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The Samsung Galaxy S5 is now officially available in Malaysia today. Samsung Malaysia has clearly pulled out all the stops in its bid to hype up what has been billed as the most important Galaxy device for Samsung to date. Here’s all you need to know about the Galaxy S5 and where you can buy the device. Oh, and we’ve included a little tip at the end as well.

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The Galaxy S5 was launched on February 25 at the Unpacked 2014 Episode 1 event in Barcelona, where it coincided with the 2014 Mobile World Congress (MWC). Among the many new features, the one that stood out the most was the introduction of a new back cover design. The perforated soft-touch plastic back cover divided opinions among many who saw it for the first time, with many questioning the less-desirable look compared to sleeker models from its competitors, while others immediately took to praising Samsung’s practical approach with a cover that provides plenty of grip and virtually untroubled by ugly fingerprint stains.

Another much-hyped addition of the S5 is a heart rate monitor and an embedded fingerprint sensor. Embedded just underneath the new 16MP camera sensor is a little gadget that monitors a user’s heart rate just by placing their fingertips on it for several seconds. It probably will not see much use, as most active owners would probably go for the more elegant Gear Fit or Gear 2 wearables with integrated heart rate monitors. What may see more use is the fingerprint sensor, which unlocks Private Mode, allowing you to securely hide sensitive data within your phone with just a swipe of your finger on the home button.

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What will excite users the most, however, is the new 16MP ISOCELL rear camera sensor. Unlike other smartphone camera sensors, the Galaxy S5′s camera employs a phase detection autofocus (PDAF) sensor. Previously only seen on DSLRs, the Galaxy S5 is the first smartphone in the world to use phase detection autofocus, which locks focus faster than contrast detection autofocus used in other smartphone cameras. Because PDAF sensors usually require a secondary mirror, making the system larger than contrast autofocus systems, this ISOCELL sensor is quite an engineering feat when you consider that the S5 does not have a huge hump at the back, and focuses in a blazing fast 0.3 seconds.

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That is, of course, all in theory. How does the Galaxy S5′s camera perform in real life then? Watch the video below to see how quickly it locks focus, and also check out the almost-immediate Auto HDR mode kicks in.

Galaxy-S5-Camera-Test-1_tnClick for full-size image

The image above is a sample image taken with the Galaxy S5. For more camera samples, head on to our photo comparison post between the Galaxy S5, Apple iPhone 5s, Sony Xperia Z1, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4. There’s also a side-by-side comparison between the Galaxy S5′s camera performance against the new HTC One (M8).

test2_sbsSide-by-side image comparison (100% crop) between the Galaxy S5 (below) and the HTC One (M8) (above)

Not only were we at the global launch event of the Galaxy S5, we also managed to obtain an early unit of the Galaxy S5 from Samsung ahead of its availability here. You can find out what we think of the Galaxy S5 in our review.

You’ve read this far, and looks like you’re poisoned. Where can you buy the Galaxy S5? Retailing at RM2399 at all official Samsung Experience Stores beginning today, you can also head on to your preferred local telco outlets to purchase the Galaxy S5. Each telco offered its own pre-order campaign for the Galaxy S5, offering some pretty interesting discounts for the device when you sign up with a postpaid contract. Of course, the offers have now been replaced with the standard rebates – they’re still a viable option if you’re looking to get into a postpaid contract, however. Other retailers will only receive their stocks of the Galaxy S5 at the end of this month.

Take a look at the postpaid Galaxy S5 bundles offered by each telco here.

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On top of that, you can also purchase the Galaxy S5 in other locations. Our own Storekini has its own pre-order sales going on, offering the Galaxy S5 at a reduced retail price of RM2288.

Finally, when you do get your Galaxy S5, firstly, congratulations on your purchase and secondly, please do not attempt anything like this: