Fact vs fiction: How true were the Samsung Galaxy S5 rumours?

Rumour and speculation has become a huge part of a gadget's life cycle. Love it or loathe it, there's a lot of reporting on speculative details across the tech presses, from the smallest website, to the biggest newspaper.

For fans it's a chance to get excited, anticipate the next move, consider what they want and imagine a vision of the next big thing.

Sometimes rumours are entirely false, sometimes they're genuine leaks. Sometimes they're very safe guesses. But how did the Samsung Galaxy S5 fare? How close were those rumours and "sources familiar with the matter"?

Samsung Galaxy S5 launch in February

Samsung sending out invitations to Unpacked 5 sort of gave this one away, but two weeks before this, Eldar Murtazin had put the date as 23 February. Good, call Eldar, it was closer than Korean news site Joseilbo, which claimed it would launch in January.

Samsung Galaxy S5 will have a 2K display

One of the strongest rumours was that Samsung was going to increase the display resolution to 2560 x 1440 pixels. Uh-oh, sorry, that didn't happen. The display increased to 5.1-inches, but stayed at 1920 x 1080.

SamMobile said that its "insider" had revealed a 2560 x 1440 display. There was an AnTuTu report to confirm this resolution, alongside a regular Full HD model. Typhone (a Dutch phone retailer) went as far as listing the phone with that display.

An analyst from KGI Securities, claimed there would be a "Prime" model with this high-resolution display, as well as a "Standard" model with Full HD. It looks like we got the standard version, with no premium version in sight.

Interestingly, the display was one of the points fans were most interested in, with many people leaving comments that they were disappointed that Samsung hadn't increased the screen resolution.

Samsung Galaxy S5 will have a premium metal body

An often-cited detail was the Samsung would abandon the plastic fantastic and move to metal. This rumour divided into two devices, the premium metal and the standard device.

Korean news site ET News claimed "industry sources" said there would be a metal version to compete with rivals, something that SamMobile also stated.

We'll be waiting for the new HTC One for a metal body, unless Samsung wants to launch this "premium" SGS5 later in the year.

SGS5 will have a fingerprint scanner, iris scanner

This one is a little more interesting, because it does have the fingerprint scanner, and ET News said it would be a swipe action, rather than embedded in the display, which proved correct.

The iris scanner came from a source talking to Phone Arena, who claimed "state of the art iris scanner and wide range of health accessories". Those health accessories are true - Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Gear 2 - but perhaps the iris scanner was actually the heart rate sensor on the rear?

Samsung Galaxy S5 camera

Many reports of the 16-megapixel camera proved to be true. This came from a lot of sources. It was slightly hijacked by claims of a 20-megapixel sensor, again from Phone Arena (who did question it at the time) in the same leak as above, as well as from a purported leaked image.

The leaked photom, claimed to be from the SGS5, was 16-megapixels but was quickly spun around into claims that this photo in 4:3 would mean a 21-megapixel sensor. Too much camera excitement there, it wasn't to be.

Samsung Galaxy S5 processor will be Snapdragon 805

Everyone wanted a step up in power for the SGS5, with plenty of people saying it would introduce the SD805. No one was to know that Qualcomm was going to introduce the SD801 at MWC 2014, with the SGS5 and Xperia Z2 using it.

There were plenty of rumours suggesting an octa-core Exynos variant. Although Samsung didn't announce that, it did feature it on an infographic it produced just after launch

Then there was the talk of 4GB of RAM. These rumours originated from Samsung's own component arm, announcing 4GB LPDDR3 RAM components. Just because Samsung manufactures these components, doesn't mean it crams them in to every device it releases.

Finally we have 64-bit. Since Apple announced the 64-bit iPhone 5S, people have backing the next 64-bit horse. Digitimes reported that Stephen Woo, Samsung's president of System LSI, had said that Samsung would follow Apple's lead. Not yet, it seems.

TouchWiz will have a radical redesign

Not exactly. There were several screens that appeared showing a new TouchWiz. The first set looked a little like an artist's impression from EvLeaks - concept drawings perhaps - but then we saw some from SamMobile for the S Health app, that shows the new design language.

There wasn't a huge overhaul in design: TouchWiz is pretty close to how it was before. There's the suggestion from Gordon Kelly writing on Forbes - although it's only speculation - that Samsung was hauled back into line by Google, so perhaps some changes weren't made as a result.

And that leaked packaging

Then there was that leaked packaging for the SGS5. It claimed a 2.25-inch display at QHD resolution, 20-megapixel camera, 3GB RAM, full HD video recording and a 3000mAh battery. Not a word of it true, but it sure looked good.

Conclusions

So there we have it. A mixed bag of rumours, some were spot on and some never came to pass. The display seems to be the biggest source of disappointment, as is the familiar plastic design, both elevated by continued speculation.

So what can we learn? Don't fall for the super specs wish list, not everything that Samsung says is happening in the future is going to happen in the next device, and many insider rumours are a bit of the truth and a bit made up.



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