Samsung Galaxy S5

We've had our hands on the Galaxy S5 for over two months now — it's time to share how we feel Samsung's flagship has held up over time.

Each year, Samsung garners a massive amount of attention for its new flagship Galaxy S phone, and for good reason. With its official unveiling coinciding with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and satellite events all around the world, Samsung did things up big with the Galaxy S5 just as you'd expect. Thankfully this wasn't another Broadway-style production with useless fluff blurring the message either, as Samsung absolutely had legitimate reasons to be proud of with the GS5.

The Galaxy S5 ushered in a new level of hardware refinement that made many of us rethink what defines Samsung's hardware design. It dropped most of the shiny hard plastic in favor of a nice soft-touch back plate, bumped up the internal hardware to check all of the boxes, improved the screen quality in nearly all metrics and kept the Samsung fans happy with a removable battery, SDcard and physical home button. The GS5 also introduced a new finger scanner in the home button and an interesting heart rate monitor alongside the camera flash on the back of the phone, showing some real hardware innovation.

It was apparent that Samsung spent plenty of time on the software as well, giving it more than just a fresh coat of paint and instead really unifying the whole software suite under a single design language. Samsung went with a flatter, more harmonious interface that uses a simpler color palette and fewer crazy neon highlights — this isn't the TouchWiz of 2010.

The real question is: how have all of the improvements in design and functionality in the Galaxy S5 translated into real-world use?

More: Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Luckily we've had the opportunity for several of the editors here at Android Central to use the Galaxy S5 on a regular basis since it was released, and can shed some light on how we've found the GS5 to fit into our lives over the last two months. In order to give each of the editors here a chance to voice their feelings on the Galaxy S5, we've broken things down into a handful of questions, which each of us has answered in order to shed some light on using the device.

Build quality and hardware design

Galaxy S5 build quality

Although it didn't go to metal, Samsung really stepped up its game in terms of materials and build with the S5. How has yours held up in the past couple of months?

Jerry Hildenbrand: I like soft-touch plastic. More exotic materials are nice, and I understand the appeal, but I have no issues with a phone being made from a material that's durable and inexpensive — when it's done well. I think Samsung did a great job with the construction of the Galaxy S5, and the phone feels pretty good in your hands. Adding a bit of texture to the back cover was a step in the right direction, and keeps things from feeling slippery.

I have no issues with a phone being made from a material that's durable and inexpensive — when it's done well.

As for durability, I didn't have an S5 long enough to give any real opinion, but other than the front glass — something you have on every smartphone — I don't see where it would have any durability issues. Try not to drop your phone and you'll be just fine.

Andrew Martonik: Though I still wouldn't go anywhere near calling the Galaxy S5 a "beautiful" device, I can say I think Samsung's going in the right direction. I have the black model which is particularly sleek, and the new soft-touch material on the back is a big improvement over the flimsy hard plastic of old. Sadly Samsung has stuck with the flashy, chrome-looking hard plastic around the sides and home button, which really cheapens the entire look of the device. It stands out for sure, but not in a good way.

The upside of all this plastic is durability. My Galaxy S5 has taken all of the same bumps and tumbles as any other phone I've had for a couple of months, and it seems to have come away no worse for the wear. The shiny plastic around the bezel shows some small wear and nicks, but nothing worth writing home about. I still think Samsung could strike a better balance between durability and style, though, and I think it's going to take a couple more iterations before it gets things right in that area.

Alex Dobie: All the various plastic Samsung phones I've used have held up pretty well, and the same goes for the Galaxy S5. It's been dropped once, though not from a great height, and the chassis looks more or less as it did on day one — no immediately noticeable signs of wear and tear. That said, the GS5 hasn't been my daily driver over the past two months. The only mark I've been able to spot on my unit is a small scratch on the home button, which appeared within the first couple of weeks of use, though this doesn't affect its functionality or that of the built-in fingerprint scanner.

As for the GS5's aesthetic qualities, it's still a fairly basic plastic smartphone, even with the improved soft-touch back on the black model I've been using. The all-metal HTC One M8 is easier on the eyes, while the plastic LG G3 feels more sturdy. And I don't think I'm alone in hoping to see Samsung, with its immense engineering talent and gazillions of dollars, try something a little more exotic when it comes to materials.

Richard Devine: Unlike some of my colleagues, I went for the non-soft touch white Galaxy S5 and on the whole it hasn't left me feeling disappointed. The previous Galaxy S phones have always put me off with their bargain basement feeling glossy backs but not so with the S5. I wouldn't say I consider it the best, but I'm happier with it than what came before.

I don't exactly treat my phones with kid gloves and the Galaxy S5 doesn't have a scratch on it.

It's stood up quite well, too. I don't exactly treat my phones with kid gloves and the Galaxy S5 has had a couple of falls from my desk, but there are no dings, no screen scratches, nothing. One thing I'm still not so sure about though is the charging port flap. I just can't help but feel like it's going to break off at some point.

I'd still like a blue back at some point, too.

Phil Nickinson: I somehow found myself in the minority on this one, but I liked the look and feel of the Galaxy S5 from the start. (You can hear it in my voice in the first few seconds of our hands-on from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.) When you think about it, there's really less plastic on the GS5 than on the previous iterations now that the back cover has gone soft-touch. And I can't stress enough how much better the blue color feels than the white or black.

And it's held up nicely — not that I had any concerns. In fact, because of the materials used I've got far fewer dings and scratches than on my metal phones.

Samsung's software experience

Samsung Galaxy S5

Even with hundreds of millions of TouchWiz phones out there, Samsung software still seems to be a point of loathing for many. Has the S5's Android flavor grown on you at all this time around?

