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First look: the Samsung Galaxy S5

It's that time of year again. In the weeks and months after the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona each year, we begin to see the bulk of this year's top-tier mobile phones hitting the shelves.

Over the years, some handset series have become more hyped than others. Naturally, the most hyped thus far has been the year-on-year updates to Apple's iPhone, but a very close second has become Samsung's Galaxy S series and this year's installment, the Galaxy S5, is no exception. The Samsung Galaxy S series is Samsung's top-of-the-range offering and considered by most to be the biggest rival to the iPhone.

So what is the Galaxy S5? And how does it differ both from the previous edition, the Galaxy S4, and from other flagship handsets hitting consumers this spring?

Many were hoping there would be some big changes from the S4. The S4 was, as with its predecessors, a phenomenal success for Samsung. It offered the best you could get in mobile technology; a superb 13 megapixel camera, HD video capture, a stunning 1080p resolution screen, a sleek look and a treasure chest of performance and speed boosting silicon wizardry. The problem is, what do you add to a piece of tech that already has everything you can slap into a slim, pocket-dwelling shell? Well, in truth, you don't add much. You simply improve what you've already got. The Galaxy S5 follows this trend to the book.

The Galaxy S5, in comparison to last year's S4, has the following; a slightly bigger screen; a slightly better battery; slightly improved speed and slightly better camera.It brings to the table a heart rate monitor (I do wonder how many of us will ever use that more than once), a fingerprint sensor for security (I've seen that somewhere else) and an IP67 durability rating (that's dust-proof and water-resistant to you and I - something Sony covered a while back). So to put it simply, the Galaxy S5 is a super-charged S4.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, some people just hoped for a little more, as they do with most major updates to their favourite tech. Truth be told though: if you compare the flagship of any manufacturer to their previous year's edition, there's rarely a giant leap anywhere. The one thing I always hope for in a major new mobile phone is something revolutionary. Unfortunately this doesn't happen very often with any manufacturer. I could almost copy and paste this article each year and simply change a couple of numbers.

The design of the device is very similar to its predecessor; large, flat and sleek. In my opinion, the design isn't actually quite as nice as the S4. They've stuck a pin-pricked leather-esque back on it which makes it look a little too toyish, but overall, very little change. It does, however, feel very nice in the hand, despite its slight increase in screen size to 5.1 inches.

If you're a proud Galaxy S4 owner hoping for a major upgrade, you may be a little disappointed. But if you're in the market for a top-end mobile device, you won't.

The Galaxy S5 will, undoubtedly, sell in the millions and become one of this year's biggest mobile phones, along with whatever iPhone Apple release to us later in the year. It hits shelves on April 11 and pre-orders are already hitting the roof with carriers around the world.

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