On Monday, Samsung announced the Galaxy S5, its premium smartphone followup to the Galaxy S4, and a challenger to Apple’s iPhone 5s for the top smartphone in the world. The Galaxy S5 features a crisp (and large) 5.1-inch display; new health tracking features, including a physical, finger-based heart rate monitor on the back of the phone and a built-in app to log meals; and a fingerprint sensor, which, like Apple’s latest iPhone, will let you unlock the phone with the touch of your finger.
Yes, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 doesn’t just share a letter and a number with Apple’s iPhone 5s. You can probably put your finger on its other great similarity to Apple’s smartphone.
Samsung is still embroiled in multiple legal battles with Apple over claims of patent infringement from both sides. Samsung’s inclusion of a fingerprint sensor on its latest flagship smartphone, mere months after Apple unveiled a similar Touch ID feature, will likely lead to more complaints and allegations that Samsung is following in Apple’s footsteps.
Still, the Galaxy S5 is more than just a fingerprint sensor — and, indeed, Samsung’s fingerprint sensor does more than Apple’s. Past simply unlocking the phone, the Galaxy S5 ships with a technology called NFC, which allows you to pay with your phone by “bumping” it against a mobile cash register. Samsung’s fingerprint sensor will allow you to verify your identity before paying.
The Galaxy S5 is also what Samsung is calling the first phone with a built-in heart rate monitor. The phone features a sensor underneath the rear camera. You place your finger on the sensor and the phone can read your heart rate. In other words, the Galaxy S5 wants you to give it the finger in more ways than one.
Samsung is also excited about its 16-megapixel camera, which it claims has the fastest auto-focus feature of any smartphone available. It also contains a “Selective Focus” feature, which allows you to focus on certain areas of a photo while blurring the background.
The Galaxy S5 is water- and dust-resistant and features an “Ultra power saving mode,” which closes all non-essential apps and services, to extend battery life into the double digits of hours. (A Samsung representative claimed that, with 10 percent of battery life left, your phone could last 20 hours on Ultra Power Saving Mode. That elicited some Oohs and Aahs from the crowd.) The Galaxy S5 runs Samsung’s colorful version of Google’s Android operating system, called TouchWiz, on top of the latest version of Android, dubbed KitKat.
The S5 will be released in April on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS and U.S. Cellular. Available colors include blue, white, black and gold. Samsung did not announce a price at the time of the unveiling.