Rumored Galaxy S5 specs: how real are they?

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At every tech site you visit, you’ll see a story about the rumored specs of the next Samsung Galaxy flagship smartphone. As we reported Monday, we expect the Galaxy S5 to be unveiled at a Mobile World Congress event later this month. (At this point, there’s no reason for Samsung to switch up the name.) Now, supposedly, the specs of Samsung’s new wonder-phone are on the loose.

For the most part, the details come from a report out of KDB Daewoo Securities—known around the world for its accurate predictions of upcoming smartphones! (Yes, that’s sarcasm.) The report puts the Galaxy S5 specs right next to the specs of the iPhone 6. Yes, that’s the iPhone that isn’t due to hit the market for at least half a year and the one that nobody really knows anything about.

iphone6 galaxys5

The chart from a KDB Daewoo Securities showing supposed Galaxy S5 specs alongside the yet-to-be-announced iPhone 6.

With a Galaxy release probably just around the corner, the GS5 specs are probably closer to reality than your typical rumor-mongering. And frankly, what the Korean securities firm is proposing sounds like a reasonable evolution:

  • Processor: Snapdragon 805 or Exynos 6
  • Display: 5.2 - 5.25-inch AMOLED, 2560x1440 (560 ppi)
  • OS: Android 4.4 KitKat (surely with Samsung’s latest TouchWiz on top)
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32, 64, or 128GB (the 128GB option would be a nice advance)
  • Cameras: 3.2 megapixels up front, 16 megapixels on the rear camera
  • Battery: 3200 mAh

All those things seem reasonable. Samsung is known to play the “higher specs are better” game in its flagship products. And all these things are within the realm of possibility. The most outlandish rumored spec inolves the display—it’s big, up in “phablet” territory, and sports an outlandish pixels-per-inch. There’s just no need for a 2560x1440 display of that size, and it’s not going to do much for you but increase the demand on the processor’s GPU and eat up precious battery life.

Of course, that’s why Samsung is supposedly stuffing in a big 3200 mAh battery. At least in the universe that KDB Daewoo Securities imagines. 

These wouldn’t be the most interesting parts of the phone, really. We’re well beyond the point where simply taking every spec on the list and making the numbers bigger makes a meaningful improvement to how you use your phone. It’s all about the software, the design and construction, and unique features that make your life easier.

The rumor mill suggests that the Galaxy S5 will come in a metal body this time around, a welcome departure from the plastic, somewhat cheap-feeling Galaxy phones of the past. There’s also talk of a biometric sensor of some kind—either a fingerprint reader or a retinal scanner—and we wouldn’t put that past Samsung, either. since Apple has a fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5s, Samsung probably feels it has to keep up.

Will the Galaxy S5 have a curved display? It seems unlikely. The technology is in its infancy, and doesn’t yet support the kind of super-high density displays we think the GS5 is likely to have. Samsung wouldn’t risk its most popular model on a trend that has not yet proven itself.

Frankly, it’s all a bunch of hand-waving and navel-gazing right now. Samsung is going to reveal something interesting at its Unpacked 5 event in a few weeks, and we might as well wait until then to find out what’s really in the Galaxy S5. 

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