Jerry: The new TouchWiz still isn't to my liking. It's too busy, too colorful, and too resource-intensive to me. That's not what I'm looking for in a smartphone. Having said that, I can see where Samsung is still busy improving the interface — and that's what counts. There are plenty of people who enjoy the kitchen-sink approach that Samsung uses, as evidenced by the sales figures. I also think Samsung is doing some very good things, and the latest TouchWiz make an excellent tablet operating system. Hopefully, they continue to listen to user feedback and refine things in the future.

I feel Samsung is moving in the right direction with software design, albeit at a dramatically slow pace.

Andrew: Much like the hardware situation, I feel as though Samsung is moving in the right direction with the software design, albeit at a dramatically slower pace. The Galaxy S5 sports fewer ridiculous features popping up everywhere, less noise and scaled-down animation intensity when compared to the GS4. Sadly it still suffers from a severe case of bloatware (and that's before the carriers get ahold of it) with several useless pre-installed apps (not to mention the annoyance of managing two app stores now), and the design is still eye-gouging bad by most accounts. The interface is covered with poor UI decisions and left-over cruft from previous versions of TouchWiz that you feel just won't ever go away at this point.

I understand that Samsung is in a rather tough position trying to move its software forward while it designs for dozens of different devices and an install base with tens of millions of current users, but at some point you have to just clean things up at a faster pace. Interfaces are moving forward to cleaner and simpler lines across the industry, and Samsung is getting left behind pretty notably, even with the noticeable improvements on the GS5.

Alex: TouchWiz has improved in that it now has a relatively coherent design language, something you couldn't really say about the multicolored hodgepodge found on the GS3 and GS4. My biggest problem with Samsung's UI — aside from that fact that it still can't match up to HTC or stock Android in terms of performance — has to do with personalization. It's very difficult to customize the GS5's stock launcher in a way that doesn't look weird and wrong. The selection of bundled wallpapers are hideous, and the use of a very specific color palette makes it difficult to match any nonstandard widget and background combination and have it look good alongside the rest of the UI.

Richard: I replaced the launcher, because honestly I really don't like the one Samsung goes with in Touchwiz. There's way too much wasted space for me and I don't really understand having a 4x4 grid on a 5.1-inch display.

Beyond that I'm perfectly happy. I like the flat, I like the choice of colors and I like some of the custom apps Samsung has available.

Phil: Absolutely. Samsung's coming along quite nicely in the software department, at least as far as the user experience is concerned. I still prefer another launcher — but that's as much about my workflow and what I'm used to as it is anything else. In a vacuum, Samsung has greatly improved over the years.

Camera performance

Galaxy S5 camera

Samsung made a big deal about the fast focusing and ultra-fine image quality that the S5's camera was capable of, but it seems to come up short in low light. Is this a real worry, or something average users won't notice?

Jerry: Samsung needs to find a balance here. Many users aren't going to care about low-light image quality, but there are just as many who want pictures taken inside a restaurant or club to be better than Samsung is currently able to deliver from the Galaxy S5. I fall into the latter group, and find I'm not very satisfied with the camera on the Galaxy S5 — even though it can take some really nice pictures outside in the daytime. I took my S5 Active to Google I/O, and found the image quality from the camera to be pretty poor unless I was against the window.

Andrew: It's hard to overstate how well the Galaxy S5's camera performs during the day. Not only does it focus quickly and take crisp pictures, it does so instantaneously no matter the situation or shooting mode. Sadly that's only the case in bright daylight (where most any camera should perform well), and things quickly deteriorate when you get near sunset. The GS5 loses nearly all of its camera prowess in lower-light conditions, no matter what mode or settings you happen to use. There's no replacement for having a larger sensor and OIS, and Samsung should know that by now. Camera hardware and software has progressed to a point where low-light photography shouldn't be anywhere near as bad as it is on the Galaxy S5.

As impressive as the Galaxy S5 is with plenty of daylight, it really is god-awful in the dark.

Alex: I have a feeling I'm not alone in saying this, but as impressive as the Galaxy S5 is with plenty of daylight — and to be clear, I think the GS5 is the very best cameraphone available for shooting in daylight — it really is god-awful in the dark. Images are extremely noisy without software stabilization enabled; with stabilization turned on, the camera app take several seconds to take a shot, and even then photos often look blotchy and smudged, with Samsung's software processing obliterating any fine detail. Ultimately, it's a camera I can only use for half of the day if I care about the quality of my photos. That's a shame, because some features, like the GS5's excellent HDR mode, stand head and shoulders above what's offered by the competition.

Ironically the GS5's main Android competitor, the HTC One M8, is the exact opposite — great in low light, uninspiring in daylight. Both manufacturers seem to be offering only a fraction of a great overall camera experience, but if I'm paying top dollar for a high-end smartphone I expect the whole package. Don't give me one half and pretend the other doesn't matter.

Richard: It's a shame it falls to pieces as the light begins to disappear because when there's plenty about it's one of the best. As a rule of thumb I leave HDR on for everything and focusing is always plenty fast enough to catch shots in a hurry.

De-focus mode is almost as disappointing as taking pictures in low light.

De-focus mode is almost as disappointing as taking anything in low light. In my experience it fails to capture the desired effect more times that it actually succeeds. Thankfully, Google Camera is available for us to use in this situation. Overall the camera has been good, but it's not the complete package at all.

Phil: Something just feels … off about the camera. It's definitely above average when there's plenty of light, but it falls off so quickly as the light fades. Focusing tends to be fast enough for me.

I haven't felt the need to "de-focus" an image yet.

Scanning fingerprints and measuring heart rate

Galaxy S5 Heart Rate Monitor

The Galaxy S5 introduced a few new gimmick-worthy features, including the fingerprint scanner and heart rate sensor. Are you taking advantage of those? Or do you use the GS5 just like any other phone?

