Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S4 quick look (MWC 2014)

by: Joshua VergaraFebruary 24, 2014

MWC 2014 Coverage brought to you by: Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android.

Every time a new iteration of a flagship smartphone is released, the first question that comes to mind is whether it is worth the upgrade to the latest edition. That is certainly the case with the just-announced Samsung Galaxy S5, and I’m sure you’re curious to know how the latest and greatest from Samsung stacks up against its predecessor.

Here’s a quick look at the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs the Galaxy S4!

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The most significant difference between the design of both smartphones is the move away from the glossy feel of the Galaxy S4, with Samsung opting for a soft-touch back for the Galaxy S5, reminiscent of the texture of the Nexus 7 (2012).

The change from the slick glossy plastic is a welcome one indeed, with the grip-y plastic of the Galaxy S5 helping with handling. The Samsung Galaxy S5 isn’t a total departure from the Galaxy S4, but it’s easy to tell them apart because of the soft-touch back.

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You get the same faux chrome ring and button layout at the front of both devices. The Galaxy S5 is a slightly larger and thicker than its predecessor, due in part to its larger display, and is also 15 grams heavier than the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S5 also has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, which requires the addition of a plastic flap to cover the micro-USB 3.0 port of the device.

Overall, you’ll be left disappointed if you were looking for a significant difference in design between the two smartphones, though there are certainly some changes.

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The Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch 1080p display, compared to the 5-inch display of the same type of the Galaxy S4. They are essentially identical screens, but that’s of course not a bad thing, as the Galaxy S4’s display offers excellent performance and a great user experience.

There was no shortage of rumors that suggested that the Galaxy S5 would come with a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) display that would be boasted an amazing pixel density of 560 ppi, but the 432 ppi we got is excellent nevertheless. The Galaxy S4 holds the slightest edge is this regard with a pixel density of 441 ppi, but that difference is practically unnoticeable.

On both smartphones, you get the lovely deep blacks, vibrant colors, and great viewing angles that we all know and love about AMOLED displays.

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While the Galaxy S4 has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor that’s still a great processor to this day, the Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with an impressive quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.5 Ghz, that’ll give you a smooth performance no matter what you throw at it. The Galaxy S5 also comes with 2 GB of RAM, which should be enough to cover your multi-tasking needs. Performance is generally snappy and smooth, though mileage may vary depending on usage.

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There are just a few major differences between the hardware of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4, with the most important pertaining to the camera and battery capacity.

Samsung moved from the 13 MP rear shooter of the Galaxy S4 to a 16 MP ISOCELL sensor that can take pictures with less noise and less bloom, even in low light conditions. There’s also 4K video recording, which is limited to 5 minutes of video because of the very large files created by this type of recording.

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The battery capacity jumped from 2,600 mAh on the Galaxy S4 to 2,800 mAh on the Galaxy S5. In theory, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 should also be more power frugal than the Snapdragon 600, so the signs are good for an improved battery life with the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy S5 also comes with LTE Cat. 3 MIMO 2×2 for faster transfers. Of course, one of the biggest new features with regards to hardware is the slide-type fingerprint scanner, which means that you will have to slide your finger from the top to the bottom in order to unlock the phone.

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Samsung changed some aspects of TouchWiz, but nothing too significant. The toggles in the notifications dropdown are now similar to those on the Galaxy NotePRO, with the Settings also being re-done with the round icons that Samsung teased last week.

Multi-tasking is also re-designed and easier, helped by the replacement of the capacitive Menu button with a Recent Apps button. Kids Mode turns the device into a device for kids where you can choose what apps are accessible, and requires a PIN to get out of this mode.

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The Camera app on the Galaxy S5 has also been redone, with a big focus around the large plethora of settings now available to it. This camera app packs quite a bit more than the already full featured Galaxy S4 camera app.

Similar to how you’d access BlinkFeed, the Magazine UX can be found on the leftmost screen on the Galaxy S5. However, Samsung kept many of the traits of the original TouchWiz, so if you were expecting a big update, you’re in for a disappointment.

