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

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.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
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.

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