Galaxy S5 launched in Dubai... Sorry M8, better luck Nexus time

A features-laden Samsung Galaxy S5 will be available for retail in the UAE and 150 other countries from April 11; priced at Dh2,599

Samsung Gulf on Wednesday launched the new Galaxy S5 smartphone in the UAE, with the new device being available for retail from April 11, starting at Dh2,599 for the 3G 16GB version and Dh2,699 for its 16GB LTE model.

Samsung has announced the availability of its new smartphone within 10 days from now before the other new launch, the HTC One (M8) can make any inroads into the consumers' minds. 

Last evening, a few hours after the Samsung UAE launch announcement and while HTC One (M8) was being unveiled in Dubai, a third player, Nokia, tweeted this: "Sorry M8, better luck Nexus time ;)"

It may have aptly summed up the feelings of HTC's marketing department, who, despite having the bst Android smartphone (original HTC One) in their hands, couldn't compete against the marketing muscles of the likes of Samsung. Read: HTC One launched in Dubai: It’s a great phone, but…

Samsung's marketing muscle can be gauged from the fact that the company has sold more than 200 million Galaxy S devices till date, and expects the Galaxy S5 sales to be “significant.”

While the look and feel of the Galaxy S5 are similar to the Galaxy S4, its predecessor, the new Samsung smartphone borrows a little bit from its other industry peers to offer a solid value proposition to the customer.

The new Samsung smartphone is water and dust resistant (like the Sony Xperia range of smartphones); it comes with a finger scanner that acts as a screen-lock password (like the Apple iPhone 5s); and supports wireless charging (like Nokia Lumia 920 and many others).

While these may not be industry firsts, it is perhaps the first time they’re available in the same device. And that isn’t all – the Galaxy S5 does have a few of its own tricks up its sleeve as well.

For one, the Galaxy S5 boasts of the fastest auto focus of just 0.3 seconds in addition to selective focus – you can choose if you want to focus on the foreground or background (or both) in your picture. That’s cool actually, if only incrementally.

What’s also very interesting is the Download Booster, which allows the simultaneous use of LTE and Wi-Fi to offer rapidfire download speed. In this case, 2+2 won’t be 4 but perhaps 3.5 (in terms of combined speed), but that’s still great improvement on either of the two (LTE or Wi-Fi) that one has to currently choose from.

We also like the Ultra Power Saving Mode, which allows the smartphone to perform basic usage functions (non-smartphone ones, like making/receiving calls and text messages) for as  long as 22 hours on just 10 per cent of the battery power. Not that you can’t surf at all while in that mode, but the Galaxy S5 will automatically disconnect from the Internet the moment you exit the browser screen to save battery. This is cool too.

And the new smartphone also comes with a private mode, where you can make your private images and videos inaccessible to anyone other than you (needs your fingerprint as password) for the times you’ve got to lend it to a friend (or spouse).

The finger scanner itself has the ability to save and identify up to three fingerprints – for the time you may be using your left hand instead of the right, or when you’ve managed to injure one of your fingers.

Yungsoo Kim, President, Samsung Gulf Electronics, said in his keynote address that the new device was a result of customer feedback and great innovation. “We decided to listen to customers about what they really want,” said Kim, adding that the new customer-inspired Galaxy S5 adds to function, style and experience of its predecessor.

Hayssam Yassine, Head of Telecommunications at Samsung Gulf Electronics, added: “With the Galaxy S5, Samsung has gone back to the drawing board to work on adding real value to our consumers’ lives, while giving them the best-in-class capabilities on the market.

“The intuitive technologies of the Galaxy S5 and the Gear Fit motivate and support our consumers to help them maximise each moment and effortlessly stay in control of their lives.”

The company also simultaneously launched Gear Fit, the first curved, Super Amoled wearable device. Gear Fit will be priced at Dh799 in the UAE.

Other fitness-oriented wearables, the Samsung Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo will retail at Dh1,199 and D799, respectively.

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