OnePlus One vs. Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison

August 1, 2014

When industry newcomer OnePlus launched the One they claimed it was a “flagship killer”, targeting the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 in terms of features and functionality, but without the premium cost. Priced at $299 for the base and $349 for the higher-capacity model, the OnePlus One actually competes against mid-range devices like the Google Nexus 5 price-wise, promising a high-end user experience at an accessible price. The One’s launch was quite over-hyped, although reception has been positive so far, supply shortages notwithstanding.

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We earlier compared the OnePlus One with the Google Nexus 5 (made by LG), which are sold at similar price ranges. Here we compare the OnePlus One against the Galaxy 5, which is perhaps the device it intends to compete against. After all, the Chinese company’s motto to “never settle” also means never settling for expensive devices when you can get the same quality for much less.

Read & Watch – OnePlus One Review

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Design and Build Quality

The One and the S5 are built with extremely different design languages. The OnePlus is decidedly the larger device, offering bigger screen real estate in a more stretched package. The S5, built with IP-67 certification, is more rugged in its construction and follows Samsung’s familiar design with rounded corners slapped on a plastic body. There’s the trademark hardware Home button, flanked by the back and the new multi-tasking capacitive button.

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Both devices offer the familiar Android button layout, although the S5’s microUSB charger port at the bottom is covered with a removable tab. This tab helps protect the device against dust, spills and some immersion into water, although it can be cumbersome to use at times. Both handsets have removable back panels, with the S5 offering a removable battery and microSD expansion underneath.

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Here’s where the two differ. The One lets users remove and change the back cover, but the battery is not user-replaceable, nor is there an option for storage expansion. OnePlus actually designed the One to be as simple and straightforward as possible, in terms of the hardware.

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In terms of size, while the One’s screen is bigger by 0.4 inches, the S5’s wider bezel brings the two phones’ physical sizes close together. Now in terms aesthetics, it’s quite subjective, as Samsung’s use of a perforated design on its back cover is a love-it or hate-it deal. Meanwhile, the One comes with a sandstone-like finish, which should give you a good amount of grip and protection against fingerprint smudges.

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Display

Here’s where the Samsung Galaxy S5 shines, as its Super AMOLED display is definitely clearer and crisper than the OnePlus One’s LTPS screen. The S5 shows vivid contrasts and saturated colors, which is a signature among Samsung displays. It can be too vivid at times, however, which could bee too saturated for some. Fortunately, this can be toned down in the settings.

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The One is at an advantage when it comes to multimedia consumption. The 5.5-inch screen should be a treat to use for watching movies, playing games, browsing and even just messaging with friends.

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Both devices come with densities of over 400 PPI, so both should offer crisp and smooth text and images. Given the difference in screen sizes, however (and with both running at 1080p), expect the S5’s display to be crisper than the One’s.

Performance

The S5 and the One come with comparable hardware, with either device running on a Snapdragon 801 with Adreno 330 GPU. The One trumps the S5 in terms of RAM (3GB vs 2GB), although with this much memory in the first place, it might be difficult to feel an advantage in everyday scenarios. With similar platforms, it boils down to the software and optimizations.

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The OnePlus One comes shipped with CyanogenMod 11S — one of the more popular third-party custom ROMs around. While its Android 4.4.4 underpinnings are already a great canvas for features and customizations, the Cyanogen team has customized CM11S with the power user in mind. The OnePlus comes with a bevy of tweaks and settings that are accessible out of the box. For those who want a vanilla Android experience, OnePlus is actually working on an AOSP version of the One, so stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S5 comes with the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz, which can be a subjective matter as it’s decidedly a signature Samsung interface that offers a world of difference over the vanilla Android experience. Still, in our tests, we’ve found that Samsung has optimized TouchWiz to perform better in this iteration — without the lags common in previous versions, except in a very few instances, such as the MyMagazine news aggregator.

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UI preference is really a subjective matter, so if you’re the type to go for in-depth customizations, then the OnePlus One might be the device for you. If you’re satisfied with the colorful UI of TouchWiz and the added functionalities that the S5 offers, such as the ultra low-power setting, fingerprint sensor and heart-rate monitor, then the S5 might be the best.

Still, both devices will give you decent speed and performance, so it’s a choice of whether you prefer Cyanogen’s or Samsung’s user experience.

Hardware

Here’s where Samsung’s flagship devices shine, at least in terms of features and functionality. Samsung is the type to incorporate all sorts of bells and whistles in their top-of-the-line devices. In the case of the Galaxy S5, you have the fingerprint sensor and heart rate monitor. While these have their own applications, such as more secure device unlocking or access to financial apps, it’s ultimately up to the user if these are necessary.

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In my opinion, these are add-ons that are nice to have, but not necessarily of value. What I like with the Galaxy S5 is the fact that it has a removable and replaceable battery, which can come in handy when you can pop in a spare. It also offers expandable storage via microSD, which should be a good thing for those who need more than the usual 64 Gigs of space.

With regard to battery life, both devices should last a day of moderate to heavy usage, although the Galaxy S5 does provide ultra power-saving features that can let you squeeze out just a bit more by reducing functionality and display quality.

Camera

With your smartphone being the most convenient and accessible camera that you carry virtually everywhere you go, it’s important to have a good smartphone shooter that you can quickly pull out of your purse or pocket. In this regard, the S5’s 16-megapixel ISOCELL camera is a wonder to use, producing crisp and vivid images. You won’t go wrong with the S5’s camera on Auto mode, although it also offers a handful of modes and settings.

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The One’s 13-megapixel shooter is also decent, and the shipped camera app comes with an innovative swiping interface, through which you can switch among different modes simply by swiping across the screen. Another advantage is the choice of video codec for recording movies — something that can be useful when you’re fond of post-processing videos for sharing or upload.

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Both cameras offer decent speed and performance, with Samsung’s ISOCELL providing quite a bit more, in terms of color saturation. The One’s camera and app is also easy to use, which is a good deal for a device at this price.

Software

OnePlus and Samsung took drastically divergent routes in producing their flagship devices, at least in terms of software. Samsung is all about having a chock-full of functions and features, including its own navigation app, a MultiWindow option and even a floating Toolbox for easy access to apps. The shift to the multitasking button from the old capacitive menu button is a welcome change, in line with the evolution of Android’s UI so far. However, not all add-ons are welcome, such as MyMagazine, which I feel is too curated for general use.

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Meanwhile, OnePlus One took the CyanogenMod route, which is a powerful custom ROM that can be described as Android on steroids. On the surface, it looks like stock Android, but dig deeper into the functions and settings, and it’s decidedly a different beast altogether. You can tweak layouts, interfaces, buttons and themes to your liking. There’s also Cyanogen’s Gallery app and a native screen recorder, which is not usually found in other stock ROMs.

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Again, the choice is subjective: whether you want bells and whistles, including a quick multi-tasking button and MultiWindow, or if you want an interface that you can tweak exactly to your liking.

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Price

Now here’s where the clincher might lie. The OnePlus One is priced more competitively, at $299 for the base model and $349 for the higher-capacity device (unlocked, contract-free). The Samsung Galaxy S5 is often subsidized via two-year contracts, which should make it accessible for anyone willing to go for a post-paid subscription. The device nominally sells for upwards of $600 off-contract, depending on the discount and promotion.

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Do take note, however, that while the Galaxy S5 is widely available in the market, the OnePlus One is still quite scarce, and requires an invite before you can purchase. That’s how in-demand the device is. And OnePlus still has not even launched in certain markets to date!

Price notwithstanding, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S5, as the Korean firm has proven the strength of its Galaxy brand flagship. If you want something fresh and novel (as well as inexpensive and straightforward, too), then the OnePlus One is a good choice.

