Samsung is officially launching the Galaxy S5 and new Gear wearables range in Australia today, so here's a few additional details specific for the Aussie consumer.
Remember, we've got hands-on first takes for all the new Samsung Gear smartwatches, Gear Fit tracker and Galaxy S5, and we'll have rated reviews soon after. For now, here's what you need to know about the devices arriving on 11 April:
The Galaxy S5 will cost you AU$929 and Samsung is taking pre-orders from 27 March. Expect telco pricing plans to follow.
In terms of the smartwatch range, the Gear 2 will set you back AU$369.95, while the Gear Neo and Gear Fit are both a very nicely priced AU$249.
Samsung have no bundling plans for the phone and wearables at the moment — as Samsung representatives pointed out to CNET Australia, the new Gear range work across multiple Galaxy devices. The original Gear worked exclusively with the Galaxy Note 3 at launch, meaning a bundle made more sense.
That said, the individual telcos may well have their own plans.
Last year we sawall with slightly different chipset configurations and all destined for different regions.
There's no change on that policy this year. While there is an 'octo-core' 2.1GHz Exynos 5422 version of the S5 for some countries, that's not what we'll see in Australia. We're getting the quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801.
The new Snapdragon has the 4G modem built in, along with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is what's allowing Samsung to offer the MIMO speed boost feature for faster downloads.
Telstra Blue Tick
According to Samsung the Galaxy S5 will be getting a Telstra Blue Tick by launch, meaning the telco recommends the device for rural and regional areas. (Originally Samsung told CNET Australia that the Galaxy S5 had been awarded the Blue Tick, but this was later clarified as not-quite-official yet). If awarded, it will be the first Samsung flagship phone to score the Tick.
EDIT: on 7 April, 2014, Telstra confirmed that the Blue Tick accreditation would be given to the S5.
4G and 4G Plus
The S5 not only works on all of Australia's existing 4G networks, but it also supports TDD-LTE, which. The 4G Plus network has a smallish footprint at the moment, but Optus is expanding the network and S5 owners who use Optus will be able to take advantage of the new network if and when coverage arrives.
PayPal and Biometrics
Samsung has not only included a fingerprint scanner in the S5, it has also worked with PayPal to ensure you have a reason to use it.
The company has collaborated with PayPal to offer biometric security for mobile PayPal payments. In other words, your fingerprint can be used to verify any PayPal based purchases — just swipe your finger.
Your PayPal data isn't stored on your phone — the system uses FIDO (Fast Identity Online Software) to transmit your fingerprint verification to PayPal's servers.
According to both companies, it's safe, secure and allows for "frictionless" mobile payments. It's also definitely going to be available for Australian shoppers, probably from around 26 April.
We'll have more local specific information regarding the S5 and new generation of Gear smartwatches as we lead up to the 11 April on sale date.