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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Five flavors of the Samsung Galaxy S5

High-flying original

'Rugged' S5 Active

A good Sport?

March of the Mini

K Zoom

Even more S5

If one is good, five are surely better. This has been the mantra for the past several years of phone-makers that stretch their family trees into niche branches to appeal to wider audiences. As with the Galaxy S4 especially, the S5 line has grown to include smaller, sportier, and more snap-happy models.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Its dimpled backing, heart-rate monitor, fingerprint scanner, and copious software extras give Samsung's original Galaxy S5 its character -- on top of its 5.1-inch HD display, quad-core processor, and 16-megapixel camera.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Take a Galaxy S5, toughen up its sides with thicker plastic coating, and replace the Home button and capacitive controls with physical navigation buttons. This is the Galaxy S5 Active, which shares pretty much every spec with the S5, including the IP67 rating for resistance to water and dust. It does do away with the fingerprint scanning capability, but makes up for the omission with a convenience key on the side that you can program to open pretty much any app.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Not to be left out, US carrier Sprint sidled up with its own take on the S5. Called the Galaxy S5 Sport, this one includes the hardware keys below and a few extra apps for exercise and outdoor activities. However, unlike the S5 Active, it keeps the S5's perforated backplate and doesn't include a convenience key.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung launched its first Mini following the release of the Galaxy S3. Two generations later, the Galaxy S5 Mini has more hardware oomph than ever, thanks to the heart-rate monitor on the back. It also has more competition in midrange, scaled-back rivals.

Caption by / Photo by Samsung

Although not technically part of the Galaxy S5 nomenclature, the Galaxy K Zoom arguably belongs to the extended family. A sequel to last year's Galaxy S4 Zoom, 2014's model shares the S5's dimpled aesthetic, though its 20.7-megapixel lens with 10x optical zoom is a major departure. It also strays on the specs front, delivering more middle-of-the-road internals, and there's no signature heart-rate  monitor on the back.

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Beyond its specs, the Galaxy S5 has a lot going on. Learn how to do everything, from using the phone's hidden features to making the most of its camera settings.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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