Samsung Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint swiper, heart-rate monitor, gold option, and... a 6-month lead on iPhone 6

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has just been announced and it includes a 5.1-inch 1080p screen along with Android 4.4.2 KitKat, 16 or 32GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, and specs aside, a swipe-style fingerprint scanner, a heart-rate monitor, and more. As you'd expect, Android Central has already posted their Samsung Galaxy S5 hands-on:

Our main takeaway from our brief time with the Galaxy S5 so far is that Samsung is has been listening to customers and critics alike, and has finally gotten around to addressing many of our gripes with its build quality, software and UI. It's still a plastic phone, and a plastic phone running TouchWiz at that, but the GS5 represents a clear improvement for Samsung in a bunch of important areas. The new Samsung UI strikes us as something we might enjoy using, rather than software that's just there. And the soft-touch back feels infinitely nicer in the hand than the glossy, slimy plastic of old.

The most interesting development out of the GS5's announcement might be the arrival of waterproofing as a mainstream feature. Other Android manufacturers, notably Sony, have been doing this for a while, but a waterproof GS5 is a big commitment on Samsung's part.

It's a bummer that the fingerprint scanner seems to be old tech, but it's interesting that Samsung, like Apple, is focusing on health. Apple is rumored to be addressing it this fall with iOS 8, the iPhone 6, and the iWatch. Samsung started it last year with the Galaxy Gear and Galaxy Note 3, and is pushing it even further now with the GS5 and the new Gear and Gear Fit.

And like Phil says, the mainstreaming of waterproofing technology is great and I really hope it catches on and continues. One splash should not a phone cost you.

The back is perforated and has a shimmery blue, copper/gold, white, and black look, and designer covers will follow. I've never been a huge fan of Samsung's sense of style, and there doesn't seem to be much new in that regard, at least from a hardware perspective. The interface has gotten a newer, flatter look, however, and depending on how consistent that is, it could be a huge win for eyeballs everywhere.

Samsung is also smartly continuing to place the Galaxy S phones mid-point in Apple product cycle, 6 months after Apple's last launch, and 6 months before next one is anticipated. That means the Galaxy S5 will be in the news and on the shelves at a time when the iPhone 5s has faded from attention and the iPhone 6 is yet to grab much. It's worked well in the past, it'll work well in the future unless and until Apple starts to shake things up.

Android Central is live at the event, so there'll be lots more to come. If the Galaxy S5 interests you — and even if only from a competitive perspective, it should — check it all out. Then come back here and let me know what you think, and what an Apple iPhone 6 has to deliver to stay competitive?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint swiper, heart-rate monitor, gold option, and... a 6-month lead on iPhone 6


Nice! Though I'm not a fan of it, I enjoy seeing new Samsung hardware in the market; more competition is welcomed in my eyes.

Still, however, nothing to entice me away from iPhone. The GS5 is a bit too large and performance (while not sure with this phone) always seemed to lag behind iOS because of their extra software and what not.

Can't wait to see reviews, though!

What is that gawd-awful lump in the back? Yuck! And all those little dimples on the back will get filled up with crud. FUGLY!

You said:
"It's a bummer that the fingerprint scanner seems to be old tech, but it's interesting that Samsung, like Apple, is focusing on health."

You meant to say:
"It's a bummer that the fingerprint scanner seems to be old tech, but it's expected that Samsung, like Apple, is focusing on health."

[no charge for fixing that sentence] :-D

What Apple will need to do to stay competitive with this disgusting piece of ugliness with its 1995 scanner and no 64-bit? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Really? they will have to do something. Whether you like it or not this phone will compete. Apple needs to hit the larger sized phone market.

I hear you, but it is getting the iOS market there much faster than any andriod device will.

What does one need to do to stay competitive against a 4-inch phone with a non-HD display with poor outdoor visiblity, 8MPx non-stabilized camera, lacking wireless charging and filled with proprietary software environments and connectors, and no LTE-A support, and that cannot take the slightest physical abuse without breaking, yet with a heftier price tag than any other normal mass-market non-luxury phone. Absolutely nothing....

You think the markets work like that? No. I thought so too. The Galaxy like the iPhone will sell because of the branding. The average customer gives a damn about the details.

Battery life. Full 64-bit power with even longer battery life than the 5S/5C.
That's what I'm expecting. (Along with a 4.7" 1920x1080 screen.)

