Samsung Galaxy S5 review

by: Joshua VergaraApril 7, 2014

It’s flagship season here at Android Authority, and following our in-depth look at the HTC One (M8) and the Sony Xperia Z2, it’s now time to dive into Samsung’s latest high-end smartphone offering! As is the case with every Samsung launch, the Galaxy S5 is one of the most eagerly-anticipated smartphone releases of the year, but initial impressions were mixed at best. Those who were hoping for a drastic break from the past were left disappointed. Others felt that the combination of familiar design with some new elements works, in fact, to Samsung’s advantage. And, with so many compelling alternatives on the table, choosing the best Android smartphone is harder than ever. What does, and does not, work in its favor is what we find out in this comprehensive review of the Samsung Galaxy S5!

You might like: 19 best Samsung Galaxy S5 accessories!

samsung galaxy s5 aa (8 of 36) Incremental updates have been a trend with other flagship releases this year, and that’s also the case with the Samsung Galaxy S5, with a return of many elements you may remember from previous iterations of the smartphone. There are some subtle differences, but the design tweaks are ultimately not that significant. samsung galaxy s5 aa (36 of 36) The first thing you’ll likely notice is the familiar shape of the smartphone, with its rounded corners that keep together a pretty flat profile overall. Depending on your perspective on the Galaxy S series, this form factor will either feel pleasantly familiar or too played out. samsung galaxy s5 aa (7 of 36) Samsung’s signature button layout returns as well, but there’s a welcome change here. This time around you get the physical home button, a capacitive back button, and a brand new capacitive recent apps button, which has replaced the menu button found in other Samsung smartphones. The change should provide a more consistent experience, especially for users coming from stock Android or other OEMs. You’ll also notice that the bezels around the display of the Galaxy S5 are a little larger than on its predecessor. Some may lament this change, but there is definitely a purpose behind the move. Samsung made this change to improve the durability of the phone, making it harder for the screen to break when the phone falls on its sides. A few early drop tests seem to suggest that this measure of caution is working, though we still advise using a quality case (Best cases for the Galaxy S5). The wider bezels supposedly help with the phone’s water and dust resistance as well. samsung galaxy s5 aa (18 of 36) Coming around to sides, you’ll find Samsung’s typical button layout with the volume rocker on the left and the power button on the right side. The ridges on the sides of the phone are more pregnant than on the Galaxy Note 3 before it, but I can’t say that affects handling. For all intents and purposes, the sides are still flat, and so the handling largely remains the same. The microUSB charging port at the bottom is covered with a small plastic flap, another compromise required to ensure water protection. The headphone jack and IR blaster found at the top are uncovered, but still capable of withstanding the elements. samsung galaxy s5 aa (11 of 36) And finally, we turn to the back, which is easily one of the most discussed aspects of the phone, and the only major departure from an otherwise familiar design language. The first thing to know is that the cover requires a bit more effort to snap into place, in order to make sure that no water can make it past the sealing gasket on the inside. But it’s the design, not the functionality of the back of the Galaxy S5 that’s likely to garner mixed reactions. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the dimpled finish, especially when I compare it with the pleasant faux leather texture Samsung used on the Note 3. samsung galaxy s5 aa (1 of 36) Looks are an important factor, but handling is just as crucial for the experience a phone ultimately offers. In this regard, Samsung definitely deserves some credit. The Galaxy S5, despite featuring a slightly larger 5.1-inch display, is only marginally bigger than its predecessor, and remains very easy to handle. If you liked how the Galaxy S4 felt in your hand, you will feel right at home on the S5 as well. Of course, no amount of good design can change the fact that the Galaxy S5 comes with a large display, so if big phones aren’t your thing, you need look elsewhere. With that said, at least for me, the S5 is probably the best handling devices in its class. While the Galaxy S5’s looks may be lacking in some areas, at the very least, it should get points for ease of use, good functionality, and a gentle learning curve.

samsung galaxy s5 aa (4 of 36) Like the previous generations, the Galaxy S5 features a beautiful Super AMOLED display, with a 0.1-inch bump in size compared with the S4. You get pretty much everything you may want in a display from this 1080p screen with a pixel density of 432 ppi, including crispness, color vibrancy, contrast, brightness, and viewing angles. The highly vibrant colors suit well the UI design of TouchWiz, as colors basically pop out, almost feeling like a punch in the face. This kind of vibrancy is certainly eye-catching, but you can tone it down if you prefer more accurate colors using the Cinema mode from the available display presets. Viewing angles are as good as ever, and even at very steep angles colors remain vivid. Pretty much any and all media that you’re going to watch on this display shines through, so you’ll definitely enjoy yourself while playing games like Plants vs Zombies 2.

