REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S5

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S5

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is loved by some and hated by others. Here is a comprehensive guide to the good and bad of Samsung’s flagship smartphone.

Bandwidth Blog’s Theunis Jansen van Rensburg gives you five reasons to buy the device, and another five to avoid it.

The Galaxy S range from Samsung has become the biggest thing in smartphones since the smartphone – a la iPhone. There are many reasons why, including marketing and mass appeal. There are many reasons to love the device, but also many reasons to hate it.

Five reasons to buy it

So what are the reasons the GS5 is awesome?

1. Brilliant Display

This might be a polarising factor for many. There is the ongoing debate about which the best between the AMOLED and IPS LCD displays. Well, whichever you think is best, or prefer, rest assured that the Galaxy S5 has a great display. The 1080p Super AMOLED display has never looked so good, with colours more magnificent than ever.

To be honest, I think it might be the best screen currently on a smartphone.

2. Powerful Hardware

The software is a problem on the GS5 as it always has been, but if you switch off all the gimmicks this is on powerful, slick device. Sure, you might still get some stutters within the Touchwiz software, but I assure that you won’t find a better gaming or multitasking experience on a smartphone.

3. Ultra Power Saving Mode

This might be of great use to someone, though not most. You can actually get the device to last about a week on one charge if you essentially turn in from a smartphone into a ‘dumb’ phone. Sure, not everyone will have use for it, but it’s nice to have the option.

4. Waterproof

This is one of the biggest changes you will find from the design of the previous two iterations to the new one. The Galaxy S5 is now IP-67 certified, meaning that it is water resistant in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. It is great to see Samsung embrace this philosophy, as I know many Samsung customers who had their devices ruined in a toilet run or while attending to the dishes.

Like the Sony Xperia Z range, there are is a flap that needs to be closed over the charge port, but that is no hassle. Actually, Samsung’s flap is much easier to use on an everyday basis than Sony’s.

5. Awesome Camera

This is one of the greatest cameras you can currently find on an Android smartphone. Samsung has never had bad cameras, but they have been underwhelming many times before.

Not this time, though. The 16MP shooter on the GS5 is brilliant, much better than the previous 13MP we saw on the GS4. Low-light performance is much approved and colour saturation is among the best we’ve seen on any smartphone, not just on Android. It might even be able to trade punches with the Lumias when it comes to performance in light. In the couple of days we’ve used the camera, we are truly impressed.

Five reasons to avoid it

In our first hands-on experience we could easily and quickly come to some dire conclusions. The phone will sell extremely well, but we don’t necessarily agree with the general public, and here is why.

1. Design

Other than the dimpled back on the Galaxy S5, you would be hard-pressed to find any difference to the Galaxy S4. That is also true with the Galaxy S4 – there is hardly any difference to the Galaxy S3. Not only is the design unimaginative, it still uses the cheap plastics that Samsung has always used, and unashamedly.

2. Software/Touchwiz Lag

We are well documented to have pleaded to Samsung to fix their software, which absolutely mutilates Android. Sure, there are some nifty features, but there are far too many gimmicks that deliver no actual advantage to a user.

Other than that, there is something horribly wrong with the fact that you can have a phone with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, software based on the latest version of Android – which is specifically built to use hardware more graciously – and still somehow delivers the most lag-ridden Android OS on market.

3. Limited Internal Storage

I’m sorry, but how does a phone with 16GB of internal storage deliver a grand total of 7.5GB of usable storage? I’ll tell you how – a wonderful menagerie of Touchwiz pie served on your Galaxy S5.

4. Fingerprint Scanner

Samsung are notoriously good at ‘copying’ a certain manufacturer in delivering their ‘latest and greatest.’ This was once again applicable in the Galaxy S5 model.

Usually, though, Samsung are brilliant at copying other ideas and making it even better to make it their own in some ways. With the fingerprint scanner, it absolutely didn’t happen in the aforementioned manner. The fingerprint scanner is finicky, unwieldy and awkward to use as your finger has to be completely upright, otherwise it won’t work at all.

5. Battery Life

Samsung claim the battery life is better than the Galaxy S4’s, but in practice that just isn’t true.

Posted in: FeaturedGadgets

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