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A closer look at the Samsung Galaxy S5’s most exciting new features

Samsung’s latest flagship phone – the Galaxy S5 – officially arrived on Monday in a massive MWC production typical of the Korean phone maker. Despite promises to the contrary, the smartphone doesn't differ too much from its predecessor, the Galaxy S4, at first glance.

Of course, there's only so much you can do when it comes to a smartphone. But when there's so much build-up surrounding a new product, things are bound to get out of hand, and fan boys and girls will be disappointed. The same thing happens when a new iPhone comes out and it doesn't have NFC, X-ray vision, or the ability to time travel.

But while the GS5 is not a radical departure from Galaxies past, there are some new features that the Samsung faithful will no doubt enjoy. The camera gets a boost, and this Galaxy can be your own personal trainer, if you're into that sort of thing.

We’ve got a full hands-on with the Galaxy S5 here should you wish to take a look, but in this article, we’re going to give you a rundown of the S5’s more attractive features.

Fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy S5 includes a built-in fingerprint sensor, much like the iPhone 5S. In addition to unlocking the device, the GS5 sensor also allows for secure payments via PayPal and other mobile wallets like Isis and Google Wallet. Samsung will also have an SDK so third parties can use it for authentication, too.


According to Samsung, the GS5 is water-resistant and can be dunked. Specifically, it's IP67 certificated for dust and water resistance, which means it's dustproof, and waterproof to 1 metre for 30 minutes. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active has the same specs, and we witnessed that device sitting comfortably in a fish bowl full of water without issue.

Stunning display

The S5 sports a 5.1in, 432 ppi, 1,920 x 1080 Super AMOLED display, similar to the S4's screen. But as Sascha Segan noted in his hands-on, Samsung has put a custom image chip in the S5 that dynamically adjusts the colour gamut and contrast based on ambient light. "It's a big step up from the standard automatic brightness control, and it makes the colours really pop under different lighting conditions," he found.


Segan said he is most excited to fully test the S5's 16-megapixel camera. "It's very fast; Samsung said it has 0.3-second autofocus, making sharp pictures feel instant," he wrote. "It's also the first phone we've seen with live HDR preview, so you can see what the popular HDR effect will do to your images; it works for videos, too." There's a 2-megapixel front-facing cam for selfies, and 4K video recording at 30 frames per second, if you actually have a device to play 4K content.

Camera modes

Samsung went a little nuts with all the camera modes in previous smartphones, but it has reined them in on the S5. "A whole bunch of them have now been lumped under 'Shot & More,' while controls for HDR and 'selective focus' (blurring the background or foreground) are right on the main shooting screen," Segan said.

Heart rate monitor

Health gadgets are all the rage, so the S5 includes a built-in heart rate sensor that lets you measure your heart rate from the phone. Just place your finger on the back of the Galaxy S5 and measure away.

Fitness tracking

Similarly, the S5 also doubles as a fitness tracker, which Samsung would very much appreciate you pairing with its new Gear smartwatches.

For all the latest news, photos and analysis from MWC 2014, check out our live coverage of the event.