The Samsung Galaxy S5 is official with a lengthy list of features and an April release date. While you wait for Samsung to announce the Galaxy S5 price and for carriers like AT&T or Verizon to confirm the Galaxy S5 release date on their shelves we share a look at 25 Galaxy S5 features you’ll actually care about and use.
Samsung beat Apple and HTC to announce the first flagship smartphone of 2014, showing consumers and competitors what the company thinks are the essential smartphone features for the year.
After the Gotta Be Mobile team used the Galaxy S5 and shared our Galaxy S5 hands on, we wanted to call attention to the Galaxy S5 features we are excited about and the ones we think buyers will actually care about.
This collection of Samsung Galaxy S5 features highlights some of the most impressive features that we see consumers using. Some of the features won’t see use everyday, but everything on this list is something the Gotta Be Mobile team thinks consumers will use on a regular basis.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 release date is set for April 11th and the phone is coming to all major U.S. carriers, though the release date may vary slightly on each carrier.
25 Galaxy S5 Features You’ll Actually Care About
Some of these Galaxy S5 features come from the Galaxy S4 or Note 3, while others are unique to the Galaxy S5. Consumers deciding between the Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 or an iPhone 5s or HTC One should check out these Galaxy S5 features before buying.
Better Build Quality
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is still plastic, but according to the Gotta Be Mobile team members that went hands on with the device it doesn’t feel like cheap plastic. Samsung may not match the HTC One or iPhone 5s with metal, but this is an improvement.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is water-resistant and dust resistant. This is not a waterproof phone, nor is it rugged, but it can survive up to 30 minutes in 1M of water. This means that without a case the phone can survive a drop into a puddle, bathtub or other water hazards that users come in contact with every day.
Adaptive Display for Readability in the Sun
The Samsung Galaxy S5 uses an algorithm and sensors to change the display in response to bright light. Samsung calls this local contrast enhancement, which is a fancy way of saying the phone can automatically deliver an easier to read and view display when using the Galaxy S5 outdoors.
Micro SD Card
The Samsung Galaxy S5 only comes in 16GB or 32GB storage options and nearly half of the Galaxy S5 storage is in use thanks to the operating system and pre-installed apps and software. The Micro SD card may not be as good as internal storage, but it is an easy way to add storage for photos and videos. App use is likely limited and the latest version of Android isn’t as friendly to the Micro SD card, but it is still
Users don’t always want a super-bright display. The Galaxy S5 includes a Super Dimming mode that drops the brightness down to 2cd/m2, which is very dim. This mode is designed to make it easier on the user’s eyes in the dark and to avoid bothering others. Anyone that shares a bed with a nightowl will appreciate this Galaxy S5 feature.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a Download Booster that is capable of combining WiFi and LTE for faster speeds. According to Samsung this can enable a 1GB download in 30 seconds, but in real life expect slower results. Even though data caps limit the usefulness of this feature it could come in handy when users need to download a large file for work or a movie before a meeting or flight.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a new larger battery that should deliver 10 hours of web browsing on LTE and 12 hours of video playback according to Samsung. This is thanks to a 2,800mAh battery that users can also swap out for a spare, something the iPhone 5s and the HTC One don’t allow. The Galaxy S4 comes with a 2,600mAh battery.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a fingerprint reader built-in to the home button. This allows users to swipe their finger across the device to unlock the phone without entering a passcode. This is a feature many iPhone users appreciate and if the reader is reliable we expect many Galaxy S5 owners will as well.
Heart Rate Sensor
Users that want to know their heart rate through the day or while working out can use a built-in heart rate sensor on the back of the Galaxy S5. This small spot next to the camera can measure a pulse and record it in the new S Health app.
Ultra Power Saver
The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a mode that can stretch the life of the Galaxy S5 significantly when the battery gets low and users need to be able to text and make calls for the rest of the night. Ultra Power Saver mode turns the screen black and white and stops un-needed applications to help keep the device going as long as possible.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features 802.11ac WiFi, which essentially means faster WiFi and better range around the house or at work for users that are connecting to a new 802.11ac WiFi router. If you watch a lot of streaming videos this is a nice upgrade for the Galaxy S5.
Fast Auto Focus
The hybrid auto focus combines two types of focus with the 16MP sensor to deliver a faster focus, to capture a photo incredibly fast. Samsung claims the auto focus on the Galaxy S5 is 0.3 seconds. This has the potential to fix one of the biggest complaints about the Galaxy S4 camera.
The Galaxy S5 features an enhanced HDR mode that can help save photos taken in very low or very bright light. With the new mode, controls the light exposure as soon as it focuses to show users what the photo will look like. The Galaxy S5 also includes HDR for video to deliver similar benefits.
If you plan to use the Galaxy S5 as your primary camera you will appreciate Selective Focus, which allows you to pick the point of focus. This lets users pick what part of the photo is in focus. Instead of keeping an entire canvas in focus, users can blur the background while keeping the face in focus for better looking photos without carrying around a separate camera.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 also includes the ability to record a 4k video, which is a higher resolution then 1080P. This is not going to take movies that look like they came from a professional 4k camera, but it will help users start recording their memories in a 4k format that should look nice on a 4k TV. The video above is shot in 4k.
Control Your HDTV and Home Theater
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features an IR port that allows users to control a TV, home theater and cable box from the phone. This comes with a free app to control the devices using IR and supports multiple rooms. The video above shows the feature on the Galaxy S4.
The Galaxy S5 features a USB 3.0 port, like the Galaxy Note 3, which enables faster data transfers for files. Not everyone will use this feature, but it is a plus, and matches the Note 3.
Images, videos and other files can be secured behind a fingerprint. This is a nice way to secure not just saucy photos, but documents like a passport.
Kid Mode is designed to let parents share a smart phone with a kid without worrying about kids deleting apps and sending messages by accident. Tap on Kids Mode to let kids play with apps that parents choose.
Gear Fit for Fitness
The Gear Fit is a small fitness band that connects to the Galaxy S5 and other Galaxy devices to sync pulse, fitness stats and to act as a notification center for users. There is no price, but it is already of interest to many shoppers.
Samsung confirmed that users will be able to take the back off the Galaxy S5 and replace it with a Flip Wallet or an S View Flip Cover. It’s not clear if there is only a Wireless Charging S View Flip Cover, but it looks like there is also a regular S View Flip Cover on the way.
Android 4.4 and TouchWiz
The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a collection of new software features including S Health and the other modes shown above, but it also brings Android 4.4.2 and a new flatter looking TouchWiz. This includes a new quick settings mode that uses small circles and more shortcuts to features like Quick Connect. Check out the Galaxy S5 software overview in the video above.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 supports mobile payments with PayPal, but that’s not all. The device also supports Google Wallet and ISIS so users should be able to more easily use the Galaxy S5 as a mobile wallet. We may need to wait and see how it arrives on each carrier, but MasterCard and Visa are working to make mobile wallets less reliant on carriers.
Samsung is still not building in wireless charging to the Galaxy S5, but it confirmed that users can add this with a new back plate. With previous models we saw a an aftermarket of small stick on wireless charging options, but the water-resistant seal may make that troublesome. We expect it will take a few months for the wireless charging backs to arrive on the market.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 keeps the Multi-Window mode from the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3, allowing users to open two apps at the same time on-screen and interact with them. This makes it possible to chat and look at a web page or watch a movie at the same time and is a hallmark feature of Samsung’s big screen smartphones.