back to article Samsung brandishes quad-core Galaxy S5, hopes nobody wants high specs

Samsung has announced its new Qualcomm-powered Galaxy S5 smartphone, focussing on how fashionable and fitness-friendly the thing is rather than waste time revealing specifications during its glitzy launch. Luckily, we got our hands on the device and a spec sheet so we can tell you how the mobe measures up. In your correspondent …

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Anonymous Coward

Great, I want to buy, if only Samsung could extend TouchWiz as a fork of the original source.

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Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

I think it's great to stop focusing on tech specs and more on functionality. And the article's comment regarding latency is spot on - who really cares if it takes 5 seconds or 20 seconds to download something; much more important to have that first few beats available right away, not after a half second lag for handshaking.

I do wish more manufacturers would remember that big, heavy phones are really terrible for people without purses or bulky overcoats, and who still thinks any phone is worth flaunting?

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

There are Android phones available in a range of sizes, but most of the smaller (think 'iPhone' sized) models aren't as powerful as their 5" stable-mates. However, Sony make a 4.3" phone with the same quad-core (Snapdragon 800) chipset as this Samsung S5 (as well as the LG G2 and Nexus 5), waterproof and sporting a microSD card port. I'm not recommending it because I haven't used it, but on paper it ticks all the right boxes for some people.

I have used a couple of phones with the Snapdragon 800 chipset, and they are lovely and fast. The £300 Nexus 5 I recommended to my techno-curious old man, and the sheer fluidity of its UI has made it far easier for him to use it without getting frustrated. The one fly in the ointment is that Google have seen fit to make the KitKat phone dialler app 'smarter' than it needs to be, which can cause him confusion.

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

Well in that case, the iPhone has had multi-path TCP for a couple of generations now. Only Apple didn't hype it up because they know it is a technical advance average Joe Punter won't understand or care about. He/she simply cares the connection is more robust. Aggregating multiple channels out of the hardware side of a single TCP-IP stack for download speed is actually about half way to where Apple got to in their previous generation of handset. I know, given this is a S5 article many will find this comment challenging, but it is fair enough to point out the multi-path TCP Samsung have presented as an innovation is something Apple have already been doing since the iPhone 5. Especially when for those with an understanding of what is going on, the Apple implementation is so impressive precisely because it directly addresses your concern:

"who really cares if it takes 5 seconds or 20 seconds to download something; much more important to have that first few beats available right away, not after a half second lag for handshaking."

Apple have taken the multi-path TCP standard and adapted their implementation so it ensures robustness of connection at all times. So for example, if you are using FaceTime or Siri and you enter a coffee shop where you have an account, it will test the WiFi connection, ensure the path is clear (no annoying authentication process / advertorial page blocking a true internet connection) and enable and start using WiFi without breaking the LTE connection. If the connection is good enough it will stop using LTE, though if quality degrades it will wake LTE back up again. It can use two channels, one channel or briefly use two channels to switch channel, and does so in a way which preserves optimal performance and battery life.

Being technically minded I noticed how good this was, when I first used Siri whilst exiting my flat. Due to the layout as I get out to the main road, the walk used to wreak havoc on my connection. On the iPhone 4S, as I left the front door, I would lose WiFi, but then as I walked to the main road I would have to go past the front of my flat, and I would briefly regain it, but, due to the distance from the flat, I would have a frustratingly low signal, then after what seemed like too long, completely lose the (usually unusable) WiFi again before finally getting a stable 3G connection. This would wreak havoc with a Siri request (such as, as I would often want to do when leaving the house, message someone to say "I'm on my way" or "running late" or whatever). With the iPhone 5, I was blown away to discover the request always succeed (except ending with a stable LTE connection, since the iPhone 5 supports LTE) and looked up why that would be, and only then found out about the multi-path TCP implementation.