Also worth mentioning is the screen’s ability to register touches from your fingers even if you’re wearing gloves, along with its capacity to recognize a hovering finger, to take advantage of its Air View capabilities. Samsung did not make a big deal of air gestures this time, but the ability to preview files or read a quick message without touching the screen is still a nice little feature of TouchWiz.

samsung galaxy s5 aa (19 of 36) In line with what is expected from a proper flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S5 features the best processing package that is currently available. You get a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5 GHz, slightly faster than what is found in competing smartphones, backed by the Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. We often see comments regarding stutter and lag on Samsung Galaxy devices, and while this might have been a real issue in the past, I rarely faced it when I used the Galaxy S5. Part of the credit definitely goes to the updated and seemingly optimized version of TouchWiz; the only real delays I spotted were in the My Magazine area, when the app was refreshing online content.Multitasking is a breeze as well, with no stutters found in the new recent apps screen, but I could have done without the smooth yet lengthy fade transition between apps. Another staple feature of Samsung devices, Multi Window, is entirely lag-free as well. Especially with the slew of tools available in the new version of TouchWiz, getting anything done on this device shouldn’t be a problem, and thankfully, the phone is powerful enough to handle everything.

samsung galaxy s5 aa (10 of 36) I’ve already mentioned an important new feature of the Samsung Galaxy S5, which is its IP67 rating for protection against dust and water. This rating means that the phone is almost completely protected from dust, and can be immersed in water to a depth of 1 meter and for as long as 30 minutes, without any negative effect on response or performance. When turning on the phone or taking it off charging, you get reminders to secure the back cover and the microUSB charging port respectively. Once that’s done, you’re all set. After a few splashes, the phone remained very responsive, and I didn’t even have trouble with water registering presses on the screen, an issue that has come up occasionally with other devices. samsung galaxy s5 gold back cover battery 2 Under the back cover are two features that have played a big role in Samsung’s ongoing market leadership — the removable battery and the microSD card slot. The IR blaster on the top allows you to control your TV or set top boxes, via an app that also helps you find the best content on TV. You also get a slew of sensors within the phone that help with various functions, such as the S Health Pedometer or the Air Gestures that make a return in the Galaxy S5. samsung galaxy s5 aa (15 of 36) Call quality on the T-Mobile network yielded no problems, with no dropped calls and no complaints from either end with regards to sound quality. Speaking of sound quality, the speakers of the Galaxy S5 are once again relegated to the back of the device, and largely offer the same experience as before. It is possible to mess with some settings to achieve better sound, but the speakers of the Galaxy S5 just don’t cut it against the competition, especially smartphones that feature front-facing units, like the HTC One (M8). samsung galaxy s5 aa (27 of 36) The biggest additions when it comes to hardware are the Heart Rate Monitor and the Finger Scanner. The Heart Rate Monitor does improve the functionality of the S Health app, but unless you’re only looking for a snapshot of your heart rate from time to time, the single readings made possible by this sensor won’t prove very useful to anyone truly passionate about fitness. You can find out more about the Heart Rate Monitor in the feature focus video below.

The fingerprint scanner does add another level of security to the device. But I found it to be a little more bothersome than anything, especially considering the time it takes to get into the phone, even with the finger scanner working as intended. The scanner’s usefulness will definitely go up a notch once it features more functionality than just unlocking your phone, but until then, using there’s not much to talk about. You can check out the Finger Scanner in action in another feature focus video below.

