Welcome to my latest product review, I know i’ve been neglecting my posts lately as i’ve been very busy but i’m back now and hope to get at least one done a day! This phone will also be the new camera for all of my peripheral reviews with it’s glorious 16MP camera. But enough of that, lets get into the Samsung Galaxy S5 phone review!
Now you’ve probably heard of the latest Samsung flagship phone, the S5, which has a surprisingly similar name to the new iPhone, the 5S, which I would only put down to apple trying to steal some of the light of Samsung’s latest and quit franky, fabulous achievement. However i’m not here to compare the two phones, only the facts, features and shortcomings of this new phone.
Network: LTE Cat 4 (150/50Mbps)
AP: LTE: 2.5Ghz Quad core application processor
Display: 5.1″ FHD Super AMOLED (1080p) 432ppi
OS: Android 4.4.1 Kitkat
HDD: 16 or 32 GB
Micro SD: Up to 128gb
Connectivity: WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication, IrLED, USB 3.0
Camera: Rear – 16MP, Front – 2MP
Sensor: Accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Hall, RGB ambient light, Gesture, Fingerprint, Heart Rate Monitor
Extra Features: Water Resistant, Emergency Mode, Ultra Power Saving, Private Mode, Kids Mode
Firstly appearance, there’s very little change between the S4 and S5 in terms of size or shape, they are sticking to what they know which isn’t a bad thing considering it looks very well made, polished and designed. It still has the pebble shape and curved corners that the previous generations had although they have been sharpened for a slightly squarer look. There’s a nice metal band going around the outside of the phone where the volume and power buttons are located, the volume being on the left and the power on the right side. There is a new feature on the bottom where the USB cable plugs in which is a small flap which covers the port protecting it from water damage, yes this phone is water resistant but i’ll get to that later.
The USB port is quite weird to say the least… They have almost doubled the size of the previous ports and made it quite awkward to plug the cables in, not only because of the new flap on the bottom but because there’s two ‘sides’ to the new port it’s a real pain plugging it in, especially in the dark. However this port provides USB 3.0 transfer speeds on the computer if you have a compatible cable and a USB port spare on your pc. I did have another problem with the port and that was plugging in the actual USB 3.0 cable, it simply didn’t want to go in as much as I pushed and wiggled it. I figured it was the cable being made wrong however after about an hour I managed to get it in, but it was very tight and over multiple insertions and disconnects it became a lot easier to put it in again, I thought it was mentionable in the review because it was terribly annoying.
A few of the features I love on Samsung’s phones (and now can’t live without) is the removable battery, micro SD expansion slot (which now supports up to 128GB!) and the friendly android interface. The phone may look somewhat ‘plasticy’ from certain angles but this thing is made to survive drops onto carpet, wood and sometimes concrete. The back cover and battery are designed to come out (I think) when the phone hits a solid object to prevent any additional damage and to absorb the blow with minimal damage taken. The screen is also very resilient and seems to be much less breakable then it’s iphone counterparts, especially with an additional case or screen protector on the phone.
The S5 still has the usual RGB color LED alerts in the top left corner of the phone which I love, especially being able to customize it be any color for a certain application – Blue for Emails, Green for Social Media and I just left Red to mean it needs charging. The Samsung logo is prominently displayed on the top of the phone in a metallic/chrome finish which looks very nice. The best feature I found by far of the S5 is the water resistance, that was the real icing on the cake. This protects it from any water damage – as long as you have the back cover and the bottom flap on and sealed, and gives you peace of mind when you accidentally go for a swim and forget your phone is on your pocket or accidentally drop it into the toilet from your top pocket. I naturally wanted to see this feature in action and put my phone in a sealed container of water for a few minutes, which I was somewhat worried about doing at first, being a $750 AU phone and all. As you can see however from the picture the phone survived and got top marks doing so and everything worked perfectly afterwards. (You have to get the water off first because it will mess up the touch screen). I did have to research about the earphone jack however because the box didn’t come with a plug, after some research I found out you don’t need to cover it on the S5 which was nice to know going into this.