Gallery

Specs Comparison

 
OnePlus One
Samsung Galaxy S5
Display5.5-inch LTPS IPS with TOL display, 1080p (1920 x 1080), 401 ppi. 5.1-inch Super AMOLED, 1080p (1920 x 1080), 432 ppi
Processor2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801
Adreno 330
2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801
Adreno 330
RAM3 GB2 GB
Storage16/64 GB, no expansion16/32 GB, expandable
Camera13 MP rear LED flash, Sony Exmor RS sensor, 6p lens, f 2.0, 4K, HDR
5MP front, f 2.0, 80 degrees field of view
16 MP ISOCELL sensor, LED flash
2.1 MP front
Battery3,100 mAh2,800 mAh
ConnectivityGPS, GLONASS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFCGPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
NetworksGSM/WCDMA/FDD-LTE/TD-LTE3G, LTE Cat. 3 2X2 MIMO
SoftwareCyanogenMod 11S based on Android 4.4 KitkatAndroid 4.4 Kitkat
Dimensions152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm
162 grams
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm,
145 grams

So, which one do you feel is the better choice overall? OnePlus One, or the Galaxy S5? Let us know your thoughts down below.

Comments

  • Luka Mlinar

    Well you can’t really buy the OnePlus so i guess Sammy wins :/

    • http://www.AndroidAuthority.com/ Darcy Alexander LaCouvee

      Unobtanium still has me rolling Luka…. LOL!!

      • Luka Mlinar

        I’ll tell ya man; the unavailable jokes never get old. You should see the ones in the comment section of their post’s on Facebook. I’ve never seen people more frustrated and OnePlus is forced to do damage control. For every time they post something they comment on another comment that says something along the lines “Just got my phone, and i love it”. That way only the positive comments show up when you click a pic. From the outside looks all roses but as soon as you scroll down you see everything short of death treats :D

    • dodz

      yeah, you could buy plutonium from the black market but not a OnePlus.

      • Syed Ali

        good one

    • Ryan Lounsbury

      You can buy the OPO from Expansys and then wholesalers but they mark it up.

    • jay

      Had 5 invitation so far and think you can get it if you want

  • Gregory Andrew Paige

    I have a OnePlus One and I have to say, I had an S5 for 2 weeks. Galaxy S5 is laggy and randomly freezes. My OnePlus One is unstoppable.

    • _X_

      Wow really. ?..mine never did that. Sorry about that!

      • rubbaluvva

        maybe if you didnt have tons of shitty apps clogging it up , my s5 absolutely flys , fully rooted with all the crapware taken out .

        • jonathan3579

          Look what you had to do to make your phone fly. You failed at your own example. Good job.

    • Jerry Rich

      When your 1+1 breaks do you send it to China? Good luck.

      • Gregory Andrew Paige

        When your galaxy s5 breaks do you send it to Korea? Or get a shitty refurb from your carrier? #FailedLogic

        • Jesus

          Not sure if sarcasm…

    • Sunny

      I got both too and my s5 is not laggy. you must be downloading random shit on your phone maybe a virus along with it. and that’s before i installed a custom rom on my s5, after custom rom on it much better. plus nova launcher.

      • rubbaluvva

        nova rocks :)))

    • sofia_top10

      If you’re considering a new Android phone this spring or summer, the Samsung Galaxy S5  is the best choice for most people. It's the most balanced in size and power, without flaws that could be dealbreakers, unlike most of the competition. It has all the features you’d expect from a major Android phone release: the fastest processors, a 16 MP camera, a gorgeous 1080p screen, the ability to shoot full 4K video, and a battery that lasts longer than a day. It’s also the first widely available flagship smartphone that has real water-resistance out of the box. The Galaxy S5’s IP67 rating means it can survive a dunking in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes

      • Sarper

        How much Samsung paid you ?

  • Shark Bait

    To be honest, the open plus is pretty much a cheap S5 with cyanogen so it could win, only you can’t actually buy one…..

    • Ryan Lounsbury

      Not really, totally different design language, CM, bigger screen, more RIM and far less sensors. The two devices are apples and oranges in comparison.

