Glam or gaudy? The Samsung Galaxy S5 pushes style, but 'chic' is up for debate

An aesthetic diatribe

Smartphones are funny. They are, first and foremost, tools for communication. Their primary purpose is to connect me with other people, be it through a phone call, messaging, or online in any one of a thousand other forms. Without exception, every smartphone does those things well. Those core competencies being nailed by everybody in the industry means that manufacturers have to differentiate in other ways.

That differentiation comes in the forms of software and hardware. The user interface is a complicated beast to differentiate. It still has to be functional and efficient (or at least not frustratingly inefficient), it should be discoverable and yet attractive. And it still has to fit into the trends of modern design, lest it appear dated in comparison to its counterparts (hello, BlackBerry 10).

We saw that evolution taking place with the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S5. The latest Samsung flagship smartphone is faster and bigger and generally better all around than its predecessors, but even as a leader in the marketplace Samsung still had to bow to the demands of contemporary design.

The overwrought, occasionally downright cartoonish TouchWiz user interface that afflicted nearly every preceding Samsung Android device was toned down considerably on the Galaxy S5. It’s still recognizably TouchWiz, but the interface has adopted more of the flattened styling that’s been a growing trend in interface design. Samsung pared things back a bit so that the experience on the S5 is closer to that of Android as Google intended it, though it’s still quite a ways off.

The TouchWiz interface on the Samsung Galaxy S5 is better. It’s not as gaudy, but still as colorful. It’s not as intrusive, but even more feature-packed. It’s still functional, and more intuitive as a result of Samsung’s rethinking.

Hardware is a different story than software. Over the seven years since the original iPhone was unveiled to the world, there’s been only a few constants in design: a sheet of glass on the front with a speaker at the top, and a back with a cut-out for a camera. Placement of everything else — power and volume buttons, loud speakers, navigation controls, ports, scanners, et al has been up in the air.

And that’s not even talking about materials, hard edges vs. curves, simplicity vs. complication, and so much more that goes into the physical design of a smartphone (or what goes inside the phone) And that’s where my issue with the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes into play.

I’ll admit, I haven’t seen the phone in person. I haven’t held it in my hand. I’ve poured over the photos and videos since the announcement, wondering all along, “What was Samsung thinking?”

There’s only so much one can do with the front of a smartphone. It’s dominated by a screen, after all.

From the front, the Galaxy S5 is an unassuming yet attractive device. There’s only so much one can do with the front of a smartphone. It’s dominated by a screen, after all. The home button is still there, as are the flanking capacitive buttons (with menu mercifully replaced by multitasking).

But flip the Galaxy S5 over and “oh my god what happened?” The Galaxy S4 before it wasn’t what I would call an attractive device. The glossy, reflective back made of plastic was a poor choice. It felt bad, it looked bad, it wore over time horribly. The Galaxy S4 looked, and once you picked it up it even started to feel cheap. With competition like the HTC One and iPhone 5 out there, it was unacceptable.

Not that it mattered. Thanks to Samsung’s super-aggressive marketing push they were able to sell tens of millions of the Galaxy S4 to customers around the globe. By all measures, the S4 was a successful device. Even if I was turned off by its appearance.

And then the Galaxy Note 3 was announced with its faux stitched leather back. Reading about it, it just sounds tacky as hell, but in reality it's actually a nice effect. The "stitching" is subtle and the leather texture, while obviously not leather, adds a nice grippiness to it that the plasticy. Not to mention that it actually didn’t look bad.

I remember recoiling in horror the first time I read those words “stitched leather”.

I remember recoiling in horror the first time I read those words “stitched leather”, but it wasn’t that bad. So when Samsung pushed out the Galaxy S4 Black Edition with the same stitched leather effect back as was on the Note 3, and unveiled tablets with the same back, I wasn’t appalled.

I’ll admit, I was curious what Samsung was going to do design-wise for the Galaxy S5. It was evident that they weren’t going to go for an all-out aesthetic redesign, just as the Galaxy S4 wasn’t radically different than the Galaxy S3. Granted, by being a different size it ended up being a totally different phone — no iPhone-style #s updates here.

I think I audibly let out a sound that was something along the lines of “aaaahuughhhh” upon seeing the shimmering dimpled gold back of the Galaxy S5.

And then they turned the phone around. I think I audibly let out a sound that was something along the lines of “aaaahuughhhh” upon seeing the shimmering dimpled gold back of the Galaxy S5. Thankfully I was by myself so I didn’t have to explain that weird auditory reaction to a smartphone keynote.

I’m no expert in fashion or design, I’ll admit that. But when I look at the back of the Galaxy S5, no matter if it’s the black, white, gold, or blue version, I see something that just screams “TACKY!” in brilliant, neon letters at me. I see a fashion statement from 1984.

I see a fashion statement from 1984.

If you’ll recall, some months ago when the first rumors of a gold-tinted iPhone 5s were floated, the internet reacted in horror at the tackiness of such a move. We imagined some hideously blinged-out monstrosity that would only be fit for mobsters, Russian oligarchs, and the Real Housewives of Nobody Gives a Damn. But what we got was actually more along the lines of what you get when you get a car with champagne paint. It’s a metallic tan, and in the right light you get a richer gold effect. But most of the time it’s subtle and attractive.

The Galaxy S5, on the other hand, is everything we feared when the gold iPhone rumors surfaced. Especially in gold, but even the other three colors are garish travesties of design and fashion. The pillowy look brought on by the dimples is only accentuated by the metallic gloss, which is still somehow soft-touch (I worry about how well it will wear over time).

It’s disappointing to see Samsung make such a huge leap of progress in updating their user interface to something more attractive and functional while simultaneously taking several steps in the wrong direction with their hardware design.

But what do I know? They’ll sell millions of them anyway.


Reader comments

Glam or gaudy? The Samsung Galaxy S5 pushes style, but 'chic' is up for debate


I don't like it, as far as looks. Its water proof and all, but man they couldn't go with a better look? The phone is ugly.

Nexus 5...enough said

They were too conservative, they needed to go all in - metallic painted leather textured plastic, dimples AND faux stitching. Now THAT would have been an attractive phone. The opportunity was theirs and they totally blew it!

They made investors happy, and they are going to price the GS5 cheaper. They know that the market for high end smartphone is saturating, and they need to be priced reasonably to stay competitive.

Investors happy:

Priced lower:

Also, Galaxy S5 'Prime' / Galaxy F are again in force. Launch pegged for May.

I think they did pretty well recently. Things are definitely looking good for them.

Yes an ugly 5.1" device and all they needed to do was go with a matte plastic with no stupid patterns whatsoever and everything would have been fantastic!

the nexus 5 is a worthless microSD-card-slot-less garbage just like the iphone

Really hard to pass judgement until I can hold one, but I kind of like it. We shall see.

I'll still like an all metal, new HTC One better.

It's crazy to me how people complain about the "back" or "feel" of a phone when they haven't held the actual device. And a large percentage of people are going to put a case on it as soon as they get it.

Posted via Android Central App

Don't worry..they'll release 20 different variants with the Galaxy name in no time. This one however, shall be know as the Samsung Galaxy S Gaudy!

They're just throwing stuff out now to see what sticks. They knew they were getting hate for the shiny plastic so they went with a faux leather look. The faux leather look didn't exactly garner applause to they changed it again. I wonder what their next look will be since the dimples are already getting plenty of hate even before launch...

But consistency would have been nice,

Posted via my thumbs and Google Keyboard. (Defective) N7 2013

My feeling? Who gives a rat's ***?

I've looked and played with the HTC One that all you fashion fanatics swoon over, and you know what? It feels like..... a phone! It doesn't feel like it's carved out of a solid block of titanium or platinum. It doesn't feel any more solid than my S3. Both of these devices, along with the S4 and every other phone I've held recently, feel like..... phones. Nothing more, nothing less. The S3 and S4 aren't cheap. They don't twist, they don't creak, they don't do anything that makes them feel cheap. I'm not crazy about the slipperiness, but that's a separate issue from being cheaply built.

Put a back with a different texture on (and there are thousands of backs available for the Samsung phones), put on a blindfold, and I bet 9 people out of 10 couldn't tell if it was made of plastic, metal, leather, or whatnot. Same with the vaunted HTC One. Heck, at least the color doesn't rub off the Samsung phones in the first couple of weeks, like it does off the black HTC.

You guys are simply reacting to the idea of plastic, not the reality of the device.

9 out 10 can't tell the difference between what plastic, metal and leather feels like? Hmm..

Posted via HTC One on Sprint

I'd rather not have a case, so no more slippery backs for me. I'm not wild about the colors as represented in the photos and videos (real life may be different) but the black looks fine. The software looks better. I think it's a nice upgrade for Samsung fans. I'm not one of those, but I don't quite get the hate this time around. We know what Samsung brings... Luckily there's choice for those who want to go in a different direction.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

Ok, I'm not sure how you've managed to convince yourself that the S3 and S4 don't creak, twist, or flex. Based on that assertion, along with your "bet" that 90% of blind-folded persons could not distinguish metal from plastic, I know you are not being serious in any way.

If plastic construction were truly a problem, I highly doubt that the Droid DNA, WP8X, and HTC One SV would be recognized as having a good "feel" to them.

Posted via Android Central App

I feel you in a way. But these phones aren't cheap. Kinda like buying a Cadillac with all plastic interior as opposed to the same cadillac with leather interior..... For the same price. Which would you choose?

Posted via Android Central App

I totally agree. All of the devices feel like phones when held. I like the idea that Samsung still choose nothing to be like the competition, why be like if you can just be you? Just cause your htc and iphone look good does not mean it is and i think the figures would agree. Why would i want to buy a device covered in all titanium but still performs like any other phone? Phones are not designed for fashion but their accessories are, get it.

What are you talking about, the HTC One is the best built phone out there and I do not own one, I currently own a Nexus 5. There is no other phone including the iPhone which is built as well as the HTC One. I have owned Samsung products and have always thought the materials felt really cheap. If i was to spend $800 on a phone which is what the cost in Australia at retail then it better not feel like it a cheap chinese knock off

Samsung will not be getting money any time soon

"But what do I know?"


It sure would be nice if you guys spent more time focusing on what people actually USE, or could use, their phones for, based on the hardware and software provided, and less worry about how it looks.

Or how about some focus on how easy (or not easy) different models are to fix when the inevitable happens. Does one phone cost $50 to get a broken screen replaced, where another costs $100? Readers here sure wouldn't know. At least, not based on the reporting here. What about how much it costs if you only ding up the back of the phone? And, for that matter, how easily does one phone's screen break, compared to another? How easily does one phone's trim or back get dinged or broken compared to another? And how difficult and expensive is it to fix in those cases?

And how about, for all the folks who don't have Unlimited Data, some focus on what phones require more data usage versus less - say because some phones have limited local storage moreso than other phones?

How about some focus on common specific activities and what phone is best.

Example: you want to go on vacation for a week or two and use your phone for pictures and shooting video, so you don't have to carry a separate camera? Does one phone's hardware design work better than another for letting you take (and store) a week or two of pictures and video without forcing you to offload to a computer or use your data plan to pay for uploading to somewhere in the Cloud?

Example: You want to go camping for a long weekend and use your phone as your GPS and emergency communications? How do different phones allow you to do that? Will they make it through a 3 day weekend, with GPS usage, without ever plugging into power somewhere?

Seriously, more focus on function and less on subjective fluff that most people will cover up with a case anyway.

Function doesn't matter anymore, now it's all about fashion. Most people here won't admit, but Apple have got them fooled or turned out (turned from tech enthusiast to catwalk wannabe). Now they even believe that aluminum is a premium material

No, it's about both, and it always has been. When people buy high end sports cars, they first look at performance, acceleration and handling, and then they look at beauty. Who wants to shell out a lot of money for a car that performs great if it looks like a Ford Pinto? Not many. We need to push these companies towards better function AND better form, not just one or the other.

The primary difference in the argument, though, is that all cars are made out of pretty much the same materials. A plastic shell makes the phone cheaper and lighter than an aluminum/glass shell. I've always figured that Samsung didn't try to make the backside of their phones anything special because they expected you to put it in a case. How many iPhone users have you seen walking around with one of those giant Otterbox cases on their phone, while bragging about how iPhone is the best looking phone (somewhere under all that rubber).

These are all valid points - but these are things that will be focused on after initial impressions are over. Some more than others, I'm sure. Those are all topics that will be covered in reviews and in the 6-12 month follow ups that are written. For now the focus is on the what we see right away. Seeing as how we are all slightly obsessive about these things (other wise we wouldn't be doing this right now) that is the look of the device.

So - YES! FUNCTION! - but for now it is fun to talk about how it looks.

They talk about functionality all the time. There are endless posts comparing how different devices handle different tasks.

But when you're spending hundreds of dollars on something you're going to use daily for at least a year (in most of our cases), how is there anything wrong with paying attention to how it looks and feels? Aesthetics may not be the most important aspect of a device, but it's sure as hell not unimportant.

Posted from one of an unnecessarily large collection of Nexus devices because I'm That Guy

I think the difference here is that you've already seen pictures of the phone. Why does it matter in the slightest that Derek Kessler thinks it looks funny? Form your own damned opinions! This article screams of "We need more page views! Quick, somebody write something!"

Man i feel like i'm the only one that actually likes the look of the S5. In my honest opinion it looks way better than the glossy backs of the S4. I think if Samsung had taken the blue and gold variants out of the mix, people wouldn't be having such a negative reaction, maybe some, but not as harsh. I've always been a fan of just having Black or White as an option, especially since most people put cases on anyways, so the only colors you see are the black and white of the front of the phone on the bezels.

Oh well i plan on getting the Black one since the back is actually all black this time and not black with a million silver dots like the S4.

You're not alone, I enjoy it too. For those that don't like it, either don't buy it or buy a replacement back.

I think the black and white S5 look better than the S4 as well, but they still don't look as good as most other phones to me. The iPhone, HTC One, Moto X, and Nexus 5 all look better to me, and the Moto X and Nexus 5 are plastic, so clearly I'm not just a metal whore.

When I first saw the pictures I was thinking the same thing, but the look grew on me in the videos. The hands-on videos from multiple sites, including this one, were complimentary of the look and feel. The plastic is used for a reason - lightness, comfort, durability, and the ability to remove the back cover easily. "Glam" is definitely modern again in 2014 and is the product of extensive market research. I think the black is understated enough for most people - the question for me is whether I would be able to pull out the blue one in a professional environment without too many unflattering stares. The gold is probably not for you and me.

Same here when i first saw it, I was like this phone is ugly as f*** then it started to grow on me. Now I really like it. Also what i realized is that after the unpacking event every person and their dog were saying how ugly this phone was, it sort of influenced my judgement on the phone, now since all the dust has settled down and my thinking is straight, I'm starting to like S5 especially the blue one.

It doesn't look that great, but if it's anything like the original nexus 7, then it probably feels better in the hand.

Posted via Android Central App

Personally I skipped the S3 and S4 and got an HTC one. At the time it was a right choice but now with the changes that Samsung has made it's making this phone a little bit more attractive. I buy my phones for the features. If you need design or simplicity to it Sony and Motorola have some damn good phones.

Posted via Android Central App

You all gripe about it but everyones going to just put the case on anyway so what does it matter

Posted via Android Central App

Haha +1

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Would you please pass the word on to Samsung's...actually ALL oems. Hopefully they can stop wasting time with design review meetings and planning. What the phone looks like and what it's constructed with (along with its color) doesn't matter. Since everyone puts their phone in a case, it's all going to be covered up anyway. All phones should be flat black and all should have the same shape. Cases are going to hide all of it, so it's a good idea.

Posted via Android Central App

They should just sell a slab of components and have a case store or allow the aftermarket companies to design those. You might be onto something.

I think it's horrible and the front also yet again looks the same. Samsung is running out of ideas. This ain't no upgrade more like a Galaxy 4S. Sony have beat them with a much better handset at MWC with the Z2. I got rid if my S4 due to poor battery and heating issues. I'll never buy another Samsung again. Much happier with a white LG G2. Not one Samsung handset has any style to it just plain bland boring design. Samsung's design team need sacking. And what's with the small battery still?? Total crap

Posted via Android Central App

"Not one Samsung handset has any style to it just plain bland boring design." I smell some BS, did Samsung put a gun on your head and forced you to buy an S4. You're just a hater stop pretending to have owned an S4

How can you say that? What gives you the right and/or ability to judge someone else's experience as false?

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I can agree with Sean I moved out of the Samsung phones my self and had a better experience with HTC and LG phones so i think hes pretty accurate. Im not saying they look crap but they gave me a crappy experience compared to HTC and LG. At-least i don't have to carry a extra battery anymore like I did with S3 and S4 and never did with the One and now nexus 5.

Nothing but crappy experiences with Samsung phones myself... switched to the LG G2, never looked back. Good riddance Samsung. My personal experience, YMMV.

Posted via Android Central App

Don't waste your time arguing with this dumbass, merc.... dude's an imbecile. Not worth your time.

Posted via Android Central App

Retarded Samsung fanboy... hilarious! Keep these comments coming! I truly get a kick of your stupidity.

Posted via Android Central App

The Xperia Z, Z1, Z1S, Z1 Compact, Z Ultra all share the same design. The Moto X and Moto G share the same design. All Nokia's phones share the same design. The iPhone has kept used the same design since 2010. If rumors are true, HTC's next flagship will look very similar to the One. The LG G2, G2 Mini, G-Flex and G Pro 2 all share similar design.

Why is Samsung getting this reaction for using a consistent design in thier devices? I'm in no way a fanboy (I don't own any Samsung products and don't plan to), but to complain that their device looks the same as last year when every other manufacturer keeps things consistent is a load of BS.

Didn't you get the memo, hating on Samsung is cool. Go to the Verge and read the S5 article its got 1000 and something comments 95% of them is what you find in "How to hate Samsung guide" with no constructive or honest criticism.

Because their designs started out with a much better design focus. Also, way to cherry pick the devices. Sony only released the Z series last year. The Moto X and G were released a couple of months away from each other, and are not both flagship devices. And Motorola devices before 5 months ago were very different looking. HTC released the HTC One last year, and is very much different from what they released before. Every single one of the LG phones you mentioned were released in the past year.

People's problems with Samsung are due to what they've done in the past 4 years. People have complained about the design of the Galaxy for at least 2, if not 3 years. That's the difference. People are praising the others because they DID make changes to improve the designs of their phones. Every single one of them. Z with their build quality, Moto X for basically completely flipped the script about their phone designs. HTC did as well. LG...well, they did something very different, and their bezels are smaller than most phones released today.

I'm not feeling the design of the phone myself, but the whole Band-Aid comparison joke has run its course.

But dammit it does no matter how you look at it. Left, right, upside down....a bandaid. It also looks like an Icy-Hot pad? A connect the dot page in a kids book? Either way, it's fugly. Now with one of the new 40+ cases, it could look really good.

I personally have a Samsung Smart Tv. So with all share I can watch show box wirelessly. Will always keep a phone or tablet. Beats paying for 200 dollars a month on cable and I didn't have to buy a hub, cable or anything. So it can be as ugly as it wants slap a sticker on the back keep a large enough screen and im in imo.

Posted via Android Central App

Just add a bendable screen like the flex coming out and most will be a happy camper. The non techies im talking about

Posted via Android Central App

I didn't see or had the chance to hold one in my hand yet, which makes hard to judge. Doesn't look great in pictures but I prefer this look over some other phones out there. It reminds me of the Nexus 7 (and no one said it was a bad choice of materials and patterns when released) but if it is as nice as Nexus 7 I'm okay with it.

I'm glad I'll still have the opportunity to change batteries, for me, this is very important. So I kind don't really care about the back as much

It's tacky and stupid. Either stick it straight into a cover and never take it out or wait for the aftermarket back covers to come out on Ebay and replace the shitty one it comes with. Samsung have always had the worst industrial designers for their smart phones and tablets, worse than any other brand.

I always think that smartphone hardware should be minimal, consistent, and in most cases out-of-the-way. It's probably why I favor the look of the Nexus 5 and iPhones so much. Less glam and more modern sleek looking

As for the S5...the faux metal trim, dimples, and garish colors just do not work well together here IMHO. Luckily the good thing about replaceable backs is that they can..well..replaced with something else!

Actually like the blue and if it's anything like how the nexus 7 felt then I'm all for it.. Won't be buying it though, my s4 is still plenty good though will see if I can buy a 3rd party back cover off eBay.. That's what I like if you don't like it you can replace the back also I suspect many average consumers end up covering there £500+ investment with a case.

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

No matter what the phone, I always put a skin/cover on it. That's just me. I like to protect my investment, which also helps with its trade-in value. I always use a skin/case that has good grip to it. I currently have the HTC One. But if I got the new Samsung, I would do the same thing to protect it. That being said, they should have made the new one with the faux leather, which seems to look and feel the best out of all their designs. Maybe the new backs will work like the iPhone--people won't know they need them until Samsung tells them they are the best backs yet, and that they are the best smartphone available on the market. I'll stick with my HTC One.

Posted via Android Central App

I worry about how much more bacteria will be carried around in the dimples. And all the millions of them being sold to contribute to more dirty hands touching more public things.

I'm not a huge germaphobe, but phones do carry bacteria and are not often washed, and the dimples will enhance this. It's a perspective to think about, I'm not a crazy person :P

I'm sure they'll use some type of treated plastic, or you could get a germ-resistant case.

Posted via Android Central App

As far as LOOKS go, this phone is absolutely hideous. I don't care what anyone says. Who in their right mind at Samsung decided that dimpled looking design on the back cover looked good? Even that new black faux-leather cover they now sell as the S4 looks a hundred times better than this. Extremely disappointed. And for anyone that says, "who cares, just slap a cover on it" or "you don't buy a phone to just look at it" I'm sorry but when I spend 200-700 dollars(depending on subsidies or not) I want to have a nice looking phone that compliments me. I would not waste my money on something with zero design.

Everyone's a critic. The device looks fine. People are just overreacting as usual. It's a phone at the end of the day. Smh

Posted via Android Central App

I don't particularly like the look of the back of the phone. It's way too busy. But for me, I could care less what the back looks like because I always use a cover. I own the S4 and I could care less that the back feels cheap or flimsy because I never see it or touch it. I use a really nice case (Seidio Surface with kickstand) and it makes the whole device feel very solid.

I immediately disliked the back upon first...second..third...40th sight honestly. I think the dimples look ridiculous and the features are just out of control. No ROM should take up 8gigs of storage on a 16 gig phone. I know people with galaxy phones and none of them use it past the basic stuff but hey, its good marketing. I give it a 5 on looks (out of 10)

Posted via Android Central App

When I purchase a device the aesthetics have to be as equally pleasing as the specs. "What an ugly phone" was the first thing I said when I saw the GS5. I like em naked so no cases or screen protectors are taken into consideration when it comes to unnecessarily purchasing a new bot. I say unnecessarily from a personal standpoint as I waste to much money on Android devices to frequently. So go GS5, go far away..


What happened to the F model that is supposed to be metal ? Is that arriving after the plastic version is released to Boost sales? If so I would rather wait for non plastic version.

style,what style.its exactly the same as every other large smartphone on the market?
its a small thin oblong of glass,lots of plastic and some metal,toughbook phones like the new 3 series have a style,not one that most folk would like,but it is an identifable style and i would swap a load of new sammy s5
for one of the toughphones.ugly.but tough and powerful.grreeatt for the modern gardener.give folk a google sat pic of their lawn with info on size etctreatments etc sent straight to them with the bill.

The black back-cover is fine for me, but I'm not feeling the others. Cool thing about Galaxy phones is that you can slap a variety of different covers on the back for under ten bucks.

Absolutely terrible.

I don't like the stitched 'leather' either. They are really going through a terrible moment with designers.

I only ever look at the back of my phone when I'm taking the back cover off (no, I don't take selfies!).

Are you nit-pickers (including the writer of the article) so bored this is all you have to whine about?

Samsung must be delighted this is all you have left to complain about...

I'm not buying it because I have convinced myself I need to carry on using a dual-SIM. But I wouldn't turn the S5 down because of some nonsense about the back cover any more than I would kick a Kardashian out of bed for being a spoilt airhead.