And finally when it comes to the battery life, the 2,800 mAh unit of the Galaxy S5 may not seem a big upgrade, but proves to be more than capable. When I filmed the feature focus videos above and the camera shootout you’ll see below, I used the phone quite heavily. Several solid hours of taking massive amounts of pictures, playing Google Play Music throughout drives to and from location, and the phone calls in between, left me with around 50% battery life after 7 hours. As the work got done, usage waned, and with long standby times, I was able to get to the late hours of the night without the remaining battery percentage dropping to below double digits. So, the average user will get longevity from this phone, while powers users may find themselves reaching for the power cord just in time for bed. The ultra power saving mode may be your saving grace however, as you are able to strip the phone UI to its monochromatic bare bones, and just the key apps and settings, in exchange of greatly increased longevity.

samsung galaxy s5 aa (24 of 36) One of the biggest additions to the Galaxy S5 is the new ISOCELL camera, an optic package that brings a 16 megapixels sensor fitted with a new technology that isolates each pixel from neighboring ones for higher quality photos. Moving on from the technical jargon, the quality of the camera speaks for itself, as you can see in the sample images and the camera shootout feature focus video below.

First, let’s talk about the app, which is always a big part of the equation when taking pics with a smartphone camera. The menu adopts the circle motif of the updated TouchWiz look, while dialing back on some of the features of the Galaxy S4 and adding new ones. It’s a pretty simple application to use at first glance, with Auto Mode more than enough to help you get where you need to go. But opening the Settings menu shows you a long scrolling menu with all the options you can play with. You can really tweak the experience of the camera to your liking, with the ability to tap to take shots, use face detection, and more. As far as modes go, many of the ones that originally came with the Galaxy S4 are no longer built-in. You get a short list of modes in the selector and then a link to the Samsung App Store to download more. But you do get two particularly new ones this time, Selective Focus and Live-HDR. Samsung Galaxy S5 camera app aa 3 Live HDR gives you the option to see through the viewfinder the effect HDR would have on your shot, and is very useful if you’re not sure how HDR would affect the scene. When used right, this option can really help you enhance a photo that would otherwise turn out unusable. Selective Focus is Samsung’s way of adding some style to your photos. With the mode on, you can focus on your main subject and then the camera will take multiple photos and process them together. The processing takes a little, but if done right, you can play around with the resulting image by choosing to focus the foreground, background, or entire shot. When the feature works as it should, the results are quite good, but it can be hit or miss. When the software is unable to draw a perfect line between subjects, it’s definitely noticeable, as a portion of the picture will be blurred because it wasn’t processed properly.

That being said, I found myself quite frustrated over the effect not working in instances where I knew that the foreground should be distinguishable from the rest, especially if I didn’t hold the phone perfectly still while taking the multiple shots. Nonetheless, it’s a good start for an effect that adds another element of style to your smartphone photography.

ISOCELL seems to do the trick as far as quality is concerned, resulting in photos that feature great color saturation and good detail. Details are captured quite well, with a number of photos showing good sharpness even after zooming in, but this isn’t the case for every image. Lowering the overall lighting conditions will exacerbate the issue, which isn’t particularly surprising, but the camera does get some decent shots even in those less than ideal conditions. With a slew of features and settings at its disposal, the ISOCELL camera proves to be a worthy companion for anyone who wants to get a little bit extra out of their camera experience compared to other devices.

samsung galaxy s5 aa (20 of 36) When it comes to the software, the updated version of TouchWiz is not, once again, the drastic change that many would have hoped for, but it does refine some elements and introduces a few new features to what is otherwise the standard formula. At first glance, TouchWiz seems very familiar with its highly saturated color scheme and flashy icons. The homescreens are largely the same, with the app drawer retaining its horizontal paginated layout. samsung galaxy s5 aa (13 of 36) Swiping to the left, however, will open up Samsung’s take on the second homescreen experience, My Magazine. While it’s supposed to be a news aggregator, it does piggy back on Flipboard, but even then, not to the extent that you might like. Even casual users of Flipboard, which by itself is a very powerful and stylish news application, will not be happy to know that any subscriptions they may have set up don’t filter into My Magazine. Instead, the app pulls from a curated list of categories and your social media feeds. More freedom of choice would have definitely helped My Magazine provide the experience it was hoping to, but ultimately the app largely serves like a shortcut to Flipboard. samsung galaxy s5 aa (22 of 36) The more obvious change is the inclusion of the new recent apps button and screen, which as the name suggests, opens up a list of your recent apps. It’s a welcome change, especially for anyone used to a more stock-like multitasking experience. samsung galaxy s5 aa (29 of 36) Other changes can be found when you pull down the notification menu. The power widget is now populated with circular icons, and comes with the now standard long list of toggles for all the available features. Many of them will be familiar, but one that is worth mentioning is Toolbox, a small floating button much like Facebook’s Chat Heads, that provides a quick shortcut to up to five different favorite applications. Another neat feature is the download booster, that allows TouchWiz to use Wi-Fi in conjunction with your mobile data connection to download files that are larger than 30 MB. This feature works extremely well, but don’t get carried away as you may find yourself running out of mobile data very quickly. samsung galaxy s5 aa (21 of 36) All of these features are found in a completely revamped settings menu that has taken on that circle motif as well. All options are elegantly categorized in pulldowns, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. After that, many of the features you may be familiar with return, like the gestures you may or may not use, Multi Window, and an S Health app that has been updated mainly to accommodate the Heart Rate Monitor.

What is most striking about the latest version of TouchWiz is that it’s actually quite smooth, considering that lagginess has been one of the biggest points of contention with previous editions. The played out sound effects can get annoying very fast, but the updated version features enough subtle changes to make it feel fresh. It won’t be long before the familiarity sets in again, but at the very least, TouchWiz has now become snappy and pretty reliable.

Display5.1-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 432 ppi
Processor2.5GHz Snapdragon 801
Battery2800 mAh
Cameras16 MP rear LED flash with ISOCELL and 4K recording (limited to 5min), 2.1 MP front
Networks3G, LTE Cat. 3 2X2 MIMO
ConnectivityGPS, GLONASS, microUSB, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Dimensions142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm,
145 grams
ColorsBlack White, Blue, Gold
Waterproof and dust resistantRated IP67 - USB port covered with plastic flap
SoftwareAndroid 4.4

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will be available from all of the major US carriers soon, at premium prices for their 2-year contracts, which is usually $199. The unlocked version of the phone can be expected to be close to the $700 mark. And so, there you have it, an in-depth look at the Samsung Galaxy S5. Looking at many of the comments following the launch of this smartphone, some people felt like it wasn’t a worthy successor to the Galaxy S4. In a lot of ways, this impression may be somewhat accurate. While there were additions such as the heart rate monitor or the fingerprint scanner, they don’t feel ultimately useful to me, and the novelty will likely fade quite fast. It also might not be the best looking phone out there, and some may consider the GS5 too similar to its predecessor. But for every finger scanner, there is an ISOCELL camera. For every design choice you may not like, there is new IP certification. And for every point lost for lack of freshness, there are points for familiarity. Half of you will like this phone and the other half will not, and that’s the unfortunate reality of the Galaxy S5 at this point. The good news is the Galaxy S5 is an honest phone, and if you are swayed by its charms now, you’ll likely have a good time using it for a long time. For everyone else, I would still encourage you to give this phone a shot without completely writing it off, and you might just end up liking what you see. Buy the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5 from Amazon Buy the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S5 from Amazon

  • Tarek Halaby

    Hey Josh Nice Smart watch can we see a review of that too please thanks Loyal viewer and fan of Android Authority and your videos

  • Shark Bait

    Another solid phone by Samsung, with a great spec sheet, that will no doubt sell millions. I just can’t shake the feeling its a little mundane, and Samsung could have done a little bit more (like design) to make it astounding

    • Colby Leong

      Apple is the looked at as the “golden standard” for mobile phones. Where Samsung is the “golden standard” for the Android world. Whether you like Samsung or not they have put forth a great device. While it’s main features feel more rushed to throw in that refined as they should be it, what is offered isn’t seen anywhere else in the Android space. Samsung sort of innovates the Android race with these features, while the other OEMs refine it themselves, and in turn force Samsung to do the same.

