The wait is over. The Galaxy S5, Samsung’s newest Android flagship smartphone, hits stores today.
Improving on last year’s Galaxy S4 with a slightly larger screen, speedier innards, an improved camera, and its own fingerprint sensor to rival Apple’s Touch ID, the S5 immediately becomes one of the top smartphones on the market today.
Where do I buy one?
The phone is launching in 125 countries today, but stateside you can pick one up from any of the four major wireless carriers — T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T — as well as Best Buy, RadioShack, and other retailers. If you don’t mind waiting for it to be shipped, Amazon.com is also a good option.
How much is it?
Contract carriers are selling the Galaxy S5 for $199 with a two-year agreement. T-Mobile is offering the device at a $0 down, $27-a-month payment plan spread out across two years.
Sprint and AT&T also have similar $0-down payment plans, which allow customers to upgrade earlier than those in two-year service agreements. Verizon has a buy one, get one free promotion, though both purchasers must sign a new two-year contract, and must also be on the same plan.
The last option is to just buy an unlocked Galaxy S5 to be used on prepaid services or without contract. You can grab one this way from places like Newegg.com or Amazon, but it’ll run you anywhere from $700 to $800.
Should I buy one?
Our own David Pogue recently put the Samsung Galaxy S5 through its paces and found it to be a great and capable device with a very good camera and a very smart waterproof feature. The downside: The phone is unfortunately loaded with Samsung “junkware” and probably too many features you’ll never use. Luckily Android, and Samsung’s version called TouchWiz, are so customizable that much of the stuff you’ll never use can be hidden out of the way.
Be sure to read Pogue’s full review of the Galaxy S5 before deciding on whether or not it should be your next smartphone. Keep in mind that Samsung’s Galaxy phones are very popular, so unless you’re the patient type when it comes to getting your new toys (we are not), you might want to make your mind up soon before your neighborhood store runs out of stock.