Samsung unveils Galaxy S5: Fingerprint reader, heart-rate sensor, 16-megapixel camera

Samsung unveils Galaxy S5: Fingerprint reader, heart-rate sensor, 16-megapixel camera

Summary: The Korean electronics giant makes some iterative changes to its predecessor's shell and design, but packs a great deal more gadgetry and technology in the 5.1-inch beast.

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TOPICS: Samsung, Smartphones
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2014-02-24 14.46.45
(Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive)

NEW YORK — In a studio in Manhattan's West Village, Samsung lifted the lid on its latest — and long-awaited — flagship smartphone: the Galaxy S5.

Though the design of the device remains much the same as its predecessor, the Galaxy S4, the new model boasts a slightly larger 5.1-inch body with a high-resolution 1080p display, a 16-megapixel camera, and two crucial features that will have the enterprise cheering and Apple cursing: a fingerprint reader, and an in-built heart-rate sensor.

But for those expecting a radical redesign of the smartphone itself — sorry to be the bearer of disappointing news. Although a fraction larger and heavier due to its bigger screen and beefier array of include technology, it retains its plastic shell, casing and backing.

Powered by a 2.5Ghz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, its 2,800mAh removable battery is marginally improved over its older sibling, partially thanks to power-saving software that promises to almost double the device's battery life when it's running low. In one single charge, the Galaxy S5 will run for 21 hours and more than 16 days of standby.

It also includes a 16-megapixel camera that has a significantly faster autofocus, which Samsung touted as being three-times faster than the Galaxy S4, making once blurry photos now crisp and sharper than ever.

The Galaxy S5 can transfer significantly more data and faster through its USB 3.0 connection, which is handy for those who want to expand their storage with a micro-SD card of up to 64GB.

And it's all bundled together with the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system, as well as a bevy of health-related apps, Knox security software, and other features, including Siri rival S Voice.

More details on Knox will be shared on Tuesday. We'll have more when it lands.

Samsung's devices remain popular with consumers, but are increasingly growing on business and enterprise users. 

Thanks to the inclusion of a fingerprint reader embedded in the home button in its latest flagship phone, it's certainly going to catch the eyes of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) customers. 

Expect the Galaxy S5 to land in the same price-point range as the Galaxy S4, and it will arrive in April.

We'll have more from the Samsung event throughout the day, including a hands-on review and a slideshow of close-ups snaps.

Topics: Samsung, Smartphones

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53 comments
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  • Samsung pre-empts

    Like the rumoured iWatch, Samsung tries very hard to implement the technology so they don't get accused of copying even though they essentially are. Meanwhile their minions at ZDNet are happy to spread the good news when they can spare some time from churning out articles on Apple's security issues. Good thing Samsung doesn't ever have any issues to write about.
    rfoto
    • All the wizz-bang tech in the world is useless

      if there are no decent timeframes for updates and upgrades to the OS. On that count, Samsung is an utter failure.
      1,2,3
      • Why do updates matter?

        If I have a phone I'm perfectly happy with when I bought it, why should I care that it doesn't have the most recent version of OS? Sure, some of the new features might be nice, but not having them doesn't somehow make my phone only usable as a coaster...it's still the phone I chose to buy and have been happy with.
        scarbarough
      • dumb comment

        "Utter failure" little melodramatic aren't we???!!!!
        rnm354
      • utter failure ? if that was the case why apple copy so much in the ios 7

        i think the apple user are just constantly bitter and more bitter as the competitor are just getting better and better , i think for apple to compete better the first thing they should do have up gradable memory and have there phone with removable battery ,then they dont have to look like they like the coffee in starbucks so they can run to the table where there is a outlet to charge the dame phone , and i notice all my family or friends are constantly asking me if i know how to swap out the battery since they notice im a tech , because most of them who own the phone just a little over a year now the battery warranty is up and they are stuck of remaining contract and now the battery barely hold any charge , so they add this huge battery add-on case that look like a huge brick , you see this method is great to ripoff your customers knowing that any lithium ion battery after about 400 charge the battery if lucky will maybe give you
        80 percent of holding or even less and i guess this means $$$ or apple care? ohh too bad buy a brand new phone or pay $$$$ we change your battery , over the years i have played with other family members iphone but the phone they just don't match my expectation sorry apple you need to do a better job if you want to dig into my pocket
        yazoo4367
    • Flawed logic

      @ rfoto

      So if I say I'm going to travel to Venus, but actually don't, ...and then when someone does, then I can say they are copying me?
      Of course not..that would be absurd.
      As someone far more worthy than me once said..."Those that can...do.
      Everyone else makes excuses."
      nmasson
      • On the other hand

        When someone else has debuted a fingerprint reader in the home button....

        What do you say then???
        paddle.
        • On the other hand

          I say so what. Finger print readers are nothing new. HP implemented it years ago in their iPAC Pocket PCs so it's not exactly new technology. In a phone, maybe, but still a copied implementation on both Apple and Samsung's part.
          tm14941
          • Finger print readers.

            Like tm14941 said "Finger print readers are nothing new". They have been around for the last 10 years. Authentec was one company that made it for HP and other big houses. So a year and a half ago, Apple bought Authentec and screwed up all the PC users that use to have the fingerprint readers powered by Authentec's software. That is not innovation. So Apple and samsung did not invent fingerprint readers. I am just happy that Apple did not submit patent for "iFingerprint". As for authentec users like me, no more software upgrade.
            cyrusmd@...
    • The definition of copying

      Anything because Apple fans will just claim they ivented it first! Look out the Catholic Church (icons). Pzijzer (brightly coloured tablets), ITV UK (for daring to think of using that name). Apple records (for beating iTunes to the name)... Did I miss anything? :)
      techietubby
    • well i guess they beat apple to the punch

      its more like apple copy Samsung on that one , and what is with the iPhone 5 with the gesture?
      yazoo4367
  • Impressive

    The processor is impressive! There are indeed a lot of improvements compared to the previous version: http://versus.com/en/samsung-galaxy-s5-vs-samsung-galaxy-s4
    I also like the new design :) I´m really curious about the price.
    AdelaP
    • The processor isn't spectacular

      It's not that great honestly. It is just an overclocked version of the processor found in the Nexus 5, LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1/Z1s, etc. They all use the Snapdragon 800.
      Fulaman1984
    • What new design???

      It looks so much like the S4 (which looks so much like the S3, and so on) that you need to put one beside the other to tell them apart. So, what new design is that one you said you like?
      goyta
  • Wait

    Doesn't Apple have a patent on magical fingerprint readers ?
    SunFire23
    • Maybe

      but the S5 uses the middle finger exclusively.
      droopy1@...
    • Moto had it first

      I doubt it since Motorola had the first phone with one. The Atrix 4g
      alexray@...
    • Patents

      No, they have a patent on fingerprints. So if you have any, you owe Apple royalties.
      TimePassing
      • Odd

        The motorola Atrix 4g was the first phone to have a fingerprint scanner.
        Fulaman1984
    • Think bigger

      Apple not only has the patent on figerprint readers, it has a patent on fingerPRINTS themselves! ;)
      bmgoodman