Now for the performance, I don’t really tend to go into depth about getting benchmarks, I don’t see the point of finding a 5% difference in performance when the average user won’t even notice that. Therefore i’ll just be going by eye (or ear) on the response and feedback of the phone and make decisions based on typical usage scenario’s of the phone. The first observation I made while using the phone was the number of pixels, my previous phone being the Samsung Galaxy S3 which had a 720p screen and this being a 1080p, there’s quite a phenomenal leap between the two. I thought that the HD screen would surely have some sort of lag or delay when opening apps or swiping between desktop windows, but how wrong was I! The response time is fluid and only on very rare occasions do I get some form of delay or lag when opening up applications, also it has crashed probably about 3 times in the 4 months I’ve had it as well which required me to either restart the device or pull out the battery and re-boot it which worked both times. (Which is why I love the removable battery, along with having an instant 100% changeable power supply if you can’t wait for it to charge or are camping.)
The app store has a wide range of applications, not as much as the IOS store, but it’ll keep you content with the 10,000 applications out there, not to mention books, movies and games. The google play store also offers a lot of the well known games free of charge, which is awesome, this includes angry birds and cut the rope. I rarely get lag while playing games on my phone and it can handle ‘Minecraft PE’ and ‘The Room’ at a full frame rate which are both pretty intense 3D games and I recommend buying them if you own this phone. Some other features of the S5 is the heartbeat sensor, which quite frankly sucks. Over 15 attempts to read my heartbeat it failed 12 of those times, and once it returned such a high value that it couldn’t have been my heartbeat, or I was dead. Anyway one of the features I did like is the fingerprint scanner which was very easy to set-up as it only requires you to scan the same finger 10 or so times to get it registered and then you are able to use that finger to enter your phone if you’ve got it for fingerprint entry. You can only register up to 3 fingers though which I though was a little lacking as you may want more people to access your phone or want to do some additional fingers. Over time I disabled this feature though due to being annoying when your fingers were dirty from eating and you just got a message, you had to either wash your hands/finger each time or mess up your phone with food. Overall though it’s a great scanner with a very high recognition rate, I even gave it to friends to see if I could get it to mess up but it only ever let me in. There are also the usual unlock features such as pattern, voice, face recognition, pin and swipe which are all useful in their own ways.
Now it wouldn’t be a phone review if I didn’t talk about the actual call quality and microphone which turned out to be perfect quality, 0 dropouts (Which would be the phone company anyway), and the speaker is very nice at reproducing vocal sound. The microphone is pretty much a microphone, people said I was very clear and easily understandable. (Unlike my Skype landline calling) Now the speaker quality is quite nice, the volume can go adequately high for your friends to gather around and watch a YouTube video or listening to music and is very useful in those circumstances. It’s not distorted or anything but it sure isn’t an audiophile speaker, strangely it sounds better while the speakers facing away from you which is good if you are watching a video, but seems just a bit ‘tinnier’ when it’s pointed at you.
The camera on the S5 is an amazing 16mp rear with a 2mp front, both take nice pictures but with a huge advantage to the rear. My last phone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 only had an 8mp rear camera and the jump to double that is amazing in both quality of shots and shutter speed. One problem I have with both the S3 and S5 is the fact it won’t autofocus on anything closer then 5cm or 2 inches away from it, which was a real pain when you wanted some detailed shots of small objects such as watches, or catching the bubbles on a frothing drink. I would have liked to see a manual focus option in the Samsung camera settings, although i’m not sure how many people this would affect as I only tend to take close up pictures when I review a product. Here’s a few shots taken with the S5 while I was in Canberra:
Well I think that sums up my thoughts on the new Samsung Galaxy S5 over the months of owning it. I like to thoroughly test my products before reviewing them, hence the picture of the phone in water and give my readers the truest review available. Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree with anything I said or to say thanks, I love reading any responses.
0% – 25% = Terrible Item, The item will break shortly after purchase and will leave you with a paperweight only left for discarding.
26% – 50% = Meh Item, A very poor item that you would use and forget about after a few months of use, or may break quickly and degrade over that time.
51% – 75% = Good Item, This item would satisfy your needs for a long time but isn’t the best quality around and may need replacing or become outdated after a year or so.
76% – 90% = Fantastic Item, An item that you need but may either cost lots or wear out over time and may eventually need replacing after 2 or so years.
91% – 100% = Amazing Item, An extremely durable item that will suit all your needs for the device and more, as well as lasting many many years.