Best daily deals

Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

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

We take a quick look at how the just-announced Samsung Galaxy S5 stacks up against its predecessor, the Galaxy S4.
February 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!

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy s4 aa 6

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.

Samsung Galaxy S5 aa 18

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.

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy s4 aa 4

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.

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy s4 aa 3

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.

Samsung galaxy s5 vs galaxy s4 aa 7

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.

Samsung Galaxy S5 aa 20
The Galaxy S5 might have looked a bit like a band-aid, but it did have microSD and removable back.

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.

Samsung Galaxy S5 aa 27

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.

Samsung Galaxy S5 aa 23

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
Samsung Galaxy S5
5.1-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 432 ppi
Samsung Galaxy S4
5-inch Super AMOLED Full HD (1920 x 1080), 441 ppi
Samsung Galaxy S5
2.5 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 or 2.1Ghz Octa-core Exynos (depending on market), unspecified GPU in Exynos SoC
Samsung Galaxy S4
1.9 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Adreno 320
Samsung Galaxy S5
2 GB
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy S5
16 MP rear LED flash, 2.1 MP front
Samsung Galaxy S4
13 MP rear LED flash, 2 MP front
Samsung Galaxy S5
2,800 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S4
2,600 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S5
16/32 GB, expandable
Samsung Galaxy S4
16/32/64 GB, expandable
Samsung Galaxy S5
3G, LTE Cat. 3 2X2 MIMO
Samsung Galaxy S4
3G, 4G LTE (region dependent)
Samsung Galaxy S5
GPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Samsung Galaxy S4
GPS, GLONASS, microUSB 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Samsung Galaxy S5
Android 4.4 Kitkat
Samsung Galaxy S4
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (upgradable to Android 4.4 Kitkat)
Samsung Galaxy S5
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm,
145 grams
Samsung Galaxy S4
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.