Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones on display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona / Reuters


It takes photographs with no shutter lag and shoots video at higher resolution than your flatscreen TV can likely match. It measures your heart rate. It downloads movies, emails, social networking updates and map updates at phenomenal speed. It unlocks when it recognises your finger touching it. Hold on, there was something else. What was it again? Oh yes, it makes phone calls.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S5, revealed among dazzle and hoo-hah at the Mobile World Congress tonight, is probably the most advanced mobile phone yet built.

It has a 16-megapixel camera which focuses in 0.3 seconds and genuinely ground-breaking features to preview HDR before you shoot (HDR takes multiple, quick shots at different exposures and combines them to create dramatic, contrasty photos).

The video camera shoots at 4K, that’s four times the resolution of HD and means that video you record now will look sumptuous when you have a next-generation TV – though it will also play back in HD now, too.

Samsung fans may be disappointed that the design is near-identical to last year’s Galaxy S4 – rumours of a metal-clad version were wrong – but this is a slick, attractive phone with a pleasantly mottled back. It’s very fast, too, especially that camera.

Water-resistance means that the charging socket has a flap to keep it dry: useful but fiddly to peel back every time you need access.

The S5 takes a leaf from Apple’s latest iPhone by including a fingerprint scanner under the button on the phone’s front. It’s used to unlock the phone and to pay for stuff – a deal with PayPal may give this scanner more relevance than Apple yet provides.

Overall, the S5 is a persuasive phone that looks good and works well.

This year’s innovations seem useful and desirable – though checking your heart rate can become addictive, be warned.