Jerry: No, I'm not using them. I'm also not going to have features like a fingerprint scanner, heart rate sensor or face-tracking camera be the deciding factor in any smartphone purchase, because I'm never going to use them. They don't work as well as we want them to, and even if they did, they aren't features that fit into my use-case.

This doesn't mean I think Samsung should have omitted them. They are easy to ignore or turn off, use little to no resources when not in use, and there are people who will find them useful. As long as the software doesn't require these sorts of features as it progresses, I've no problem with them being there.

Andrew: It became painfully apparent to me after about three days of using the Galaxy S5 that the fingerprint scanner just isn't good enough to warrant using it on a daily basis. Whether it's because of the swipe-style scanner, the software implementation of reading the prints or a mixture of the two, the fingerprint scanner on the GS5 really isn't good. It's back to the drawing board on that one.

I tried to use the heart rate monitor at the gym, and it ends up being more hassle than it's worth.

The heart rate monitor on the back of the phone seems to be drastically more consistent and accurate in regular use than the fingerprint scanner on the front, but I don't see much daily use for it personally. Anyone who's intensely interested in health monitoring will likely be going for something more clinically-proven and accurate, while the rest of us who are just casually interested in knowing our heart rate won't be bothered to pick up our phones during a workout, stop moving, and wait for it to register. I tried really hard to use the heart rate monitor at the gym to monitor my body, and it ends up being more of a hassle than it's worth.

Alex: I've never felt the need to measure my heart rate using a smartphone, and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. If you need to keep track of that stuff for medical or fitness reasons, chances are you're already doing so with more specialized equipment.

As for the fingerprint scanner, its position makes it awkward to use one-handed, but it seems to work well enough. For that reason I think its greatest potential is as a stand-in for the multitude of passwords we find ourselves having to enter on our mobile devices, as opposed to lock screen security. That said, it's going to take some more effort on the part of Samsung and its partners to make this a reality.

Richard: Short answer, no. OK, there's a little more to it than that but the heart rate sensor has been used once, just to try it out. From that first use I decided it wasn't nearly accurate enough should I actually want to use it – heart rate of 182bpm while sitting on the couch, anyone? – and honestly, if I was into exercising and wanted to record my heart rate I'd buy a dedicated band.

I do use the fingerprint scanner, though. Not for unlocking the phone because it's just too awkward and I usually don't want to use two hands for that. I use PayPal an awful lot, however, and having my fingerprint as a way to access my account instead of going into mSecure and copying my password every time is so ridiculously convenient. It make me want the same on my laptop, tablets, every other phone I own. It's also been very reliable for me. It's not a secret I dual-wield with an iPhone as my other primary device and Samsung's scanner has been at least as reliable as Apple's Touch ID.

I have absolutely no desire to check my heart rate, let alone with my phone.

Phil: I get why these features are on the Galaxy S5, but I just don't use them at all. I tried the fingerprint scanner for a while but just couldn't get it to be consistent enough. And I have absolutely no desire to check my heart rate, let alone with my phone. That's a niche feature in a very prominent location. It was done with purpose, but that doesn't mean I'd learn to use it.

After two months with the Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

Rounding up the thoughts from five Android Central editors on living with the Galaxy S5 for the past two months, we come away at nearly the same conclusion as we found in our initial review of the Samsung flagship. Samsung outdid itself in a real and noticeable way when it comes to hardware choices, interface design and a narrowing of vision to fewer features and gimmicks on the Galaxy S5. It's no stretch to say that this is the best-feeling and highest-performing Galaxy S device yet, and the sales numbers (and mind share) seem to back that up.

That doesn't mean the GS5 is without flaws, though. As we've seen in the responses here, many of Samsung's decisions with the GS5 are improvements over the last version but in many ways haven't gone far enough to win the hearts and minds of the Android Central editors in every respect. For all the improvements, the Galaxy S5 still makes use of oddly shiny and gaudy plastic, goes overboard with software flair that detracts from the overall experience and failed to execute properly on the two big hardware features — a heart rate monitor and fingerprint scanner — of this release.

It's always a good sign when our generally positive feelings about the Galaxy S5 have lasted over an extended period of use, and we can have several of us come to the same conclusions (more or less) on the quality of the hardware, software, camera and features. The fact that the Galaxy S5 doesn't continue to blow our minds a full two months after launch could be interpreted in several ways, to be fair, but it does show that the GS5 represents just as solid of a value — and can appeal to a broad number of potential buyers — today as it did back in April.


Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy S5, two months on


I love my s5 I think TouchWiz is finally getting much better and I don't the TouchWiz lag like all the people who have never used the phone before I think it is the best
Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5

Plenty of SD cards to choose from, won't resolve the issue that I have a few apps that I have to run for work that can't run off an SD card correctly and those apps and files limit available phone space significantly.
So the need to have a more than 16GB is not an option. Not even issue or problem is solvable with an SD card.

Most places I know throw in a free memory card when you buy one. You can buy a 64gb very cheep on eBay.

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I predict that there will be a rational discussion based on the features and quality of this phone


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And herein we have that rational observation about build, user interface, and feature functionality of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S5 from experts who don't have a fanboy agenda.

Is that your agenda? I never would have guessed. I thought you were just another Samsung hater.

Glad you finally came out that you have an agenda

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Apparently that went right over your /s head.

I was referring to the article about the Samsung S5 to which several Android Central editors contributed their professional point of view after 2 months of experience with the device.

Apparently you, not being in charge here, are having difficulty with their opinions.

Moreover, everone knows you are the one with a multitude of agendas that emanate from your concept of self importance.

Pretty much.

