With the unveiling of Samsung's newest flagship phone just weeks away, here's what we already know.
[Update] The Galaxy S5 is now official. Samsung unveiled the phone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 24. Click here for all the official information on the GS5.
Samsung late last night sent out invitations to an Unpacked event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month. The rumor mill has been churning out talk of an Unpacked event for weeks, namely because Samsung is supposedly going to reveal the Galaxy S5 at the show. With the invitation sitting in our inbox with the not-so-cryptic title 'Unpacked 5,' we're taking a quick look at what we know about Samsung's upcoming GS5.
First things first: the chip. According to Eldar Murtazin, who has a pretty good track record when it comes to leaks relating to the mobile industry, Samsung's Galaxy S5 will pack the company's own Exynos 6 or Snapdragon 805. Samsung usually offers one or the other depending on the LTE support in a given market. The Snapdragon 805 was announced in November of last year and showed up at CES in January. This Krait 450 quad-core CPU runs at speeds of up to 2.5 GHz per core, packs Adreno 420 graphics and is optimized for UHD capture and playback. Samsung hasn't yet given us any details on Exynos 6, but previous rumors have talked about a 64-bit chip powering the GS5. A leaked image of what purports to be the retail packaging for the GS5 were sent to SamsungGalaxyS5.nl and lists a quad-core CPU clocked to 2.5 GHz. That, and presence of LTE support on this model, suggests we're looking at the box for the Qualcomm version.
The Galaxy S4 has 2 GBLPDDR3 RAM. More than enough for a cell phone, you might argue. However, it seems Samsung is bringing its flagship Galaxy S phone in line with the Note 3 in terms of RAM. According to Murtazin, the Galaxy S5 is going to have a full 3 GB of RAM to go along with that Snapdragon 805/Exynos 6 SoC. Leaked packaging sent to SamsungGalaxyS5.nl confirms 3 GB of LPDDR3 RAM.
If the Galaxy S5's SoC is geared for UHD, then it makes sense that the Galaxy S5 have a stunning display to go along with that. Way back in November, we heard that the GS5 would have a display that measured more than 5 inches in size and a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution. The latest reports reiterate that resolution and put the screen size at just over 5.2 inches for 560 ppi. In case you're counting, the Galaxy S4 boasts 441 ppi while the iPhone 5S boasts 326 ppi (unchanged since the iPhone 4). A photo of retail packaging sent to SamsungGalaxyS5.nl lists a 5.25-inch QHD Super AMOLED display.
The camera on the GS5 is another feature we've been hearing about for a while. The rumor mill has been talking about a 16-megapixel camera with Samsung's ISOCELL technology to boost photography in low light settings. This fits in quite nicely with what we heard about the S5 before. The 16-megapixel sensors will also apparently use Samsung's ISOCELL technology which allows for better photography in low light settings as well as improved color, sharpness, and richness. Cell phone camera technology has come a long way in the last five years, but Samsung is hoping to kick things up a notch with the GS5. The front-facing camera has a 3.2-megapixel lens. Not too shabby when you consider the iPhone 3GS also had a 3.2-megapixel lens for its main camera. if you've got your fingers crossed for an even bigger lens, you might like to know that the most recent rumors (via retail packaging sent to SamsungGalaxyS5.nl) point to a 20-megapixel lens in the back and 2-megapixels up front. Yikes.
There's nothing too exciting here. Murtazin says 32 GB and 64 GB capacities. This could be down to the fact that the Galaxy S4's system used a whopping 8 GB of storage. That didn't leave a whole lot of space if you'd ponied up for the 16 GB model. If this rumor turns out to be true, we'll be sure to quiz Samsung on the issue.
