The Galaxy S 5 supports the IP67 standard, which mandates that it withstand a 30-minute dunk in more than 3 feet of water. It operates underwater as well, a plus for anyone who wants to frolic with their new phone in and out the pool.
I experienced a more practical application when I unintentionally dropped it in a sink filled with hot, soapy water. It kept working. Warning: Make sure the phone's back cover is firmly snapped on and the USB port plugged. Otherwise, all bets are off.
Plan "B" battery
The Galaxy S 5 2,800 mAh battery provided me with an entire weekend of heavy-duty play before asking for a recharge. And even then, I was able to fully recharge it in a little more than hour, thanks to its USB 3.0 port. (You need to use a special charger that comes with the phone.)
More important, when you’re out of juice and you can’t get to a power source, the battery can squeeze out up to 8 more days in standby mode, according to Samsung. When you switch on Ultra Power Saving Mode, the Galaxy S 5 will sever its wireless connections except for sending and receiving voice calls and text messages.
The display also switches from color to a more efficient gray-scale mode. But even in this “survival” mode, you'll be able to use the camera's LED as a flashlight for short periods of time.
Fingerprint sensor is all thumbs
The Galaxy S 5’s fingerprint scanner allows you to unlock your phone with a swipe instead of using a PIN or password, as well as authenticate payments on Paypal. You can also use the Isis e-wallet app to pay at the point of sale by bumping your phone against a special terminal. Though there are currently very few stores with this capability, Isis is supported by a consortium of banks, retailers, and AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon (Sprint supports Google Wallet). You need a special SIM card with a secure element for it to work, which I didn't have, so I wasn’t able to try this feature.
In any case, I don’t think it would have mattered, because I found the fingerprint scanner wasn't that easy to use. For starters, the display needs to be on, and you need to drag your finger carefully and precisely over an area at the bottom of the display (The display shows you where to put your finger.) It often took several tries for the scanner to recognize my finger. By comparison, I rarely have trouble with the iPhone 5s Touch ID scanner, which can unlock the phone even when the screen is in sleep mode.