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!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- BlackBerry readies a more secure version of the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Android device updates: Nougat rollout begins for the Moto Z Play
- ZTE pays US$892M settlement to US over illegal sales to Iran
- Google Assistant learns how to read texts as its prime-time rollout continues
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTQA LeadNSW
- FTPolicy & Programme OfficerACT
- FTKey Account ManagerVIC
- CCPerformance AnalystQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCOrganisational Change LeadNSW
- FTProject AnalystNSW
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- FTSoftware Development ManagerACT
- FTFull Stack Web DeveloperNSW
- CCChange and Communications ManagerQLD
- FTWeb Developer/ReportsNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCSenior Full Stack Web Developer - Port MacquarieNSW
- CCAgile CoachNSW
- TPLead TesterNSW
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!QLD
- CCITCM EngineerNSW
- FTProject CoordinatorVIC
- TPSoftware EngineerWA
- FTAutomation Test AnalystSA
- FTICT Security AnalystQLD
- CCSolution Architect - Application Developement and IntegrationQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst/Project MangerVIC