Samsung Galaxy S5 review
The best and worst smartphone you can buy
- Fantastic screen
- Great camera
- Waterproof (IP67)
Samsung's new flagship just bristles with features. Some are undeniably innovative and useful - like the waterproofing and the camera - but the entire smartphone is let down by one of the heaviest, ugliest and most annoying Android overlays yet.
Price$ 929.00 (AUD)
The original Galaxy S was a rare case of getting everything right: speed, ease of use, beauty. For Samsung, the Galaxy S was where the magic first happened. Now, the company is trying to make some more with the Galaxy S5.
Chrome, plastic and faux leather
Chrome, plastic and faux leather: these are the materials that make up Samsung’s premium smartphone. The Galaxy does feel special for a short while, but chrome has a habit of aging poorly, and over time you realise the premium texture of the Galaxy S5 is as fake as the faux leather back.
Samsung has used the shiny paintjob, a patterned back and chrome to conceal the S5’s cumbersome body. The new smartphone is taller, thicker, wider and heavier than the Galaxy S4. The design trinkets hide the size most of the time, that is, until you slide it into your jean’s pocket.
The S5 leaves you feeling drunk with raw computing power
The Galaxy S5 is only ugly when compared to today’s range of flagship smartphones. Two weeks ago HTC released the One (M8); a smartphone forged from metal so beautiful that it doesn’t even need a coat of paint. Naked smartphones styled this way age better. Grab a nearby iPhone 5S and have a look for yourself.
Other tricks up Samsung’s sleeve help the Galaxy S5 compete. Press the power button and the 5.1in SuperAMOLED screen infuses it with vibrance. The Full HD touchscreen leads the market in terms of clarity, colour and brightness. We anticipate a lot of people will forget about the Galaxy’s mediocre looks once the screen lights up.
The screen does dazzle, but most of the time its talents are wasted on displaying one of the worst Android overlays — definitely the worst from a big manufacturer.
Android KitKat — defiled
Using TouchWiz is like taking a walk down memory lane. Parts of it are recognisable from the 2012 Galaxy S3, others are brand-spanking new. Ultimately it doesn’t feel like one uniform operating system designed from the ground up for the Galaxy S5. It feels fractured.
The software feels fractured
And it’s such a shame. Some of the newer applications adhere to the aesthetic design instituted by Google. Some of TouchWiz is beautiful, but parts of it, like the antiquated dialler, are in dire need of an update.
TouchWiz is also taxing on the hardware. To illustrate this point, we downloaded a trusted third-party task manager and installed it on a new Galaxy S5 and a new One (M8), both of which ship with 2GB of RAM. The Galaxy S5 consumed significantly more RAM and this could cause the smartphone to slow down as it ages
Click over for hardware, camera, waterproofing, unique features and the verdict.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Witness a 241% Australian price hike: Dell Latitude 7370 review
- 2 Is this the best value phone on the market? Moto G4 Plus review
- 3 Sony Xperia X Performance review: Sony’s most disappointing product in years
- 4 Huawei P9 review: lifting photography to another level... sometimes.
- 5 Huawei Mate 8 review: probably the best all-round Android phone you can buy
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Apple could stick a Digital Crown on the iPhone
- Blackberry announces DETK50, a secure US$299 Android phone
- Samsung files artificial muscle patent for use in flexible smartphones
- The affordable new Moto E grows in size, but not price
- Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 is now the company's fastest mobile chip
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- FTSocial Media AssistantQLD
- CCSenior Contracts Officer/Procurement -Governmen BckgrndNSW
- CCContract Programmer (JAVA/J2EE/SQL/Web) 160719/P/741Asia
- CCService Coordinator/HelpdeskWA
- CCSenior Systems AdministratorQLD
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/Oracle) 160728/AP/623Asia
- FTPortfolio Project Governance AnalystNSW
- FTChange ManagerNSW
- CCPricing ManagerNSW
- CCTechnical Specialist - EUCNSW
- CCDigital Project Manager, AgileNSW
- FTIdentity Systems Analyst / Solution DesignerACT
- CCSenior Citrix EngineerNSW
- CCCommunication LeadVIC
- CC.NET DeveloperQLD
- FTSystems Administrator, Linux, Networking, AWSNSW
- CCAgile Delivery ManagerACT
- CCFMW DevelopersACT
- CCContract Programmer (JAVA/J2EE/SQL) 160729/P/698Asia
- FTApplication Support AnalystSA
- FTService Desk Team LeadNSW
- CCSolutions ArchitectQLD
- FTSenior Oracle Functional Analyst (Finance)VIC
- CCOracle Pl/SQL DeveloperNSW
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW