Samsung Galaxy S5

Reuters is reporting that Samsung's head of mobile design, Chang Dong-hoon, has resigned following criticism over the design of the Galaxy S5. The phone's textured plastic back, though an improvement on earlier Samsung designs, failed to impress some critics. Lee Min-hyouk, vice president for mobile design, will take over the role; Reuters reports that Chang will continue to head up the company's design center, which oversees its broader design strategy.

Update: Samsung has confirmed that Chang Dong-hoon has not resigned, but moved to a new role within the company. His new position tasks the executive with heading up the Design Strategy Team. Statement after break.

As in previous years, Samsung's 2014 flagship has been unfavorably compared to high-end competitors, with the phone's plastic chassis being one of the main points of contention. Here's how we broke things down in our Galaxy S5 review

In a world of HTC Ones and Xperia Z2s, the Galaxy S5 isn't the most visually awes-inspiring handset, nor does it break any new ground when it comes to materials or build quality. The GS5 looks like a plastic Samsung smartphone. It doesn't appear particularly exciting, but it is familiar, comfortable and ergonomic. [...]

But place the GS5 next to HTC or Sony's latest and Samsung's hardware doesn't exactly shine. Despite fixing the glaring quality issues with the GS4's back panel, the manufacturer doesn't seem to have challenged itself too much in the industrial design department. It does what it does well, sure. But if you're looking for sex appeal, you'll find it elsewhere.

While such a high-level departure could foretell significant design changes for the world's biggest phone maker, it's worth noting the sheer size of Samsung and its mobile product lineup. This means it could be some time before we see any new products directly influenced by the new design leadership.

Here is Samsung's statement on the position change for Dong-hoon:

"Vice President Min-hyouk Lee has recently been promoted to Head of Design Team within the Mobile Communications Business of Samsung Electronics. The realignment enables Executive Vice President Dong-hoon Chang to focus more on his role as Head of Design Strategy Team, the company's corporate design center which is responsible for long-term design strategy across all of Samsung Electronics' businesses, including Mobile Communications."

Source: Reuters


Reader comments

Samsung replaces head of mobile design (updated)


Not really. It was just the overall looks and feel + quality of the casing - poor and cheap as it gets. Didn't come close to any flagship that year. Same w S4. GN i had right before was much better even that it was preceding it. s2 too. Now that Android improved with battery life and big OEMs offering external storage or increasing internal, they have to step up the game much more especially in design area.
Not to mention consistent failures to make those abundant features actually work must of the time. Basic too.
VZW Moto X

i disagree, i had to exchange my One X for an S III because of the display rising from the body. i had tried 3 of S III still stands strong today without a case on.

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Yeah, I have the Note 3 now but I still love my S3. Beautiful as far as I was concerned. Still running as an MP3 player and JackPad.
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Oh well I guess I had a bad luck w mine then.
After few months I found the frame broken- cracked across , right in the middle of the phone out of nowhere - later I figured it was after two hours of sitting in the cupholder (probably due to r vibrations).
Backlights behind the capacitive buttons were protruding around them so you can see the whole circle around those lines.
In terms of the interior hardware design - it was overheating a lot just during calls and regular use. So something was not placed right.

VZW Moto X

Whilst the S5 has improved in terms of replacing the back cover. I find that even now it only gets the ok status and not that wow like you get with the Z2 or HTC one M8.

Many pro's for retaining the plastic build such as if the back gets scratched you can easily replace it. Also it helps to retain the removable battery, although the HTC One Max has that removable back plate and that is metal I believe.

Material choices need to be looked at by Samsung and to take that positive step forward as the name Samsung will only go so far, especially with the likes of one+ and oppo now producing fine products (yes I know they are plastic) but in terms of appearance they look better.

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I'm not looking for sex appeal design, I just need something that have good build quality and doesn't look nasty with its glossy plastic. This is over due.
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Your avatar says it all....and who the hell looks for sex appeal in a phone? Lol...

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That's Jackie Chan
This message was brought to you by the numbers 0 and 1

My S3 looks like a hunk of plastic and I hate TW, but I have dropped my S3 over 20 times, where the back and battery fly off, and the phone works like new every time, not even a scratch.

