When Samsung releases a smartphone, the whole industry takes notice. The iconic brand produces some of the only devices that compete strongly with Apple’s iPhone range. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is an impressive piece of kit, but is it a worthy upgrade to the S4, or are the additions just useless toys?

The S5 has groundbreaking specifications. It comes with expandable storage of up to 128Gb, a snappy 2.5GHz quad core processor, and 2Gb RAM. Battery capacity has been expanded to 2800mAh, and the phone comes with a fingerprint scanner, a heart rate monitor, and an amazing 1080-pixel display.

But the question remains: is it enough? Let’s look at how the S5 compares.

1) The waterproof feature

Waterproof galaxy s5
Waterproof galaxy s5

This is a surprisingly important attribute for any smartphone, especially high-end models that cost hundreds of dollars. If a splash of rain, a trip into the bathtub, or a slip into the washing-up bowl means permanent damage, that’s an expensive accident.

With waterproofing, your phone can survive a bit of water. However, we’re not talking divers’ watches here: your phone won’t survive a dip in more than a meter of water, nor for more than 30 minutes. Take care of your cherished gadget!

2) The heart rate monitor

This sounds like a bizarre option to include on a smartphone, until you realize that it’s great for when you’re working out at the gym, jogging, cycling or doing some other exercise. The phone captures your heart rate with a built-in monitor, then passes the information on to the S Health app, so you can track it.

3) The fingerprint scanner

Fingerprint scanner galaxy s5
Fingerprint scanner galaxy s5

The world of mobile technology frequently rushes ahead of all the sensible ways to use a phone, with little care for security. But with personal email, Internet banking, and even investment apps on the rise, phones with fewer security features are becoming extremely risky to use – and especially to lose.

The S5 comes with a built-in fingerprint scanner app that allows you to access your phone by scanning your finger. More importantly, you can deny everyone else access. This renders the S5 significantly more secure than the S4.

4) The faster processor

Now we come to the crunch. Speed is essential in any gadget and the quad core processor in the S5 means it’s not only smooth, but it runs much faster than the S4. Add to this the possibility of extending the processor up to 2.5GHz and you have a phone that is smoother and more efficient than its predecessor, with an overall better user experience and a measure of longevity.

5) The USB 3.0 port

The S4 had a USB 2.0 port. The new USB 3.0 port on the S5 provides the same service, but a lot faster. You can transfer data to your PC, laptop, or mobile device on the go, or charge the device quicker with your laptop.

USB 3.0 is also backwards-compatible, so you can still use the S5 with any device that has a USB port – whether it’s USB 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0.

6) The 16 MP camera

Say goodbye to the S4’s 13-megapixel camera and hello to the whopping 16MP upgrade! With a maximum resolution of 5312 x 2988 pixels, amazing phase detection, and LED flash, the S5 gives you the quality images you crave.

The camera is one of the most popular features of any smartphone, and with a visible difference like this, there’s no contest. Snap a picture with an S5 and compare it with a shot taken on an S4: the improvement will reveal itself before your very eyes.

Overall, the S5 towers above its predecessor. Unlike the Samsung S4, it offers powerful features such as the fingerprint security scan, waterproof resistance, and super fast processor. The S5 is also visually stunning: the body comes in charcoal black, copper gold, electric blue, or shimmery white. At just over 5 ounces in weight and with the dazzling Super AMOLED touch screen, the S5 is a light and stylish gadget to accomplish all your tasks with a touch of class.