- 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."