The Samsung Galaxy S5 is one of the hottest phones on the market today. Through its performance, design, and great features, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is amongst the top contenders. Although Samsung did not make too many advancements from the Samsung Galaxy S4, there are still some key features that are worth considering.
Samsung has never been one to blow users away in terms of design. Similar to the S4, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is made of plastic. Samsung has indicated that their plastic design allows them to improve in durability, price, and weight. Compared to the S4, the greatest design difference is the phone’s back panel. Samsung implemented a dimpled design on the back panel of the Samsung Galaxy S5. This dimpled design is a discreet change from the S3 and S4, and provides a different look and feel. Because of the Samsung Galaxy S5’s textured back, you do not have to constantly wipe down your phone with a cloth to clean all those little fingerprints and smudges your phone gets throughout the day.
The S5 has a metallic looking border around the phone, but sadly the border is plastic like the rest of the phone. You will need to keep a case on the phone since it is easy to chip away the paint along the edges. After just one drop a nice crack and chip was present on the phone. At least the screen was still good to go! Samsung also changed up the bottom of the phone by implementing a charging cover. This cover is extremely flimsy and after a few months use was broken off by normal day to day use.
At the end of the day, the S5 is surprisingly similar to the S4 in its design, which isn’t a bad thing; but we would have liked to see Samsung take a bit more of a premium approach to design, as Apple and HTC have been doing. If you can see beyond some of the Galaxy’s design woes, through the smudges is an incredible device worth considering.
Hardware and Display
Similar to the S4, Samsung has done a great job packing the S5 with hardware. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2500 MHz Quad Core processor and Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. Samsung did not upgrade the system memory, leaving the S5 with the same 2048 MB of RAM as the Galaxy S4. While disappointing, 2 GB is more than what most everyday users need. As with past Samsung phones, you have the option of choosing how much built-in storage you would like with options of either 16 GB or 32 GB. However, one of the Galaxy’s competitive advantages is its ability to expand the storage by inserting a Micro SD. It’s worth noting that this feature is relatively limited without “rooting” your phone. (hacking your phone to give you full access to the device) Without rooting, the SD card is primarily available to store music, movies, and photos. Only certain apps are able to be carried over to the SD card.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 also has a 16 megapixel rear facing camera and a 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera. The Camcorder shoots staggering 4K resolution video. As with past models the camera comes with a plethora of different features, such as phase detection autofocus (no that’s not a typo for “face”), digital image stabilization, geo-tagging, and ISO control. Samsung did not improve the display of the Samsung Galaxy S5 in terms of display resolution compared to the S4, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With a 1080×1920 resolution and 432 PPI pixel density, it’s hard to justify improving screen resolution when the existing offering with the S4 is in full HD.
The screen is bright, vivid, and clear. However, as many have noticed, Samsung made some changes to the way that colors are processed and displayed on the screen. The phone has received quite a bit of criticism regarding having a slight green tint. It’s hardly noticeable (I have yet to see it) and don’t think you should really allow this to impact your buying decision.
|Dimensions||5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches|
|Weight||5.11 oz (145 g)|
|Screen Size||5.1 inches|
|Screen Resolution||1080 x 1920 Pixels|
|Pixel Density||432 ppi|
|Camcorder||3840×2160 (4K) (30 fps)|
|Front-facing Camera||2.1 Megapixels|
|System Chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AC|
|Processor||Quad core, 2500 MHz, Krait 400|
|System Memory||2048 MB RAM|
|Built-in Storage||16 or 32 GB|
|Battery talk time||21 Hours|
|Stand-by time||16.2 days|
Samsung has never been one to stray away from packing their phones with hardware. Like the predecessors of the S5, Samsung always finds ways to improve the hardware of their phone. Simply put, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” because when it comes to the S5 it’s whats on the inside that counts.
Samsung is running Android 4.4 KitKat and the latest TouchWiz interface providing extra functionality. You will notice a different look and feel when comparing the operating system of Samsung Galaxy S5 to the S4. For example, the settings menu is slightly different from previous iterations. If you are an S4 user, it takes some getting used to in order to know where things are. It took me a bit to understand how to get to the different settings menus. Unlike other Android devices, Samsung sticks with its heavy use of TouchWiz. Some feel Samsung does not incorporate KitKat as much as users would like.
Update: For some carriers the S5 is now running Android 5.0 lollipop. This upgrade uses a little less TouchWiz and incorporates more of Android 5.0.
With the Samsung Galaxy S5, you no longer have a limit of home-screens. The amount of home screens depends on the amount of content you want displayed. The more content you have, the more home screens you will have. The interface is amazingly smooth when scrolling through pages and the touch screen is quick to respond to every action. Samsung has implemented My Magazine, which some have really enjoyed. After trying to use My Magazine, I ended up removing it from the home screen for added real estate. I also found that there are much better news feeds available in the Google Play Store.
As with past Samsung devices, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is jam-packed with different features. Some of the most noticeable are the fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, and one hand mode. The fingerprint scanner is a great security feature that was added to the Samsung Galaxy S5. You can also use the fingerprint scanner to verify your Samsung account and pay for items via PayPal. The only thing I would like to see is the ability to sign into different applications as well such as Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and Google hangouts.
The addition of the heart rate monitor is great for those that are active and use products such as Fitbit, Nike+ Fuelband, or heart rate watches. This is a great feature, but not likely especially useful to the average consumer. The question is, how often do you really check your heart rate? With many people now using advanced machines that include a heart rate monitor, the monitor built into the S5 becomes less needed. When using the monitor you need to make sure you are very still. I found that the slightest movement would either give a bad reading or not give a reading at all.
Although the Samsung Galaxy S5 is .1 inches larger than the S4, that .1 inches make a difference especially if you thought the S4 was already large for your hands. If you have normal to small sized hands, you might find yourself having to use both hands trying to perform everyday tasks. To remedy the problem Samsung has added one-hand mode to the S5 that is extremely helpful when you are in situations where you only have one hand.
As with the S4, Samsung offers motion and hand gesture inputs that allow you to do things such as scroll by waving over the screen. While on the surface these appear to be really ‘cool’ features, there are only a handful that are actually used. One that is really helpful is Air View. This allows you to read texts, and enlarge pictures without actually selecting the text or picture. Simply hover your finger over the text or picture and it appears right before your eyes. Move your finger away and the the text or picture goes away. It feels like magic!
Although there are a ton of gimmicky features available in the Samsung Galaxy S5– such as motions and gestures– there will be many that you don’t use or only use one in specific situations . For example, the S Beam is a really cool feature that allows you to share photos, videos, and music with other Samsung Galaxy owners by simply touching the back of your phones together. Many Samsung Galaxy S5 users do not need this feature since you can simply email or text the many of the things needed. These features do, however, provide some great “showoff” moments to our Apple Fanboy counterparts.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is an amazingly versatile phone that is packed with different options and features. A strong feature-set has always been one of Samsung’s biggest strengths. Although, you might not use all the features in your everyday life, Samsung does a great job of providing features that cater to a to a huge audience, and allow the ability to turn off features you do not use.
You can spend hours upon hours trying to figure out all the little things the Samsung Galaxy S5 can do, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed by the device from a features perspective. But as with other Samsung devices, the biggest criticism is its design. Samsung has its reasons sticking with a plastic body, but there is still plenty of room to come up with a better, more unique design. With that said I give you this challenge: if you own or have owned a Samsung Galaxy S5 please share with us your thoughts, and tell us what you like or dislike about the Samsung Galaxy S5 in the comments below!