The Galaxy S5 Prime has been a subject of intense interest and rumor, from the first moment we heard that such a device existed.
We first got a glimpse of the name “Galaxy S5 Prime” from a Spigen case on Amazon’s website. The case was listed as in working order for the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy S5 Prime. Even today, you can still search for “Galaxy S5 Prime” and a Spigen Strong-Flex case appears that offers colors in both “Capsule Metal Slate” and “Metal Slate” colors. This is no indication that the Galaxy S5 Prime will feature a metal design, but few metal cases have been advertised for the Galaxy S line in the past. A sign, perhaps, of the upcoming metal build?
The Galaxy S5 was announced at Mobile World Congress, and many expected the Galaxy S5 Prime to be announced at the same time. Samsung didn’t, however – but, between the Galaxy S5’s new heart rate monitor, 16MP camera with a DSLR camera module, IP67 water and dust resistance rating, as well as the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit presentations, Samsung provided quite the level of excitement.
The next sighting for the Galaxy S5 Prime occurred at a website from India that showed a Galaxy S model bearing the same number as the Prime, SM-G906S, being shipped to the Zauba Indian import-export site on April 16th with the description, “SM-G906K Kor_KTC Samsung Mobile Phone Set (For R&D Purpose).” As of last month, then, Samsung decided to send 4 Galaxy S5 Prime smartphones to India for research and development. We don’t know why, except to say that these smartphones bear the letter “S” at the end of the model number – the letter representing South Korea. The “KOR” designation seems to be a giveaway to this, as well.
In the AnTuTu benchmark scores, the Galaxy S5 Prime information showed a 5.2-inch handset with a Quad HD (QHD) 2560 x 1440 screen resolution running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, with a 2.5Ghz quad-core Qualcomm processor, Adreno 420 GPU, with about 27.9GB of free memory storage on the device (quite naturally, the 32GB model). The back camera stood at a 15MP with full HD video recording capabilities, and the front camera registered at 2MP. One of the interesting things about the AnTuTu information is that the camera lacks HDR photos and autofocus. The Galaxy S5 original model has a 16MP camera, 2.1-MP front-facing camera, as well as HDR and autofocus. Notice, too, that the full HD video recording is inferior to the Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) video recording found on the original Galaxy S5 model though the screen resolution is twice that of the Galaxy S5’s 1920 x 1080p (or full HD). If the Galaxy S5 Prime is supposed to be “prime,” then this model doesn’t seem as if it’s the top-specced model we’ve all been waiting for.
Nearly two weeks later, Samsung published the model number “SM-G906S/K/L” on its website under the User Guide “Find My Mobile” section. The “S” model is for Korea, the “K” is likely for the entire nation of “Korea,” but the “L” is a puzzling one. It seems that, once again, Samsung intends to release an updated Galaxy S5 model for its home country – but we’re still in the dark as to whether or not the new Galaxy S5 Prime will ever arrive to other countries.
Just two days ago, Twitter member @Evleaks, who’s always getting the scoop on the latest in the mobile tech space, announced via Twitter that the Galaxy S5 Prime is real: “Samsung SM-G906, the ‘Galaxy S5 Prime’ for Korea, to come in five colors: black, white, gold, blue, and sweet pink.” Evleaks has been rather reliable when it comes to smartphone leaks, so his authoritative announcement contradicts statements made by some Korean publications that claim the Galaxy S5 Prime would be mainly for Europe and the North American continents.
With all these leaks and rumors, what can we know about the Galaxy S5 Prime? Is it real? Will the international market outside of Korea expect to see this device?
Galaxy S5 Prime: What we can conclude
Is the Galaxy S5 Prime real? Yes. The fact that the device has information published in AnTuTu benchmarks shouldn’t be overlooked. No smartphone goes through AnTuTu, of course, unless it’s real and soon to arrive to market. How many “non-existent” vehicles go through vehicle testing before placed on the road?
So, in short, yes, the Galaxy S5 Prime exists. How “prime” will this device be? Not much, according to what has been shown in AnTuTu benchmark testing. While the Galaxy S5 Prime will have a greater screen resolution than the original (2560 x 1440 vs. 1920 x 1080) and greater graphics (Adreno 420 GPU vs. the Adreno 330 GPU of the original GS5), the cameras seem a little under the original GS5 cameras and don’t come with the 2K recording (or Ultra HD) found in the original Galaxy S5. In other words, the Galaxy S5 Prime may be a mixed bag.
