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Samsung Galaxy S5: All The Hardware Rumors So Far

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 50 comments

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.

Processor

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.

RAM

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.

Display

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.

Camera

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.

Storage

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.

Battery

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.

Styling

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.

Release Date

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.

Security

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:

Samsung Unpacked Event

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.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    ohim , February 5, 2014 2:09 AM
    2560 x 1440 on such a small screen is quite a waste of graphic power thus battery power also ... my S3`s 720p is quite enough for my eye.. i said .. ok 1080p for S4 to get on the FullHD bandwagon .. but 2560 x 1440 is stupid and is only for marketing purpose to make the brainless consumer go get it just because of higher numbers. Where are the days when you would compare your phone with 2 digit day numbers of batery life?
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , February 4, 2014 11:12 PM
    And it now packs a better gesture sensor (better air gesture), compared against its predecessor
  • 1 Hide
    wtfxxxgp , February 4, 2014 11:49 PM
    This is going to be a beast of a phone if any of those specs are accurate. O.o
  • Display all 50 comments.
  • 21 Hide
    ohim , February 5, 2014 2:09 AM
    2560 x 1440 on such a small screen is quite a waste of graphic power thus battery power also ... my S3`s 720p is quite enough for my eye.. i said .. ok 1080p for S4 to get on the FullHD bandwagon .. but 2560 x 1440 is stupid and is only for marketing purpose to make the brainless consumer go get it just because of higher numbers. Where are the days when you would compare your phone with 2 digit day numbers of batery life?
  • 0 Hide
    wtfxxxgp , February 5, 2014 2:33 AM
    Quote:
    2560 x 1440 on such a small screen is quite a waste of graphic power thus battery power also ... my S3`s 720p is quite enough for my eye.. i said .. ok 1080p for S4 to get on the FullHD bandwagon .. but 2560 x 1440 is stupid and is only for marketing purpose to make the brainless consumer go get it just because of higher numbers. Where are the days when you would compare your phone with 2 digit day numbers of batery life?


    Hmmm...I hear the argument. And I agree to a degree. But let's face it, these days we stare a lot more at our phones and you can never ever say you're sick of how crisp the display looks. If the battery is going to be that size then they're compensating for it, no doubt there would be power-saving features as well. I say, show off Samsung! Do it. I just can't justify the expense for myself...ALL I want to be able to do on my phone is browse the web relatively often, chat to people and take the odd snap shot. I have my PC for gaming and everything else.
  • 2 Hide
    ZeroRequiem , February 5, 2014 3:23 AM
    Well I'm still fine with my S3 but those specs looks promising.
  • 0 Hide
    kawininjazx , February 5, 2014 6:04 AM
    Still love my S3, though Verizon's updates keep making it slower, might have to root and flash it.
  • 1 Hide
    Yuka , February 5, 2014 6:17 AM
    I'm still waiting for a killer feature that will make me change my beloved S2: great phone reception and battery life. Not even a mention to the antennas or what tech they'll use for the antennas? WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC? I know they're standard, but different chips pack different results in terms of signal strength and battery life. I don't care about the gigantic display or the ton of bloatware they put in it, I want a fully functional phone with a decent camera (looks like they'll deliver here, good) and great Android support from the CyanogenMod, which I hope the S5 gets. Also, SD. If it doesn't have an SD slot, I'll look the other way.

