Not so Long Ago in Spain
Samsung has officially taken the cover off of their new Galaxy S flagship phone and it’s already far more exciting than the previous iteration. I remember after the Galaxy S4 was announced at Unpacked last year I felt less than enthusiastic about the new model. I had the S III at the time (yeah they used roman numerals way back then) and was very pleased with the handset. My only real complaint was that the S-Cover, while decent at keeping the display clean, didn’t do much else. It should be quite telling then that the most exciting announcement about the S4 in my world was that the upgrade to the S-Cover, the S-View, did stuff like sleep and wake the phone, provide a window for quick view without opening and also prevented the cover from blocking the camera when folded all of the way back. This welcome change was not enough for me to drop the money to upgrade my phone however.
Now, a few months went by and by happenstance I did upgrade to an S4 and grew to be very fond of the phone. I like and use some of the air gestures, the IR blaster is a big part of my home entertainment system, and performance is speedy and reliable. My opinion is that it is a great phone, it was just marketed poorly.
Enter the Galaxy S5
Earlier today we met the Galaxy S5 and I’m pretty pumped. With the S4 it felt like Samsung was saying, “Hey, you know all those services Google provides on Android? We do that now, we just call it ‘S-_____’” For my uses, S Note is good and I use it every Sunday on my Galaxy Note 8 but that’s about it. But not with the S5. This time around Sammy has taken all I like about my S4, kept or upgraded those, and added things to make the device stand in a category all its own.
Here’s my list of things that have me excited about the Galaxy S5:
- It’s water resistant. Water is the bane of mobile devices. With the S5 I plan on listening to many podcasts (Elevation, Life Church, Mars Hill, and more) while showering off that run in the morning.
- The IR blaster is still there! I was afraid it might disappear
- Finger print scanning. I was nervous about this when it was a rumor. I was concerned it would be a knee jerk reaction to Apple’s Touch ID. It probably is, but since it works with PayPal that means you can secure almost any online purchase with it. On iPhone you’re limited to iTunes/App Store I believe. Also you get an encrypted file locker that is only accessible to fingerprint unlocking.
- 1080p display. I don’t want a phone with a 2k or 4k display just yet. The S5 has a slightly larger battery than the S4. Had Sammy gone to a UHD display then we probably would have seen a battery life decrease even with increased mAh.
- Textured back. No longer is holding the phone like holding a wet bar of soap.
- Real Time HDR. Qualcomm demoed this about a year ago when they released the Snapdragon 800, which is the heart of the S5. Maybe I missed it but the S5 seems to be the first phone to showcase this capability.
There are also a few unknowns that I’m eager to get figured out before buying in.
- Android 4.4 – will we get the always listening “OK Google” hot word awesomeness?
- Will the SD card slot support the new 128GB cards?
- What about accessories? Will my beloved S-View cover get an update or even be available for this phone?
- The heart beat sensor. Will it work anywhere besides a finger? If so will we see arm bands that allow skin contact for pulse monitoring while working out?
So am I Getting One?
In short, yes. I’m in the same frame of mind that I was with the S III release. Back then I was rocking an S II Skyrocket and planned to get the S III when funds were available. To my fortune, Best Buy put the S III on a one day sale for $50 while it was still the new Sammy flagship so I picked one up sooner than I thought I would. On the S4 I was going to pass altogether but when I needed to add a line to my service I thought, “What the heck?” and got the S4 for myself. Now with the S5 I’m in the thought that I will for sure upgrade to this phone but will just have to wait until funds are there. I’m also going to attempt to be more intentional with this purchase and grab the international model if there is one. Custom software and capabilities seem to come out much faster for the international S4 than the US I337 model.
What are your thoughts on the Galaxy S5? If you’re a current Android user do you think you’ll pick one up? If you’re an Apple user, could this be the one that has you consider making the jump?