 Samsung Galaxy S5Samsung Galaxy S4
Display5.1-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 432 ppi5-inch Super AMOLED Full HD (1920 x 1080), 441 ppi
Processor2.5 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 or 2.1Ghz Octa-core Exynos (depending on market), unspecified GPU in Exynos SoC1.9 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Adreno 320
Cameras16 MP rear LED flash, 2.1 MP front13 MP rear LED flash, 2 MP front
Battery2,800 mAh2,600 mAh
Storage16/32 GB, expandable16/32/64 GB, expandable
Networks3G, LTE Cat. 3 2X2 MIMO3G, 4G LTE (region dependent)
ConnectivityGPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LEGPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
SoftwareAndroid 4.4 KitkatAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean (upgradable to Android 4.4 Kitkat)
Dimensions142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm,
145 grams
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130 grams

The Samsung Galaxy S4 represented a big jump from the Galaxy S3 in terms of both hardware and software, the upgrade to Galaxy S5 isn’t as significant. There are improvements in some key areas including the processing package, camera, and battery capacity, along with an aesthetic change as well, but we’ll have to wait and see whether that’s going to be enough for consumers.

  • AndroidBoss

    Guys, it was rumored that this phone will be cheaper than the previous Galaxy S4. For all the people complaining about no 3 GB of ram and no Snapdragon 801, look at it from the bright side. You get a better phone at a better price (hopefully), a newer version of Touchwiz (hopefully less lags here and there), a better camera, a waterproof hardware, and some other Samsung useless features. Hopefully this thing will go for $400-$500 unlocked.

    • Hatim

      I doubt SS after S3 has done some terible pricing of phones…but if it sure comes @that price range this phone will be im my hand on 11th April

  • Mystery Man

    A comparison chart. Thank you!

  • Amine Elouakil

    Funny how the Note 3>> S5 lol.

  • Aar0nC

    What a joke… Unbelievable… And still there will be idiots with an S4 who will a actual ditch their S4 for this phone… Hmm night just get a used s4 in that case

    • Jaun Lombard

      Same can be said about the Z an Z1 owners ditching their phones for the Z2….even the HTC One is not an upgrade…..It feels like all the phone makers just made average upgradess….Z1s….HTC One s and S4 s…

    • Michael Talon Marshall

      S4 was seriously hard to follow up unless you can top it by leaps and bounds.

  • Tanner Hoyt

    I watched the event and I found it to be mostly “Meh”, however, the “Ultra Power Saving Mode” was actually quite nice.

    • asd

      True that and i love the fact that the screen is black and white and i have been waiting for a phone to do that so I will wait for SamsungN4

    • Michael Talon Marshall

      That is literally the biggest calling to upgrade from an S4 I can see.

  • D’Ander McSullivan

    For the love of Arceus, what in the f*cking earth did you just do, Samsung? Just… just don’t mess up the Note 4, I’m begging you! KEEP WHOEVER DESIGNED THIS PIECE OF NONSENSE AWAY FROM THE NOTE SERIES!!

    • MadCowOnAStick

      did you really… just make a pokemon reference…

  • Otto Andersson

    I think Samsung is putting more into their Note line than the S line nowadays. I will personally hold out for the Note 4 as my Asian phone. I might get an S5 play edition if they come out with one (To hell with Samsung region locking).

  • meir cohen

    I will keep my s4.
    The s5 is a big big disappointment.

  • meir cohen


  • Poopik Shmill

    I’m sure it’ll have the S-lag
    (slow contact, gallery and cam apps)

  • rob

    This is a joke right I have had the two the three the four and now no more.

  • Rohit Naik
  • xd feng

    Many electronic products have now started to replaced their components and cables. Like a computer will be replaced with its FPC cable.

    This new rigid flex circuits was designed to be lighter, thinner and has better performance, stability and durability.

  • Michael Talon Marshall

    I mean water thing and new power saving mode is kind of nice. But it’s so degressive when it comes to design. It looks like a big ass S2. It’s bigger than the S4, which the S4 for my big hands is the perfect balance of size, control and mobility. Is that the standard for every new Android phone, always bigger? Here in a few years a 5.5 inch screen is going to be the norm. Can’t we just stick to the S4ish size, if people want a phablet, make them a separate phablet like the Note or Mega.

    “But Michael, it’s just slightly bigger.”

    Then the one after that will be just slightly bigger and so forth.

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