The design of the Samsung Galaxy S4 was very similar to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S3. Physically, they appeared to be almost identical, with the Galaxy S4’s screen being very slightly larger. Their weight is similar as well, with a difference of a mere tenth of an ounce. The S4’s screen is more sensitive to touch, allowing the user to operate it using less pressure or while wearing gloves, but other than these attributes, the differences in the two phones’ hardware and aesthetics are minimal. Samsung decided to keep the design similar from one version to the next, and for the most part it worked.
The company decided against this with the Galaxy S5, however. The S5 still looks and feels like an S series phone, but pieces of it are closer to the Galaxy Note series than to the S3 or S4. For example, it is significantly larger than the other members of the S series, making it feel slightly more like a tablet. In keeping with this, its corners are not as rounded, making it more rectangular. Unlike the Note series, though, the S5’s back is not designed to look like leather but instead sports a more metallic appearance, making it visually sleeker and more modern-looking.
On the functional side of the hardware, Samsung has reintroduced what was a supplementary feature in the S4: a waterproof and dust-proof case. When immersed in water at a depth of one meter or less, the S5 will be undamaged for approximately half an hour. This case is very useful when a consumer accidentally drops it into the sink or wants to show it off by dropping it into a pint of beer. The case also prevents dust from getting inside the phone and disrupting the performance of any of the carefully-balanced internal components.
As far as software goes, the Galaxy S5 does have a very minor drop in screen resolution, but makes up for it with significant upgrades from the S3 and S4 in terms of ease of use. The notifications bar now contains easy to access search tool which allows the user to search not only the contents of the S5, including photos, videos, and even handwritten notes, but also enables a web search using Google. In addition, the lock screen now displays the weather as well as the time and date.
One of the most interesting improvements in the S5 is the incorporation of a fingerprint scanner. This gives the phone more security than a simple password by giving the user an option to require fingerprint verification to unlock the phone, but the scanner’s utility extends beyond that. By partnering with PayPal, Samsung has used the scanner provide Galaxy S5 users an additional layer of security for purchases made with the phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S5, planned for release in a number of countries in April, introduces several new features to the S series and modified several old ones, resulting in a phone that is more accessible and user-friendly.