Though, what I can't understand is that while LG and HTC seem to have (mostly, at least for the US) standardized on 32GB of storage for their flagships, Samsung continues on with 16. It was somewhat less of an issue from 4.0 - 4.3, but now with kit-kat changing SD cards and how they work, it has become a larger issue again, IMO.

I mostly agree with what you are saying. The larger issue with SDcards is that programmers have not really done a whole lot to move towards working within the new framework dealing with them.

Besides that, yeah, we should be at the 32-64GB standard range now. None of that 16GB crap.

There not alot of discussion on the qualities of this phone. If you read this review and read between the lines ..... it sorta really sucks ..... Bottom line.

photography is a big thing for me that's why I picked the s5
yeah the m8 does better in low light but I got a pro camera for that.

HTC camera seems to be overall better for the average consumer. I've never seen a group of friends bring a professional camera to the bar.

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Lol there is no "seems"every customer has a different opinion on what they perceive as a better device
Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5

Your statement seems like the counter argument to the HTC M8s camera. Some state that if they need images that are to be cropped, then they would use an SLR/ DSLR.

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i thought the same ... if shooting beautiful landscapes outside you'd want a DSLR or whatever ... inside a bar when you just want the picture to come out of your friend passed out you'd pull your phone out and if that's the case the s5 sucks...

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the point is to not use flash... flash is plenty bright on either phones, two tone or not. at a bar with flash still results in poor quality

I still like the Touchwiz over my Note 3.
Is the port cover issue sorted now?

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One point about the camera. I am a college student who plans on taking pictures in clubs and bars, but let's be honest. Does the quality of low light pictures really matter that much when you're getting hammered? I would much rather have a great camera during the day for photos that you can actually show your parents. It's not like you're going to be framing or printing bar pictures.

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Agree with this 100%. All low light shots suck, some just suck less than others, so who really cares as long as the daytime shots are great.

Actually I have, quite extensively - the M7 and M8 - focusing mainly on the camera in each. They're a step up in low light, but the pictures still suck in general, and focusing is terribly slow in low light as well. The M8 improved over the M7, but the daytime shots are too much of a negative trade off, especially when the S5's low light shots are more than serviceable. In other words, the positives of the S5 outdoors compared to the M7/M8 outweighs the negative of the S5 indoors/low-light compared to the M8. IMHO from a lot of testing, anyway...

Exactly, the m7 or m8 may do better low lights than most cameras and they may be the best low light shots on a phone(don't know if they are as I've not used every single phone) but the low light shots imo are still terrible to be much use.

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i think it's just a case of going with the "better" specs when there was no definitive winner ... daytime shots are fine on the m8 and low light are great ... and considering most shots taken are in low light (which is anything not illuminated by the sun) im content

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My son was born just a few days ago. I can say im super happy with my M7 HTC One right now. In the dim hospital room i was able to take good pictures without shining a bright flash in his eyes. I had to send my pics to everyone because thiers were terrible with flash and washed out. Pixels dont mean squat if the shot does not come out.

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Yeah I didn't mean to imply they were bad by any means, and obviously in that scenario every last bit of low-light help is good to have. And congrats on the new baby boy! Kids are the best.

What, about owning and using the M8 and M7? Unfortunately not... I've owned and used every major smartphone the past 5 years thanks to Swappa and Craigslist. It's an expensive hobby... And the camera is one of the most important features to me, so I've analyzed them to a fault.

The people who care about low light shots more than daytime shots.. It's personal preference I guess. I'm more of a daytime shooter.

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Well I just turned my S5 in for a Nexus 5. Main reason? I get bored easily and I got bored of my S5. It was good when I had it and it addressed all my needs but I just got bored of it and wanted something new...thus Nexus 5 with constant new tweeks and updates. Make no mistake though... I miss my S5 still.

Blasphemy. The Nexus 5 is far superior to the S5 because TouchWiz absolutely ruins the user experience.

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Stupidity. The S5 is far superior to that barebones, no camera, no battery Nexus 5.

The Nexus 5 is the best Nexus, but it is not a fantastic phone.

I I do not talk in stupid exaggerations. I deal with fact.

I leave the stupid up to the professionals (that's you since I know you never understand subtle comments)

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The fact that you get so hot under the collar about defending the Galaxy S5's inferior UI is hilarious. Almost every critic points out how slow, bloated, and exaggerated TouchWiz is on the S5. You are psychologically trying to defend your poor choice in phones by lashing out at other's and resorting to childish name-calling.

Face it, when it comes to modern day flagship smartphones, you should not have a laggy user interface. Geez, even a mid-level spec phone like the Moto X achieved a UI that was not laggy.

Do yourself a favor and flash your S5 over to the Google Play Edition-- then you will have a great phone.

A leak does not equal a reality. The rumors have been going around since April. When it is released that will be great for those that want it.

It still makes it a far inferior phone.

When Android L is finally released we might just have a full featured vanilla phone. Until then we have a boring, featurless hunk of glass and plastic that can make calls

If I wanted an inferior UI/phone I would get a Nexus.

Back in the old days lag actually meant something. Waiting 2-5 second for an app to open up was horrid. no people consider .005 seconds lag. It isn't. It is normal loading and compile time.

Is it bloated yes it is. Not the way you think though. There is a ton of poor coding that is causing TW to take up more space than is needed. Thats it. Features do not equal bloat. I would rather have the stuff built in and never use it than to not have it when needed. The only bloat apps are those from the carrier and the replacement apps for standard Google apps. They should just tailor them to fit the UI and not rewrite them.

The feature set on Samsung phones is unparalleled. The hardware is matched, but not surpassed. The software coding could use some help.

Heck, a lot of the features that are being lauded in Android "L" are found in Touchwiz.

The "name" calling between Jimbo and I are none of your concern. Its history speaking.

BTW, another thing that drags you back is thinking that the X is "Mid-Range". It is engineered differently and your comments show that you are only thinking "MOAR SPECS"

Your arguments are not grounded in any sort of reality. You really are fighting an uphill battle. I could not even argue your point of view with a straight face. Have you ever seen a guy with a girl that was obviously too good for him? The S5's hardware is the girl and Touchwiz is that guy.

I am not the one facing an uphill battle. Only techies prefer the barebones os that the Nexus is. People want features. They want ease of use. They do not want to see their friends do *something* on their on their M8 and wonder why they cannot do it on their Nexus.

Your right you could not argue the points I made for the simple fact that you like what you have. You are the minority and that is ok. Google has finally learned that they cannot continue down that road and are finally starting to add features to AOSP.

Google understands how things work and soon you will be singing the praises of the new features. Features I have been using for years.

Feeble, yet typical attempt to misdirect by changing the subject, Mr Swarmy?

No camera, no battery Ha!

Two separate entries with a 'no camera' Nexus won the photo contest.

Admit it, you are a pompous a-hole and obviously you enjoy being that. >

No misdirect little girl I met you head on and on topic.

The Nexus needed to be adjusted, the s5 didn't. Did you miss that little girl?

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False. The Galaxy S5 needs to be adjusted by throwing out TouchWiz and using more premium materials. Even the G3 rocked plastic better.

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Not really... i have a nexus 5 too but i prefer touchwiz over stock android. No joke. Im going back to galaxy next time around.

My S4 does everything I need it to do every day just fine, smooth and fast, I also use Nova Launcher, not a fan of any of the manufacturers skins.

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I'm planning to buy the S5 in the coming months. But in India we get the exynos versions over the snapdragon. Is exynos better then snapdragon? Please help me decide.

From what I know and from previous testing the Exynos processor series should perform the same but have slightly worse battery life.

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I like this style of review. Just not one persons opinion in a post. Do it more!

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Like you I prefer this style of review as well. It appears to be more balanced. The question and answer format was also very easy to read and follow along.

I think Samsung really did a disservice to its customers by not making blue a universal color option. The grey and white make the S5 look very plain Jane, but the blue really pops - particularly how it catches the light with the dimpling. Not having experience with other smartphones, I have come to prefer the vibrancy of the display and the color choices in the UI despite what others have called oversaturation; I tried changing the display from "Adapt" to "Cinema" to increase the color accuracy, but I did not enjoy it as much. It's surprising that the water resistance was not mentioned at all in this write-up as this is a really important real world feature. The other comments are fair and preference is preference.

These reviewers probably didn't end up in a scenario where the water proofing came in handy. I personally have never been and probably won't be in that situation either, and so it's a non factor for me.

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I want to know two things - can I get through the day and has the signal improved at all or it the same that I had on the GS2 and GS3? The biggest problem I have with Samsung phones is that I can't make a call or access data in places where I can with my moto X. The moto X gets me through a little over 3/4 of the day.

Having had all the phones you mentioned, nothing in the world was worse than the S2 radio. The S5/Moto X are very comparable.

You can certainly get through the day on the S5 battery depending on your usage. I am actually a bit surprised that you cannot with your X

Thanks, I get about 10‰ more time than I got with the gs3. I can't believe people get so much screen on time. I usually struggle to get 3 hours.

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I concur with nearly all the observations in the column, though I don't harbor the same aversion to TouchWiz as the editors (and others, I guess). I'm not a frequent photo taker, so the low light disappointment is acceptable (if not ideal) to me. I think the screen is vivid and bright. I love it.

This my first Samsung. I had 3 generations of HTC prior to this. I have always liked HTC Sense, and the phone features have been great. However, I have had very disappointing experience with HTC hardware reliability, having had to replace mine and my kids' (3 of them) phones a dozen times across 3 generations of HTC.

That's one area I wish Android Central would review....hardware reliability. I realize that that's difficult to review shortly out of the box, and after a period of time, you're on to newer releases. Still, an occasional survey/report on general hardware reliability across manufacturers would be helpful.

I looked forward to my first Samsung (my unscientific impression is that--generally--Samsung should provide a better hardware reliability experience than my previous HTCs), and after 2 months, I still love my S5 and I'm really glad I made the switch (my kids feel the same way).

Agree, the best software experience means nothing if the device is in the repair shop more than it's being used.

That's what finally drove me away from RIM and caused me to move to Android. After going through 3 Bold 9000's in a year's time due to hardware failures, I moved to the Torch 9800. Only to have the same hardware failure issues with that model too.

I decided RIM's QC issues soured the whole experience. I didn't have time to constantly set up replacement phones. I can say that hardware issues with my past Samsung's and current LG G2 have been nonexistent. Still kinda miss that BB physical KB sometimes though.

From the DeathStar using my rooted LG G2

Call me crazy, but I couldn't hold a phone hostage for its camera, though the low light performance of my GS3 sucks, so it's clear Sammy hasn't done anything to improve it. Now that my contract has expired, I'll be on the hunt for something without Touch Wiz, a screen I can view in sunlight and a phone that has great WiFi, data and voice radios.. Maybe the new Moto? Hmmm

The only thing the S5 can't deliver on is the low-light capabilities. If you read the review, the S5's screen is actually as good in daylight as an LCD.

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It's a good phone but like all other phones, the battery life drops significantly once the return period expires...

The panda has spoken

Really? The One Max? That was just a lazy cash cow attempt at a phablet. The fact you put it above the Note 4 (a phone that isn't even out yet) proves that your comment is invalid.
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I am not ready to put it up there at number two yet though. I think that it will be great as well but with everyone still saying that it lags due to the CPU/GPU/Screen combo I am going to reserve judgement until I get my test model at the end of the month.

