Lusting for Samsung’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S5? The wait is almost over. Three of the major U.S. wireless carriers will soon be accepting pre-orders, and they're all expected to ship the Android phones by mid-April.
Unfortuntely, there is one possible problem: Rumors out of the trade press in Asia suggest that Samsung has run into production delays, and that could slow availability. Rumors from similar sources have a mixed record of accuracy, but none of the carriers announced a firm shipping date, so there may be something to the speculation. Either way, there’s likely to be heavy demand for the S5, and ordering yours sooner than later is not a bad idea.
Here’s what you need to know about U.S. pre-orders.
AT&T was first to announce that it is accepting pre-orders as of today, Friday, March 21. You can sign a two-year contract and pay $199.99 for the phone. You can also put no money down and pay either $25 per month (for 18 months) or $32.50 per month (for 12 months) with an AT&T Next plan. And as you might expect, AT&T is also offering a no-contract option with a full retail price of $649.99.
Ma Bell is sweetening the deal by tying it to Samsung’s line of wearable devices. The Gear 2 costs $299, the Gear 2 Neo costs $199, and the Gear Fit costs $199. All three are available for preorder. Customers who purchase the Galaxy S5 before June 5 will receive $50 off either the Gear 2 or Gear 2 Neo.
Sprint is also taking pre-orders today, and like AT&T, it is offering a tie-in to other Samsung products. Pricing on the S5 is almost identical to AT&T’s, but as a bonus Sprint will give you the Galaxy Tab 3 if you pre-order the phone and sign up for a Framily Plan. (That’s no typo. It’s what Sprint calls its Friends and Family Plan.)
T-Mobile said it will begin accepting preorders for the Galaxy S5 on Monday, March 24, and the phone should reach T-Mobile retail stores on April 11. T-Mobile customers can get the Galaxy S5 for 24 monthly payments of $27.50, with no money down, which works out to a total price of $660. However, the company didn’t say when pre-ordered phones will ship, and I bet supply in the company’s retail stores will be limited. Customers who pre-order the GS5 before March 31 receive a $120 discount off the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablet, with a free 200MB of data per month for the life of the tablet.
Verizon has not yet announced pre-order pricing or availability, but I’m sure it will do so fairly soon. US Cellular is taking pre-orders now, and you can order at a Radio Shack store, but you have to show up in person. No doubt the S5 will also be sold at Best Buy, but those plans have not yet been announced.