Say what you will about looks, but the S3 is durable as hell

I can understand the cons and pros of this argument, Me I own a S5 and I have a cover and a screen protector on it so to me its kinda irrelevant as it hidden underneath my cover plus plastic keeps the phone lighter.

The massive bonus is the removable battery for me personally! which isnt available on the HTC M8 or Iphone 5s which are supposidly the best built handsets.

If Samsung can make a more premuim build phone and keep the removable battery option am all for it but I dont want to lose the option to change battery.

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It's doable. I have a feeling the LG G3 will feel premium, and it's already been shown to have a removable back.

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That seems to be a weak reason to turf someone out of a position. Are sales slumping?
I was hoping to see a line of premium backs for the s5, since they already stepped out of their comfort zone of slippery, shiny, fingerprint magnets.
Maybe the next guy will get rid of that awful button, put them on screen, and make them configurable.

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This must be why they can't sell any Galaxy S5's. -----cough, cough ----- It's obvious from their sales numbers nobody wants that plastic back.

Um, they're selling like hot cakes when it was launched...

But, Samsung hasn't released sales figures yet, so I can't speculate much.

If he hadn't added the "-----cough, cough -----" I could see it going over peoples' heads, but come on... it's completely obvious that it's sarcasm.

Possibly then again possibly not its not worth the upgrade from an S4 to an s5 who the he'll wants and has 500 for a new phone every year??

Everyone complained about the pleather design on the Note line also, this world's full of complainers and every critic seems to focus on the cons rather than the pro's. I personally throw a cover on every phone I have for protection but the design of the grippy S5 seemed logical to me.

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To be fair, the pleather back feels really nice and doesn't look too bad, but the fake stitching was a little over the top and not very attractive.

This must mean that they expect to sell only 19 million instead of 20 million.

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I think it will sell closer to 50 million, but then again I don't chose a phone based on what is the most popular either.

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I really agree to this that the design of the galaxy s5 is so bad. Its like the design of the galaxy s2. I hope they will make a bezelfree phone and not get that removable back. I would be really happy if they make one.And im sure it will really look so good and premium if they make this:D

bezels are somewhat required. Those on the Note 3 are about as small as they should get for me. I find I'm activating edge features like the notification bar. Any smaller and the phone would be unusable. Thankfully there are no software buttons and equal bezel on the bottom or it would be useless now.

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Plastic cover? I don't care, I use a case.
My phone isn't a fashion accessory, my phone is a tool I need and use everyday. If I want a phone to look cool, I will buy a toy like an iPhone.

The main advantage of the Samsung design: Removable battery.

My two friends whom " I lost to iOS " :), moving from Sammy would rightly say the opposite - if you want the smartphone that works and lasts buy an iPhone. They totally didn't dig the looks of it especially, yet very happy with it.
It's all individual preference and experience.
Still, we can assume that an average consumer is looking for reliability,usability and appearance. I guess Samsung has been focusing only on the second one.
VZW Moto X

I dont have an issue with the materials Samsung use. Its plastic, so what, so are 99% of electronic goods these days. Its shiny? Who cares? Seems to be a western thing for a distaste in shiny. Seem ironic given that American cars are made of the most wretchedly awful cheap plastic in the history of plastics...

The issue I have is with the actual design itself. Be it plastic, metal, or anything else, the S5 is unattractive. The back is really unappealing and the front design is now old.

I think the front would have been fine if they would have stayed with the small bezels like the s4 but instead added bigger bezels making it too wide.

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Getting rid of that damn faux metal band and home button would be a good place to start

Posted from HTC One M8 via Android Central App

It really shouldn't be difficult for Samsung. Make the edge rim similar to the black Nexus 5 with a hard, but slightly rubberized polycarbonate. This gives the phone a solid and sturdy feel, while also giving a phone a great grip.

Keep the front materials as gorilla glass or Sapphire. As for the back, keep the removable cover, but simply offer different material choices. Metal, rubberized, or pleather without the tacky designs.