I think that the Note 4 is going to trump the G3 but we do not know enough about it yet. If it comes with YOUM, it is going to blow everything away.

Nervous laughter.
The S5 will likely receive 'honorable mention' as was the case with the S4 last year.

Of course 'honorable mention' should not matter since corporate profiteering is what really counts.

It is obviously top three in any list of phones released this year. If the G3 is as good as advertised, then that should be #1 and then 2&3 is between the M8 and S5, and that depends on preference and needs.

The year is not over yet and we still have way too many good phones coming from Sony, Moto, Samsung (Note 4), and possibly a few others. I can certainly see it (the s5) being an honorable mention at the end of the year. I would say that I could see it slipping further than that (like not being on the list at all) but Samsung is too popular for that to happen, right or wrong.

The fun part is going to be next year. If the S6 has YOUM, and the M9 ditches the megapixel stuff, it is going to be a heck of a race.

I could care less about the camera in any light. I rarely take pictures, but I can appreciate those who rely on their cell phone camera to take pictures. I'm more focused on data, phone reception/signal, software performance, hardware quality, display and cell phone reliability in general. Speed and seamless/smooth operations are a must. Based on my personal preferences I think the S5 is a superb cell phone. One can argue that the build quality of the S5 is lacking, and to some point I would agree if you're comparing it to the Motorola phones and the HTC 7 and 8. But, after having an S4 developer edition and now an S5 developer edition I can say that the build quality gets the job done and it's getting better. But let's face it, most users slap a case on the phone within 5 minutes of purchase so who cares or what difference does it make. I have to say that the S5 is smooth, fast, reliable and the display is superb.

No, I have to disagree. That may be your opinion and you have every right to have an opinion. But, from my experience with the M8 (and several other HTC phones) the S5 best meets my expectations. The M8 is a great phone no doubt, but I do not like Sense, the way it looks, the way it functions or the way it is laid out. And I still could care less about the camera LOL.

It's not completely unrealistic at all the camera is super no denying it yeah a few things could be better but sorry it's smashes the M8 funny how people hate on things you prob dint even have an s5 just a Samsung hater.

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The camera in this phone is terrible, mostly due to that 'fast focus' which just isn't worth a Damn. It focuses fast enough, but nowhere near where you wanted it too..
I now have a collection of my girlfriends photos, with only her on the image and still out of freaking focus.
Tried to take a photo of a cute little bird I seen today, stood steady, full daylight, took focus, bam! Bird looks as if someone let him through the Gauss filter...

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And yet still better than the M8 in daylight so that says a lot about HTC's attempt at a mobile camera.

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But still worse than my old 2 year old Lumia820... which might not have so many mpixels, but much better soft and manual thingies, like manual focus, manual shutter etc.
If anyone wants to make a proper camera they should first look into what Nokia has done already, imitate and improve.

Anyway gonna add to my yesterdays post:
Besides camera and a lot of bloatware (my 'naked' galaxy s5 uses 1.3gb of ram, for comparision 'naked' nexus5 uses around 500ishmb) the phone is pretty solid.
1. Water resistance - can never go wrong with this, you never know when you or the phone gets sudden bath, and the resistance on the think makes sure that at least phone should get out of it in one piece
2. Battery life - its quite a monster, obviously when im using it actively it drains quite fast, still not as fast as my nexus7, but it shines when used mediocrely - it can live up to 2 days, low use? - 3 days, regular use - solid day + night and then charges up in around 1-1.5hours to 100% (using original charger plugged to wall socket).

Which is not true? Water resistance? Just look up any youtube movie on that, lots of them.
Battery life? -
RAM usage? true as hell, I don't have nexus5 anywhere near, but here - ram usage on s5 (with listed aps + airdroid running) -
Lumia photographic superiority? Used lumia820 for 2 years before switching phones, never had so many bad focuses as I have now, hell, here's a photo from yesterday, it's a small bird, in the broad daylight, aimed, waited for damn green circle (took it two tries), took the photo, was too sunny to examine it well and I hoped i managed to get it focused. Tell me, whats in focus there? Because I sure as hell cant find anything!
And in case you ask - my lenses are as clean as an Elven arse.

And some random Lumia820 for comparision great/poor light ocndition, might have done some cropping but not edited otherwise:

S5 CAN get amazing photos, both focus and quality, but's with its current software its more like a random chance, not something granted.

And ye, in the future if you say something is Not true, be at least so kind to tell me what exactly is not true, would save me the effort of proving everyhting I wrote is, in a matter of fact, true.

Not using the picture stabilization as its just a faulty software solution that slows taking photos, is useless in daylight and camera's too crappy to even consider using it at night.

What my settings are:
AutoMode (is there any other 'normal' mode even available here?)
Flash OFF (turning it on rarely as I hate that ugly feel it adds to photos)
HDR: toggling on/off depending on needs
Face Decetion: Off - it did terrible job at it anyway, so many blured face shots..
Selective focus - OFF, it adds horrendous blur effect, no idea why people find it so cool, when it looks so unnatural and wierd..
Nothing else that could affect the focusing and sharpness of photos in the options.

Some final thought - what Samsung SHOULD do to fix the damn phone is:
1. Get proper auto focusing
2. GOD DAMN MANUAL FOCUS, im going to repeat myself again, 2years old Lumia820 has it.
3. Manual shutter speed, exactly the same as above.

I knew I was going to use a case; so, all metal or not was not the top concern. After the excitement and the novelty of having a shiny new device wore off, I have an all-around great phone - great screen (which is the most important thing), fast performance, good enough camera, and the recent rooting is the icing on the cake. I have a beast of a machine that can do anything that I throw at it.

