MWC 2014: Samsung Galaxy S5, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Fit hands-on

GSMArena team, 24 February 2014.
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Samsung Galaxy S5 hands-on: hardware

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is nearly 6mm taller and 3mm wider than the S4, it's even a tad thicker. It has also put on 15g of weight. Those values seem too high for a mere 0.1" increment in screen size, but we suspect water-proofing the device took its toll on the bezels (think of Xperia Z1's bezels).

In terms of design, the Galaxy S5 looks more rectangular - closer to the Note 3 than the Galaxy S4. Samsung kept the hardware buttons below the screen, only replacing the Menu key with the App Switcher.

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Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5 side by side

Note that the Home button now contains a fingerprint scanner, which will be used for securing the phone but apps can also use it to provide secure verification for their services. You need to swipe your finger over the scanner (not just hold it).

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The buttons under the screen now have an App Switcher instead of Menu

It's really the back that has changed the most. The plastic still has a leathery texture, but goes after the perforated leather look and there's no stitching. This makes it look more like a plastic back rather than a leather imitation, but the material still feels good to the touch.

Here is the new 16MP camera with no optical image stabilization and 2160p video capture. Samsung claims the Phase Detection Auto Focus tech is the fastest on a phone, but we'll have to test it for ourselves.

Right under the camera is the flash with two odd looking sensors for heart rate monitor, which is a first on a smartphone. With the S5, Samsung is putting an even stronger emphasis on a fit lifestyle.

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16MP camera with LED flash and heart rate monitor

The screen is a 1080p Super AMOLED unit that has grown a bit since the last generation, but the difference in surface area is less than 5%. Samsung enabled dynamic adjustments to the screen based on ambient light, but the poor lighting at the event masked any difference that could have made.

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Galaxy S4 vs. Galaxy S5 size comparison

The silvery plastic that encircles the sides of the phone is still in place and here you can see the usual suspects, including an IR blaster at the top. Samsung has moved to microUSB 3.0, just like on the Note 3. The port is covered under a flap to prevent water damage, while the 3.5mm audio jack on top is left uncovered.

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Silver strap on the side • IR blaster on top • USB 3.0 port with watertight flap

The back cover is removable as usual. Below it is a 2,800mAh battery (also removable) and a microSD card slot to supplement the 16/32GB built-in storage. The slots supports the new 128GB microSD cards, so you won't run out of storage any time soon.

Samsung will offer more color options out of the gate - the standard Black and White models, a Blue one (a much brighter blue than the original S4 Arctic Blue) and a Copper version (which we suspect will become better known as "gold"). Note that the color versions are region dependent.

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The four color versions of the Galaxy S5

Galaxy S5 software: new TouchWiz

The teasers from Samsung lead people to believe that TouchWiz on the Galaxy S5 will have a flat, Holo-like design. The reality is much closer to what TouchWiz is today - some elements have indeed gotten flatter, like the notification area, but we already saw that on the Galaxy Pro tablets.

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Good ol' TouchWiz looks

Here's a short video demo to get a taste of TouchWiz. The Settings screen especially, with its circular icons is more what we expected.

Other than the Settings menu, the lock and home screens look very much like they used to.

The notification area has gotten a little more cluttered with S Finder and Quick Connect shortcuts, though hopefully those can be disabled just like the brightness slider. My Magazine is on board, which has become a TouchWiz staple.

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The new notification area feels a little cluttered • My Magazine UI

Finally, here's a quick look at the new camera interface - several commonly used features are now immediately accessible, so you don't have to dig in the Mode or Settings menu.

Galaxy S5 camera

The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 16MP camera with a 16:9 sensor. That's right, you get full resolution 16MP samples if you shoot in 16:9 (the Galaxy S4 and most other phones crop and lose resolution when making widescreen shots).

Samsung also confirmed that the sensor itself is bigger than what was in the Galaxy S4 camera, but we have no exact size yet.

We managed to snap several samples with the Galaxy S5, here are three Normal mode shots. The lighting at the venue wasn't particularly favorable, but given the circumstances, the Samsung Galaxy S5 did a pretty solid job.

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Camera sampes shot with the Galaxy S5

Samsung was particularly proud about the progress the Galaxy S5 makes when it comes to HDR photos, or as the Koreans call those - Rich tone photos. Check out how much extra dynamic range the Galaxy S5 is able to squeeze compared to the Galaxy S4.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S4 HDR mode

And here's an HDR sample we captured:

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HDR sample taken with the Galaxy S5

In the internal memory of the S5 unit we found these photos too, they are paired Normal mode and HDR mode:

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Samsung Galaxy S5 camera samples

Update: the Galaxy S5 records 4K UHD video, despite early information to the contrary. That's 3840 x 2160 video at 30fps.

We've recorded a couple of short videos to demonstrate the UHD recording capabilities of the S5. Note that you'll need a relatively beefy computer to play 4K at its native resolution (YouTube will play a lower resolution by default, don't forget to change to UHD!).

Synthetic benchmarks

We had time to run a few benchmarks and things went pretty much as expected - the Snapdragon 800 chipset is a great performer, especially at this clock speed. It topped most benchmarks we threw at it, though the Snapdragon 801 in the Xperia Z2 gave it a run for its money in 3D benchmarks (the 801 has a higher GPU clock speed compared to the 800).

AnTuTu 4

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    35145
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    34016
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (S800)
    33996
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
    33198
  • Transformer Pad TF701T
    32991
  • Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (Exynos)
    32796
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    31109
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    30189
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1
    24236
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    20216
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    20056
  • Asus Nexus 7 (2013)
    19131
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
    17159
  • Google Nexus 10
    12695
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
    9070

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    24258
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    20388
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    20052
  • LG G2
    19815
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    18177
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (S800)
    17963
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    16769
  • LG Nexus 5
    8844

GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z2
    27.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    27.5
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    26
  • Apple iPad Air
    25
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (S800)
    25
  • Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (Exynos)
    22
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
    22
  • Transformer Pad TF701T
    21
  • Asus Nexus 7 (2013)
    15
  • LG G Pad 8.3
    15
  • Google Nexus 10
    13.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1
    7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
    4.0

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    11.7
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    10.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    9.7
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    8.9
  • LG Nexus 5
    8.5
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (S800)
    8.1
  • Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (Exynos)
    5.6
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 (Exynos)
    5.6

GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex (on-screen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z2
    29.3
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    27.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    27
  • Apple iPad Air
    21
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (S800)
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    17
  • Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (Exynos)
    14
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
    14

GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan (on-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    11.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    9.9
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (Exynos)
    5.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    5.0
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (S800)
    4.7
  • Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (Exynos)
    2.9
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 (Exynos)
    2.8

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Apple iPad Air
    373
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    397
  • Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (Exynos)
    531
  • Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
    569
  • Transformer Pad TF701T
    606
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 (S800)
    607
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    651
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    952
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1011
  • Asus Nexus 7 (2013)
    1150
  • LG G Pad 8.3
    1190
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1
    1233
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
    1366
  • Google Nexus 7
    1703
  • new Apple iPad
    1722
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    1891
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
    1953
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    1992
  • Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
    2253
  • Huawei MediaPad
    2490
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