As the Samsung Galaxy S5 U.S. release gets closer, we expect to hear more and more about all of the pertinent Galaxy S5 details. And while many of those details remain missing in action, we do know a good deal about the device that will be coming to American shores to replace the Galaxy S4 as Samsung’s flagship.
Back in February, Samsung took the stage at its Unpacked 5 event and did the expected. There, it announced the heavily rumored Samsung Galaxy S5, a device that will be coming to join the Galaxy Note 3 on shelves in an effort to ward off challengers like the iPhone 5s, HTC One, LG G2, and eventually, the iPhone 6.
At the time, Samsung confirmed most of the Galaxy S5’s features. It talked about its 5.1-inch display. It went into detail about the changes it made to TouchWiz, including the health-related additions that will help to power the new software. We’ve also seen it go into great detail about the ISOCELL camera technology that will accompany its 16MP camera sensor. Samsung even confirmed the Galaxy S5’s release date for April 11th, just about a month and a half after its arrival.
The company did not answer every question though, leaving potions of the device shrouded in mystery. In the United States, the Galaxy S5 remains fairly mysterious though, in the past few days, we have started to see details surface, details that help provide a much clearer picture for prospective Galaxy S5 buyers.
Here, we want to roundup everything we know, and everything we think we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 release.
What We Know About the Samsung Galaxy S5
First things first. We know that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is going to be arriving on a number of carriers inside the United States. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon have all confirmed the device for arrival and those five carriers will likely be the most appealing options to customers in the U.S due to their network sizes.
Of course, we also know that the Galaxy S5 will be coming to at least two smaller carriers including MetroPCS, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. The latter two carriers confirmed the device for arrival a few days after the big five acknowledged the device. MetroPCS confirmed the Galaxy S5 on day one.
What we don’t know is if these carriers will be joined by some of the other usual suspects. Typically, carriers like C Spire Wireless and Cricket Wireless carry flagship smartphones though neither one of them has committed to the Galaxy S5.
It’s possible that they could simply be waiting, after all AT&T just merged Aio Wireless with Cricket Wireless. It’s also possible that they’ll miss out though that would be surprising to say the least. Consumers that wish to head to those carriers should keep an eye out in the next few weeks as we expect details to start emerging at a rapid pace.
Maybe the most glaring omission from the Galaxy S5’s launch in the United States is a release date. None of the carriers involved have committed to specific release dates yet and April 11th is now less than a month away.
What we do know is that some major carriers plan to release the smartphone in April. T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and MetroPCS have all confirmed the device for April . AT&T and Verizon both say that the device is coming soon. None of these carriers have committed to specific release dates yet.
Thanks to the FCC though, we know that carriers should have the Galaxy S5 out on shelves in the near future. Recently, the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon versions of the Galaxy S5 were caught passing through the FCC’s clutches. Passing through the FCC is one of the final, important hoops that a device needs to pass through before it can be released to the public.
The FCC filings did not confirm specific dates but they are a great sign for future Galaxy S5 users in the United States, particularly those on Verizon. Verizon’s Galaxy S4 arrived about a month after its rivals released the device. The HTC One? It arrived on Verizon in August. The other carriers? They released it in April.
We also know that at least some of these Galaxy S5 contests that carriers are running to promote the smartphone end cease at the end of the month or, in early April. The T-Mobile Galaxy S5 contest, for instance, wraps up on April 4th. It’s circumstantial evidence but it does point to all of the major prep being done in time for April 11th.
Finally, we know that Samsung has made the United States a big part of its plans. Android 4.4 KitKat updates arrived first in the United States and the U.S. was among the first to get the Galaxy S4. It was a little slower to the Galaxy Note 3 but not much. With Samsung clearly focused on the U.S. market, it would be strange to see U.S. carriers fall too far behind the rest of the pack.
Major carriers will almost certainly release the device first. They will likely be followed by carriers like Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, both of which confirmed the device for the second quarter. The second quarter consists of April, May and June.
Thanks to Samsung and its retail partners, we know that the Galaxy S5 is going to be available in plenty of places when it finally does touch down in the United States. Amazon, Best Buy, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Target, and Walmart will all have the device on hand for U.S. customers which means that users don’t necessarily have to order through carriers or Samsung itself.
One place that won’t have the Galaxy S5 on sale is Wirefly. Wirefly, a retailer that had rock bottom price points for flagship phones, disappeared without a trace earlier this week and there is a good chance that it will not be coming back.
What we don’t know is when the Galaxy S5 will go on sale. In years past, we’ve seen carriers put the Galaxy S5 up for pre-order ahead of its release and we’re expecting the same thing to happen in the United States this time around, especially when other regions are offering pre-orders. In the UK, pre-orders begin on March 28th, just a few days ahead of the Galaxy S5’s release.
Perhaps, we could see U.S. carriers offer a pre-order around the same time.
Here are the big features that are confirmed to be on board the Samsung Galaxy S5 for the United States:
- 5.1” Full HD SAMOLED screen
- 16 MP Camera
- Android 4.4.2 (Kit Kat)
- 2.5GHz Quad core processor
- 2GB RAM
- 128GB Expandable Memory Slot
- Water and Dust Resistant Design
There are, however, some features that still remain unconfirmed. A leaked document recently confirmed both 16GB and 32GB models for T-Mobile. The carrier will evidently be offering the 16GB in stores while the 32GB version will only be available online. As for other carriers, the storage options remain unclear.
What we know is that T-Mobile was one of the carriers that opted not to carry the 32GB Galaxy S4 so it could be that all five major carriers carry both storage options in an effort to please their customers.
We know that T-Mobile is going to be stocking two Galaxy S5 colors. White and black will evidently be available when it goes on sale. It’s not clear if other carriers will follow suit. It’s also not clear if the blue and gold versions of the Galaxy S5 will be available alongside the black and white variants.
Last year, we saw AT&T get an exclusive on the garnet red version of the Galaxy S4 and we recently saw Verizon get an exclusive on the rose gold Galaxy Note 3. So we know that there is a good chance that all four colors may not arrive on all five major carriers.
Samsung and its partners have been reluctant to offer any kind of Galaxy S5 price information. Typically that info emerges with a pre-order but we haven’t seen a true pre-order arrive just yet in the U.S.
We do have a couple of clues though. One, these carrier contests put the Galaxy S5’s suggested retail price above $600. Typically, Galaxy S devices have gone on sale, off-contract for around $650. So while this pricing doesn’t necessarily confirm the Galaxy S5’s pricing off-contract it does mean that there is a good chance it’ll be more expensive than the Nexus 5.
The other clue is pricing that emerged for TELUS in Canada. TELUS says that it’s currently targeting a $250 price for the Galaxy S5. It says that the price could change and it’s not clear if that price pertains to the 16GB or the 32GB model. What it does confirm though is that the Galaxy S5’s price is hovering in a familiar area.
In the past, Galaxy S smartphones have emerged starting at $199.99 for the 16GB model. This aligns with Apple’s pricing. Rumors have mentioned a possible price drop but they were non-specific. At the moment, it looks like we could see familiar pricing emerge in April.
Other Galaxy S5 Variants
Rumors ahead of the Galaxy S5 launch suggested that Samsung would be releasing a Galaxy S5 mini and Galaxy S5 zoom to replace the Galaxy S4 mini and the Galaxy S4 zoom. Neither device is confirmed but a benchmark leak discovered today does point to the upcoming release of a Galaxy S5 zoom.
Release details remain non-existent though we do know that Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 zoom and Galaxy S4 mini at a launch event in London last June. Perhaps Samsung will do the same with these two devices.