I did not expect the camera to be better than a purpose-built point-and-shoot camera, contrary to what others were hoping for; maybe that's why I can say "good enough" and be happy about it. I do find that the width is at the borderline of one-hand operation - I held S4 recently, and I liked the feeling in my hand better.

Great article.
I bought my S5 on the 11th of April and I was so impressed been a long Samsung fan and the S5 was probably the nicest thing they done. Obviously everyone has there own preferences and there was a few thing I did dislike.
The camera was great except taking the pics in low light is just awful but hey u can live with that.
New touchwiz is very nice
All round great device roll on the note 4.
Great app lads keep up the solid work

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Sammy needs to nail down the camera. Get the night shots to be amazing, and they will have an almost perfect device (up for interpretation). I just hope the ultra power saving mode comes to the S4 (or is that only a feature of the snapdragon in the S5?

.... Interesting.
Why is it that when people talk about low light performance, flash is never mentioned? Are hardcore android users/reviewers taking pictures with flash off? It's so weird to me.

And to the ac team:
How did the S5's download booster work for you?
How about getting the phone wet and using it then?
How about the battery life, power saver and ultra power saving mode?
Different profiles n privacy mode..
I'm thinking those things were left out of the 'after 2 months' article because either..They were never done.. Or you all forgot about em..In which case... You guys still have some S5ing to do.
Anyway, thanks for the post Andrew, I really like the 'after 2 months' idea.

Posted from my caseless GS5, because I believe in myself

I think it depends on the circumstances. If I'm shooting in low light and don't want to blow out the background, then I won't use the flash. However, I'm not seeing how using the flash would help in the S5's case compared to its competitors. Most of the competition has moved to incorporating dual-tone flash lighting, while the S5 does not.

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When discussing a touch screen phone, how the topic of the display fails to come up is beyond me. What I would really like to know is how the phone does in bright sunlight? MY LGOG is not great in bright light. I am think about getting the G2 or G3, but I'm wondering how LG has improved daylight viewing.

Aye, I'm walking in a sunlight a lot recently, with brightness all the way up it's quite viewable, tho I did seen better in other devices :)

I live in Australia, the land of perpetual sun. I can see the screen in sunlight with sunglasses on. Couldn't do that with other galaxy s models. Had to take sunnies off and shade the screen with my hand on other models.

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HTC One M8 for the win! I get hives just thinking about how terrible TouchWiz is.

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The S5 is awesome. Great battery, great camera, water resistance and best display on a phone.

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Actually it was rated the best. And while the G3 wasn't a part of that rating test, multiple reviews have shown how the G3 doesn't get near as bright as the S5, doesn't have the viewing angles of the S5, and is simply less accurate because it tends to be too washed out.

I got only because my Galaxy Nexus was on its last legs, & it was either the GS5, the M8, or the GNote 3. The GNote 3 had an older CPU & OS at the time, and the M8 just felt heavy and has a really ugly chin. However since then I've grown to love the device. TouchWiz is actually better than stock Android in terms of features and ease of use. You can also get around the lag issue (if you notice it) by rooting and removing Knox. Oh, and USB 3.0 support for fast data transfers + an IP67 rating (which none of the other 2 phones have) too.

Has an ugly chin? Uoubwerent looking at an M8 then. It doesn't have a chin. Also saying it's heavy is bollocks .

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Once again, highly publicized facts... The M8 has a huge bottom bezel and is one of the heaviest phones on the market. I don't care about the bezel as those speakers are well worth it. I also like the feel of something solid in my hands (insert joke here). But it's definitely a heavy phone with a big chin.

I was looking at an M8. The upper and lower bezels are huge. As a matter of fact, the M8 has the smallest screen relative to its size of any of those phones.

The S5 is a great smartphone and I believe anyone who has one is very satisfied with it.

The issues like the finger scanner and heart rate monitor not working consistently doesn't bother me, since I don't use them, but the low-light performance of the camera is shaking me. Granted, I haven't tested the S5's camera in low-light yet, so I'll reserve judgement until I test it.

Top 5 current phones in my list are;
1) HTC One M8
2) LG G3
3) Samsung Galaxy S5
4) Sony Xperia Z2
5) OnePlus One (Undetermined)

The Z2 is a great phone, but alas, it isn't available locally in the US, though I did test it internationally and it's just awesome. Sony's best phone yet if you can handle the pretty large vertical bezels.

The OnePlus One has potential, but the numerous delays and bad business practices has killed the hype. It's still a good phone at an unbeatable price, though.

I've had my S5 for over a month and I'll put in my 2 cents.
Look and feel is fine. I'm careful with my phone and don't use a case. The feel of the soft touch back is good, the shiny surround looks cheap. The screen is great. My phone is not a fashion statement so looks don't matter much to me.
Its waterproof! That's the good news. The little door covering the charging port is a pain. Luckily, I have a Qi charger left over from a Lumia 920. I bought the charging back as soon as they came out. Battery life is great, I get easily a couple of days with moderate use. Every other night I put the phone on the charger on my nightstand and I never have to think about wires or charge state.
Heart rate monitor-finger print scanner? Mine work but I don't use them. Air gestures and motion? Sucks battery and they don't do all that much.
Touch wiz - too much bloatware but easily navigated and not at all difficult to use.
Camera works fine during the day. In the dark, use the flash. If I need the picture to be really good, I'll use my dslr. Hey, its a camera in a cell phone. C'mon.
Performance, no lag, everything runs really well. I bought a replacement battery for $8, genuine Samsung. Call quality is very good. ATT drops to many calls but that's not on Samsung.