    Cheers!
  • 2 Hide
    eklipz330 , February 5, 2014 6:20 AM
    spec whores are going to jerk off on this, but in real use it makes no sense and is truly an incremental upgrade. that useless increase in resolution will certainly tame back any boost in processor speed, and i still believe dedicated handhelds are superior for gaming, and will always be. F2P model is disgusting.phones are already ridiculously quick and can handle almost everything thrown at them instaneously. battery life is the only thing that really needs to be improved on, and maybe a camera. my galaxy nexus is finally slowing down, that is nearly a 2.5 year old phone.
  • 0 Hide
    santiagoanders , February 5, 2014 6:28 AM
    This would be a PPI limit for me. I can't focus on anything closer than 6 inches, and at that distance it's a "retina" screen.
  • 1 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , February 5, 2014 6:41 AM
    Quote:
    5.2" screen , that's more like a small tablet already
    Nah. Not even as big as the last Note, which isn't as big as the Xperia Z Ultra. And I love the screen size. All that BS about "not fitting in pockets" I keep hearing - what kind of pockets do those people have? 7'' is too big, but about 6'' is ideal.
    Quote:
    Still love my S3, though Verizon's updates keep making it slower, might have to root and flash it.
    MIGHT? Just do it. US system of selling phones via carriers is stupid bloat that walks all over the poor customers.
    Quote:
    I'm still waiting for a killer feature that will make me change my beloved S2: great phone reception and battery life.Not even a mention to the antennas or what tech they'll use for the antennas? WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC? I know they're standard, but different chips pack different results in terms of signal strength and battery life.I don't care about the gigantic display or the ton of bloatware they put in it, I want a fully functional phone with a decent camera (looks like they'll deliver here, good) and great Android support from the CyanogenMod, which I hope the S5 gets.Also, SD. If it doesn't have an SD slot, I'll look the other way.Cheers!
    Ah, damn, don't remind me of S2, I have one from a friend with a seemingly busted (for no reason after 2 years) eMMC chip... can't flash any firmware on it. Great phone otherwise, but newer phones offer moar. I like that latest Samsung devices have USB 3.0, for instance. Do not worry about microSD, it will surely have it. Newly released Samsung tablets all do (check out their specs, mad stuff!), and so will S5. As for Cyanogenmod, I was just looking it up for myself (also want S5 and DEFINITELY need CM support, stock Android is garbage) and S4 has the latest version. Note 2 does not, though - only 10.1. And it doesn't even depend on the chipset - there is a supported version of S4 which runs Snapdragon 800, but a Sony Xperia Z Ultra with the same chip has no version above 10.1.
  • 2 Hide
    Innocent_Bystander , February 5, 2014 7:08 AM
    Good replacement if your old phone bites the dust but if you already have at least an s3, I don't really see the point. Samsung and,apple are,just learning what platform maturity looks like. IB
  • 3 Hide
    brandonjclark , February 5, 2014 7:21 AM
    Honestly, these updates are too close. I haven't even paid off my newest contract. At least let me enjoy my phone for awhile.
  • 0 Hide
    segio526 , February 5, 2014 7:27 AM
    At this point, I would really love to see this thing come out without any hardware (or fixed capacitive) buttons. It seems very unlikely that it will though, they're really stuck on that hardware button.I'm really looking forward to the "blind" view tests. Take an GS4 and a GS5, but them each behind a piece of cardboard with a 4.5" 16:9 cutout and have each phone cycle through a bunch of 4K images. That should put to bed whether or not people can tell the difference past XXXppi.
  • -1 Hide
    wtfxxxgp , February 5, 2014 7:33 AM
    Quote:
    At this point, I would really love to see this thing come out without any hardware (or fixed capacitive) buttons. It seems very unlikely that it will though, they're really stuck on that hardware button.I'm really looking forward to the "blind" view tests. Take an GS4 and a GS5, but them each behind a piece of cardboard with a 4.5" 16:9 cutout and have each phone cycle through a bunch of 4K images. That should put to bed whether or not people can tell the difference past XXXppi.


    So past 101010 ppi? :lol:  I keeed I keeed.
  • 0 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , February 5, 2014 8:30 AM
    Quote:
    At this point, I would really love to see this thing come out without any hardware (or fixed capacitive) buttons. It seems very unlikely that it will though, they're really stuck on that hardware button.
    Thanks to Samsung for that. Hardware buttons are great to have. Frees up screen estate, acts as notification light, makes sure no app can make them disappear and their functionality is ALWAYS available.
    Quote:
    Honestly, these updates are too close. I haven't even paid off my newest contract. At least let me enjoy my phone for awhile.
    Unless you are hell-bent to have the latest and greatest hardware or play the most demanding mobile games, you really don't need this phone is you have something like S3. These are made to be bought by people who haven't upgraded for a while or don't have a smartphone yet. Also, try to NOT buy with contract next time. Not only you are supporting greedy carriers who bloat the Android platform and retardify updates, but you are also spending more in the long run and slave yourself into the contract until it's paid off.
  • 0 Hide
    Antimatter79 , February 5, 2014 8:56 AM
    I am using an S3, and really not sure if my eyes can resolve a much higher resolution. I really don't care about a super duper megapixel camera, either. Better color accuracy, white balance, and auto-flash with the existing resolution would be better for me. Other than that, I don't know that new hardware improvements can lure me to a new phone any time soon, b/c I don't do graphically intense gaming (WordFeud, What's the Phrase), and I just have a few apps for cool science information.
  • 0 Hide
    Cash091 , February 5, 2014 9:29 AM
    I think I'll keep my S4 for this run through. Not to knock Samsung though, I'm sure the S5 is going to be an amazing phone!
    Quote:
    Take an GS4 and a GS5, but them each behind a piece of cardboard with a 4.5" 16:9 cutout and have each phone cycle through a bunch of 4K images. That should put to bed whether or not people can tell the difference past XXXppi.
    I would LOVE to see that happen. I doubt that you would be able to distinguish between the two, but it would be a fun experiment!CPU/GPU wise, I have absolutely NO problem with the power of the GS4. Yeah, it was fun having the fastest phone available for a while, but I don't need all the power. I haven't noticed any lag with the S4 at all. IMO, people who were happy with the S3 should be all over this phone. Some friends still have the S3, and the speed between the 3 and 4 was pretty decent, but not needed. The speed difference between the S3 and S5 would be a worth while upgrade.
  • 1 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , February 5, 2014 12:02 PM
    That's some pretty awesome hardware, but as long as Samsung continues to add their TouchWiz interface and hardware buttons, I won't consider them. Now if there is a Google Play Edition without hard buttons (except for volume and power) that would be tempting.
  • 1 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , February 5, 2014 12:03 PM
    Quote:
    I am using an S3, and really not sure if my eyes can resolve a much higher resolution.


    Once you get a screen past 300 ppi, (most new decent smart phones) most people won't notice the pixel difference.
  • 1 Hide
    MulaTerca , February 5, 2014 2:52 PM
    What I would really love to see in a new phone is an infrared camera sensor. Not only taking pictures with low light, but with no light at all would be a wonderful never-seen-before feature!
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