Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Samsung Galaxy S5 review V3 

The Galaxy S5's top-end components and portfolio of security services make it one of the most enterprise-friendly Android smartphones ever made. However, needless customisations from Samsung will undoubtedly hamper its ability to upgrade to newer Android versions, a factor that could limit its long-term appeal.
Great performance, crystal-clear display, good camera, decent portfolio of security services
Touchwiz, average battery life
Overall Rating:
4 Star Rating: Recommended
Price: £580
Manufacturer: Samsung
Processor: Quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Display: 5.1in, 1920x1080, 432ppi, Super Amoled touchscreen
Storage: 16GB and 32GB upgradable via micro SD, 2GB RAM
Camera: 16MP UltraPixel rear, 2MP front
Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G LTE
Operating system: Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Touchwiz
Dimensions: 142x73x8.1mm
Weight: 145g


Samsung aimed to take the enterprise by storm with its 2013 flagship smartphone the Galaxy S4, claiming its Knox security software and added productivity features made it the most enterprise-friendly Android handset available. Conversely, coming loaded with a sea of unwanted applications and a slightly flimsy-feeling design, the Galaxy S4 fell short of achieving V3's hallowed five-star rating.

One year on, Samsung has returned to the field with a new ruggedised Galaxy S5 smartphone, shown in our video demo below, which it hopes will address these concerns.

Design and build

The Galaxy S5 follows the same design philosophy as previous Samsung smartphones. It has a slightly curved "pebble" design with metallic sides, a detachable polycarbonate back and Gorilla Glass front, complete with a dedicated physical home button.

It is only when you get close to the smartphone that you notice that Samsung has made a number of subtle design tweaks that differentiate the Galaxy S5 from previous Galaxy models.

The most noticeable difference is the backplate's slightly perforated texture. While this sounds like a minor thing, we found it made the Galaxy S5 far more comfortable to hold than previous Galaxy smartphones, which featured smooth and slightly slippery feeling polycarbonate backplates. The comfort factor was also helped by the Galaxy S5's 142x73x8.1mm size and 145g weight. Samsung Galaxy S5 review back
We also found the perforated backplate felt significantly more robust than those on past Galaxy handsets. Pressing down on the S5's case, it offered next to no give and in general felt significantly more scratch and drop-resistant than previous Samsung flagships.

The backplate's ruggedised feel is likely the result of Samsung's work to ensure the Galaxy S5 is IP67 certified. The IP67 certification means, like Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact and Xperia Z2, that the Galaxy S5 is dust and water resistant. Specifically, it means the Galaxy S5 should be able to survive submersion at depths of one metre for 30 minutes. Testing Samsung's claim by dunking the Galaxy S5 in a kitchen sink full of water, we can confirm the handset is indeed water resistant and it survived the experience unscathed.

A consequence of the certification is that the Galaxy S5's micro USB 3.0 and USB On-The-Go ports are protected by covers that match the case design. This means some users may feel the Galaxy S5 looks a little chunky compared to its predecessor, though we approve of the more industrial, rugged design.

More subtle additions to the Galaxy S5's design include a new custom fingerprint scanner integrated into the physical home button, and a biometric heart monitor, which sits underneath the phone's rear camera. More on these later.


We've always found Samsung's smartphone screens have been a key selling point, and this remains true with the Galaxy S5. Samsung has fitted the Galaxy S5 with a 5.1in 1920x1080, 432ppi Super Amoled display.
Super Amoled is a custom version of the traditional Amoled screen technology. Basic Amoled technology is designed to let screens display deeper and richer blacks by electrically charging each individual pixel to generate colours, meaning it can create blacks simply by turning off the relevant pixels.

The downside of the technology is it has traditionally required manufacturers to place the capacitive layer – the component that senses touch – on top of the main display, a practice that increases the size of the screen and reduces the handset's battery life. Super Amoled fixes this by integrating the capacitive touchscreen layer directly into the display, reducing its thickness and making it more power efficient.

The technology remains as great as ever on the S5, and colours on the screen were rich and vibrant. We also found the S5's brightness levels and viewing angles were excellent and its high ppi count meant text and icons always looked crisp and sharp.

Operating system and software

The Galaxy S5 comes as standard with Google's latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system overlaid with the latest version of Samsung's Touchwiz skin. In the past we have not been a fan of Samsung's Touchwiz skin, as it has made a number of superfluous changes to Android's main user interface (UI) and installed a multitude of needless applications and widgets.

But while we have to applaud Samsung for its work on reducing the amount of bloatware on the Galaxy S5, we still found the UI changes jarring and a number of needless apps have survived the culling – including its custom app store
.Samsung Galaxy S5 review settings
Samsung has chosen to completely rework KitKat's settings menu, replacing the standard UI with a set of shortcut icons for specific options, such as Bluetooth, software updates, network and storage. While the interface is not terrible and is fairly intuitive, the change feels superfluous as Android's native menu is equally user friendly.

The changes would be forgivable were it not for the fact they will impact the Galaxy S5's ability to receive future Android software updates. This is because the custom code Samsung has added via Touchwiz will need to be tested and optimised to work with future Android versions from Google, a practice that usually takes several months. But we did find a number of the custom services and features added by Samsung were useful.

One nice addition we noticed was Samsung's new S Health 3.0 feature. S Health uses information stored on the Galaxy S5, combined with biometric data collected by its custom pedometer and built-in heart rate monitor, to offer users fitness advice and help create more effective exercise regimes. We were impressed by how responsive and useful it was and can definitely see it appealing to any executive keen to keep fit.

The Galaxy S5's S Voice is also a nice addition. The service is designed to offer similar functionality to Google's built-in voice command services and lets you mount web searches, enter items into the calendar or set alarms by talking to the phone. Its speech-recognition powers are superior to Android's standard service, which, despite much work from Google, is still fairly bad at understanding anyone with a non-American accent.

The Galaxy S5 also features the same multi-window support as previous Samsung handsets. The feature lets you have two apps open and on the screen at any one time. This is activated simply by pressing and holding down the S5's back button to bring up the shortcut tab and dragging the second app you want to display onto the screen. The feature is a particularly nice touch that we found drmatically improved the Galaxy S5's productivity appeal, letting us browse the internet on Chrome while chatting to colleagues on Google Hangouts, for example.

Next: Security and performance
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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

I really like to read reviews and see what's new about technology, on D-BLOG I share with you articles/reviews that I find interesting. I also write some reviews in romanian...

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1 comentarii:

  1. what an great, and professional first impression of the S5.I think the S5 is a great device, and will do well as a flagship.Galaxy s5 update