      • Shark Bait

        I don’t think Samsung has innovated here, that’s my problem. Let’s not forget Samsung are one of the biggest engineering companys in the world, bigger than apple, htc, sony and others put together. They build everything from cruise ships to flash memory and could do so much better than this iteration. The camera is good, but is only one feature really improved upon. The screen and battery and ram and storage and materials are largely untouched and the processor is made by another company. They have failed to use their massive resources effectively and either have trouble innovating, or are using planned obsolescence

        • Colby Leong

          They do have the a very decent phone, compared to Sony and HTC samsung didn’t really “update”. I was really thrilled about the fingerprint sensor, however after watching the feature focus I was extremely disappointed. In truth the S5 is like a great idea, all we have to do is wait for other OEMs to take that idea and shape it themselves

          • Shark Bait

            It’s a good phone, but should be so much better, things like the fingerprint scanned…..

          • Colby Leong

            I can’t really see other OEMs adopting the scanner, even though they should. LG, maybe, I figure they’d out it on the back with the rest of their buttons. I can’t see a scanner being put into a Sony phone, and if HTC does do another one they really can’t do worse than the one in the MAX.

          • Shark Bait

            Thing is apple have done it right , and other wont want to get sued and probably will avoid

          • Colby Leong

            These patent lawsuits are just ridiculous, I can see where having someone else steal your idea is wrong, but Apple and Samsung are just making things sad. It’s like if you can’t beat them in sales then all you have to do is file a lawsuit and ban their devices

          • Shark Bait

            Totally stupid, fair enough the original galaxy s was a blatant copy but the rest is apple getting scared. People take ideas and adapt them, that’s how technology advances and its the system that is flawed at the end of the day

          • Colby Leong

            I know companies go way to far, and in when the dust settles they leave little to nothing for other companies to work with. There’s a difference between stealing and taking a good idea and turning it into something great. Nowadays you get attacked for doing both.

          • Jesus

            “compared to… HTC, samsung didn’t really “update” – I disagree.

            Seriously? Compared to HTC, Samsung’s made wayy more updates.
            The HTC One M8 is still using a 4MP camera. Pretty much the same design. Still not IP certified. Hardly any new software features. …what else is there to say?

            The Samsung GS5’s now got a 16MP camera, with ISOCELL. IP67 now. New back design. Built in heartrate monitor and fingerprint scanner.

          • Ryan

            IP certified isn’t always a benefit. I hate having to deal with a flimsy port twice a day to charge my device. I broke multiple Xperia devices due to that stupid IP certification

          • Colby Leong

            You could always shell out some extra cash for a charging dock. It’s really up to you, that’s why I think of IP certification more of a great bonus than a must need feature.

          • Colby Leong

            Samsung’s camera is definitely better than HTC’s. The back may be new, but it’s not an update anyone would be proud of. Just a dimpled backing, while a faux leather would have been much better. Heart rate monitor is different but not anything special, only a few select people will ever use it more than once a day. And the one area Samsung should have focused more on is what seems to be more of rushed and, in the end, a big let down, which is the fingerprint sensor. Sure they might be the only flagship Android device with it but would you rather have a sensor that really seems to have been put in there for the sake of being put in there to compete with Apple, or one that was more refined, something that’s much more user friendly. (such as just sliding your finger to unlock your phone, and getting the S5 to recognize different fingers at different angles, instead of forcing users to swipe in a specific way)

          • Allah

            Yeah, bro, you should know Samsung rushed on bringing this to customers just to try and compete with the iPhone 5S.

          • Wow,three gods on android authority talking to each other (allah,jesus,buddah) about a phone.
            Kindly,give me enough knowledge so I don’t buy a stupid mobile like this.

          • Buddah

            Only thing Samsung updated on is their camera, everything else is a rushed bundle of crap

          • Martin Lane

            Samsung made allot of changes, some unwanted but you can’t deny they have made allot changes, some very positive.

          • K


          • Alex James Simon

            Let’s not forget the HTC One M8 has the same exact display as the M7, it only has a brightness of around 490 nits while the S5 has a brightness of 698 nits, the display of the S5 is what swayed me to it, over the M8. Bumping up the resolution isn’t the only way you can make a display better.

          • AnthonyRDeSilva

            Easy there Jesus, Samsung kept their plastic design (much to the disappointment of Samsung owners) – this is BAD. The heart rate monitor has shown to be accurate but a bit of a useless feature which a proper fitness trainer wouldn’t find useful. The fingerprint sensor doesn’t work as well as Apple’s Touch ID, tough luck – they just crammed it in there to compete with the iPhone 5S LOL. Both pretty useless features, as tested.