So when you really understand multi-path TCP it's clear Samsung are now advertising a feature Apple have had for two generations, in a more advanced implementation than Samsung are touting, and they didn't bother to tell anyone about it in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

Nice long comment, but I'm not convinced the two implementations are at all comparable. Oh, and looks to me like Apple's MTCP implementation only came out with iOS7, barely 5 months ago.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/01/multipath_tcp_siris_toy_isnt_a_gamechanger/

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

"but I'm not convinced the two implementations are at all comparable"

Nice throw-away comment from someone who has taken what The Register hacks write at face value. They often get it wrong you know. They are cynics who are always looking for the negatives. In a comment against that very article you have quoted I provided the link below which gave a thorough overview of what Apple achieved. You're right it isn't the same as Samsung's implementation (at least so far as it is possible to tell based on Samsung's higher level statements on what they are doing). By design. Simple aggregation of channels for data throughput is hardly the best use for the technology and Apple have implemented a more sophisticated pattern, of which aggregation of multiple channels is but one available tool and is used when it makes sense to use it:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2013/09/multipath-tcp-lets-siri-seamlessly-switch-between-wi-fi-and-3glte/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

"and who still thinks any phone is worth flaunting?"

Any iPhone owner!

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

you would be surprised how portable even a phablet like the Note3 is. I can happily fit it (inside a spigen case) into my jeans front pocket without it feeling bulky. It doesn't even feel anymore bulky than the old Galaxy S2

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

"Samsung are now advertising a feature Apple have had for two generations" True, but let's not forget that it's only yesterday that they finally developed SSL that works (on mobile only, still unpatched on OSX) Apple are also taking a lot of credit for a fingerprint scanner, even though Motorola brought one out in January 2011.

In truth, neither Samsung nor apple have innovated significantly in their last few iterations, but I would see the waterproof phone (Sony also announcing similar), NFC, and some of the camera technologies still putting Samsung very far ahead of Apple. IOS also has many failings when it comes to MDM (users can uninstall management unless the phone is put into supervised mode which requires physical connection to device).. Samsung Knox, on the other hand, shows that they are taking business seriously, and the new child-zone container shows advances in use as a personal device.

I'm not saying you were wrong in anything you said, but it's taking a very narrow view of the technologies.

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

quote: "I know, given this is a S5 article many will find this comment challenging, but it is fair enough to point out the multi-path TCP Samsung have presented as an innovation is something Apple have already been doing since the iPhone 5. "

And channel aggregation has been available since the advent of dial-up modems, in one form or another. I used to bond 2 33k modems together to double my bandwidth, back when "mobile phone" meant something that weighed in excess of a kilogramme :)

quote: "So when you really understand multi-path TCP it's clear Samsung are now advertising a feature Apple have had for two generations, in a more advanced implementation than Samsung are touting, and they didn't bother to tell anyone about it in the first place."

This being different to the time that that other mobile operating systems had features that iOS was missing (e.g. copy/paste) but they made no noise about it, and that Apple took 2 years to implement in a counter-intuitive way?

None of them are perfect, some manufacturers miss out on functionality that others think essential or even integral enough to not market it as a feature, etc. etc. This time round Samsung are crowing about something that iOS could already do, next time it'll be someone else.

The real issue here is that the market is reaching saturation here in the West, so device manufacturers are desperately trying to find something they can use as a USP to get people to purchase their device instead of another. You can expect at least another 12 months of this frippery before they pare back and start focusing on the basics again. Like battery life, which has always been important for mobile devices, and will always be important for mobile devices, regardless of what else they actually let you do while they still have a usable charge.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

"and the new child-zone container shows advances in use as a personal device."

a copy of the windows phone kids feature...

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

"Apple are also taking a lot of credit for a fingerprint scanner, even though Motorola brought one out in January 2011"

Well fingerprint scanners have been around in one form or another a lot longer than that. The issue, clearly, is implementation. Having to swipe your print is clearly not the ideal solution and touching a sensor is clearly superior.

Re: Apple SSL, yes a concern, which is why I was happy to note, when I read the story, that iOS on my device had already been updated with a patch. Speed of update is a real strength of iOS.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

And HP / Compaq had in 2004 with the iPAQ 2750 ... I'm really puzzled as to why people ever think this is a big thing. It worked brilliantly on the 2750 and the implementation was pretty much exactly like millions of Lenovo laptops in recent years. It worked ...

