Launches & Lunches: Samsung’s Galaxy S5

SM-G900F_charcoal BLACK_02OKAY, SO WE Kiwis weren’t able to get to Samsung’s big launch, but we were invited to live it vicariously while chomping on breakfast at a downtown Auckland venue, The Generator.

So we fraternised with local Samsung personnel, and I managed to contain myself and not indulge in the churos, and we sat down to watch the big announcement on one of Samsung’s giant Ultra-HD televisions.

SM-G900F_charcoal BLACK_08Unlike last year’s Galaxy launch, which was so over-the-top that it resembled an Academy Award presentation and so American it made you gag, this year’s presentation was more like one of THAT NAMELESS OTHER COMPANY’S launches. It didn’t have quite the same pizzazz, perhaps, and when it was all over it felt a little anti-climatic, but there’s no getting around one thing: the Galaxy S5 smartphone looks like a step (or two or three) up from last year’s model.

The big boss started with a short summation of both the Galaxy and the company’s new training watches. He did okay, but someone whose accent is so thick that they can’t pronounce either ‘Galaxy’ or ‘technology’ should probably just leave it to the underlings.

And those underlings did really well: dynamic and carefully worded soundbytes that captured the essential points. So, what are those points?

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a ‘modern glam look’ with a gorgeous perforated back cover, so there’s a bit of a bling thing going on.

SM-G900F_charcoal BLACK_10There’s a new UX (user experience design) which declutters the ‘front page’, yet allows easy access to icons/apps.

The screen is full HD and it will automatically change to suit different light conditions; or it can be manually adjusted if, for instance, you want to have it less bright.

As you would expect, they’ve managed to conjure a bit more life out of batteries, claiming that it’s possible to web surf for up to 10 hours on one charge.

The camera has, they say, incorporated some handy aspects from DSLRs. For instance, a very fast AF (auto focus), meaning that I should even be able to get clear pictures of my hyperactive chickens. Gear_Fit_Black_05There’s also Selective Focus so you can choose what you want the camera to focus on.

One of the big selling points is the speed of the Galaxy S5. It’s boasting double the previous connection speed, blazing fast downloads, ‘and the movie will be ready to go [downloaded] before the microwave popcorn has finished popping.’

The Ultra Power Saving mode also sounds very handy. Until they invent a battery that will just go on and on, this will have to do: if you’re in a situation where you need to use the phone but can’t charge it up, this mode will turn the display to black and white and use only essential features, and will keep it all ticking over for up to 24 hours.

Gear_Fit_Grey_03Like that nameless OTHER product, the Galaxy features Samsung’s first finger scanner. Then there are the different modes: Private Mode is for when you and you alone want to access certain things, while Kids Mode is especially kid friendly. Not that I’d let any destructive hyper-active small human play with MY Galaxy.

Last but not least is the heart rate censor, which sits just under the camera lens, which means that the Galaxy S5 is not just a business and entertainment device, it has an investment in your health as well.

The rest of the presentation concentrated on those smart training watches, the Gear 2, Gear Neo and the super-duper wrist band, the Gear Fit. The Gear Fit is apparently a world first, in that it boasts a curved AMOLED screen, and they tell us it’s “one of the most comprehensive fitness tools available.” [But where’s the curved AMOLED screen TV to go with it? Don’t worry, I’m just being smart-lipped].

The Gear Fit is a sleek band that provides users with instant notifications from Galaxy smartphones, including incoming calls and emails, and it connects with an astounding 20 Galaxy devices.

So there you have it, a brief introduction to Samsung’s new smartphone and health devices. I’m sold. Do you suppose it’s too late to go get some churos? GARY STEEL

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