One feature that may prove welcome for the Galaxy S5 Prime is its metal design. There isn’t a shred of evidence at the moment to confirm that the Galaxy S5 Prime will come with a metal design, but there is some evidence that the smartphone may be headed for international countries outside Korea. After all, the AnTuTu testing reveals that Samsung is using a Qualcomm quad-core CPU in the GS5 Prime, and Qualcomm CPUs are always used for at least American and European handsets that come from Samsung. We’ve also seen the Galaxy S5 Prime with an Exynos process (via Asian Today) that confirms the handset for Korea and other countries, so it looks as if Samsung intends to market the GS5 Prime to the same 150 countries it released the original Galaxy S5 model on April 11th.
At the same time, however, one must consider a few things. First, the increased screen resolution and possibly metal design may bring a higher price tag. At the moment, most consumers can get a Galaxy S5 for $199, but it’s possible that Samsung will increase the price tag for a more souped-up Galaxy S5 Prime. Next, Samsung may likely use a faux metal design for the Galaxy S5 Prime – the same build quality as LG looks to bring in its G3 smartphone. With that said, faux metal may feel nice in the hands (perhaps nicer than the faux leather, depending on who you are), but it’s still “faux” metal. If you’re the person who thinks that metal a quality smartphone makes, then HTC has already taken the title with its brushed aluminum metal HTC One M8 smartphone. There’s no reason to continue looking for a top metal smartphone, in that case, because the HTC One M8 has already arrived.
Could LG’s G3 steal the smartphone crown from Samsung’s Galaxy S5?
There’s no disputing it: LG’s G3 looks to be an impressive smartphone this year, with its faux metal design (with three colors), not to mention its Quad HD screen resolution. At the same time, however, many tech analysts believe that LG’s G3 will surpass Samsung’s Galaxy S5 this year. Is this the case?
Not really. Samsung has a number of things going for the Korean manufacturer right now. First, Samsung’s 16MP camera is likely to blow the 13MP LG G3 camera out of the water. Future camera demonstrations will have to bear this out, but LG’s G2 camera was no contest to Samsung’s GS4 camera. Things may change this year, but, until LG improves its camera quality, the company will always remain behind Samsung Electronics.
As for the screen resolution, LG looks to best Samsung’s own work, but the Galaxy S5 Prime will undisputedly meet the screen resolution battle. LG, however, looks to stick to its LCD screen for the LG G3, but Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Prime screen (even the original GS5 screen) will feature a Super AMOLED display that will keep the LG G3 screen in second place this year. Some have said that LCD screens are more legible in sunlight, but AMOLED screens, especially Super AMOLED, are far superior to LCD screens. It’s no contest between these screens when it comes to user experience. AMOLED screens have the most gorgeous array of color and sharpness that no LCD screen has ever been able to match or surpass.
As for LG’s faux metal design, as said earlier, keep in mind that it is “faux” metal we’re talking about here – nothing to brag home about. In the end, LG’s G3 may have faux metal design (and it may appeal to some), but there’s still no denying that the LG G3 will lack water and dust resistance. Water and dust resistance are features that consumers have come to expect in their devices (just ask most iPhone consumers) because they want to live, work, and play in the sun without worry or concern over whether their smartphone will live or die. A small rumor suggests LG may come forward with a water-resistant design, but it’s a small rumor that has yet to be confirmed by most major tech analysts.
Last but not least, LG will likely take some cues from Samsung with the fingerprint scanner and software that mimics Samsung’s own from the last year or so. In short, LG will play some sort of “catch-up” to Samsung, although Samsung’s own Galaxy S5 original can compete with the LG G3 without the need for a refresh in the Galaxy S5 Prime. By the time the Galaxy S5 Prime gets here in June, however, the Galaxy Note 4 will be a few weeks away. I doubt the GS5 Prime will have any special meaning for most Galaxy users around that time. Additionally, the LG G3 will be quickly forgotten by September, when Apple releases the iPhone 6 and Samsung releases the Note 4.
What do you think? Are you excited about the Galaxy S5 Prime? Have you been wanting such a device, or are you happy with the current GS5 offering? Waiting for Sony’s Xperia Z2 or Z3 to arrive? Let us know what you think in the comments.