Use both for what they're good for, and ignore the rest.

I (obviously) haven't had a chance to handle the phone either, but I agree, from the many photos I've seen, it looks like something that belongs in a child's toy box.

It's a shame, really, I remember the original Galaxy S was actually a very good looking phone at the time, and the SII wasn't bad. Even my Galaxy Nexus was better looking IMO than the S3, S4 & S5, even if the GNex's design was a bit uninspired.

My prediction is when the S5 drops in April Samsung is going to learn the hard lesson of listening to your consumers. It's as if they didn't get a hint when they reported weaker than expected sales for the S4. Consumers gave them a pass on the S4 and accepted the phone as is but the S5 is going to be a big dud for Samsung. If they're not blogs to learn what potential buyers are saying they need to start. I'm a big fan of Samsungs Galaxy S devices, my S4 is the centerpiece of my personal and professional lifestyle but I'm going to pass on the S5 and probably grab the New HTC One when it's available.

Sorry Samsung, you forced me to.

The white doesn't look TOO bad..but wow the rest are terrible. Glad to see Touchwiz toned down a tiny bit. I'll have to check it out myselt, but to my eyes it looks just about as "bad" as ever as far as being cartoonish.

The blue almost (almost) regains the glory of the Caludia Schiffer (sp?) version Palm V from many moons ago. That was the most beautiful device evaaah. Anybody remember that?

McDonald's just has to find the lowest common denominator to sell to the bright-shiny-moving-object chasing masses; good taste be damned.

On the bright side, I can stop wondering what to buy my pimp for his birthday.

It should help continued sales of the Note 3 at least. Surely the Note 3 has outsold the S4 by now.

No not even close the s4 sold near 50 million and the note 3 around 15-20 million. The s5 will sell around 40-50 million just off brand recognition.

Posted via Android Central App

The dimpled Gold case reminds me of the Original Star Trek communicator . That rocks !

But my phone is usually in a case anyway so wouldn't see it.

With Samsung and Sony do some water resisitance and LG having flex phones - all we need now is the THOR feature where you will it to jump into your hand like his hammer.


The Gold version almost looks like a Star Trek Communicator. But not enough like one to be cool.

Not a fan of Samsung. Tried the s1, s3, galaxy nexus and wife has the s4. Every phone lags bad, gets massive burn in, and the cheap plastic chipped and peeled. Not to mention the amount of space getting taken up by their bloat. 7 gigs available on a 16 gig model? Seriously? Luckily I'm loving what's coming out from Moto, HTC, and Sony.

Posted via Android Central App

The black and blues look like they're geared towards tween boys. The white is cheap-looking, as every white device ever made is. The gold is horrible and a crime against humanity.

They're selling these with Knox, which means they want them to be used in a business environment. If that's the case, make it look like something that BELONGS in a business environment. As much as everyone (myself included) hated the design of the s3/s4/note2, I think it was mostly just the glossy plastic getting to us. The design itself was nothing special, but had the ability to fit in everywhere. Here we see exactly the opposite: the materials are better, but the design is way worse.

I just wish they would stop imitating other materials with plastic. A little more sophistication in design from the top Android manufacturer isn't too much to ask is it?

I feel like Samsung wanted to do the bare minimum to address the complaints SINCE THE FIRST GALAXY S that their shiny plastic feels cheap. Instead of investing in a newer more high quality material (could have still been plastic) they just try to make faux materials...out of plastic...

That said I do now realize looking at the design that they seemed to be trying to make the phone more durable. Not just water and dust resistant but there is also an abnormally large lip around the bezel of the device which should protect the screen from drops. That i can respect.

Why is no one discussing the travesty that is the fact that we clearly STILL haven't hit the ceiling for max flagship smartphone size?

I think the gold one above looks cheap. The blue one looks ok or something I picture a more active person carrying around. Black and white are the old standbys that look fine as well. That gold color looks cheap though. I think it would look better if they took the shine out of it. If it was matte like the back of my 2012 Nexus 7 it would look nicer.

"lest it appear dated in comparison to its counterparts (hello, BlackBerry 10)."