I'm sure people will say the Apple one is cool ... but it has been hacked within a week of coming out.

Paul.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

This is due for a massive collection of down votes ! Making "Apple did it first" comments on a Droid thread is a specific offense to the droidbois; especially when you are correct. You need to remember that Apple is "teh evil" and Android is "open and hence better" is the mantra.

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

"Speed of update is a real strength of IOS" - This vulnerability has been known in many circles for months, and Apple sat on it until they had a fix. It effects IOS 6 as well, so let's not pretend that it just popped up recently, it's likely to have been there for years. For any other vendor, a flaw this gaping would have been a fatal blow. Apple however, have managed to bring out a mobile phone that drops signal when you hold it in your hand, non-secure communications, bypass-able locksreens. There are also emerging reports now that the 7.0.6 update is bricking iPhone 5s and iPad Air models internationally. And despite this, the fanbois will still tell you how fantastic iPhones are, and will automatically vote down any comments that don't praise them. They have a fantastic marketing machine, but speed of updates is simply not one of their strengths.

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Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

I think your downvotes will come from just being wrong. Motorola (on an android phone) released a fingerprint reader back in January 2011. So if someone looks at your "apple did it first" comment and downvote it, it won't be because they are droid zealots, but because you just assume that anything Apple do is something they invented without taking even a second to look up the facts. Apple isn't "teh evil", but they certainly aren't the above-reproach-perfect-jobswasjesus phone that the fans claim they are. SSL=USL?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Excellent review; but "flaunting"?

No one claimed they did it first. They are claiming that Apple did it better.

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Heart rate monitor

There have been heart rate monitor apps for years on the iPhone and Android working the same way it does on the S5. Somehow we're supposed to believe this is great new functionality because it is built in?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Heart rate monitor

"There have been heart rate monitor apps for years on the iPhone and Android working the same way it does on the S5. Somehow we're supposed to believe this is great new functionality because it is built in?"

The hardware is built-in! You knew that already, your just trolling.

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Re: Heart rate monitor

I meant the SOFTWARE is built in. At least I assume by mentioning the heart rate tracking ability they have an app for heart rate monitoring.

If anyone is trolling, Samsung is by claiming this as a feature of the GS5. They might as well have built in the software for it to act as a level and a studfinder and claim those as features too.

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Re: Heart rate monitor

As I read it, the HARDWARE is built in - not just the app. So you can just put your finger on the sensor and it'll read your heart rate.

I could be wrong though - Samsung announcements are notoriously ambiguous.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Heart rate monitor

If you are going to accuse people of trolling while trolling yourself, you utter buffoon, learn the difference between "your" and "you're". Where the actual living fuck do you get off accusing people of trolling? Wanker...

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@Lord Elpuss

What I think you're missing here is that THIS REQUIRES NO SPECIAL HARDWARE. Just about any smartphone can do this with a simple app. You hold your finger over the camera, in a well lit room (i.e. doesn't work dark/dim lighting) and it can see the pulse through your skin. The 3gs I bought 4 1/2 years ago could do this,and likewise any Android phone would be able to do the same.

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Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

Is it one of those coatings you can get that wear off after a while? Or is it something factory applied that can be made to last for years?

I must say I really wonder how it is possible to make a phone with a removable back watertight? It would have to seal perfectly. Maybe at first it will, but let's just say I'm skeptical that will still be true if it is removed more than a handful of times. Or is the coating applied to the inside too, including the battery?

I will say if you take it snowboarding you might want to avoid getting the white one, as water resistance might not be your biggest worry if you lose it at speed :)

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JDX
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Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

Watertight seals are hardly new technology. A humble cork is removable but watertight. Or look at a tupperware box which is basically a seal of rubber/cork/whatever under compression.

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Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

The first of the waterproof Xperia phones, the Xperia Go, featured a removable back and battery. I don't know what the seal was made of, but it felt like silicone. Materials technology has moved on, so the days of seals rotting after a few years is largely behind us.

