Why I am not disappointed that Samsung launched a “better” Galaxy S5

by: Bogdan PetrovanJune 18, 2014



Samsung just introduced the Galaxy S5 LTE-A in its home market, South Korea, almost exactly one year after the launch of the Galaxy S4 LTE-A.

But while the predecessor’s main improvement was a new processor, this year’s Galaxy S5 LTE-A brings several nominal upgrades when compared to the regular Galaxy S5. That’s great news, right? I mean, Samsung just introduced the most powerful device out there, at least when it comes to raw specs.

So why are so many Samsung fans disappointed? And was it even possible for Samsung to release the Galaxy S5 with the S5 LTE-A’s specs in the first place?

Galaxy S5 LTE-A vs Galaxy S5: what’s different?

First, let’s look at the features that became the object of jealousy of Galaxy S5 users, starting with the screen. The S5 LTE-A features a Quad HD (2560×1440) AMOLED panel, which puts it on par with the LG G3 and the Oppo Find 7. The S5 offers probably the best smartphone display of any phone today, and if the Quad HD LTE-A uses the same tech, it should be even nicer.

The Galaxy S5 LTE-A is the first device to run on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 805 processor, which combines four 32-bit Krait 450 CPU cores clocked at up to 2.65GHz, with an Adreno 420 GPU clocked at 600MHz and supporting OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL 1.2, and Direct3D 11.2. If you need a translation, that means you get a slightly better CPU than with the Snapdragon 801/800, but a vastly better GPU, bringing new features and an estimated 40 percent performance jump. There’s also 3GB of RAM, one gig more than on the Galaxy S5.

galaxy s5 lte-a press

Finally, the Galaxy S5 LTE-A is capable of speeds of up to 225Mbps, compared with 150Mbps on the regular version, but let’s face it, only a fraction of users will ever get to enjoy such download speeds, due to the massive spectrum and infrastructure investments that carriers have to make in order to make it work.

Aside these big three features, the Galaxy S5 LTE-A is largely the same phone, and the design remains unchanged. There’s no metal to be seen, and rumors now target the Galaxy F for the long awaited switch to metal on Samsung phones.

Beyond the specs

Spec for spec, the Galaxy S5 LTE-A seems a big improvement over the Full HD S5. But if you think about it, the specs bump doesn’t necessarily translate into a nice jump in user experience.

The clearest advantage the S5 LTE-A offers is that Quad HD display, which is a great achievement for Samsung, but perhaps not great enough to justify waiting out for it. By that I mean that the difference between Full HD and Quad HD is smaller than the sheer difference in resolution suggests, simply because Full HD is close enough to the limits of visual acuity to make pixels go away for most users with average eye-sight. This is subjective though, so that is one area where the LTE-A may offer some users a better experience.

As per AnandTech’s benchmarks, the Snapdragon 805 processor brings a small 6% improvement in CPU operation speed, but depending on what you do with the phone, you might not even get that.

It’s another story with the GPU, which is clearly faster (the Adreno 400 series is a new generation), but according to the same source, the extra oomph will be offset by the increased workload of the Quad HD display. In other words, you’ll get about the same performance on the Quad HD Snapdragon 805 device, as on the Full HD Snapdragon 801 device. The extra gigabyte or RAM could help here, but I doubt the difference will be clear.

Finally, the LTE-A bit: with the exception of South Koreans, 225Mbps download speeds will remain out of reach of most users worldwide for many months, maybe years. In the United States, for instance, AT&T was the first to launch LTE-A in one market back in March, using carrier aggregation for theoretical speeds of up to 110Mbps. Because getting higher speeds currently requires more LTE bands to aggregate, it will be difficult for carriers to muster the necessary spectrum, especially in competitive markets, like the US.

Final thoughts

Without doubt, it would’ve been amazing for Samsung to release the Galaxy S5 in February, with the specs of the LTE-A model it introduced today. But phone makers don’t live in bubbles – the Snapdragon 805 only recently became available, and not even the G3, which launched in late May, has it. Samsung could’ve used a Quad HD display, but we don’t know what impact that choice would’ve made on battery life, performance, price and release date.

