Gears are slowly turning at Samsung with Gear Fit, subdued Galaxy S5

5 features for Galaxy S5

More than software, the Samsung Galaxy S5 boasts a hardware specs bump that stays the needless Smart Stay, Smart Scroll and Smart Pause updates.

Galaxy S5

Galaxy S5 upgrades are more focused this time

The company laid out its upgrades in five categories based on consumer feedback: design, camera, connectivity, stay fit and life.

With that, we get a perforated, dimple-backed Galaxy S5 rear that's a more pleasing alternative to the faux-leather of the Galaxy S4 and Note 3. On the front is a slightly bigger 5.1-inch screen, and a 16MP camera occupies the space where a 13MP version sat on last year's model.

Those looking for LTE Advanced speeds should be happy that the Samsung Galaxy S5 did promise that smart bonding Wi-Fi and LTE for the fastest and most stable connection is possible.

For staying fit, the S5 isn't letting the Gear Fit get all of the glory. It has a heart-rate monitor of its own - where LG G2 puts its odd volume rocker - on the back.

It's also good for staying out of trouble. It's water-resistant, though not quite waterproof like the Sony Xperia Z2, and has a fingerprint sensor that rivals the iPhone 5S security feature.

Better battery life all-around

There's no bigger consumer want than better battery life and the Galaxy S5 and Gear wearables deliver that through different means.

Galaxy S5

Galaxy S5 battery

The S5 phone features a slightly larger battery at 2800mAh compared to the S4's 2600mAh size. Combined with a new "Ultra Power Savings Mode," Samsung is doing everything possible to squeeze a couple extra minutes from its new devices.

Gear 2 actually has a smaller battery than its predecessor, but Samsung promises to extend battery life while dropping Android in the process. The Tizen devices are said to be good for two or three days, negating the daily charge endured by original Galaxy Gear owners.

The Galaxy Fit should achieve an even better three to four days of battery life.

Everything comes down to price

Samsung showed us that it could do something practical with its curved screen technology with the introduction of its Gear Fit wearable.

It also proved that Tizen is more than an also-ran operating system. In the case of the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, it offers better battery life over the company's prior Android model.

Most importantly, the Galaxy S5 had only one world's first - the heart-rate monitor - that proved that Samsung doesn't need to pack in every single function into its latest flagship smartphone.

All of these innovative-within-reason upgrades should enable Samsung to deliver a just as reasonable price, a key advantage the company has had over Apple's iPhone 5S and its Android rivals in the 12 months.

Matt Swider