AT&T and Sprint are now accepting preorders for the Galaxy S5, Samsung's newest flagship smartphone, as well as the company's Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches and Gear Fit fitness band. AT&T will begin shipping the devices "in early April," though Sprint set the date as April 11.
On Monday, March 24, T-Mobile will also begin accepting preorders for the S5. Further, customers who preorder by March 31 from T-Mobile will receive an introductory price of $0 down and $27.50 a month for 24 months, for a total of $660. They're also guaranteed to not have to wait in line when the S5 launches on T-Mobile April 11.
AT&T is selling the Galaxy S5 for $25 per month with an AT&T Next 18 plan (that's 26 monthly payments and the option to trade-in after 18 months); $32.50 per month with an AT&T Next 12 plan (20 monthly payments and the option to trade-in after 12) or $199.99 with a two-year service agreement. The price, without a service commitment, is $649.99.
Through June 5, with the purchase of a GS5, AT&T will take $50 off the price of a Gear 2 or Gear 2 Neo. Otherwise, the Gear 2 is priced at $299, the Gear 2 Neo at $199 and the Gear Fit at $199.
Sprint is offering the GS5 for no money down and 24 monthly payments of $27.09. With a two-year contract, it’s priced at $199.99, after a $50 mail-in rebate. The pricing for the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit are the same as on AT&T. Though for a limited time, customers who buy a GS5 from Sprint on a Framily Plan with Easy Pay will receive a Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 for free—if they pair it with a two-year data service contract. Rate plans start at $10 a month for the tablet.
T-Mobile officials said the company will continue to pay users' early-termination fees, if they want to switch from AT&T, Verizon Wireless or Sprint, and families that switch can save big-time—$1,200 a year, in the case of a family that switches four lines over.
T-Mobile added that response to the GS5 has already been strong.
"This thing is so hot, we've already seen over a half a million pre-registrations for the Galaxy S5," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a March 20 statement. "That's a lot of very smart people grabbing this opportunity to pay nothing down, save more than a grand over the life of the other guys' contracts and have T-Mobile pay off every penny of their family's early termination fees. It's a brilliant move."
Samsung introduced the devices Feb. 24 at Mobile World Congress.
The Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch full-HD Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) display (with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080) that at a glance can look very much like its predecessor. But Samsung put a new faux-leather material on the back (available in several colors) that's arguably more comfortable in the hand, made the phone dust- and water-resistant, improved the camera, introduced impressive power-saving features that extend the battery, integrated an on-screen fingerprint reader and—the first in any smartphone—included a heart-rate monitor that ties to a number of health and fitness apps.
The Gear Fit features a 1.84-inch curved display that sets it apart from competing fitness bands. It also has a heart-rate monitor and pedometer and can pair with 20 Samsung phones to offer users notifications about incoming calls, emails, Short Message Service (SMS) texts, alarms, planner information and data from third-party apps.
The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are also marked upgrades on the original Galaxy Gear, starting with their also being compatible with an array of Samsung phones (the original Gear paired with only the Galaxy Note 3 phablet). Both are dust- and water-resistant, include heart-rate monitors, feature two to three days of battery life and—if still more subtly than some would have liked—feature a less bulky, more streamlined look.
While the Neo leaves off the camera, the Gear 2 has a 2-megapixel camera integrated into its face (instead of the wristband, as in the original Gear). Both also run Tizen, an Android-compatible OS that some think Samsung may use to put some space between it and partner Google.
"With the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo," Samsung CEO JK Shin said, introducing the devices, "we have enhanced everything consumers love about the Gear to offer unparalleled smart freedom in their everyday life."
Verizon Wireless has also committed to selling the Galaxy S5 but has yet to share details about availability.