            The HTC One M7 was awarded the best smartphone of 2013 – why not make the best better? It had the best design, as awarded, so they didn’t need to change this – a GOOD thing. They improved the software, upped the battery (and made it stupidly efficient – 2 weeks of on-time with extreme power saving mode), made their design even more premium, made their already good speakers even louder, added an innovative Duo camera which benefits photography enthusiasts (not megapixel movers unfortunately), added a world’s first 5MP front-facing camera. Oh and the One M8 is IPx3 certified, get your facts right so it’s somewhat resistant although not fully resistant. The M8 has a very innovative Dot View case too.

            The M8 beats the S5 in benchmarks even though the S5 has a higher clocked processor LOL. The HTC beats the S5 in battery life tests even though they tried to improve the battery – rather sadly. The HTC does not come bloated with nonsense that you can’t uninstall. Sense is a way smoother to use than TouchWiz. The M8 has the fastest touch response in the world for that all important user experience.

            The HTC One M8 has proven to give you the smoothest, fastest and slickest user experience on a handheld device. Research this before you talk garbage.

            Did I mention it’s cheaper than the piece of plastic?

        • Rooney-

          But samsung has updated each and every aspect of S4 if you can see .

          • Shark Bait

            not sure if your serious or not?

    • thartist

      Or make the Fingerprint Scanner actually USEFUL for christ’s sake! Like for “unlocking without previously unlocking” (duh!) or logging in in-app to stuff or wherever. I’m also mad at no screen-knock for unlocking too, like in the M8 or LGs.
      Ironically enough, when i consider those two faults, it feels seriously lacking despite the massive repertoire of TouchWiz features both previously existent and new.
      BUT… i reserve a hope that those could be added with software updates or the next Android.

  • Leonardo Souza

    Its a good phone… if you don´t have a Note 3 rsrsrs

    • Baller

      Yeah, S5 is a solid phone, feature packed. But I still prefer Galaxy Note series

    • Heisenberg

      Yep! The Galaxy Note series is their real flagship!

  • Romeo

    Oppo Find 7 runs rings around this “flagship” .. build quality is better.. speaker.. better.. 3 gb of Ram.. 2k display.. fast charging… and a design that is way more elegant than this band aid of a phone… Samsung really blew it with this one. (Note 2 owner)

    • thartist

      Yeah well, but it’s 5.5 inches, firm into the phablet area while 5.1 is already a bit of a stretch for many.

      • Romeo Bucur

        I’m 6 ft 3.. for me it has a natural palm fitting size.. a 5 inch one is small for my hands, but generally speaking, for the moment, you are right, it might be too big for the vast majority of people. For me, now, it is not. But there will be in the next year, or in 2 years tops, edge to edge displays, that will have 5.5 inches in a much smaller package than the one that we have now, i am sure.

      • Alex James Simon

        5.1 inches is perfect. I’ve been pocketing a Nexus 7 (2013) in my jeans pocket, since release, and the original before that, and the Nexus 7 (2013) has a Hardcover Dodocase making it super bulky. A large smartphone to me is nothing when compared to the Nexus 7.

  • MichaelSTaylor

    Incremental updates have been a trend with other flagship releases this year, and that’s also the case with the Samsung Galaxy S5, with a return of many elements you may remember from previous iterations of the smartphone. There are some subtle differences, but the design tweaks are ultimately not that significant.

    • Colby Leong

      True, but anything has to feel better than the slimy plastic on the S4

      • Justin

        Over which, a case immediately goes.

        • Colby Leong

          Which is a shame if you own a Xperia or HTC device.

          • Justin

            Agree on aesthetic grounds. Disagree on functionality. A case of some nature will always be for most.

          • Colby Leong

            I could never use a case, I know I should but I usually keep my devices in great shape. I could never hide an expensive, great looking device in a case

  • MasterMuffin

    I’ve said a lot of bad things about S5, but I must say that Samsung did listen to its customers. Nothing crazy like aluminium, but everything was made better and stupid things like the menu button were removed. Definitely better than what S4 was compared to S3

    • Colby Leong

      I agree but it seems like they put it in for the sake of their customers. It does seem like they didn’t take their time to make sure everything was 100%. In particular is the fingerprint sensor, but there’s nothing else like it in the Android world, samsung fans will definitely be happy to get this device.

