Samsung's Galaxy S5 will be officially announced tonight at 7pm UK time. With competition heating up from the likes of Sony, Motorola and HTC, will it be enough to stay near the top of the heap? Here's what we're expecting to see.
While there wasn't a huge difference between the S3 and S4, the jump from S4 to S5 will supposedly bring a phone that "feels" more premium, according to statements to Bloomberg from a Samsung exec. That lines up with a Sammobile report that Samsung is finally ditching the cheap-feeling plastic frame, and moving onto a metal unibody design. About time!
However, new leaked photos today suggest Samsung will be keeping the plastic casing, and giving the back a new matte dimpled look, as the photo above shows.
The display that the body houses will reportedly be a slightly larger 5.2 inches (13.2 cm). Emphasis on slightly, as the S4 measures up at 5 inches (12.7 cm), but the size bump makes sense given the general embiggening-of-phones trend.
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. The Galaxy S5 will have a sharper screen. This is almost a guarantee, because you expect that screens will keep improving. But just how much better? According to @evleaks, a smartphone rumour-tweeting account with a fairly reliable track record for actually getting things right, it will have a QHD 2K display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. That's a pretty good upgrade next to the S4, which had a 1920x1080 Super AMOLED display, and it would give the S5 an edge over the Nexus 5's 1920x1080 IPS-LCD display, as well as the HTC One's 1920x1080 Super LCD 3. @evleaks has also dropped some evidence that the phone will have a 3D viewer. Why you'd want that on a smartphone is unclear, but Samsung's never shied away from gimmicks before.
Next up? A significantly better battery, reportedly coming in at 4,000 mAh to the S4's 2,600 mAh power pack. Battery might not be one of the most exciting specs, but it's certainly one of the most important, and it's one area where we've really started to see Android phones excel. And with other Google operating system-running phones on the market boasting batteries that can last two days on a single charge (the Droid Maxx, the LG G Flex, to name just two), Samsung would be crazy not to drastically improve on this front. Depending on other factors like chip size, screen resolution, and usage habits, 4,000 mAh should, in theory, last even longer than two days on one charge.
While there had been some fleeting rumours about iris recognition, a more reliable report from SamMobile says that the S5 will actually have a fingerprint scanner similar to the iPhone 5S. It would be on the home button and be able to register up to eight different prints. Apparently, you'd also be able to assign different tasks or open apps based on what finger you're pressing with, which sounds so unnecessary that it just might be true. Despite contradictory rumours that the phone will ditch all of is onscreen buttons, it seems likely that fingerprint recognition will play at least some part in next week's announcement.
It's also pretty much a given that the S5 will have a better camera. Accordingly, the rumour that's been kicking around for a while is that the fifth-gen Galaxy will sport a 16-megapixel sensor. The last Galaxy had a 13 megapixels, whereas, say the iPhone 5S has 8 megapixels. But megapixels really don't matter so much as what the shutter speed is like, or how a camera deals with low light, and camera software overall.
Lastly, there are a few miscellaneous rumours kicking around.
Apparently the phone will have 64-bit Exynos processor or a Snapdragon 800 chip. The S4 was powered by a Snapdragon 600 chip, so an 800 seems like a logical upgrade, especially because that's the chip that the good recent Androids (like the Xperia Z1) and even the bad ones (like the LG G2) are powered by. The S5 is also expected to have 3GB of RAM, and will run Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which again, is a fairly safe bet since it's the current Android OS. But it may lose some of the Samsung customisation.
One of the rumours we're more hopeful on is that Samsung will finally tone down its use of unnecessary proprietary apps that don't serve much purpose other than slowing things down and being a battery drain. By all means! Because the UI is one of the chief concerns with Galaxies past. Samsung has hinted that the entire interface will get a redesign, but we'll see.
According to a recent interview given to Bloomberg, Samsung says the phone will be out by April. This would be consistent with Samsung's past habits with the Galaxy line, which is generally refreshed around March or April.
Last updated on February 24th, 2014.