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Samsung Galaxy S5 review

8.5/10 AVG.
RATING



8.5/10
Informr score
The Samsung Galaxy S5 currently has an Informr score of 8.5 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 78 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Bright display with excellent contrast, bright light legibility and color accuracy
  • 16MP rear-facing camera takes sharp and crisp bright light photos
  • Excellent battery life
  • IP67 rating

What's bad

  • Slow startup on certain apps like the camera and settings
  • Uninspired plastic design
  • Poor auto-brightness

Samsung continues their reign over the Android smartphone market with their flagship phone – the Galaxy S5. While Samsung doesn't stray too far from its recognizable plastic design, they did add a dimpled back texture to address concerns over the slipperiness of the earlier model. The texture, as Stuff.TV points out, "…make this the grippiest Galaxy yet."

When compared to its predecessor – the S4 – the S5 is only slightly heavier at 145 grams and a hair taller at 14.2 cm (5.6 inches). It is also far sturdier as it's rated IP67, making it water and dust-resistant so long as the microUSB flap is in place.

While critics were left wanting with Samsung's rather lackluster design, the 5.1" Super AMOLED display more than made up for it. The display offers the same 1080p resolution as the S4; however experts note that it has been tweaked to offer brighter and more accurate tones without the oversaturation problem of previous Samsung smartphones. According to Android Central, Samsung has also overcome the issue of daylight visibility stating that, "the Galaxy S5 is the first AMOLED phone we've used that matches the LCD-based competition for legibility in direct sunlight." Despite this breakthrough, they go on to mention that the phone has a poor auto-brightness feature, especially when used indoors.

The back of the phone houses a 16 megapixel camera with an LED flash. While the camera doesn't boast the same quality as the Nokia Lumia 1020, it features an HDR mode for crisper and more true-to-life photos as well as a new Selective Focus mode that choose the focal object and blurs out the background. The camera also has a very fast autofocus that can resolve the sharpness of an image in 0.3 seconds. Despite the speed of its autofocus, TechRadar found the actual app startup to be rather slow mentioning, "…it can take a few seconds to boot up the camera…The camera then takes another three seconds to even be ready to start firing…" In general, critics didn't have issues with the image quality in bright light; however they did notice that low light images were prone to noise and graininess.

Inside, the S5 boasts all the bells and whistles with a 2.5GHz quad core processor, 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of internal storage. Although critics did not notice lag in the traditional sense they did notice that certain tasks took longer than expected to start up like simply powering on the screen or opening up the settings app. Pocket Lint goes into further detail stating, "It feels like it's been designed to be slightly sedate. And we think it needs speeding up. When you open a game like Real Racing 3…it plays wonderfully, but once back in the home screens we want more pace." While the performance didn't impress critics, they were happy with the 2800mAh battery citing 9 hours of mixed usage.

For the most part critics describe the Samsung Galaxy S5 as a great phone but not awe inspiring. Trusted Reviews says, "It lacks the style of its nearest rivals, but it more than delivers on every other point…" Business Spectator adds, "the Galaxy S5 is a mixed bag…the S5 sports a brilliant display…But crucially, Samsung has failed to realize that people care about how the phone looks and feels in the hand - areas where the competition…really deliver for the same price."


Operating system
Android
Processor
2.5 GHz
Screen Size
5.1"
Camera
16+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


About

Those Samsung Galaxy fans expecting a radical redesign or ultra-powerful hardware may be a little disappointed with the way the phone has turned out, but there is no doubt that Samsung have created a considered and less gimmicky device in the S5. It includes some clever, useful and fun features, and...

- Russell Ware, About
Beta News

Before using this phone, I assumed people were buying Samsung Galaxy devices as zombies due to clever marketing. However, it soon became clear that Samsung's massive market share is well deserved. The screen on the S5 is vibrant and enjoyable and all of the company's enhancements to Android are bene...

- Brian Fagioli, Beta News
AndroidPIT

The Galaxy S5 never quite lived up to expectations, but it was still a top-end phone in 2014, and a decent mid-ranger now. It’s the kind of phone where every software angle is covered. Some choices may not be for everyone, like design, interface, the heart rate monitor and finger scanner, but...

- Kris Carlon, AndroidPIT
TrustedReviews

The Samsung Galaxy S5 fits happily into the role of Galaxy S4 successor. It's a phone with some significant improvements over that model. It lacks the style of its nearest rivals, but it more than delivers on every other point and has a truly oustanding screen.

- Andrew Williams, TrustedReviews
Tom's Guide

The Samsung Galaxy S5 does a lot of things well. Its Super AMOLED display offers stunning visuals, while its Snapdragon 801 CPU delivers strong performance. Features such as S Health continue to grow, becoming more useful, despite a gimmicky heartbeat monitor. And let's not forget the more than 9 ho...

- Sherri L. Smith, Tom's Guide


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Quick view

Screen Size
5.1"

The Samsung Galaxy S5's screen size is 5.1 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.5 GHz

There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 8974-AC Quad core 2.5 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 4.4.2 KitKat (Update Available: 6.0 Marshmallow) operating system (OS).

Camera
16+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 16+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 2+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
16/32 GB

Internal memory is 16/32 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 128 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
2800mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 2800 mAh battery. Samsung's performance ratings are 1280 minutes, 576 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Galaxy S5 Specs

Overview
Release date April 11, 2014
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
2100/800/850/900 /1800/2600 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
Micro-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 4.4.2 KitKat (Update Available: 6.0 Marshmallow)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 8974-AC Quad core 2.5 GHz
Internal Storage 16/32 GB
RAM 2 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.93 W/kg
Body: 1.42 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery, Headset
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 2800 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 665 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 576 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 720 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1280 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 16.3 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue, Copper Gold, Pink, Electric Blue
Dimensions [H x W x D] 14.2 x 7.2 x 0.8 cm (5.6 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)
Weight 145 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Water Resistant
Rugged design No
IP Rating IP 67
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology Super AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 432 pixels
Size 5.1 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Yes
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer Yes
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 3.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared Yes
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HID, HFP, HSP, PAN, OBEX
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption WEP/WPA/WPA2
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 128 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out HDMI
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet Yes
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
16+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, ISO, Night mode, Panorama, HDR, Selective Focus, Virtual Tour Shot, Metering, HDR, Exposure value
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, ASF, FLV, AVI
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels)
Front Camera
Resolution
2+ megapixels
Zoom
No
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, M4A, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, ASF, AVI, FLV, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types XLS, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, PDF
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable, Pre-installed (Google Drive, Google+, Play Store, YouTube, Flipboard, Keeper, Polaris Office 5)
Included Software / Apps Samsung Hub, ChatON, Samsung WatchON, S Travel, S Voice Drive, Samsung Knox, S Health
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Samsung SM-G900P, SM-G900T, SM-G900V, Samsung SM-G900R4, SM-G900A

Additional Sensors
- Finger Scanner
- Heart rate sensor
- Barometer

Additional Features
- Ultra Power Saving Mode
- Download Booster
- S Health 3.0
- Quick Connect
- Private Mode
- Kids Mode
Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Manual (PDF)
Samsung Galaxy S5 Reviews
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy S5
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