As someone who uses both Android and Blackberry 10, and incidentally I like both in their own ways, I guess what you mean by dated is that BB 10 is able to make a lot of things get accomplished with one swipe, or push whereas Android makes those same basic functions (closing an app, etc.) take multiple swipes and pushes. Or did you mean the way BB 10 made it's internet sooo much faster?

Just curious.

I'll reserve final judgement until I see it in person but I kinda like the blue! I'm not really worried about aesthetics as much as function but I'm tired of every phone being white or black. The S5 will sell enough that they could do several different backs to appeal to different people

Go to eBay and search "Note 3 Replacement back". Watch your screen fill up with almost every conceivable option imagineable for $10 or less. If you don't like dimples, then get anything you want. That's the beauty of this design that is repeteadly lost in tech articles. Options are good IMO,

The dimples aren't as visible and pronounced as the pics show. Flash always exaggerrates details. I held the phone yesterday.

Gahhh, this is what tech journalism has become. Fashion trends of pop culture?
Just pony up the $10 on eBAY for one of the hundreds of design / function option replacement backs that will be available within a month. Not a mention in the article of the value found in user options like this. In a world where device makers offer less options this is 10x more important than dimples. Wow.

not that I've been a fan of any of the Galaxy Swhatevers but I was kinda hoping Samsung would have turned some heads in the design department this year. Well... I suppose heads turned but as the article makes clear, for all the wrong reasons. The thing that has always and will continue to boggle my mind about Samsung is that this thing will sell tens of millions like those before it.. So keep it up I guess Samsung, you seem to be doing something.. right.

ya know what it really reminds me of? Goldmember from the 3rd Austin Powers movie! It's the same color and texture of some of his outfits! :D

Though I'm not upgrading to an S5, I wouldn't think it would matter. Quite honestly, a phones outward design is only as good as the case you put on it.

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I'll have to go with hideous. Even Google back tracked from the faux leather dimpled look they sported on the 1st Gen Nexus 7. For some reason Samsung went all in.

So exactly what is the author of this silly article an expert in? That was not made clear. Because it sounds like he only specializes in unfounded complaining.

As a young woman, a lot of the things that you guys probably consider gaudy or tacky, I tend to like. For example, jewel tones, gold, rhinestones, glitter, etc. With that being said, I'm not a fan of the S5 based on these images.

I did promptly download two of the S5 wallpapers, though. I'm currently using the colorful version, and it looks great on my device, I think.

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I'm excited for the people who can't wait to get their hands on an S5. As for myself, the S5 does nothing to change my opinion of Samsung's Android phones: I think the S5 is FUGLY and am even less impressed with the new magazine UX (or whatever they're calling it). And that's crazy the new OS could take up to ~8GB alone... nuts.

I really like it... SO.. yeahhhh... Not like it matters anyway. Cant remember the last time i saw the bare back of my GS3... I know it looks cool from what i remember but i have only seen this otterbox case its been in for the last year or so..

I was thinking the s5 phone was going to have a new look, so I think I will go note 3 that is just a awesome phone

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Exactly! I put my S3 in an otterbox armor case. Hell yeah it makes the phone big and blocky! Offer great protection as well!

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Phone looks fine and TW better than ever. Gold color is stunning tho I prefer the white. Lotta Apple fanboys here in disguse I see...

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I gotta say Samsung makes some ugly a** phones. How do people like them, makes my stomach turn.

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Most all put big clunky cases on their Galaxys, according to this thread.

That is understandable, since cases cover the lackluster design and the S4's survivability rated poorly in breakage and repair data.

Samsung has the worst design I can think of. I absolutely loathe almost every design choice. Lost my money, Samsung.

It's just a disappointment from what we were expecting, I was so ready to see a bit of faux stitches and leather or a metallic look when I saw the indentions all over the place( pretty much made the same sound as the author up top, out loud) , they put a bandaid over some amazing hardware making it the one we want to rip off in one quick motion. Samsung will pick up on it, and figure the right design.

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fake leather and band aid look in all new samsung devices... "this is madness"... "NO THIS IS SAMSUUUUUUUUUUUNG GAAAH!"

samsung designers must be on crack just look at lg and nokia new devices make samsung design looks like shit