  • illregal

    Those camera samples are actually pretty bad.. Was expecting more, since all the samsung fans have been dogging on the M8 pretty bad. But I’m not seeing why, M8 pics look better. Along with the actual device looking better, etc.. No reason for this phone to even exist.

    • Colby Leong

      M8 definitely looks better, but the camera is not better than the S5. It’s a shame because the M8 is very well rounded, just very lacking in their camera department. Of course there are situations where the M8 may beat the S5, but overall S5 is better.

  • le_lutin

    If camera was the number one priority, would you go for this or the z2?

  • The-Sailor-Man

    Not good review.
    Same hints and insinuations. But we know , that we shouldn’t expect more.

  • Tom_Slaapstad

    One question I am dying to know – if Josh or anyone else can answer it – does the s5 have qualcomm quick charge 2, 1 or nothing? I’ve read quick charge and i think’s brilliant. It takes hours for my HTC One X to charge….

  • Heisenberg

    Nice review! The design is terrible (though front looks OK), the UI is still cartoonish, and there are boatload of gimmicks. But it still has what many like a about Samsung from SD slot to multitasking features that simply aren’t found on rival devices.

    I personally wouldn’t buy this phone. I find it underwhelming like the last few Galaxy S phones, I would wait for the new Galaxy Note, which normally addresses the criticisms faced by the Galaxy S series.

  • Lancelot Rose

    I think Samsung just didn’t do as much as they could have, they took a step back with the back cover, they took a step forward with the camera, they took a step back with the my magazine (taking flip board and making it bad isn’t really much of a plus just because it includes social media), and the biggest complaint most people have is the non-premium material (plastic instead of metal), plus the finger print sensor is a crappy rip off of apples and the heart rate monitor is just a worthless gimmick, I mean I’m still getting this because I like the screen and the camera and I’m upgrading from an S3, but I think the biggest complaint about all of this years smart phones is they just don’t feel like enough of an improvement to their predecessors. The best thing I’ve read about so far is the Oppo Find 7, but I really don’t know enough about that company to say I want that phone.

  • Jonathan TAM

    In terms of features it is not that bad but it seems like Sammy is aiming for the USA and Canada this time. It has a heart rate monitor? Practical? No. And it just looks horrible with the design being exceptionally close to a band-aid. I would definitely prefer the Sony Xperia Z2 over this.

  • Frank perez

    the finger print scanner is a joke its not convenient unlike apple’s implementation which only requires a press of the home button to function wish samsung could have come up with a way to implement it for one handed use having to swipe your finger straight up and down definitely requires the user to use two hands to use the fingerprint scanner bad implementation but not much choice i guess with the thin configuration of the home button.

  • Houston

    ok guys what do you expect of samsung…you can’t get a whole new looking phone from them and all apple does is make incremental updates to their phone and ppl hardly complain about that, I think samsung did a great job and things like download booster and wifi mimo etc. is innovative… first on a phone

  • I watched the review, as opposed to reading it, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how balanced and comprehensive it is. Kudos to you!

  • Isaac S.

    Amazon has it unlocked and sold directly from them, if anyone is interested :’)
    (This item will be released on April 11, 2014.)

  • Cao Meo

    Great review, well done Josh, you are my trusted source of all things Android.