      • Shark Bait

        I think they are very similar, and the design is close too. For a start they both have very dull designs, there’s nothing special in there. Both have a chrome rim and both use plastics.

        My point was they are very similar devices , jet the one plus cost wayyyyyy less, so for me that would win

  • Marc Perrusquia

    This article claims the nexus 5 is midrange bitch please.

    • jonathan3579

      Technically, it is. It’s last year’s specs but just because it’s midrange doesn’t mean it’s a piece of shit. It’s actually aged better than any other device I can think of to date.

  • Ahmad Nauman Mirza

    waterproofiing and removable battery ,,,,,sammy wins

    • Jayfeather787

      I think the fact that it is a slow, laggy piece of shit makes it the loser.

      • xoj_21

        is not laggy stop making shit,
        i have exynoss version stock rom removed most of bloatware nova launcher and it very fast on the lastest update.
        though i dont get why it doesnt have 3gb ram like the note 3.

        • Jayfeather787

          Oh, good. Without the bloatware and nova launcher, it is significantly faster. Completely stock, it is slow.

          • http://www.AndroidAuthority.com/ Darcy Alexander LaCouvee

            Imagine if you could choose out the gate what OS and what theme powered your device. You have no idea the untold millions of dollars these manufacturers spend trying to add ‘features’ to their devices. Liberate them and cut the bloat!

          • Jayfeather787

            That is a fantastic idea. I wish you worked at Samsung.

          • Jayfeather787

            Liberated. This is in context. I think

      • andrew

        i like my s5. why you so mad

  • Alex h

    Hands down oneplus. The s5 has way to much useless crap on it and bogs it down. My oneplus is pretty much perfect. Perfect size screen battery life camera 64gb and cyanogenmod

  • shamatuu

    i would pick the One plus over the GS 5.

  • Adam

    Have both. Quality of device S5 wins by a mile. Software goes to OnePlus.

    • Jayfeather787

      Quality? What quality?

      • Adam

        I donno man, the S5 just feels more solid. The OnePlus has a little better asthetics with the Sandpaper finish on the back, but the screen looks washed out(mine doesnt even have the yellowing), the camera is mediocre at best, speakers are meh..so overall to me the “quality” of the S5 hardware seems better.

        • Jayfeather787

          Ah, okay.

      • Ryan Lounsbury

        I would say the back plate in the opo is superior both in fit & finish and the ability to trade it out for the wood backs.

    • Sunny

      you can get software of oneplus on s5 anyway :p

  • Ryan Lounsbury

    While I don’t have an S5 my wife has the S4 and I recently received my OnePlus so I’ve at least been able to compare devices at that level (I had an S3 prior). The simple fact that the OnePlus runs a custom version of CyanogenMod is enough to give the nod towards the OPO over the S5. That being said many of the points above are certainly valid.

    I only have a few complaints with the OPO thus far. The biggest two being the notification LED and the back lights on the hardware keys are decidedly too dim. Even with the hardware key back light turned up to max you can still barely see them even in a dark room and the notification LED might be more due to it’s tiny size vs. the brightness. My other gripe might be hardware or software related but it does seem the touch recognition on the OPO can be hit-or-miss at times. Sometimes it over scrolls based on the movement of my finger and other times it doesn’t seem to want to scroll at all. Lastly, the CyanogenMod theme engine needs a lot of work still. Any Theme I’ve installed and applied comes with a litany of errors mostly with the settings app crashing at arbitrary times (and always when trying to access the wireless network list to connect to a network). Thanks to Nova Launcher and it’s icon themes + customization tools to pickup where CM’s theme tool fails.

    Those issues aside the OPO will certainly be my daily driver for a long time. It’s a performance beast and has a great screen despite losing some DPI to other 1080p screens due to difference in diagonal size. Some of the baked in features of CM 11S are certainly a welcome addition and fortunately I haven’t experienced the random activation of lock screen gestures while the phone has been in my pocket.