Who shouldn't buy this phone? If you value the fashionable choice buy the HTC. If you are an iSheep, well, you know what to buy. If you want SD card, replaceable battery, beautiful screen, speedy performance, easy navigation, very good build quality, you can't do better than the Galaxy S5.

Agreed. There are other phones who take 128GB SD cards (M8), come with more internal memory standard (M8 at 32GB), a sharper screen (M8), faster performance based on a plethora of reviews (M8), easier navigation (M8), better build quality (M8). Really, the only issue is the camera on the S5 is pretty good versus competition, but if you want great phone pictures in all sorts of lighting, the iPhone 5S beats it hands-down.

You can do better than the S5. If you are a stickler for photos, then the iPhone 5S is a better choice.

Samsung phones are great but they do have far too much bloatware, but fortunately they introduced the option of disabling things that use up power or just sit idly doing nothing, that's a good point, as for touchwiz I don't use it i use nova launcher prime, far more options and a much better interface.

Not in my experience, and yes Samsung bloat is a problem. I disabled most of it, especially mymagazine and s voice. It is so much faster now. And when I get low on juice I just turn on power saving mode or ultra power saving mode and I get hours out of it. I'm talking 5 hours 50 mins of screen on time before enabling any power saving mode. BTW, I am not rooted. I am running 4.4.2 that came with the phone. I love the s5, IMO it's the best all around phone, especially for my uses.

I don't know why so many people talking about the plastic built of this phone, sometimes it's really hard to please some people. HTC m8 is build in metal or aluminium but they always got something to says in this one is the camera that is no good. Don't judge a book by its cover samsung galaxy s5 is a superstar!!!

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Why does every Samsung review read like this:

"Hardware design: well, not that great really, too much plastic. Software design: meh, not that great, too much useless eye candy, too much bloatware. Gimmick feature #1: doesn't work too well, I would never want it. Gimmick feature #2: not great, I never use it. Camera: meh, performs okay in this situation but really bad in that situation."

"Conclusion: this is a great phone! Samsung has advanced in every way, as the sales numbers prove! Some minor flaws, but this is the best yet! We recommend it!"

Just upgraded to s5 from an s4. I debated long and hard and the m8 almost swayed me but I opted for piece of mind with the water resistance. Also the better camera and screen was important. I'm outdoors (skiing etc) a lot so I'm not too worried about low light shots. Regarding metal vs plastic I could care less since the first thing I did was slap an otter box commuter on it. HTC made the right decision to add micro sd but it wasn't enough to sway me. The boom sound is nice but let's face it I'm not listening to music using my phones speakers. Ultimately every one has their preferences, mine is to be able to whip out my phone in the elements without being paranoid.
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The S5 is my first Samsung phone after owning several Moto devices. I tried the M8 but the camera wasn't up to the task of capturing the details of work I do for documentation purposes, and since I don't listen to music, the boomsound speakers are just a waste of space. And since every phone I own goes into an Otterbox I couldn't care less about the look or feel of it. And while I can't say that I like TouchWiz, it hasn't annoyed me enough to replace it. And the removable battery is a must have feature for me. I wish the G3 and the Moto X2 had been ready, but 2 months in and I'm still very happy with the S5, it handles everything I throw at it with ease.

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Thanks I feel the same way about my s4...otterbox and all... Kit Kat upgrade pissed me off a bit since they removed the mobile data quick toggle, multi window could support a few more apps but otherwise this phone and it's replaceable battery are priceless features that make Samsung a great choice

A couple days ago, I put my galaxy s5 underwater and it worked great. But after when I call people I can hear them, but they can't hear me, and not the only way I can call people is on speaker. Can someone please help me

The biggest problem i have with the Galaxy S5 is the colour scheme of the new touchwiz that blue green colour they gone for is terrible & folder's are not much better neither i actually prefer the old looking touchwiz from the S4 & Note 3, I've installed Nova Launcher so i can change the size of the icons down to 90% and a grid of 5x5 which looks miles better than stock touchwiz layout, but still i really hate that colour they used this time around, Samsung need to add a option in future updates to change this to black.

Sticking with my s4 until I can see the note 4 or the fancy s5... I just don't see the justification to upgrade for a slightly more refined and faster phone, especially at today's prices... Funny that no one makes mention of the s5 screen which without a doubt is one of the best in the business if not the best. Everyone complains about the camera and it doesn't seem like Alex's opinions have merit since he states he hasn't touched his s5 for 2 months and only used it for 2 weeks, otherwise a good article. So based on current phones if I had to pick a replacement today I'd be leaning toward a LG G3 with its OIS and laser camera and that awesome near bezel free display it also looks alot nicer despite the back button... I think it's time to wait a bit longer for phones that come with Android L and 64 bit

I was going to trade my current Sony experia z1 in for this.. But held back after reading this.

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I can deal with the clunky, albeit getting better TouchWiz (although it would have been nice if there was some rhyme or reason to the color scheme!). I can deal with the fact that it's mostly plastic and not metal. I cannot deal with the fact that Samsung didn't included wireless charging (when the phone is already capable!), or the fact that they still can't supply a back that has the capability for it *2* months after release! So I've gone with an aftermarket wireless charger which heats the phone up to uncomfortable levels, and that introduces yet another issue. When the phone gets hot, it tends to slow down considerably. Forget taking a picture - it will take about a minute to process a single photo. Samsung should have gotten this right on their flagship model from the start. Otherwise I love the phone...

I think that the s5 is potent enough to compete head to head with the iphone 5s, and when coupled with the gear 2 smart watch it blows the iphone out of the water. Please do a review of the advantages of using both the s5 and de gear 2.
Good Job Samsung. Note: i am also an iphone 5s user