If the phone was not so ugly--as ugly as a few of the first camera phones--I'd consider it. But instead, jesus christ...

what the hell?

I like the battery mode ultra save thing feature. Nice found.
The band's display is gorgeous (though idk if it's Retina) to be honest.

I'm waiting to see what Apple will offer in that domain. I'm just seeing tonight that Samsung was "ahead" (in terms of release days) for watches, and now they're releasing bands which is not fairly stupid. Though the band is poor features-speaking.

Retina is a marketing term. All high-end smartphones from the last years have "retina" displays, most even better than iPhone displays (e.g. HTC one).

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It doesn't matter who makes it. Gold on a phone is not doing it for me. Heart rate is cool and should be interesting to see how the ultra battery saving mode works. Not a fan of the perforated looking back. I am excited to see how Apple answers back.

I know the camera 16 MP will not be good as iPhone 5s, for many reasons, but would like to see something like the focus we saw on galaxy s5, plus private and kids mode to be honest with you guys is amazing old idea!!

Fingerprint scanner, gold version, and a 6 month lead on iPhone 6? That sounds like the iPhone 5S had a 5 month lead on the S5.

Waterproofing? How many times do I have to tell you to stop cliff diving while making phone calls? Show off! Seriously though, can't hurt. And that's coming from someone that dropped an old Samsung flip phone in the toilet. Still worked too. Never died. Ironically it only fell in the toilet because paranoid that i'd drop it i thought to be safe i'll put it in my pocket. Unfortunately i caught it on my pocket rim and it squirted out of my hand.

do you really think you'd be able to tell the difference of a higher res iPhone though? At a certain point it's less about resolution and more about screen technology IMO. Having a water resistant iPhone would be awesome though.

But it still runs Android. Give me the ecosystem and I will be happy. Oh I have the ecosystem and I am happy!!!

Well, or you can say: it doesn't run iOS, you should buy it ;-) although I'd never buy a Samsung android device.

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Reminded me those google / samsung employees who post similar question all over the Internet ... "not for android? useless!"

if color was truely irrelivant, design would by default also be irrelevant. Which it's not. Otherwise, there'd be no reason to worry about plastic vs. aluminum, rounded vs. sharp-edged. Design, and color are important to the people buying it. Otherwise all phones would be black.

When I first saw the front side I was like oh that's not bad, then they turned it over and it was like what the hell. The colours and design of the back look horrible not sure why they went with that look

The back just looks cheap. Also, why have the camera protrude off the back cover? I cannot imagine that having your phone rest on the camera lens is a good thing. I really have tried to like the galaxy s series.

because it's a huge 16MP sensor that wouldn't fit otherwise. Probably one of the reasons Apple hasn't put more megapixels in the iPhone (and because megapixels aren't the only factor in photo quality). At a certain point you just can't shoehorn it in there without adding girth.

Yes. Think of the size of a dime. If you picture that is made of 8 million circles. These circles are the part that the light goes through to take your photo. How can you double this to 16 million circles. The only way is to shrink the circle in 1/2. You now should understand that if the circle in the dime they are half the size which means it can only pull in 1/2 as much light. This means 2x the definition in bright light but it's a lot worse in lower light, double the size of the sensor and you get double the resolution without losing the low light brightness.

... it even come in Navy. Awww. Nice.
well back to our regularly scheduled programing.

This just in, Miley admits to smoking weed with JB.

Nothing slick or sleek about the S5. Doesn't look as cool as a HTC One. Definitely not as slick as a iPhone 5/5S.
Doesn't look like the next big thing.

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I'm gonna say this phone will not sell nearly as much as the S4 did. The only thing that seems remotely interesting is the battery saving tech. I really hate fingerprint scanners you have to swipe your finger across, they work 1/10 times. (At least with the 3 I used before)

Yes, waterproof all the way ! iPhone 6 should be released in June like it was in the past, this would shake things up a bit. Or they should instead refresh the iPad this summer season, especially if it's true that Apple will skip iPad mini in 2014.
From the looks of it Macs won't be getting much attention this year as there won't be any sense to change anything and fresh hardware won't be made available (maybe except a new Mac mini model). So their hero device will be the iPad pro with .....OSX 11 ? They cannot wait until October/November with everything and I don't think iWatch to be the long awaited monumental flagship device.