    At the end of the day it’s a phone that has best-in-class technology for previous-gen technology pricing. If OPO doesn’t survive or CM stops supporting the 11S version of the ROM I can always find support from the many AOSP ROM’s floating around so I’m not concerned about the phone over the long term. I can just install whatever ROM seems most interesting at the time. Fortunately, with the buzz this device has created I suspect I need not worry about that anytime soon.

    One more note regarding the size of the phone. Thanks to the tapered back and the sandstone finish back plate despite the device coming at 5.5″ it’s almost usable with 1 hand despite my not-so-large hands. I actually enjoy the extra screen real estate and don’t mind using my phone with 2 hands as opposed to one. Might right thumb surely appreciates it. The best thing OnePlus could to to improve this device in it’s second generation is to lose the hardware buttons and cut the top & bottom bezel in half. That would make it well balanced.

    • http://www.AndroidAuthority.com/ Darcy Alexander LaCouvee

      Ryan that was an exceptionally thorough comment that contains a ton of helpful info. I’ve played with both extensively and really have to agree with you. Still, for a company relatively new to the game what OnePlus has been able to accomplish with CM is pretty astounding. Thanks for leaving such a great comment. It will help many in their quest for the perfect phone!

      • Ryan Lounsbury

        Thanks, I’m happy to answer any questions folks have with first hand experience.

        I should add that if you approach the phone as a hobbyst device and being v1.0 hardware and really OS and that there will be quirks (many of which fixable by software fixes) you won’t be surprised by the overall experience.

        The beauty of Android is that if you don’t like something you can replace the software or even the OS itself.

    • jangeloracoma

      Ryan, I use Samsung devices and the first thing I do after extensively testing the stock features and functionalities is usually to find a compatible release of CM. I do like how manufacturers optimize the UI for their hardware, although I prefer the customizability and community-oriented approach of custom ROMs.

  • Alienjazz

    The fact that the “flagship” S5 from att only comes with 16GB of storage in 2014 (only 8 GB useable) is a FAIL. I have a Galaxy noe 2 now but my iphone 4 from 2010 had 32 GB of storage. Samsung makes their own flash memory…. dont they???? And I dont wanna hear about expandable storage. Whatcha gonna be able to put on it? Answer…..Uhhhh, not so much.

    • xoj_21

      i have 32gb 48mbps
      samsung rom let you put apps on it. without root.
      also note 3 came 32gb standard.

      and s3 and s4 had 32gb versions. also u pay way too much money for that iphone. pretty much ripped off

      • Alienjazz

        Well the iphone 4 was the last iphone I bought when the iphone was still a better choice. Have had the note series since then. Didnt get the note 3 cause there wasnt enough reason to get rid of my note 2. Waiting for the note 4.
        Point is att didnt offer a 32gb S5. The fact that a budget phone, 350 for the one plus with 64gb of storage should make samsung think and step up their game. 650 off contract for a 16 gb phone?? Now theres the rip off……

    • _X_

      My S5 has 32GB….

      • Alienjazz

        You gotta add in att non removeable bloatware garbage as well….

    • sachouba

      My S5 had about 11 Go of useable storage when I got it…

  • noone2

    Just a heads up for those talking about the 1+1 availability issue. It’s definitely a pain in the ass, but I got an invite on my first attempt. The other day they gave out 5000 invites in a raffle. You had a 1 in 10 chance of getting one. Took about 5 minutes to enter by liking them on FB, twitter, etc. I’d much rather have just bought it normally and saved the hassle, but oh well, I wanted one and so I did it.

    Next time you see a big raffle or invite giveaway, just give it a shot. When you see 200K entries, it would appear discouraging at first, but the odds are actually not that bad. Could have made your odds 1 in 5 if you invited a couple friends/fake accounts.

    • Ryan Lounsbury

      That is the big downer. I got mine on the 5000 give away.

  • _X_

    I love it how people call the S5 shit….the S5 is a very good phone…there is more to a phone than the stuff listed in the artcle. S5 will win if you go and look at attention to detail….Sammy even looks at radiation which the phone can emit.