While the Galaxy S5 could be better in many ways, I don’t think the screen and processing package are an issue. I’d rather see a full UI refresh and a better design, and I’d be truly disappointed if the LTE-A launched with that, just a few months after the Galaxy S5.

  • holdingwater

    With those specs the battery should last every bit of 45 mins.

    • Jayfeather787

      805 is not that power hungry, and 1440p display is not that bad either. Probably has a bigger battery as well.

      • MasterMuffin

        It doesn’t

        • Jayfeather787

          Well that sucks.

          • MasterMuffin

            Definitely not a good one :D

    • YourDadIsGay

      with that comment your virginity will last every bit of the next 45 years

      • Jayfeather787

        Woah. That escalated quickly :D

      • holdingwater

        You clearly have issues or you’re a teen. Sexuality in your username and sexuality in your comment. Go back to looking at porn on the internet and let this be a place about discussing tech.

        • Jesus

          Shut up and your dad is gay.

          • holdingwater

            I rest my case…

    • PoisonApple31

      LG G3 has a 5.5″ QHD screen with 3000mAh battery – based on your logic here you should be just as concerned with the G3, yet you don’t mention it. Unless your comment was just bs?

      • holdingwater

        The comment is about smart phones in general. I like all of the new specs and I’m not brand loyal. Just need it to last me through the day. Observation more than anything.

  • MasterMuffin

    Judging phone’s performance from sunspider scores is bs, just sayin’ :)

    • Luka Mlinar


    • Well, I just used one image from the many benchmarks that AnandTech has, that you can see if you follow the link. The performance estimates are based on all the benchmarks, not just Sunspider.
      EDIT – I removed the two benchmarks, they weren’t really adding to the story :)

      • MasterMuffin

        I was just already thinking about all the questions rising from that “How is iPad so powerful” etc.!

  • dust devil

    Same stupid design again,something terribly gone wrong with Samsung since the beginning of this year

    • Jerry Rich

      Go away troll.

      • tdurden64111

        I can’t speak for that dude’s trolling, but lose that fckin button! Do that many people really prefer it?

        • nik1988

          I’m very much pro button. The on screen ones just take up screen real estate and in many apps fail to disappear as they’re not coded to take advantage of immersive mode. It also makes the front of the devise a little more interesting to look at. Hope samsung stick with the button for future galaxy devices.

        • Jesus

          Buttons FTW!

        • Brand recognition. Why would they get rid of it.

          • M3D1T8R

            Nice of them, putting the trademark terrible buttons on there, making it easy for people to recognize their terrible brand.

          • Such a terrible brand that they are the #1 selling Android device. I guess being terrible has finally paid off Lmfao. Hate all you want but it’s your opinion vs 40 million sales with good profit. Yea think about that #Facts

          • M3D1T8R

            Yeah, and McDonald’s sells a lot of sh*tty hamburgers too.
            Obviously I’m not using sales as a part of a technical evaluation.
            And it’ll catch up to them in sales eventually anyway. They already disappointed expectations with the S4, and again (worse) with the S5. Unlimited budget for lying to consumers (aka “marketing”) only works for so long. Eventfully the market catches on. Samsung’s strategy of relentlessly flooding the market, waiting for competitors to die off, likely won’t succeed in the long run in this industry.

          • The S4 was actually a big hit. I’m not sure about S5 sales but ok bro. I’m not going to argue over someone’s opinion of Samsung. I get enough of that action on Droid-Life

          • M3D1T8R

            Yeah I know you from DL, “bro”. (Not your bro.)
            S4 sales did disappoint (look it up), S5 looking even more so (getting eaten alive in Korea where they’re already releasing an upgraded version to try to keep pace with LG).

            I’m not really anti-Samsung. (The S5 has probably the best screen of any device. Wish I could get that display with some of the other good qualities of other manufacturers.) I’m just pro good design and tech.

