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Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Samsung's small updates make a huge difference
Tue Apr 08 2014, 12:05

Product Samsung Galaxy S5
Specifications 5.1in 1080x1920 resolution 432ppi Super AMOLED touchscreen, quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB RAM, IP67 certified, 16GB or 32GB internal storage expandable with microSD card up to 128GB, 16MP rear-facing camera capable of shooting 4K video, 2MP front camera, GSM/3G/4G, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth, USB 3.0 port, Android 4.4.2 Kitkat mobile operating system, Samsung Touchwiz, 2,800mAh battery, 142x72.5x8.1mm, 145g 
Price From £550 

THE SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 quickly became one of the most talked-about phones of 2014, and Samsung is no doubt hoping that its latest flagship handset will help it regain its majority grip on the smartphone market.

However, the Samsung Galaxy S5 isn't a huge update compared to last year's Galaxy S4, and it also faces some fierce competition, be it from the HTC One M8, iPhone 5S or the Sony Xperia Z2. The small changes that Samsung has made with the Galaxy S5 make a huge difference, but it remains to be seen whether it will manage to win over buyers.

When it comes to design, Samsung hasn't done anything too drastic, with the Galaxy S5 retaining a predominantly plastic casing much like its Galaxy S4 predecessor.

Samsung has made some changes, however. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is larger than last year's Galaxy S4, measuring 8.1mm thick and tipping the scales at 145g. However, we didn't mind the increase in size, and found it made the handset feel more durable than Samsung's previous model.

Thankfully, another of these changes has been switching out the glossy plastic found on the Galaxy S4 and replacing it with what Samsung describes as a "perforated" casing, which means the device has good grip to it, as well as being resistant to greasy fingerprints. The textured rear feels much more high-end than the glossy plastic found on the Galaxy S4, too, although the handset still doesn't feel as premium as the iPhone 5S, for example, despite the metal edging around it.

Samsung Galaxy S5 design

While the Samsung Galaxy S5 doesn't doesn't feel as pricey as the iPhone, it does boast a major advantage - the fact that it is IP67 certified, meaning it's resistant against water and dust. We put this to the test, and the Galaxy S5 escaped a bowl of water unscathed - although unlike on Sony's flagship smartphones, we did find the screen impossible to operate immediately afterwards.

That isn't the only bonus hidden in the Galaxy S5's design. A fingerprint sensor comes integrated into the handset's home button, and while it was fiddly to set up at first, we found the scanner much more accurate than the fingerprint sensor found on the iPhone 5S. While not as convenient - with the Galaxy S5 requiring you swipe from the screen across the home button - we were rarely asked to do so more than once.

There's a hear rate monitor on the rear of the handset, too. This seemed to work well from our basic test, and likely will be a big selling point for fitness fanatics.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 5.1in 1080x1920 Super AMOLED display, with a pixel density of 432ppi.

While this isn't the most impressively specified screen on the market, it's definitely among the best, if not the best, we've used. Thanks to its Super AMOLED display, colours are extremely vibrant, and everything is quite crisp and sharp. Viewing angles are excellent, and despite the large size of the screen, we found ourselves able to operate it with one hand comfortably.

Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 5.1in 1080p HD Super AMOLED screen

Our only criticism with the display, which isn't really a criticism at all, is that it can often be too bright. We found that with the screen cranked up to full brightness, colours often were a little too vibrant to use the screen comfortably, although this came in handy when we used the Galaxy S5 outdoors.

Next: Performance, operating system.


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