Way back in 2012, Samsung talked about its new phones going all day on one charge. Smartphones are becoming increasingly powerful, not to mention larger every year; battery life continues to be the thorn in smartphone users' sides. Part of Samsung's goal was to develop phones that use less power but also increase the size of its batteries. The Galaxy S5 is a testament to that commitment. Though the Galaxy S4's battery is a respectable 2600 mAh, the Galaxy S5 is apparently going to have a monstrous 3200 mAh pack. According to retail packaging sent to SamsungGalaxyS5.nl, the Galaxy S5 will pack a 3000 mAh battery.
We haven't heard much about how the Galaxy S5 is going to look. All in all, the Galaxy S line hasn't really changed too much in terms of aesthetics over the years. We've heard whisperings that the Galaxy S5 could be rather different though. Rumor has it, the GS5 could ditch the plastic casing in favor of a sleeker metal design. The metal would definitely give the GS5 a premium flavor, and if the above specs are close to what we'll see in Barcelona, the phone deserves a slick chassis to match its insides.
This is the biggest question of all when it comes to the Galaxy S5, which we first heard about in October (just six months after the GS4 was released). In a world where rumors regarding the new iPhone start as soon as the current generation has been announced, that's not too bad. The GS4 had a solid six months in the spotlight before people started wondering if they should hold off for the new model. It was announced in March and went on sale in April. If you look at the history of the Galaxy S, you'll see Samsung doesn't really have a clear pattern when it comes to launching new models. The first one hit shelves in June, the second and third launched in May. We reckon we're looking at a March/April launch for the GS5.
The iPhone 5S made waves with its fingerprint scanner home button. Almost immediately, there was talk of other manufacturers implementing similar technology in their own devices. SamMobile is 'confirming' that the S5 will incorporate fingerprint scanning technology and even goes as far as to explain how it will work. Apparently, Samsung (like Apple) will be integrating the technology into its home button and users will need to swipe the pad of their finger from base to tip across the home key to unlock their device. You'll also be able to verify your Samsung account with just your fingerprint. What's more, users will be able to register a total of eight fingerprints for performing tasks on the phone, though one of these must be to unlock the device.
This brings us quite nicely to another feature of the device, which is the ability to 'hide' specific applications, folders or content that you don't want others to see. Access to these folders can be protected via the fingerprint scanner or by pin or pattern code. Pretty neat, especially these days, when our phones contain so much private information.
Word from Samsung
Samsung's already teased us with an 'Unpacked 5' media invitation, but with Mobile World Congress just around the corner, the company is kicking things into high hear. The company just today released a video trailer for its MWC event. This video is essentially a bunch of words with the same power of 5 exponent next to each one. The following words appear in the promo one after the other: Together, explorer, curiosity, dad peace, wet, free, family, victory, connect, party, relax, surprise, alive, social, moment, brothers, courage, play, concert, ride, flip, dream, speed, fun, style, life. Of course, the presence of some words is more telling than others. For example, Samsung's inclusion of the words family, fun, life, courage, or brothers likely doesn't mean very much. However, we're wondering if other words, like wet, are a hint about the device itself. Could the next Galaxy device be a water resistant one? We'll find out very soon. In the meantime, check the video below:
The Chance for Disappointment
SamMobile recently linked to additions to the AnTuTu benchmark database that point to a phone believed to be the S5. The only catch is that it doesn’t have a Snapdragon 805 under the hood. Instead, it’s the Snapdragon 800 with Adreno 330 graphics that we’ve all come to know and love over the last year. There's also only 2 GB of RAM (as opposed to 3 GB), and instead of the glorious 2560 x 1440 resolution mentioned above, this phone is packing a 1080p screen. The presence of a 16-megapixel camera is what suggests it might be the S5. Now, it’s possible this could be a prototype unit without final hardware, or that this is an updated version of the Galaxy camera (also known as the GS4 Zoom), or an S5 'lite' of some kind, but it wouldn't be the first time we've heard a ton of great rumors about an upcoming phone only to be disappointed when the device is actually unveiled. Fingers crossed Samsung isn't going to show up to MWC with a really disappointing update to its flagship phone.