Not impressed. I agree with most back at least in that video is quite ugly. Has some nifty features like heart rate monitor and 'secret agent' option. Still I remain a proud 5s owner. Nothing here to remotely make me interested.

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That isn't the reason I commented. I just find it unnecessary to post things about Android devices here. I come here for Apple "I" Products information, not information on Android phones.

Hey smart ass, if people don't express their opinions, both positive and negative, how will the powers that be here know what people expect from the site?

Why, because I come here for iOS content and commented about an iOS site posting Android info?

Tell ya what, how about you show up here in person and TRY to show me where I can put it. Sorry you have a problem with me wanting to come here for iOS news and not be given the Android side. You're free to just STFU and agree to disagree, or keep being an ass to me, and I'll give it right back.

See that is what the class is for. You don't have to agree with me or the hosts of this site. In fact I'm not sure why you read an article that you said you don't want to know about.

As I said above, my ignorant and obtuse friend, if we don't comment on things we don't like, how will the powers that be here know what we want or don't want?

It looks like your the only one who is offended by Rene covering apple biggest competition. This is a news site for Apple. They are not doing their job if they don't cover it. Android central covers the iPhone when it's released as well. I don't know what your worried about. Are you worried that people are going to go out and buy a new s5?

It's an option. And it comes in black. Fingerprint scanner i don't care about on either phone. And i'm not a fan of large phones so i could wait for an S5 mini version but it's an option. And unlike ios 7 i can customize it to look how i want.

I even made a list of all the apps on my iphone that i'd need to switch phones. There were about 50. There is an android version for all but two, downcast and tweetbot. But truth is there's plenty of podcasters and twitter apps and i could easily live with the official twitter app because i don't use twitter that seriously. So it's in the running for "next top cellphone." But we'll see what apple release. A black iphone 6 with a dark theme would do it i think.

"It's a bummer that the fingerprint scanner seems to be old tech..."

It's also a bummer that the 32-bit processor is definitely old tech.
Yes, there will be a wave of 64-bit "me too" hardware running 32-bit Android this year.
But full 64-bit Android? It's years away. The hardware is just the first baby step.

Samsung started it last year with the health stuff, watch etc??? Samsung copied Apple rumors is why they started it. Thats all they have done is copy, I think its sad when your company is copying rumors! But they can't copy their own rumors of the S5 being a metal phone, they missed that some how!

Nice products for that like the samsung phones. Nothing strikes me as an exciting feature that I got to have.

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Not really that interesting to me. Sure, some cool features, but if I was going to go over to the Android dark side, it wouldn't be for Samsung. I agree with Rene, their sense of style is really lacking. As much as I use my device all day every day, I need to love it. I just don't see that happening with anything Samsung has ever done.

...AND by the time slooooooow courts of US get their act together and block it, Samsung S500 will be out ...

Again, Samsung is going to sell a few millions and don't give crap!

Samsung is sad really. I know they are successful in sales but omg get off apples d***k !!! Flat, same color scheme, gold version, finger print scanner but In a ghetto plastic shell. Do something original for once other than adding bloat features that no one uses as a marketing ploy. Oh and they have the nerve to make fun of Apple in ads lmao !!!

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If I'd have to go android I'd never go with Samsung's hideous hardware. I don't want pimples on the back off my phone. I'd get the HTC One (or the 2nd gen HTC One). Htc knows what flagship means in terms of hardware, instead of samsung. I'm glad I'll be getting the iPhone 6 in September :) I'll finally be free from my crappy lumia 1020

Hey, perhaps it is indeed hear-rate monitor ;) .... after all we talking samsung and their the next big shit ... ROFLMAO

Let's he honest... For all the crap that Samsung would say about apple and how conservative apple was with its "s" models, Samsung has given the world and S4s... Samsung isn't a leader and never will be. Apple is top dog. Samsung throws out gimmicks and calls them innovative. Let's be honest, how many S4 owners used those dumb gimmicky eye tracking options?

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the only one I thought could be remotely useful was the hand-wave to answer a call. That'd come in handy sometimes. Everything else was crap.

What the hell is the stick-out camera on the back all about?! Put the S5 on a table and it will just wobble about as you try to tap the screen. I thought things like that were designed out years ago.

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