  • Ivan Sergeev

    S5 better
    S5 improved super amoled
    z2 ips on the color RGB lighting with the addition of red and green phosphorus in diodes
    All new one ips on the white backlight
    M8 have the same quality as in the display М7
    Cool backlight Z2, expanding the color gamut and “improves the shades”,
    actually distorts the color because all the images are designed for
    standard sRGB and an extension will only be in the negative. Although
    the display is still better than the HTC M8.
    Amoled gradually improved and now he has lost almost all the shortcomings, there was only slight, noticeable only during the rapid motion of the screen (in front of screen) “modulation” at low brightness at maximum (it is comfortable in all conditions) this “modulation” No, I do not know why samsung does so in LG G Flex is no such (there is also amoled)
    In OLED (Amoled) white whiter IPS, faster response in comparison to LCD
    (hundreds of times better than LCD), contrast and black level is perfect
    (hundreds of times better than LCD), colors
    do not mix with each other,, ideal viewing angles.
    Oversaturated color removed using a cinema mode
    S5 1/2.6 isocell phase autofocus 6 lenses
    z2 1/2.3 bsi 5 lenses
    one 1/3 bsi 4 lenses
    At S5 even crude firmware (new sensor) better color, detail and less noise
    The rest of at the final firmware is very bad, especially in HTC
    S5 ip x6
    Z2 ip x7
    one ip x3
    S5 is more or less thin bezels
    Z2 more or less thin bezels
    one big bezels
    S5 2048 MB RAM (Dual-channel) LPDDR3
    Z2 3072 MB RAM (Dual-channel) LPDDR3
    M8 2048 MB RAM DDR2
    Metal is bad for the connection know about it all in the industry, aluminum is not a premium material, it is used for beer cans. At s5 soft touch texture like nexus7 instead of glossy plastic s4

  • Cyrus Dastoor

    Android Authority is really disappointing me of late..I do my research (I am not an IT pro…just a tech whore) and therefore I could have written a better article than this or even the z2’s lame “review”. No mention of even somethings as simple as Displaymate’s findings…!
    If I was a NOOB and I read this to hope to learn everything (OR GET AN IN DEPTH REVIEW) on the s5 / z2 by reading your reviews…I would not know as much as I should have/could have.
    Shame on ya’ll…what a let down.

  • jason
  • Martin Lane

    The HTC One M8 cheats in benchmarks so that top performers chart is misleading.

    I’m sure the author knows this already so even posting it is highly suspicious.

    • hoggleboggle

      considering its performance should be on par with the Z2 its score here is rather suspicious

  • Dimitar Gospodinov
    • Frank perez


    • hoggleboggle

      connectors for wireless charging loops and for the smart cover

      • Dimitar Gospodinov

        yeah two of them are clear (charging) if what @disqus_qtEUvWB3zO:disqus sais for the NFC in the cover is true it might be it…the smart cover needs only 2 too I think…there are 8…maybe it is the NFC tho I don’t know…

  • Justin

    Meh. I’ll stick with my S4.

  • Andrew T Roach

    This is Samsung’s idea of software continuity and cohesiveness.

  • ddd

    I watched review about gs5 from david pierce who worked at Verge. He disrespect samsung products because this phone has cheap material so phone have to make premium or metal material. Most people shouldn’t care about it. David pierce is jackass and D Bag, asshole person from Verge. He have to kiss my ass and put his finger to his ass if it fits. He is piece of garbage from Verge.

    • ddd

      Does Apple is better than others? No
      All apple products display made from LG ips lcd and camera made from Sony, and processor is made from one company. What can apple do? Nothing at all

    • ddd

      I want to destroy david pierce body in pieces from Verge.

  • I’ll stick with my $150 clone that comes with similar bells and whistles..not paying +$600..not for this.


    Cost USD4.20 each ,the exactly high quality leather flip cover for samsung Galaxy s5 with 5 different color, coffee, black, white, blue, dark blue ,it is a protector also to be a battery cover replacement.,it is from gadget2us


    DIY rubber grip inner of the case for samsung s5, with 5 colors, white, black, blue, dark blue, coffee color, with high quality,and retail package. source from gadget2us

  • Lilith_Black

    The thing I hated abt Samsung phones would be the way it eats my battery so fast with all those junk apps they stuffed into my phone and lurking in the background (used S3, S4 not that sure abt note 3)

    But I love the stock email tho…its the best email app with no comparable alternatives in play store to turn to :/ (Hence the reason I cant find the will to switch to a custom rom…)

    S5 seems to be having the same issue….

  • Tom

    Samsung Galaxy S5 is offering super full HD Ambled screen which is quite bigger than its predecessor giving very nice experience and better quality to its users…….

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  • alex_palade

    I can`t find any score for this Smartphone. Can you give me score? Design, Battery, Software, Camera, Performance, Price etc?