Samsung Galaxy S5 Review
Just how good is the Samsung Galaxy S5?
Plenty of people were waiting to see just what Samsung had come up with for the Galaxy S5 handset, especially after the success its main competitors had seen with the likes of the iPhone 5s and HTC One.
Our hands-on YouTube Video review of the Samsung Galaxy S5
Can it climb to the top of our illustrious leaderboard?
Or will be see the S5 falter under the pressure? Let’s take a look in our in-depth smartphone review.
Which latest flagship smartphone is better, the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the HTC One M8? Find out here!
When the Samsung Galaxy S5 was first announced, it was safe to say that we were all slightly shocked to see a plastic back cover.
With all of the hype surrounding the HTC One M8’s and iPhone 5s’s premium metal casing, it was a definite disappointment to see Samsung go for a plastic chassis instead.
But when you get our hands on the S5, you soon realise that it isn’t flimsy, and in fact feels very good to the touch.
It allows access to the battery, which is obviously a major plus side, something which HTC and Apple can’t manage.
Also, the whole handset is dust and water resistant, lasting around half an hour underwater to a metre’s depth without an issue.
Topped off by an elegant metal strip around the edge of the handset, the Samsung Galaxy S5 feels a whole lot better in the hand, compared to how it looks on a screen, that’s for sure.
Phone Set Up
Whilst the S5 looks very similar to the Galaxy S4 in its design, the insides of the handset are a completely different proposal.
Samsung’s brand new Touchwiz user interface offers a refreshing guise over the stock Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system, making the Samsung Galaxy S5 a brilliantly unique handset.
The home screen has seen a change with My Magazine being introduced as a stand-alone area of main screen, instead of being hidden away in an app like on the S4. It reminds us a lot of BlinkFeed from the HTC One M8, and offers a similar ability to be tailored to each user’s interests.
The Samsung themed interface is as good as ever, proving extremely easy to use, and can be made even easier by turning on the ‘Easy Mode’.
The general design hasn’t seen many major changes, with more tweaks being implemented compared to full on rehashes.
The S5 comes with a bucket-load of apps that are already installed on the home screen for you to test out straight away, namely the S Health, Geo News, Galaxy Essentials and Galaxy Gift features, all of which have their specific uses of course.
The software is super responsive, and if you’re cold, Samsung has even included an increased touch screen sensitivity feature, that allows you to work the phone’s display with any normal pair of gloves, something that is obviously ideal in the colder months of the year.
Whilst we haven’t seen any tremendous changes from Samsung here, its set-up is still considered to be one of the best out there, right alongside Apple, Sony, Nokia and HTC.
Samsung has officially jumped onto the biometric bandwagon with the Galaxy S5, featuring its very own fingerprint scanner at the bottom of the display.
This of course comes into direct competition with the iPhone 5s, which has its TouchID fingerprint scanner, and both handsets have notable differences here.
The main difference here lies in the way you activate each scanner, whilst the iPhone opts for a ‘no motion’ approach, Samsung has you swipe your finger down over the home button, making the process slightly trickier.
It still works perfectly, but it seems slightly cumbersome at times, especially when using just the one hand.
Heart Rate Sensor
If you’re into your fitness, then this feature definitely shouldn’t be missed out on.
The heart rate sensor works by resting your index finger over the flash whilst you are on the S Health app, giving you a surprisingly accurate reading.
Of course there was the odd niggle we had with it, often when we were either pressing too hard or too light on the sensor, giving us readings of 0bpm.
Either the reading was wrong, or some of us in the MobilePhones.com office are actually vampires…
Already know about all of these features? Why not take a look at the five features you probably didn't know about the Samsung Galaxy S5 here?
A simple feature that has really taken off in recent times, Kid’s Mode has you activate a pin number, and when being used, lets you access only specified games and apps.
This obviously removes the risk of kids taking your phone, sending emails or making phone calls without your knowledge, giving you peace of mind.
With the Samsung Galaxy S5’s already easy to use interface, this is a feature we didn’t really expect, but it really does simplify the smartphone to the ultimate level.
It allows you to have a number of selected apps and features on the home screen, with a large font and coordinated menu screen which is ideal for younger or older users.
If you don’t fancy tackling fancy settings and technical jargon, Easy Mode is the way to go!
Camera & Video
Samsung has really gone all out with the S5’s camera this time around, upping from the 13 megapixel effort seen on the S4, to a 16 megapixel lens on the back side of this handset.
The general quality is right up there alongside some of the best smartphone cameras on the market, with Samsung also introducing a healthy array of apps for you to alter pictures before and after a snap has been taken.
The handset’s heart rate sensor is also doubled as an LED flash, which offers more than enough light to take suitable pictures in darker situations.
On the front side of the handset, the same 2mp snapper that was on the S4 also makes its way onto the latest Samsung flagship, giving all of the selfie and video calling lovers out there a good quality lens to make use of.
The front lens is complimented by a ‘beauty face’ feature as well, which allows you to automatically Photoshop a picture taken through the front lens without going through the hassle of doing it via a computer.
Other features include a virtual tour mode, which lets you add effects guiding viewers through your location.
Dual camera mode, burst mode and panorama mode are all notable inclusions as well, making the Galaxy S5’s camera one of the best on the market right now.
This is another area where the Galaxy S5 really does stand out, offering up a nice and large 2800mAh battery that has lasted us around three days without a charge, even with fairly regular use.
The addition of power saving and ultra power saving mode obviously increases the usage of the handset even further by reducing the data usage, and even turning the phone black and white.
It’s certainly safe to say that with the Samsung Galaxy S5, you shouldn’t be running out of battery any time soon.