Samsung Galaxy S5 review

The best and worst smartphone you can buy

Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5


  • Fantastic screen
  • Great camera
  • Waterproof (IP67)
  • Biometrics


  • TouchWiz
  • Big

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 929.00 (AUD)

16 megapixels, Ultra high-definition

Subtly protruding on the Galaxy S5’s back is an improved 16 megapixel camera. The boost in megapixels allows the S5 to capture more detail, while the addition of new shooting modes help you to capture better quality photos.

The Galaxy S5 works very well in almost all lighting conditions

There’s a transparency to the way the Galaxy S5 captures photos. Photos look great without the smartphone having to exaggerate colours. Noise is kept to a minimum even when photos are viewed at the native 16 megapixel resolution. Few low-light situations will result in grainy photos, but even then the Samsung will take photos over a couple of seconds and overlay them together. It may be time consuming, but the photos tend to be better than expected.

The camera is a big point of difference between the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8). Both smartphones have good cameras, but whereas the One works flawlessly in some lighting conditions, the Galaxy S5 will work very well in most — almost all — conditions.

Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S5
Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S5

Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S5
Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S5

Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S5
Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S5

Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S5
Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC’s flagship touts the ability to blur the background of photos. Samsung’s flagship does the same thing with a feature called ‘Select Focus’; however, it isn’t as versatile as HTC’s offering. ‘Select Focus’ has a range up to 50 centimetres and it can’t be applied after you have captured a photo. Furthermore, it takes a few seconds to capture a photo in this mode, and the resulting photo tends to be three-to-four times larger in size.

Samsung’s ‘Select Focus’ is not without its benefits. Samsung didn’t have to mount a secondary rear-camera to achieve the effect, and more importantly, the Samsung’s camera is a rich 16 megapixels and not the limp 4 megapixels of the HTC One.

HTC DuoCamera
HTC DuoCamera

Samsung Select Focus
Samsung Select Focus

The rear camera also proves proficient in the recording of videos. The Galaxy S5 is one of the first phones to support the new Ultra high-definition standard. And even though it’s early days for the superior resolution, its nice to know the Galaxy S5 will be ready for it tomorrow.

Recording videos in Full HD or HD is better suited for the Galaxy S5 as the standards aren’t as data intensive. The picture continually autofocuses and adequately adjusts light on the go, and the Galaxy has a real knack for picking up sound.

Samsung Galaxy S5 without HDR
Samsung Galaxy S5 without HDR

Samsung Galaxy S5 with HDR
Samsung Galaxy S5 with HDR

A secondary 2 megapixel camera found on the Galaxy S5’s front and can be used for calls over applications such as Skype. It benefits from face detection, a wide-angle lens and the ability to record videos in Full HD quality.

Click over for unique features and the verdict

Read more: The best Android smartphone of 2014: Samsung vs HTC vs Sony?

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Read more on these topics: Apple, Android, htc, samsung, TouchWiz, One, galaxy, iphone 5s, galaxy s, ip67, KitKat, 4.4, S5, M8
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