Separate the extra "Touchwiz" apps and integrate them into the Play and Samsung stores. Those who want them can get them easy via either method. They have already done this with the photo editor on the Note 2.

i think that the durability of my S III, the update from 4.0-4.1-4.1.1-4.3-4.4 and the display have stopped the need for me to upgrade as of today. why upgrade when my phone has the same OS as their 2014 flagship?

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I think it's time for Samsung to offer some fresh design ideas, so I can't say I'm sad to see Chang go. Hopefully his replacement isn't as fond of faux-leather. I'd like to upgrade to a Chromebook 2, but it's covered in pleather, as well.

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On one hand - I find the capabilities of a body are more important than the make. It being plastic:
1. I can move my battery, SIM, SD without needing a removal tool
2. Change backs if one gets dinged up or just to change it for change sake..

On the other hand - I LOVE the feel of premium. The Nexus 4 (fav) Htc's M series, Sony's Z series, hell just about every other phone out there feels nicer.
One thing I HATE about the S series...the creaks the plastic makes if you press sternly or twist lightly. Downright pisses me off.

Just hoping this new head of design can find a happy medium between the two aspects.

Posted from my caseless GS5. Because I believe in myself.

Good hopefully in the future we won't see a Galaxy device that is not made out of ugly chrome and cheap molded plastic.

I think the sad joke is that the plastic back is what samsung would shift management around for.
Personally I couldn't care less about a smartphone's materials, the m8 to me is just unnecessarily heavy, I'd prefer plastic as I'm just going to put a case on it.
However they don't find the still laggy Touchwiz software or for me the bootloader locks to be a problem. They may not be everyone's concern, but that's why I don't buy samsung phones anymore.
All I want is a nice unlocked phone with an unlockable bootloader that's light.
Build quality to me is simple stuff like the phone is sturdy, and reliable.
Low failure rates over useless flash.

I was far from impressed by the S5, the design was tacky and far from what I expect from a flagship.
Who amongst you was clamoring for a "glam" phone design? That one really missed the mark. GLAM? Really? People who like 'glam' will just buy a chintzy phone case on their phone, don't try to force that look on people who want to buy a Samsung flagship!
And the team that decided that a heartrate sensor was needed deserve a slap in the face too!
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Now time to replace that useless guy that leads your software efforts. I have no problem with Samsung hardware when compared to touchwiz.

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Great. Thanks to tech bloggers who want everything to look like it came out of the Sharper Image catalog, the rest of us are going to have to schlep around bulky metal phones with too much bezel and too much bling.

My 7 year old uses my old S3 on wifi. My 10 year old has my wife's old S3 on my plan. Both phones have held up to a lot of abuse and perform flawlessly. My wife now has the Note 3 which took some getting use to with the faux leather back. I am now using the S5 jumped through T-Mobile from the S4. I couldn't be happier with the new back on the S5. Feels amazing in your hand, soft to the touch and has good grip.
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There are a lot of haters that have never used or plan to use a GS5 on here. They bash the S5 because it's not metal and doesnt have a picture of a partially eaten peice of fruit on it's back. Try and replace the back on your iPhone yourself and see how that works out for you. oh wait you can't. I can simply buy a new back for the S5 and it's as good as new. I think you should take your phone for a swim in the ocean and see what the salt water does to that pretty metal. Oh wait you can't do that either your phone can't get wet. Don't be I-sheep all your life, there a lot of good phones out there.
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I agree with you, except... The GS5 will also be ruined in Salt water. Read about it. And it's not just the GS5, Z2 as well

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Saying that it can survive in salt water is stretching it.

Most devices, whether it's water-resistant or not, absolutely hate saltwater.

Hence, why IP certifications use fresh-water, and why it's rated for freshwater.

Saying that it can survive in salt water is stretching it.

Most devices, whether it's water-resistant or not, absolutely hate saltwater.

Hence, why IP certifications use fresh-water, and why it's rated for freshwater.

I hope they still come out the plastic version of whatever is next. I really don't want a metal phone

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As long as my phone has an amazing screen with a removable battery, I don't care what the back looks like. I'm a casefanatic and I switch up the case almost every day...

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I personally think the leather faux backs of the s5 and note 3 are different and nice. Guess I'm in the minority since they aren't selling at all. Wait. .......
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