Cool cam, nifty features jazz up Samsung's latest

WHAT A SNAP: Taking action shots on the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be all too easy with its new hybrid autofocus system. You can also change the depth of field after shooting the photo, switching at will between background and foreground.


    Mar 28, 2014

    Cool cam, nifty features jazz up Samsung's latest

    LET'S take a close-up look at South Korean phonemaker Samsung's latest flagship model.


    The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch high-definition Super Amoled display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.5GHz processor.

    Both dust- and water-resistant, it has a heart-rate sensor and a biometric fingerprint sensor for a secured log-in. This sensor can also be used to make secured payments via PayPal.

    As with its previous flagship devices, Samsung will launch only the LTE version here. This will take place next month.


    The sharper 16MP lens is actually not the most exciting thing about the camera.

    Rather than introducing features that would lean towards the gimmicky, Samsung has focused on what is important to users by introducing a new hybrid autofocus system.

    Using a combination of traditional autofocus and phase-detection autofocus, the S5 can lock onto an object far more quickly than other smartphones on the market. This makes it ideal for action shots, such as your children or pets running around the park.


    Recently, a new feature - the ability to alter a photo's depth of field - has been making its way into smartphones, including the upcoming HTC One (M8) and the Galaxy S5. After taking the photo, you can choose, at the editing stage, to focus on objects in the background or foreground.

    On the HTC, implementation of this function is supported by the use of a secondary lens.

    Here, the feature is much simpler to use as the S5 provides a shift in focus based on three settings - near, far and pan, which places the entire image in focus.


    Using a high-speed 4G connection on your smartphone makes downloading files and streaming videos a snap. However, with telcos offering plans that start at just 2GB, such an easy flow of data could end up eating into your monthly data allowance.

    Download Booster, which combines the use of LTE and Wi-Fi, aims to increase download speed and reduce download time. Once it is activated and the S5 is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it will initiate a download over both channels at the same time.

    This works on downloads that are larger than 30MB. However, it does not work on services that use secured download protocols, such as Dropbox.


    To view a high dynamic range (HDR) photo, one usually has to wait until a camera or a software program merges multiple shots taken using different exposure settings.

    Samsung is changing this with "live HDR". Instead of previewing just shots of different exposures, the software now shows users what the final HDR image will look like on-screen.

    The software works very well. When I wanted to take an HDR photo indoors while sunlight was streaming in from an open window, the display showed a final shot that struck a fine balance between details of the objects indoors and those of the brightly lit outdoors.