Samsung not only announced a new phone at Mobile World Congress (the Galaxy S5), but also 3 new wearables. First, the GS5.
Spec-wise, the GS5 is definitely an upgrade over the GS4. It’s slightly bigger than the GS4, and it has a soft touch dimpled back instead of the plastic back the GS4 has. It has a 5.1 inch display, 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, improved hardware and software for its 16 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front, upgraded Wi-Fi and LTE capabilities, a fingerprint reader in the Home button, a heart rate sensor on the back, it’s water resistant (not proof), has a Kids Mode so that your children can play with your phone without getting somewhere they shouldn’t be, and on top of that it has a bigger battery and a battery saver mode that will come on when your battery is really low so that you can make it home. It also has improved it’s S Health software to make it a better companion to monitor your workouts and such. The interface has been improved, the icons are flatter, the screen monitors the ambient light and is smarter about how it adjusts the screen … I can go on and on. But what’s interesting about the GS5 is that despite what I listed (and what I didn’t), it feels less like Samsung threw in everything it could think of into the phone because it was “cool and different” like it did with the GS4. The GS4 was a Swiss army knife of useless options. The GS5 feels more thought out, and they actually pointed that out in their presentation, and even that was considerably scaled down from what it was for the GS4. That was a Broadway train wreck. The GS5 is more focused on what people want, and less what Samsung thinks people should have. Hopefully that means that there will be a lot less pre-installed software on the GS5.
It wasn’t all about the GS5, however. I mentioned in another post that I didn’t think the Galaxy Gear was a good purchase, and I still stand by that statement. I had a feeling that it was Samsung throwing a wearable into the ring, and they proved that because not, what, 8 months later there’s a successor. The Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo was announced a few days before the GS5 announcement, but during the announcement Samsung showed us the Gear Fit. The Gear 2 improves on the Galaxy Gear by having longer battery life, it’s lighter, the bands are removable, the camera has been moved from the band to the actual device, it has on board memory so that you can save songs on the gear to listen to as you work out, and it has a Home button. The software experience is said to be improved, and there is a heart rate monitor on the bottom of the device, making it a very useful work out companion. The Gear Neo is the same as the Gear 2 sans the camera.
The Gear Fit is just about the coolest looking fitness wearable I’ve seen. It has the same heart rate monitor as the Gear 2, but it looks like … well, a fitness band like the Fuel Band or the Fitbit. What’s cool about it is that it has a curved 1.84 inch Super AMOLED screen (like the phones have), and the alert functionality of the Gear 2 which means you’ll get your email and text alerts on the band. Seriously … this thing is pretty cool. The question is how much this thing is going to cost. That hasn’t been announced yet for the phone or the Gears.
Am I smitten? I’d say I’m more … curious. Here’s the thing … if you have a Galaxy S3, yeah, this is a no-brainer. A Galaxy S4? That’s a harder sell. It looks VERY similar to the GS4, and honestly unless you need to have the newest thing (that would be me), I’d be hard pressed to convince you to upgrade. A Note 3? Please. I’d have an issue with you trading your Note 3 for the GS5 unless you wanted something smaller and you had a thing for the heart rate monitors. The Galaxy S5 is a next step up, but I wouldn’t call it revolutionary. It’s a very evolutionary device, and with the likes of Apple breathing down their neck, I would think they would have done something more. I’m expecting Apple to release a larger screened iPhone, and the truth is even with just that modification the world is going to stop in praise of Apples brilliance in catching up with everyone else.
The GS5 and the Gears will be released on April 11th. When I find out the prices, trust me, I’ll let you know …