True, wristwatches have to reassembled with great care after a battery change, but then they are rated to 50m submersion (though in practice they rarely see more than a couple of metres of submersion in a swimming pool) and the seals tend to be very thin and delicate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

If you need water resistance you actually need water proof and probably have a case / pouch that meets your needs. Water resistance is like an umbrella with big holes in it. If it can't survive being dropped in a sink or perhaps 1m in a swimming pool it's going to be pretty useless.

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Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

"I will say if you take it snowboarding you might want to avoid getting the white one, as water resistance might not be your biggest worry if you lose it at speed :)"

white, black, whatever... doesn't matter really, if it falls in (deep) snow it's gone. I have seen a complete ski get lost and not be found again until summer.

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Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

Phones are slippery and have no brakes. If you dropped you phone on the wrong part of the piste it would just go - if you've ever seen a detached ski where the brake hasn't enabled scooting off down the slope, you know what I mean.

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Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

"If you need water resistance you actually need water proof..."

There's no such thing as water proof. Water is pretty darn smart, given enough time and pressure it will find its way in almost anything.

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JDX
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Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

As Dr. Who discovered on Mars.

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Stop

Re: Anyone know what it is using for water resistance?

IP67 can survive being dropped in a sink or a swimming pool. Not designed for prolonged submersion.

I have an Xperia Z1 Compact (IP55/58) and before that had a Xperia V (IP57 - ie same waterproof capabilities as the S5, but less dust resistant), and it's very useful to be able to wash your phone in the sink if it gets a bit dirty, and to not have to worry about getting caught in an unexpected rainstorm (which is what killed my Nokia N8).

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JLV
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>not be found again until summer

I lost a Nokia 3310 snowboarding and got it back 3 or 4 months later, once the snow had melted.

It worked.

Contrast that with me flaunting my iPhone 3 a few years later on the top of the lift, getting a few delicate snowflakes to melt on the cover and ending up with a voided-warranty brick. Apple had had the foresight to install water sensitive litmus paper in strategic spots. Rather than having the foresight to make it water-resistant.

Of course, my next Nokia' s UI (3670? - not cheap in any case) was so unpleasant to use that I jumped at the chance to trade in $200 and my busted iPhone for a refurbished one at the Apple store. Kudos to the Reg reader that clued me in on that program.

Phone robustness is a big deal to me. Despite using cases, I bust screens regularly on my iPhone 4 - replacements are about $90. When I last got it fixed the shop was quoting >$200 for the Samsung S3-4 series screens and other shops were quoting the same. Something about Apple being more standardized so easier to stock.

Getting a Nexus 5 any day now in the mail. $399 for 32GB @ Google Store was convincing. Still... quite worried about my screen. That Gorilla glass better work and I would have loved water-resistance as well.

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I took my Note 3 skiing on Sunday. Fortunately I wasn't water-skiing.

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I usually take my wife, but each to his own..

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Anonymous Coward

I agree with Khaptain - I also usually take his wife.

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ultra-power-saving mode

Does the ultra-power-saving mode allow incoming phone calls and does the alarm work? If yes, then this might be my perfect phone. I don't care for my phone to burn its battery while I am not looking.

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Re: ultra-power-saving mode

I would imagine that it works much the 'Stamina Mode' on some rivals phones... calls and SMS texts still come through, but not emails etc because the WiFi, GPS and data connections are turned off when the screen is on standby. You can also set the level of battery at which the phone will take certain actions (reduce screen brightness, turn off WiFi etc).

Reviews of the LG G2 - that uses the same chipset as this S4 - highlight its better than normal battery life, and in part attribute this to the Snapdragon 800 process.

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Battery

Wish they would sort out a decent battery for these things.....

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Re: Battery

Battery tech is always going to play catch up as there is no mass produced alternative to current crop.

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Coat

Re: Battery

Truck batteries are the solution.

1 : Strapped to your back - Very portable..

2 : Pushed/Pulled around in an old ladies shopping trolley - just add a Louis Vuitton or Guchi label to the front..

