Samsung Galaxy S5 Buyer's Guide: Notable Upgrades, Variants, Network Carrier Models, Pricing and Alternatives

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By Ryan Inoyori | January 30, 2014 3:10 PM EST

Samsung Galaxy S5 is coming out really soon and there are several factors potential buyers need to know before they choose this smartphone as an upgrade. Check out the specs, features, price and network carriers to guide your Galaxy S5 buying preparations.

Notable Upgrades

Unlike with Galaxy S3 to S4 upgrade, Galaxy S5 features notable changes from hardware to software. It sports qHD display resolution of 2560 x 1440 compared to 1080 x 1920 of S4, brand new Exynos 6 octa-core or Snapdragon 805 quad-core chipsets, 64-bit processor support unlike 32-bit on S4 and metallic variant model for elegant and premium feeling.

In addition, the camera has been upgraded to 16 MP, more RAM and runs Google's latest Android 4.4 KitKat version with new TouchWiz UI. Galaxy S4 and S3 will have to wait till Samsung finishes the Android 4.4 firmware and optimisation new TouchWiz UI version in the coming months.

Galaxy S5 Variant

Galaxy S5 will have two models other than the internal storage size - metal and plastic. According to exclusive specs caught by SamMobile, Galaxy S5 metallic version is the likely model to feature the 64-bit Exynos 6 octa-core processor while the plastic is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor.

Moreover, Samsung will release other variants of Galaxy S5 such as Mini, Zoom, Google Play edition and probably Active too which all happened on Galaxy S4 last year.

Exclusive Apps

Synaptics reported that Galaxy S5 features improved exclusive Galaxy S apps such as better hovering detection for Air View and other similar functionalities. Samsung also added a Fingerprint Sensor for additional security on the display screen instead on the home button for convenience.

Rapid Charging Technology

Galaxy S5 has 2900 mAh battery unit but supports Rapid Charging Technology and made up of new Li-Ion battery type that store 20 per cent more energy than standard ones. Rapid Charging technology will enable S5 to fully charge within two hours just like with Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

It is expected that the 2900 mAh can support Galaxy S5 at least a day of medium usage due to the larger display quality of 2560 x 1440 that could demand high power on the smartphone. However, new TouchWiz may include a better Power Saving tool than the previous version.

Samsung also added an improved one-hand functionality on the upcoming smartphone but this new interface will include customisations for users to select functions such as apps, notifications or favourite call on a specific corner.

Network Carriers

SamMobile received new information regarding model numbers of Galaxy S5 variants expected to be served across the world including the United States. Check the list below of each model numbers and where will it be deployed.

Country/Network Carrier

Model Number

SM-G9006V_CHN_CHN

China

SM-G9008V_CHN_ZM

China

SM-G9009D_CHN_CTC

China

SM-G900A_NA_ATT

AT&T

SM-G900D_JPN_DCM

Japan - NTT DoCoMo

SM-G900F_EUR_XX

Open Europe

SM-G90F_EUR_XX

Open Europe

SM-G900I_SEA_XSA

Asia

SM-G900J_JPN_KDI

Japan - KDI

SM-G900K_KOR_KTC

Korea

SM-G900L_KOR_LGC

Korea

SM-G900M_LA_VF

Vodafone

SM-G900P_NA_SPR

Sprint

SM-G900R4_NA_USC

US Cellular

SM-G900T_NA_TMB

T-Mobile

SM-G900V_NA_VZW

Verizon Wireless

SM-G900W8_NA_BMC

BMC

Expected Price Range

Start saving money right now for Galaxy S5, for it could be more expensive than Galaxy S4. Galaxy S5 may be sold starting at $650 off-contract or $199.99 with two-year term from a network carrier. However, that version may be plastic which means you could be spending $800 for the metal version away from any contracts or above $200 for two-year term.

Although Samsung hasn't confirmed the exact market price yet, expect competitive price and payment terms between network carriers in order to match iPhone 5S pricing.

Alternative Smartphones

In case you want to do some extensive research or are sceptical about the Galaxy S4 performance, other Android smartphones are good to check as alternatives for Galaxy S5. Sony Xperia Sirius is expected to be released around the same time as Galaxy S5 which features Android 4.4 KitKat, 20.7 MP Sony G lens camera with Carl Zeiss optics, dust and water resistances, Xperia Home UI and various multimedia services.

HTC is rumoured to release One 2 or M8 this year which features incremental improvements based on HTC One smartphone. You may also want to try LG G2 and Nexus 5 as more economical alternative smartphones that also runs Android 4.4 Kitkat.

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