Samsung saw its Galaxy S5 go on sale in South Korea before its official launch and now the flagship smartphone is being offered in the U.S. ahead of its originally schedule April 11 release date.
Apple and Samsung take smartphone launches very seriously and usually retain complete control of when the next iPhone and Galaxy S go on sale. Samsung wasn't so lucky with its Galaxy S5 release plans. The company announced it would release the smartphone on April 11 in a simultaneous worldwide launch in over 150 countries. One of Samsung's carrier partners, SK Telecom took it upon itself to launch the Galaxy S5 in South Korea on March 27, much to Samsung's dismay.
A report claims at least five U.S. retailers have apparently purchased contract-free Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones from SK Telecom and are now selling the handset at a premium to customers who would like to get their hands on a Galaxy S5 before its April 11 launch date.
WELelectronics is offering the unlocked Samsung Galaxy S5 in choice of black, white, blue, and gold for $799.99 and will deliver the smartphone via UPS. There are currently eight retailers offering the unlocked Samsung Galaxy S5 through Amazon with prices ranging from $794 to $825, with most offering 1-2 business days shipping and highlighting the fact that you'll be the first to receive the smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a pixel density of 432 pixels per inch (ppi). The display was just named "best smartphone display ever tested" and the smartphone includes some notable upgrades compared to last year's Galaxy S4.
In an attempt to stay competitive with Apple's iPhone 5s, Samsung has installed a fingerprint scanner inside the Galaxy S5's Home button that allows users to unlock the smartphone and also make purchases through PayPal using their fingerprint. The Galaxy S5 is also waterproof and dust-resistant, like many of Sony's smartphones and tablets.
The handset also uses an updated quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and a new and very impressive "ultra power saving mode" that will put the smartphone into a mode of only displaying black and white colors, limit background processes, and more, which the company says will allow the Galaxy S5 with a 10% charge to run for 24 hours.
AT&T and Sprint have already announced plans to offer the Galaxy S5 for $199.99 when signing a new 2-year contract and T-Mobile is offering the smartphone for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $27.50. Verizon has not yet announced pricing, only saying it will offer pre-orders "soon".
Bottom line: While it's great to be the first on the block with the latest smartphone you'll need to decide if paying a premium price to get a Galaxy S5 in your hands a few days early is really worth the price of admission.