            Seeing people still defending Samsung’s terrible buttons after all these years makes me think they’ve just never really given on-screen (or even proper order capacative just not that god-awful physical home button and backwards other buttons) a chance. Once I used the Nexus 7 2012 I went nuts trying to go back to my then still fancy new GS3, buttons so awful I finally had to sell it and “downgraded” to a Galaxy Nexus (also Samsung BTW). It had good on-screen buttons but so many other issues I ended up with a warantee replacement HTC DNA, figured I’d get something new in a few months max but nothing has impressed enough, been happy with it for over a year now. Head and shoulders above both of those Samsung devices – this despite loving Samsung’s removable storage and battery.

            You complain about about-Samsung bias but it seems more the case that you’re a pro-Samsung apologist.

          • TLDR

          • M3D1T8R

            Thanks for the reminder for me to not take the time to write intelligent responses to illiterate trolls. Appreciate it.

        • Cole Raney

          Yes. I love the physical button more. It isn’t enough to keep me from getting a g3 instead of an s5 though.

    • Wilson D

      and you dummy put a fucking case on it you fail

    • xoj_21

      actually there is a version with difference back.

    • ddd

      apple did same design first iphone to iphone 5. Apple’s display made from LG IPS LCD and camera made from Sony and processor is made from one company. Apple didn’t have 4g speed from first iphone and voice commend. What can they do? Nothing. They made ios 8 but they copy most of android software, so Apple are biggest hypocratics and Assholes.
      U don’t know shit about samsung. Samsung is billion times better than Apple. GO FUCK YOURSELF.

    • Are you expecting a circle shaped phone or something? I don’t get it

  • Dimitar Gospodinov

    I totally agree… It will be unfair if they release it with a different software…

  • K

    Main reason I don’t care about QHD displays is because there isn’t enough content out there to take advantage of such a high resolution. Perfectly fine with a Full HD display.

    • Xavier_NYC

      agree by the time apps start to support it I’ll already have a new phone (Phone Junky) but you never know Google I/O is right around the corner

      • David Baláž

        And do you also get that there have to be enough of actual devices that physically use that resolution so that developers even start to develop apps for it? I am not saying it is great or something as I did not have the chance to see QHD in person, but it is a next step in display technology so be it.

        Even though there would be many things I eould preffer manufactures to focus on but that is another story

    • Jacob

      Samsung is doing a good job in Tablet market by separating professional grade devices from consumer grade. There are some features that average users pay for it but won’t use (more ram, hi res, 64bit, usb3). Perhaps these features should be moved to a phone called Galaxy S5 Pro.

  • Anonymous

    I am also glad I chose an m8 instead of waiting for the g3. Once apps take advantage of the QHD display, storage may be an issue.

    • Xavier_NYC

      Well you can pop a Micro SD and go up to 128mb so I don’t see that being an issue…

      • Shehryar A.

        U mean’t 128GB right!?!?!

        • Xavier_NYC

          Ha yeah still thrown off by the 225 mbps download speeds..

          • Shehryar A.

            Yes I am pretty astound too because here in Pakistan the maximum speed you get is 1 Mbps when we are lucky !!!!

          • Cole Raney

            That is slower than T-Mobile and AT&T 3G here in the US.

      • Anonymous

        That’s why I specifically said apps. As in can’t transfer over application data unless rooted.

      • ddd

        Why do u really need 128 GB on your phone?
        You need enough 16gb or 32gb or 64gb memory to downloads apps and add musics. Samsung has micro sd so u can memory on your phone.

        • I have a 64gb card and 32gb onboard in my S4 and I have about 8gbs left on the ext sd. I need the 128gb but waiting until I upgrade .

        • Xavier_NYC

          You’re such a dumbass.. If you actually took the time to read what I was responding to you’d see why I said that.. I’m more than fine with 32GB.. READ BEFORE YOU COMMENT TROLL. ..

  • Fer

    Why would anyone complain, it’s the same laggy crap Android phone

    • Jacob Hill

      If you aren’t an Android fan, then why the heck are you here?

