ST readers first to get Galaxy S5 phone outside of South Korea

ST readers first to get Galaxy S5 phone outside of South Korea

Twenty lucky winners of a Straits Times Appreciates Readers contest went home with a much-awaited Samsung Galaxy S5 yesterday, the first in the world outside of South Korea to own the electronics giant's latest device.

Said Mr Joseph Sia, 39: "My birthday is just one month away, and this is a fantastic early birthday present."

The screen is bigger than that of his current iPhone 5, said the pharmacy assistant.

The winning names were plucked from a lucky draw bowl at the new Samsung store in Westgate mall in Jurong East yesterday.

Participants had sent their names to in the tie-up between The Straits Times and Samsung to reward readers.

Powered by a 2.5GHz quad core processor, the S5 features a 5.1-inch display. The phone has a heart rate monitor to cater to runners, and a faster 16-megapixel camera offering real-time HDR (high dynamic range) imaging technology to reproduce lighting conditions more accurately.

"I was pretty excited about the better camera," said winner Winnie Tan, 25. "I take pictures of food and friends so a good mobile camera is a plus."

The civil servant, who currently uses a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, said she would use the heart rate monitor for her Zumba classes.

The phone also has a biometric sensor that lets users access it with their fingerprint.

With a partnership with e-commerce service PayPal, it will also allow phone owners here to pay for items through the service by using their fingerprint as an authenticator.

The biometric sensor on Apple's iPhone 5s is used to unlock the device and pay for items only in Apple's App Store.

Along with the Galaxy S5, the winners also got a Gear 2 watch - Samsung's second attempt at a smart accessory.

The Gear 2 has a heart rate monitor and comes with 4GB of storage for music which users can listen to with a wireless Bluetooth headset during a workout.

"I have always wanted a smart watch but I don't have the pocket money for it," said winner S. Ashween, 16, a student. "This is going to come in handy for my runs."

If it had not been for this competition, he would not have had the money to upgrade his phone for a long time, added Ashween, saying: "My parents are strict about pocket money."

He sent in his name after seeing an advertisement about the contest.

Another 20 lucky winners received a $100 Samsung voucher each at yesterday's event.

The Galaxy S5 is priced at $1,068 and the Gear 2 at $398. They launch officially today.

This article was published on April 11 in The Straits Times.

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