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Samsung Galaxy S5 official with fingerprint scanner and waterproof body

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is finally official, with the fifth generation of the best-selling handset series in the world arriving at MWC 2014 in Barcelona alongside a number of new ‘Gear’ wearable gadget accessories.

On the face of things the Galaxy S5 will be seen as an incremental upgrade over the Galaxy S4 by many. On the outside, the new flagship is much the same in terms of size, shape and button layout. Samsung has still foregone metal in its design, sticking to plastic to make the S5 a reasonable 145g in weight. It’s ever so slightly thicker than the S4 at 8.1mm thick, and both taller and wider by a few mm, thanks mainly to a bigger screen. The build quality is tougher though, with rubber seal covers for the ports helping to make the phone waterproof down to 1 metre and totally dustproof. Samsung has clearly fused ideas from the Galaxy S4 Active with the S5 here.

The display itself hasn’t changed much – it’s still Full HD and boasts a crisp 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, but is now 5.1-inches in size, which means the pixel density drops slightly to 432 ppi from the S4’s 441 ppi. It’s still a Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, too.

Inside there’s a faster quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip clocked at 2.5GHz, paired with the same 2GB of RAM as the S4. So far Samsung has only confirmed 16 and 32GB storage variants and not a 64GB model, although support for micro SD cards now goes all the way up to 128GB.

One area which does receive a good upgrade is the rear camera, which jumps to a larger 16 megapixel rear sensor which is also capable of recording 4K video at 3,840 x 2,160, just like the recently announced Sony Xperia Z2 can do. The main improvement is in the speed of autofocus, which Samsung has slashed down to just 0.3 seconds from screen tap to focus. The company claims this makes the S5 the fastest autofocus on a smartphone ever. There are also a couple of new features, including ‘Selective Focus’ which lets you blur the background around a close-up shot.

Finally, Samsung has added a fingerprint sensor to the standard home button which sits below the screen, a la iPhone 5S. A downward swipe of your finger across this button enables security authentication for unlocking the phone and other features. Samsung says it is working with PayPal to allow users to swipe the fingerprint scanner in order to pay for goods and services, which sounds very cool.

The Galaxy S5 will be available to buy globally from April 11th in black, white, blue and brown, priced at around £550.

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