Hands on: Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Hands on: Samsung Galaxy S5 review

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the latest challenger from the South Korean brand to launch into an ever more crowded market, but at least this time the phone has focused on what users might actually want rather than useless gimmicks.

The Galaxy S4 was a strong phone in spite of the insistence that being able to wave your hands over a phone or scroll with your eyes was a good thing.

The Galaxy S5 takes the DNA of that handset and improves on it in most areas. It's a quiet improvement though, which may disappoint a lot of people looking to see the world's highest-res display and an all new metal chassis, but it's one that at least delivers where consumers need it.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

If you're looking for a phone that reinvents the smartphone again, in the same way the Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Desire or iPhone 4 managed, you're going to be rather disappointed with what's on offer from South Korea.

However, if you're after a better camera, a brighter screen, a faster processor and a more solid design, then the Galaxy S5 will mostly deliver all you'd be looking for.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

The company explained to me what it considered to be the core tenets it stuck to when creating the Galaxy S5, and they show a renewed focus over the predecessor: a better camera, faster connectivity for web browsing, personal fitness tracking, protection, and a 'modern and glam' look (its words, not mine).


It's actually a little redundant to talk about all the technology inside a phone before dealing with the key question: does it look attractive?

Yes and no. You can't call it ugly, because Samsung does know how to put a phone together well. But at the same time it's the same tired story on the design front: taking some elements from the predecessor, adding in some bits from the current Note and calling it all new.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

The 'metal' surround is almost identical to the Note 3, to the point I was looking for an S Pen to start poking out. But the back is the main change, and I'd go as far as saying it's lovely.

No more shiny plastic or laughable attempts to make it look like a leather notebook – while it is still plastic, it's a lot more grippable and feels a lot, lot nicer in the hand.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

The overall construction is again more solid, but the device is markedly bigger compared to the Galaxy S3 and S4. There's a lot more Note DNA in the Galaxy S5 than ever before, that's for sure.

In fact, the design of the Galaxy S5 is one that evokes the S2 more than anything else, as it's more rectangular in shape. It's certainly a departure from the 'inspired by a blade of grass' creation of the S3.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

It's actually pretty disappointing on the design front, as I kept thinking I was looking at the first two Galaxy models when taking pictures of the larger device - if you held the first model from 2010 and then picked this one up, you'd think Samsung had done very little with its evolution in that time.

Galaxy S5 review
The original Samsung Galaxy S

But the main thing to answer is how it feels in the hand – and the good news is it feels solid, well made and less cheap than ever. Samsung will have disappointed many by not releasing a full metal version, and it's true that this isn't what I was hoping to see, but it's more than adequate.

The other big deal is that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is waterproof and dustproof to an IP67 rating, which means it's almost completely resistant to dust and waterproof to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes – more than enough time to fish it out when thrown down a toilet.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Yes, it's not a new trick, but the only port cover on show is the one holding the USB 3.0 socket closed – it's got a nice lip to it as well so it's very easy to open.

What's more impressive is that this phone still packs a removable cover and battery – while yes, it is a really fiddly cover to clip back on, to be able to access the power pack and microSD card slot is a really good move.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

The only worry I've got, and it's a fairly big one here, is that the cover will show small gaps if you've not got it absolutely flush to the back and totally clipped in. It's very easy to miss a clip, which could make things a trifle wet if you throw it in a pint to impress friends.

Source : techradar[dot]com

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