Samsung announced the Galaxy S5 at MWC in Barcelona and since then there has been a mixed reaction to the existence of the latest flagship from Samsung. While there is no doubt about the powerful beast that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is, perhaps this was an upgrade that the fans of the Korean company expected a major redesign of the device and not an incremental update to the Galaxy S4 which was certainly not the most popular device last year. So, after all the dust of opinions on the Samsung Galaxy S5 has settled down, how exactly is the device?
We have been using the Samsung Galaxy S5 for the last couple of days and here are our impressions of the device in the short time we have spent with it. Obviously this is not the final review and we are entitled to change our views about the device as we continue to explore this Galaxy in the coming days.
The Display on the Samsung Galaxy S5 is utterly Gorgeous
Right from the moment you will turn the phone on, you will fall in love with the 5.1 inch 1080 P Super AMOLED HD display of the Samsung Galaxy S5. Dare we say, it is the best display we have seen on a mobile device. We did play around with the HTC M8 too for a bit, but the very first reaction in the limited time of our usage was that the S5 triumphs here. The colors are extremely vibrant (bit over saturated), very rich and deep and the display has amazing viewing angles with no color washing. The outdoor visibility on the display is fabulous and catching up a quick movie on the device was a pure pleasure.
This is no tank of metal but far from being trash can plastic
All said and done, the Samsung Galaxy S5 feels good to hold in the hand. Yes, it is not a masterpiece clad in metal or glass, but it feels so much better than shiny glossy Galaxy S4. The perforated back on the device actually feels good and provides plenty of grip. The best thing was that on our white unit was, that the back did not pick any finger prints as we used the phone without any cover. This gave the device a very neat and tidy look. The front of the device has small dot like pattern and that adds to the look of the phone. Again, obviously we would have loved an all metallic S5, but the plastic on the device certainly feels assuring in a decent way as there are no creeks or loose ends and the slightly more cornered edges make the device comfortable in the base of your palm.
Touchwiz is a lot more useable now
Thanks to the raw power that the Galaxy S5 is packing, Touchwiz, the software layer on top of the Galaxy S5 is certainly not the bottleneck it used to be. Samsung has also tweaked a few things here changing some icons and doing away with a bit of bloat to make sure the experience is good. In fact, we were really surprised at how virtually the phone came with no third-party app pre-installed. However, the settings menu on the device is an absolute mess and you have at least 50 different settings heading which totally confuses you out. We would certainly prefer more subtle colors on board, but TouchWiz is certainly useable now. There are still some extremely annoying features like the water drop sound that the phone makes every time you make a selection, but you can more often than not turn these annoyances off. Put an action launcher or even the Google Play Launcher, and suddenly things are really rosey here.
Fingerprint Sensor and Heart Beat Monitor are a bit of a No-go
The Galaxy S5 comes bundled with two new features which are not present in any of the Galaxy devices namely the Heart Beat Sensor and Fingerprint Sensor. However, both of these features are a bit of unnecessary add ons as they simply do not work as well or as accurately as they are meant to. We wrote a complete piece on how the Fingerprint sensor will eventually start annoying you on the Galaxy S5 here and how we ended up going back to Pattern Unlock. The heart beat monitor too is not very accurate and actually ended up giving us a reading of 91, 75 and 84 in three continuous tests. The difference obviously is huge and we will be comparing the readings to an actual heart beat monitor used in Medical field to conclude just how accurate is the heart beat monitor, although Samsung does to their credit say that it is not for medical purposes. Yet, we do expect some sort of consistency from the feature which is definitely is lacking.
As a Phone, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a Beast
As a phone, there is absolutely nothing you can point at the Galaxy S5 which it does not do well. The speakers are loud and clear, it makes terrific phone calls and has brilliant down speeds. The Exynos variant that we are using definitely got a bit hot every time we subjected it to memory intensive tasks such as couple of games of Asphalt 8 or couple of back to back Youtube videos, but this was not to an alarming level, certainly something we would like to investigate a bit more. The Camera in our couple of shots has been really good while the battery life is fantastic in our three cycles of charging. Obviously, we will be monitoring this closely over the next few weeks and also try out the Ultra Power Saving Mode, but if you can get past the plastic look and slightly underwhelming exterior, the Galaxy S5 does everything that a High End 2014 device should do, very well.