SAMSUNG has unveiled its answer to Apple's flagship iPhone 5s in a move set to ramp up the rivalry between the world's two biggest phone makers.Samsung debuted the Galaxy S5 on Monday evening at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.
The phone will begin shipping worldwide, including to Australia, on April 11.
The phone freshens up the flagship Galaxy line, which has been Samsung's chief weapon in the battle for global smartphone supremacy.
With a 5.1-inch screen, the S5 is slightly larger than the phone it updates - the one-year-old Galaxy S4.
Samsung have also given it a better camera and built a heart-rate monitor into the flash on the rear.
But the biggest addition is a fingerprint scanner which, like the one on the iPhone 5s, is built into the home button.
Users can teach the phone to recognise three different fingerprints. They can then swipe their finger across the home button to unlock the phone rather than having to key in a code or swipe a pattern.
And in a considerable expansion of the technology, Samsung has partnered with online payment provider PayPal to enable a range of online purchases to be verified with the swipe of a finger.
The fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5s, by contrast, can only be used to unlock the phone and to verify purchases through Apple's own app store.
The camera shoots in 16 megapixels - an increase of three megapixels on the S4.
Samsung have also sped up the autofocus from about a second to 0.3 seconds, allowing for better action shots, while another feature allows for better photos in low light.
A more powerful battery means the phone will last about 20 per cent longer than the S4 before needing a recharge.
For people who need even more battery life, Samsung have come up with an optional ultra power-saving mode which turns the screen black and white and cuts down the phone's functions to the bare essentials, such as phone calls and texts.
The full-HD screen has 1920 by 1080 pixels, and the phone is powered by a 2.5-gigahertz quad-core processor.
Samsung has not said how much the phone will cost.
On Monday evening the company also unveiled its first attempt at a dedicated fitness-tracking wristband.
Called the Gear Fit, it has a colourful curved 1.84-inch screen and weighs about 30 grams.
It contains a pedometer, heart-rate monitor, timer and stopwatch and can also notify users when their phone receives a text, call or email.
It also provides notifications from phone apps such as Twitter, and can serve as music controller.
There is no word on when it will come to Australia, nor how much it will cost.
*Paddy Wood travelled to Barcelona as a guest of Samsung.