register three separate fingerprints, and can be used to authorize PayPal payments.

Surprisingly in this age of leaks, the Galaxy S5 managed to keep a couple of secrets: Namely the fact that it is dust and waterproof and that it sports a built-in heart rate monitor. As you might expect, the monitor can track its user’s pulse and report that information via Samsung’s S Health 3.0 fitness app.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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