    • hddhhd

      Agree

    • Jerry Rich

      It’s a great phone. Most of the hate seems to come from the HTC fanboys. I guess because their company is failing. Or because they think aluminum is somehow a premium metal.

  • Tim Stanford

    I’ve got Oppo 7. Great phone. Oppo and its other devices will be a force to be reckon with. Time will tell.

    • noneplusnone

      oppo find 7 and 7a are far better than oneplus one crap… for whatever reason anybody wants a quality chinese phone, better get xiaomi or oppo…

  • DaviDM™

    Anything over touchpiss :)

  • Chris

    S5= quality
    One+1= fail!
    Yellowing of the screen is not acceptable!
    The s5 has the best screen by far. The one+1 is a company with no reputation and I wouldn’t trust it. I know Samsung will last for two years or more, but will the one plus two last? I’d much rather buy from a reputable company, rather than buying from a company that just invented a product and has no reputation.

    Haters gonna Hate no matter what, but guess what? It’s better to get quality over quantity!

  • Tim B.

    Another important feature to many that the OnePlus and OPPO Find have, no hassle rom flashing!

  • flamencoguy

    Just got my 1+1 and it rocks. You can buy them from Antelife, Pandawill and 1949deal all .com. All safe and reliable. Have ordered from them before.

  • rubbaluvva

    no removable battery or micro sd , that’s when i stopped reading oneplus blew it.

  • goneplusgone

    s5 makes them all eat dust… note4 coming… more dusts for noneplus none…

  • Cubfan99

    I have the S5, got 3 invites for the OnePlus for some strange reason. Gave two away and used one for myself so I got it last week. It is a quick phone, noticeably faster than the S5. I loved how you could launch the camera from turned off by drawing a circle on the screen… launching the camera on the S5 is ridiculously hard and slow. The build of the OnePlus is solid (much heavier) and kind of amazing for the price. But that’s where the winning stops for me.

    The sandstone finish is odd and kind of a turn-off, exactly the same as the cheap Bear Motion cases available for most phones. The size of the phone makes it much harder to handle, and the S5 feels about 75% better in the hand to me. The screen contrast on the OnePlus makes the image washed out, similar to the Nexus 5. I use my S5 as my clock at night (blue numbers on a black screen), and that’s impossible for the OnePlus, as the whole screen is lit fairly brightly in the darkness.

    I did miss a few of the features of the S5, such as the fingerprint reader (used for some password entry like LastPass) and the hand swipe for a screenshot. The auto-brightness of the S5 is MUCH better, as the OnePlus is too dim in most circumstances. And the non-removable battery is kind of a deal-killer, though it does seem to last about the same as the S5.

    The kiss-of-death for the OnePlus is the yellow band I had at the bottom of my screen. It was just a subtle warming, but you could not unsee it. Some said it would go away, but it did not. And even worse, their support would not give me an RMA for return, and gave some ridiculous excuse that it was part of the design… “We hope you understand,” they said. Yeah, sure. LOTS of people are reporting this issue.

    I sold the OnePlus and decided not to mess with the company again. Folks, buying this phone is a roll of the dice at best, and you won’t want to deal with them on any kind of issue.

  • Sarper

    Why do you compare a device that practically does not exist with Samsung Galaxy S5 ?

  • jay

    Easy one if you up to renew your contract go for the S5. But me I got the one plus and have to say I am happy with it

  • TeeHee12

    6 Minutes 41 Seconds (6:41). It says OnePlus One Vs Nexus 5 LOL

  • Volvogia @XDA

    Galaxy over the 1+1 anyday. Better, screen on the S5 along with removable battery, Micro SD slot, better camera…
    I could care less about the CM11 on the 1+1. Id gladly take the touchwiz, download Nova, then uninstall the touchwiz with root access, along with all the other bloat that Sammy and the carriers love to put on these phones. Samsung Galaxy S5 owns the 1+1.