In an extravagant launch event yesterday at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S5 will be launching in Australia on April 11 – just ten days after the HTC One M8‘s Australian launch. It will be priced at $929, and will be available on all the major telcos – Optus, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and Telstra.
The smartphone features a bigger 5.1-inch full HD display, a 2.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 2800mAh battery, and 16GB of internal storage – which can be expanded with the microSD card slot. It also features two cameras: a 16-megapixel camera at the back and a 2.1-megapixel camera at the front; and is IP67 certified water and dust resistant (to a maximum of one metre for up to 30 minutes).
Other features include enhanced S Health functions, the Ultra Power Saving Mode and the fingerprint scanner.
The Ultra Power Saving Mode is an interesting feature as it will turn the screen black and white, and shut down specific apps and non-essential tools to extend the battery life as much as you can. It will also only connect to 3G, with Wi-Fi and 4G connections all blocked. The justification, according to one Samsung rep, was because it is designed when you are not going to be near a power source for a long time – for instance, camping.
The fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S5 is – like the iPhone 5s – on the home button. However, instead of placing your finger on the home button, you swipe your finger from the bottom edge of the screen and over the home button. From what I’ve observed at the launch event, it was pretty good. However, I should wait until I get my hands on the phone for a long period of time to make a judgement.
Samsung Australia also made a couple of local announcements in relation to the phone. They announced that Westpac and Commonwealth Bank customers will be able to use the “Mobile Tap and Pay” feature. This will allow them to use the Galaxy S5 to pay for goods using the phone’s NFC chip, instead of grabbing out their card. It is also likely that the Galaxy S5 will work natively with the Commonwealth Bank application, instead of requiring a PayPass attachment.
Australian customers will also be one of the first countries to take advantage of a recent deal between Samsung and PayPal. Galaxy S5 owners will be able to use the fingerprint scanner to make online payments using their phone – allowing them to purchase goods from their phone or in-store using their PayPal account.
Customers can preorder the phone from 9am today from the telcos; or through the Samsung Experience Stores in George Street, Sydney and the Highpoint Shopping Centre, Melbourne.