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Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Tue Apr 08 2014, 12:05

Performance
Under the bonnet of the Samsung Galaxy S5 you'll find a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM.

As you would expect, that means that the Galaxy S5 is a powerful device, and it breezed through almost any task, be it handling a graphics-intensive game, firing open a web page or loading two applications at the same time. The Galaxy S5 did shown signs of struggling during our time with it on occasions, however, mainly when fiddling with the Touchwiz user interface, although these issues likely will be ironed out over time.

Samsung Galaxy S5 performance

When benchmarked using the Antutu benchmarking tool on Android, the Samsung Galaxy S5 scored 35,724, making it the most powerful smartphone we have used so far, based on this benchmark, outperforming the HTC One M8's 34,463 score.

Operating system
The Galaxy S5 arrives running the latest release of Google's Android mobile operating system, version 4.4.2 Kitkat, which Samsung has topped with the latest version of its Touchwiz user interface.

Compared to previous versions of Touchwiz, such as the version found on the Galaxy S4, the latest version of the skin is much cleaner than before, with Samsung clearly having taken tips from Apple's flat and minimalistic iOS 7.

It seems Samsung is taking tips from HTC, too. Now, upon firing up the smartphone, a swipe to the right will open My Magazine, a news aggregation app that combines headlines you will likely want to see with social networking notifications. However, My Magazine is still a long way from HTC Blinkfeed, and we found ourselves uninterested in the content that it usually had to show.

Samsung Galaxy S5 My Magazine

Beyond that, Samsung's Touchwiz user interface has seen tweaks and updates across the board. Icons are now more rounded than before, and the Settings menu has been completely redesigned - although we still found the number of options available somewhat confusing and a little overbearing.

Samsung hasn't stuffed the Galaxy S5 full of bloatware, and has instead equipped the device with apps that we found ourselves mostly using. Chief among these is its updated S Health service, which incorporates the handset's built-in heart rate monitor, and also features a built-in pedometer and exercise tracker, with the S Health widget keeping count from the handset's homescreen. Samsung's Gear Fit and Gear 2 devices can also be incorporated into the widget. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 with S Heath widget

Geo News is another addition, and during our time with the Samsung Galaxy S5, this notified us that a 4.7 magnitude earthquake had been recorded in France, offering the options to send a message asking for help, or letting friends and family know we were okay. Sure, this isn't all that relevant - nor accurate - at present, but with a bit of tweaking, it could prove a useful service.

Beyond that, you'll find all of Samsung's usual features, our favourite perhaps being Multi Window. When switched on in Settings, this feature splits the Galaxy S5's 5.1in screen in two, allowing you to have two apps open at the same time. This did leave us wanting a stylus however, with Samsung opting against including an S Pen with the Galaxy S5.

Next: Camera, battery life and storage.

 

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