June 18, 2014, 8:14 AM — Samsung Electronics has launched a new version of the Galaxy S5 with an upgraded screen and faster processor, but for now it is only available in South Korea.
The launch of Samsung's latest flagship smartphone back in February was preceded by an avalanche of rumors and speculation about the device's expected specification, including a Quad HD (QHD) screen with a resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor.
All that can came true on Wednesday when Samsung introduced the Galaxy S5 LTE-A. The smartphone's QHD screen is based on the company's Super AMOLED technology and measures 5.1 inches, for a density of 577 pixels per inch. In comparison, the original version of the Galaxy S5 that went on sale in April has the same screen size but with a resolution of only 1920 by 1080 pixels, which equals 432 pixels per inch.
The new version still has the same dimpled back made of plastic.
The upgraded screen resolution puts the new S5 on a par with the recently launched G3 from LG Electronics, which has a larger 5.5-inch QHD screen.
A potential explanation for why Samsung didn't include the QHD screen in the original version is that the technology is so immature that Samsung may not be able to manufacture it in sufficient quantities for a worldwide roll-out, preferring instead to test it in a smaller market first, said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.
The Snapdragon 805 was introduced by Qualcomm in November last year. It's based on the Krait 450 quad-core CPU, which runs at speeds of up to 2.5GHz. It also features the new Adreno 420 GPU, which has up to 40 percent more graphics processing power than its predecessor. The extra horsepower allows smartphones and tablets to display 4K video content, either on the device or a TV.
At the time, Qualcomm said the first devices powered by the processor would arrive before the end of the month, so it has made that deadline, but not by much.
The LTE-A addition to the name denotes the smartphone's support for LTE-Advanced at up to 225Mbps. The higher speed is possible thanks to a technology called carrier aggregation, which allows networks to devote more resources to some users by treating two or more channels in the same or different frequency bands as if they were one.
South Korea is far ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to rolling out LTE-Advanced. Since operators SK Telecom, LG U+ and KT launched last year, it has "taken off like crazy," according to Mawston. One in four smartphones shipped there already support the technology, he said.
Samsung didn't immediately reply to questions about availability in Europe and the U.S.