We're well aware that many of you Samsung Galaxy fans out there are anxiously awaiting the release of the latest flagship smartphone - the Galaxy S5. This post aims to answer some of the most common questions being asked about this new phone and its upcoming arrival to Australian shores.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
When will the Samsung Galaxy S5 be released in Australia?
There doesn't appear to be any official word out on this just yet, although speculation online is that it'll be sometime in April. What we have seen in the past though with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S4 Mini releases in the UK, is that there's generally a one to two month time lag before reaching Australia. In the UK on Wednesday 12th of March, a general announcement was made that pre-orders for the S5 would commence on the 28th of this month (with the expectation for fulfilment to be a month later). So perhaps a May 2014 release in Australia is more realistic.
Which mobile operators will be offering the new Samsung Galaxy?
Last month it was unveiled that all four of Australia's major mobile carriers - Virgin Mobile, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone - would be offering the new Galaxy S5 handsets. Clicking those links will direct you to each operators "News & Updates" page about their respective upcoming releases of the S5.
What will the new Samsung Galaxy S5 cost?
This has also yet to be confirmed, but with its impending release date potentially happening as soon as next month, many are speculating that this implies it won't be cheap. We'll keep you updated though as we here more about pricing.
How soon before prices begin to drop off?
Going by Buckscoop's previous monitoring of the price drops for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S4 Mini after their releases, assuming the market reacts positively to this smartphone, prices could fall as much as 30% from the initial RRP within 4 to 6 weeks after hitting stores. Historically this is how long it generally takes before retailers start offering any meaningful discounts as the pricing war amongst them really starts to heat up.
How different is the new S5 to the S4?
At first glance you won't be able to see much of a difference aesthetically. Even in terms of thickness and weight it's very similar indeed. In fact, it doesn't look like Samsung managed to improve these aspects as the S5 is actually 15 grams heavier and 0.2 millimetres thicker. Also, while many had hoped that Samsung would adopt HTC's and Apple's approach to premium handsets by issuing it with a metal casing, Samsung has chosen to stick with the plastic back - although this time round it's perforated.
What about the insides of the S5?
Again, the rumoured ultra high resolution "2k" display hasn't made it's way into the S5, although you still get a full HD Super AMOLED display at 1920x1080 resolution - a standard you'd expect from a flagship handset. The Galaxy S5 comes with a slightly quicker 2.5 Ghz quad core processor (up from 1.9Ghz in the S4) and the rear facing camera has also received an upgrade to 16 megapixels (up from 13MP in the S4). The battery has been improvement slightly too from 2600mAh to 2800mAh.
The phone will support Australia's 4G networks and in terms of storage capacity, this model comes in either 16GB or 32GB, both with 2GB Ram. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat with a less obtrusive version of TouchWiz than seen on its predecessors.
What are the significant improvements in the S5?
Samsung have made it known that this smartphone shouldn't be judged by its specs alone, and that major improvements around the way people use their phones are what add a lot of value to this new model. For example, the S5's dust and water resistance in the form of coating the internal components and earphone jack with silicone as well as a new cover on the power jack. A useful power-saving mode will also come in handy when charging isn't a possibility - think hiking, festivals and conferences - which adds some justification to the limited improvement in this model's battery. Samsung claims that this power-saving feature could give the phone between 3 to 8 days of life without charging.
Then there's that incredibly annoying scenario of trying to take a picture but missing the moment as the camera struggles to focus - which has also been take care of. The Galaxy S5 comes with an ultra-fast auto-focus, with the claim here being this takes just 0.3 seconds. In another attempt to improve the quality of your snaps, Samsung have included a nifty feature that takes two pictures - one of the foreground and one of the background. The idea being that you can select where you want the photo to have its focus. Then there are the two new sensors giving the handset the potential to both monitor your health as well as authorise payments.
The one thing the Samsung Galaxy S5 did live up to in terms of pre-launch expectations (which are in alignment with Apple's flagship iPhone 5S) is the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner. Let's see though if the S5 runs into any of the problems which Apple had around this method of verification after hitting the wider market. Very cleverly, Samsung partnered with PayPal giving it's fingerprint scanner potentially a much wider access to the purchasing ecosystem than Apple's 5S handset.
The fingerprint scanner also allows access control to apps via Knox, which is the security system that Samsung hopes will pave the way for higher uptake by enterprise users.
What about wearable tech and their compatibility with the S5?
Despite Samsung's first attempt at wearable tech (i.e. the Samsung Gear smartwatch), the new version of the Gear 2 smartwatch and Gear Fit devices could well stand a much better chance of gaining traction across a wider consumer base. This is because they'll be integrated with the Galaxy S5 from the outset. It will also contain a newer version of S-Health with support for an optical heart rate monitor (on the back of the device next to the flash) for measuring your pulse.