3 : Cleverly disguise half of a battery under each shoe within the soles. ( It gives the added benefit of making you taller and instantly more manly.)

4 : Hang around truckers parks - For a little extra "servicing" they might give you a free recharge from one of their batteries.

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Re: Battery

The phone manufacturers choose to use the lowest-capacity battery they can get away with. They could put a battery in with four times the mass and four times the volume by simply making the phones a bit thicker. There is plenty of scope for making phones heavier, my keys weigh more than my phone.

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Re: Battery

Phone manufacturers are stuck in the belief that the trend is for thinner devices and that people would rather have a thinner phone than one that's a bit thicker with a larger battery. Slowly, very slowly, they're starting to realise this is wrong.

All of the flagship phones around currently have batteries above a 2000mAh rating. That would be fantastic if phone technology stood still but it doesn't so it still seems lacking. For the current crop of SoCs used 2500 - 2800mAh feels just about adequate.

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Jah

128 GB

Will accept up to 128 GB Micro SD not 64 GB

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Anonymous Coward

Cue the selective amnesia

Exactly as predicted, now that Apple has done it, all flagship Android phones will soon have fingerprint sensors. Anybody remember last September, when millions of fandroids were flooding the message boards saying that fingerprint sensors are 1) useless gimmicks, or 2) a huge mistake security-wise, or 3) already tried by some Android manufacturers and determined to be a market failure? Or some combination of those three?

Thought not...

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Re: Cue the selective amnesia

Samsung != Android

and yes it is a gimmick, but one that may shift a few more phones so the marketing men demand that it is put in.

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Re: Cue the selective amnesia

Just because Samsung have added one to their flagship Android offering, the opinions of those of us who consider such things gimmicky, etc, are not going to change. It is still gimmicky.

It'll appeal to the less techie/knowledgeable types who believe it is a worthy addition - those types who are a bit like the true barrista-ifans, and who perhaps know barrista-ifans, and want to feel they are keeping up with them. It's probably intended to appeal to that type of person, not to the type of person likely to comment on El Reg forums.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue the selective amnesia

"Exactly as predicted, now that Apple has done it, all flagship Android phones will soon have fingerprint sensors."

Cue the selective amnesia, willfully forgetting that this hardware has been available on many devices for many years BEFORE the appearance of iPhone!

Are you REALLY still playing the Apple is better game? Typical fanboi, stuck in the last decade with his phone!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue the selective amnesia

"Cue the selective amnesia, willfully forgetting that this hardware has been available on many devices for many years BEFORE the appearance of iPhone!"

I guess you didn't make it through my entire post and to the point where typical Android fanboys maintain that fingerprint sensors were tried by certain manufacturers (Motorola/Atrix) and it was determined to be a market failure. Simple fact is, if it wasn't for Apple, Samsung wouldn't be trying it again now.

As for it being a gimmick, I will say that my personal experience agrees with Apple's claims, i.e., at least 50% of the people I know do not have any form of security on their phones (PIN codes, those Android unlock patterns, etc.) because they are simply too inconvenient. Out of the 7-8 people I know with an iPhone 5S, we all use the fingerprint sensor. That's 100% vs. 50% with some (any!) kind of security enabled. Regardless of whether or not you consider it a "gimmick," it's a huge net security improvement.

As for Apple doing it better, I will point out that Samsung is now using the same sort of "swipe" scanner that has been common on business laptops for at least the last decade. The ones that are sensitive to how fast you swipe and whether or not you're doing it at exactly the right angle. I know people who can get them to work consistently and who swear by them, and other people who can't get them to work very well at all. In contrast, I don't know anybody who has had any trouble with Apple's "full frame" fingerprint sensor, which seems to be both faster and more fault tolerant. If you don't want to admit that Apple's sensors are better, then you're welcome to keep your head planted firmly in the sand. I'm certain that nothing I say on this message board will change your mind, sort of the same way some some people are adamant that the Earth is ~6000 years old even when presented with a vast array of evidence to the contrary.

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