Samsung Unveils Galaxy S5, Gear Fit, Galaxy Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo at MWC

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-02-25 Print this article Print

Samsung says it's hearing users when it comes to what they want. In a huge auditorium at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, the world's leading phone maker introduced four new devices: its newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5; the Galaxy Gear Fit, the world's first fitness band with a curved active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) display; and the Galaxy Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, updates to its 6-month-old smartwatch. Samsung's event was without the dance numbers and kitsch of past shows, and the GS5, at a glance, seemed to have arrived without a redesign. Apple has taught the world that between years of revolutionary advances must come years of evolutionary advances. Yet even putting Samsung into that camp isn't fair. The company slightly grew the screen on the GS5 to 5.1 inches and completely changed the material on the back of the phone (whether for better or worse, the jury is quite mixed on). It also made its newest flagship, like its other new devices, water- and dust-resistant. It included a fingerprint reader for secure storage and mobile payments, significant camera upgrades and, in a first for any phone, integrated a heart-rate monitor. "Coming back to the basics [of what people want] has helped us drive innovation," said CEO J.K. Shin.

  • Samsung Unveils Galaxy S5, Gear Fit, Galaxy Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo at MWC

    by Michelle Maisto
    1 - Samsung Unveils Galaxy S5, Gear Fit, Galaxy Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo at MWC
  • Introducing the Samsung Galaxy S5

    The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch FHD Super AMOLED (1920 by 1080) "adaptive display." It runs Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) and has a battery that can last through 10 hours of Web browsing on Long Term Evolution (LTE) or 12 hours of video playback. An Ultra Power Saving Mode—for desperate moments—can make a phone on 10 percent battery last another 24 hours.
    2 - Introducing the Samsung Galaxy S5
  • New Design

    News of the GS5 went out over the Internet, as Samsung's MWC event was just getting under way. On Twitter, the phone received some quick criticism for looking too much like its predecessor(s). Can you tell the difference?
    3 - New Design
  • New Materials, New Look

    From the back, however, there's no question which is the GS5. Trading in the slippery (sometimes slimy-feeling) plastic of the past, it features a faux-leather perforated design that comes in blue, black, white or gold. While Samsung executives believe "shimmer is at the heart of [the GS5's] modern, glam look," the padded design quickly drew detractors. For many, the gold option quickly brought to mind a Band-Aid. One undeniable positive, however, is that it's much more comfortable in the hand than the plastic housing.
    4 - New Materials, New Look
  • Heart-Rate Sensor

    Like previous Galaxy flagships, the GS5 is packed with features. Unlike in previous models, users may find the majority of these useful. Under the camera, what looks like a flash is actually a heart-rate monitor. There's also a built-in pedometer. While Samsung is focused on the "newest and latest technology developments," said CEO J.K. Shin, people ultimately want "meaningful and relevant improvements for day-to-day use."
    5 - Heart-Rate Sensor
  • Key Features

    Samsung has built a fingerprint reader into the GS5's display. Users can select photos, videos, apps and other content and store them under Privacy Mode—a vault, if you will, that only a finger swipe will unlock. Samsung has also teamed with PayPal to help users make safer online mobile payments, verified through the fingerprint reader.
    6 - Key Features
  • Hybrid Autofocus

    The GS5's main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor, can take HDR photos and videos, offers selective focus (to help users take photos like this one) and, in a first for a smartphone, it features "hybrid autofocus," giving the GS5 the quickest autofocus capabilities on a smartphone.
    7 - Hybrid Autofocus
  • Galaxy Gear 2

    With the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo (the main distinction is that the Neo doesn't include a camera), Samsung's smartwatches will be truer companions, able to connect to more than a dozen Galaxy smartphones at launch.
    8 - Galaxy Gear 2
  • Galaxy Gear Now Has Purpose

    Samsung has made its smartwatches more useful. They can play music on their own, instead of via a smartphone, and they're useful workout companions, with fitness apps available for download, a pedometer and a heart-rate monitor. If you're too tired from your workout to find the remote, you can also use the Gear 2 to control your television. The Gear 2 watches can also accept or reject incoming calls and messages and show alerts.
    9 - Galaxy Gear Now Has Purpose
  • Heart-Rate Monitor

    Shown here is the heart-rate monitor on the back of the Gear 2 smartwatch. If the pricing is right, with Feb. 24's announcements, Samsung may have struck a major blow at the fitness band market.
    10 - Heart-Rate Monitor
  • Galaxy Gear Fit

    For those who might find the Gear 2 too bulky, too pricey or simply too much, there's the Galaxy Gear Fit, the first fitness band with a curved AMOLED display. The display is 1.84 inches, with a resolution of 432 by 128; the battery lasts two to three days; it weighs an ounce; and it connects with other devices via Bluetooth.
    11 - Galaxy Gear Fit
  • Fitness Companion

    Like the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and GS5, the Gear Fit has a heart-rate monitor on its back and in seconds it displays a wearer's heart's BPM, or beats per minute.
    12 - Fitness Companion
  • "Real-Time Fitness Coaching," Says Samsung

    The Gear Fit can alert users to incoming calls, email, Short Message Service (SMS) texts, alerts and content from third-party apps. The Gear Fit is designed to "help those consumers striving to live more fit and active lives without sacrificing their own personal style or their ability to stay connected on the go," Samsung CEO J.K. Shin said in a statement.
    13 -
  • Swappable Bands

    The face of the Gear Fit easily pops out its hypoallergenic, plastic strap. The straps come in three colors, black, orange and "mocha grey," to "let users express their individual style," said Samsung.
    14 - Swappable Bands
  • 200 Million Customers

    J.K. Shin expressed his appreciation to the "200 million customers around the world who have chosen our Galaxy S devices." With the GS5, Samsung chose to focus on great design, an excellent camera, fast connectivity and fitness features—features that Samsung believes customers want most. "We know that we only succeed when customers choose us," said Shin.
    15 - 200 Million Customers

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