With the Galaxy S5 Samsung has copied a page out of Apple’s playbook with an evolutionary upgrade from the S4. However in keeping with Samsung’s policy of including every feature anyone could possibly want the S5 offers plenty of upgrades over its predecessor the Galaxy S4, including a much-improved screen, redesigned software and a slightly better camera. However, the new heart rate sensor seems a bit pointless to me and the finger print scanner is somewhat finicky.
Samsung has done its best to differentiate Galaxy S5 from the S4. It has a dimpled back, while the Galaxy S4 is smooth and glossy. There is one thing however, that hasn’t changed though; the Galaxy S5 is almost entirely plastic. Even sides of the phone are trimmed with metallic plastic that look like metal. The in-hand feel which is an improvement over the S4 because of the softer feeling and grippier back and the softening of the edges. For such a big phone(142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm) the S5 is surprisingly comfortable to hold even in my small hands.
As though the Galaxy S4 didn’t have an overabundance of features Samsung has added 12 more to the S5. Some are more or less useful than others but, here are my favourites:
Fast Auto Focus
Don’t hesitate to shoot and capture action as it’s happening! The faster Auto Focus helps you capture important moments of movement more quickly and in focus.
Ultra Power Saving Mode
Use the Ultra Power Saving Mode to save and extend your battery life so you no longer have to worry about missing important calls when your phone is running low on battery. This innovative feature changes your screen to black and white and shuts down all unnecessary features to dramatically minimize battery consumption.
Dust and Water Resistant
With an IP67 certification, Galaxy S5 is resistant to sweat, rain, liquids, sand and dust, so your phone is protected for any activity and situation.
Security has been upgraded and personalized. You can now unlock your phone and make faster and more secure payments via PayPal with the swipe of your finger.
When purchasing content with Samsung services, you can use your fingerprint instead of entering your Samsung account password. Trouble is I found this feature to be especially unreliable no matter how much care I took to set up the finger scan.
Quite a few of the less useful features of the S4 such as Air View and Air Gesture, two options that let you control your phone without touching the screen are still in the S5 but, mostly turned off by default.
Under the hood of the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset with 2GB of RAM. That gives the Samsung plenty of power, no matter what you’re asking it to do. It comes with 16Gb of internal storage as well as a SD Card slot for up to 128Gb more..plenty of room for most music and/or movie collections. The 5.1″ screen resolution remains 1920-by-1080, but a new feature called Adapt Display automatically tweaks color saturation, sharpness and other settings in apps such as the photo album and web browser. It seems to work well: The display looked good indoors and out. Samsung has also tweaked its TouchWiz interface making it a bit friendlier.
Feeding all this is a 2800mAh battery under the skin of the SGS5 and Samsung claims it’s good for 21 hours of talk time. I managed to get a full day of moderate use out of it without a problem. The S5 also features several levels of power saving including the ultra power saving mode. This switches the phone to a simple state, essentially turning it into a simple phone, changing the user interface to only offer the essentials, similar to HTC‘s extreme power saver in the new HTC One (M8).
The S5 features an average 2.1MP front camera and an impressive 16MP rear shooter. There are columns of control buttons on each side of the screen, both being easily accessible when the phone is held in landscape. Plan on using both hands. In typical Samsung fashion there are loads of features some useful some not but most of us will ignore most of the whistles and bells and use the Auto function which is solid.
You can expect great daytime pictures with the rear camera and less impressive but still very good pictures under low light conditions. You can safely leave your point and shoot at home.
The front facing camera is OK for video calls but not much else. Selfies are OK under good lighting conditions but as you see the dynamic range isn’t great.
The S5 also produces really good video at up to 4K resolution, but in this mode you lose some of the video modes you can use when shooting at 1080p. These include video stabilization, HDR and stills capture during video. The phone defaults to 1080p, and I recommend you stick with it. You can also shoot at various speeds up to 8x slower (120fps capture) and 8x faster. When shooting in slow motion capture quality is limited to 720p resolution and image quality takes a significant hit too.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is an excellent Smartphone overloaded with so many features you will never use all of them or even realize they are there for that matter. It is a good phone providing good voice quality in both directions. Excellent LTE performance and fast 802.11 a/ b/ g/ n/ ac WiFi can be boosted by a new Samsung feature which combines the two for superfast downloads.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a big phone but slight design changes make it more comfortable to hold than the S4. It is available from most carriers and I don’t think you can go wrong buying this phone.