  • [email protected]

    Good for them!! South Korea needs special gadgets to keep their minds off that assclown that runs North Kora

  • Blowntoaster

    Think this version only got launched now, as Samsung was waiting for the Snapdragon 805 to go mainstream as the high res screen would put a dampner on performance otherwise.
    Galaxy S series devices need to be the best performers when they launch you know…

    Another reason might also be that the WQHD screen was difficult to manufacture fast enough and in high volumes, maybe they were sorting out issues with the screen that meant it wasn’t ready for the late April launch, as was seen with the S4 when the first 1080p amoled screen was launched by them.
    Samsung would not be able to meet the high demand the Samsung flagship usually gets if it went with this screen on the regular S5 from the start.
    Important thing is, it is out now and if you really really want one, you’ll source one online…
    I wouldn’t mind one. So if the Note 4 dissapoints. Or doesn’t come with an IP 67 rating………..

  • Rahul R

    i think not everybody will be disappointed but people who just brought S5 will be totally pissed… in just one or 2 mnths they dont have a flagship phne is annoying…. they expect a nte 3 which mi8 be too big for them so they expect s5 to be the flagship till nxt year… i will be pissed if I was an early adopter for sure….

    • wtd2009

      Just bought the s5. Not the least bit upset. These upgrades are hardly noticeable, except maybe the ram, but I’m not a heavy user . Now, if the upgrade included substantially improved battery life or better camera features or quality then I might be frustrated. Couple that with the unlikely possibility that this gets released in the US and I’m not at all phased by this new release.

  • wat

    It’s not samsung’s fault snapdragon didn’t launch a good processor til this point this year

  • gettysburg11s

    A year ago, the S4 LTE-A was released in South Korea. We never saw that model come to the U.S. Its logical to assume that the S5 LTE-A will also remain a home market exclusive. This is not even worth getting excited about. Anyways, by the time Samsung released it here, the S6 would almost be ready.

  • tdurden64111

    His diary also contains a similarly titled entry: “Why I’m not disappointed that I didn’t get asked to prom.”

  • SarreqTeryx

    stop calling 2560×1400 QuadHD. it’s not. QuadHD is 4K is 3840×2160

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_display_resolution
      “QHD (Quad HD), also sometimes advertised as WQHD[29] due to its widescreen shape, or 1440p,[30] is a display resolution of 2560×1440 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It has four times as many pixels as the 720p HDTV video standard, hence the name.”

      • Bishop

        Yup, you correctly called 2560×1440 QHD, nothing wrong there….. and 4K is UHD (Ultra HD) not QHD. So it would be completely incorrect to call 4K as QHD as he suggested lol.

      • Bluegrapes

        They make the marketing names for these resolutions too confusing! :D

    • Cole Raney

      Qhd means quad hd. 1440p has 4 times the resolution of 720p. 720p is HD. Ergo, QHD is appropriate.

      • SarreqTeryx

        720p is not technically HD by the ATSC, 720p is MD (Medium Density). just because marketers like fudging terms doesn’t make it right.

  • xoj_21

    not like we will be able to buy it its korea only and they did a similar thing s2 launched, s3 launched ,s4 launched. they only changed cpu to acomodate LTEA

    now they change the screen too..

  • Android Developer

    It was actually mentioned on GSMArena that the phone will cost much more – it will cost about 919 dollars…
    So, this is another reason why you shouldn’t feel bad for the release.

  • Will S.

    It’s what the Galaxy S5 should’ve been…

  • Frank perez

    There’s another key spec 32gb of storage for all your apps

  • Frank perez

    Definitely feeling some kind of way that no 32gb s5 is available what kind of manufacturer announces a 32gb model to never bring it to market with all the Samsung extra software it should start at 32gb

  • Shai Rotbard

    I understood that it won’t release to the wide world in the coming months. But, maybe the galaxy F will come soon.

    So, my question is, do you think that I should wait for a new galaxy or just to buy the regular Galaxy S5 which is awesome as it is?

    • I think Samsung will save the Galaxy F for September, to counter the larger iPhone.

  • TheGCU

    Note series FTW.