83

A solid improvement, but don't rush to upgrade

83

Chances are, you'll be happy with the Galaxy S5 if you choose to buy it. It's a solid upgrade to the Galaxy S4, with reasonable improvements to the design, software and camera. I can't say this is your most visually appealing option, especially compared to the all-metal HTC One M8, but the dimpled back and waterproof casing at least add more durability than we've enjoyed on previous Galaxy S devices.

The fingerprint scanner and the heart rate monitor, on the other hand, need some work. Each delivers inconsistent results and can be quite frustrating to use. The good news is that you don't have to use them if you have the same experience that I did; the bad news is, if you don't take advantage of these features, you have less reason to buy the phone in the first place. What's more, Samsung put a lot of energy into integrating these features into both the GS5's hardware and software, which makes me wonder what the company could have included instead it left those features out. If you're looking for a good Android phone, the GS5 won't let you down. That said, we wouldn't waste an early upgrade on it, either.

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Critic reviews

8.3
31 reviews
  • Reception and call quality
    8.2
  • Display
    9.5
  • Battery life
    8.8
  • Camera
    8.5
  • Ease of use
    6.7
  • Design and form factor
    7.1
  • Portability (size / weight)
    7.6
  • Media support
    8.0
  • Durability
    7.9
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.)
    7.1

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User reviews

8.2
22 reviews
9.0
PC Mag Apr 8, 2014

As Samsung continues to refine its flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S5 is better than ever. It's the most powerful phone you can buy, and is a lock for our Editors' Choice on T-Mobile.

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9.0
CNET Apr 8, 2014

Subtly improved and smartly refined, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a superior superphone that hits every mark but the sharpest design.

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9.0
Wired Apr 9, 2014

It has an enhanced screen, processor and camera plus an improved OS, not to mention fripperies like the fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor. But these are all incremental changes that allow it to keep pace with the competition rather than firmly ahead of it.

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9.0
Laptop Magazine Apr 10, 2014

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is an excellent Android phone that combines a near-perfect display, powerful camera and unique fitness features in a water-resistant design.

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8.0
AnandTech Apr 8, 2014

Samsung got it almost perfect with the GS5. With a metal body, a rear facing camera with larger pixels (perhaps with some tweaks to camera output processing), a better NAND controller, and stereo front facing speakers, the GS5 would probably be perfect.

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8.0
The Wall Street Journal Apr 8, 2014

Smartphone technology may be reaching a plateau where core elements like the processor, screen and sensors no longer matter as much as the software that helps you use them. And that is an area where Samsung still trails.

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5.0
Wired Apr 25, 2014

After using it for about two weeks, I still have no idea what the hell I’m doing most of the time. But, honestly, the biggest challenge has been reconciling the frequently poor user experience with the phone’s legitimately great hardware.

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9.0
Pocket-Lint Apr 8, 2014

Yes it might be a handset playing it safe, but there's a huge amount of scope for the S5 to deliver beyond its current worth with ever-advancing apps. As it stands, with what we've got right now, this is still one excellent smartphone.

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8.0
Mashable Apr 8, 2014

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a well-performing smartphone, but its standout features ultimately don't add up to much.

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8.0
Time Apr 8, 2014

The Galaxy S5’s emphasis on everyday benefits and its streamlined software shows that Samsung has been listening to its critics, and learning.

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8.0
TechHive Apr 14, 2014

It has all of the bells and whistles a typical smartphone user would want, but some of the new features miss the mark, and the interface could still use some work.

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7.0
SlashGear Apr 13, 2014

Viewed alongside, the Galaxy S4 still feels a solid handset, and we can’t help but think you’d have to be particularly keen on a specific S5 feature for it to be worth switching out.

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9.0
TechRadar Apr 8, 2014

Samsung has done enough with the Galaxy S5 to still be one of the top smartphones of 2014, and I would still recommend it as a solid, if unspectacular, smartphone that ticks the boxes it needs to and very little more.

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9.0
TrustedReviews Apr 8, 2014

The Samsung Galaxy S5 fits happily into the role of Galaxy S4 successor. It's a phone with some significant improvements over that model. It lacks the style of its nearest rivals, but it more than delivers on every other point and has a truly oustanding screen.

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9.0
Android Authority Apr 7, 2014

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.

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9.0
phoneArena Apr 7, 2014

Samsung is staying true to its winning formula with the Galaxy S5, but the company has made some welcome, much-needed refinements, mostly involving getting rid of redundancies and focusing on what really matters, and that is the quality of the user experience.

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9.0
Digital Spy Apr 9, 2014

The Galaxy S5 is everything you expected it to be, an outstanding Android phone held back just a tad by its below average design. Perhaps next time Samsung will finally go all metal. If they do, then that's the end of the Android competition.

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8.0
The Telegraph Apr 8, 2014

As a standard smartphone it’s impressive, and even the design grew on me. It’s not streets ahead of the Nexus 5 or the HTC One, and it is unlikely to drag too many iPhone users to the Android fold. As a camera it’s good, but Nokia and others do even better.

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8.0
The Verge Apr 14, 2014

Make no mistake: this is a very good phone. And Samsung did nearly all the important things well ... Yet I can't help but hope that one day we all decide "good enough" isn't good enough anymore.

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8.0
IGN Apr 22, 2014

The Galaxy S5 does a lot of things right. And of those, many are the things consumers care about most — battery life, camera quality, screen fidelity, and a water-tight shell.

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10
Expert Reviews Apr 8, 2014

Powerful, with a fantastic camera and incredible battery life. Factor in the Gear wearables and the Galaxy S5 becomes the most comprehensive smartphone package around.

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9.0
The Next Web Mar 29, 2014

Samsung’s taken last year’s hit phone and made it even better. Incremental is the new cool, because it means that the best phones get even better as time goes on.

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9.0
The Inquirer Apr 8, 2014

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a great phone, and while it is not a huge re-imagining of the firm's flagship model, the tweaks and additions that Samsung has made make a huge difference.

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9.0
HotHardware May 2, 2014

You really can't go wrong but the Samsung Galaxy S5, at $149 - $199 on contract with virtually all the majors carriers, should definitely be on your Android superphone short list. It's a powerhouse device in every meaningful, noteworthy way.

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8.0
V3 Apr 10, 2014

The Galaxy S5's top-end components and portfolio of security services make it one of the most enterprise-friendly Android smartphones ever made.

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10
Stuff Apr 8, 2014

Big, bold and stuffed with tech, the Galaxy S5 is a bona fide superphone with some very stiff competition.

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9.0
PocketNow Apr 23, 2014

While it’s not so “glam” as Samsung likes to advertise, this smartphone is indeed a step in the right direction – a bigger step than last year’s model.

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8.0
Photography Blog Jun 24, 2014

In summary the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a solid upgrade of last year's S4, rather than a massive leap forwards, but it adds just enough new features to again prove worthy of our Recommended award.

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First Looks

product preview
Engadget Feb 24, 2014

The design philosophy behind this version of the Galaxy S involves a modern, glam look, and it even shows in the user interface. It's still very much a TouchWiz device, but it has a much different appearance than previous versions.

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product preview
Re/code Feb 24, 2014

There will certainly be those disappointed by the lack of any groundbreaking features, but I also think it’s okay to focus on improving existing features to enhance the functionality and usability of the device.

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product preview
AnandTech Feb 24, 2014

he addition of new features and consistent improvements to performance without compromise relative to the previous generation is definitely something to be applauded, and with review units, hopefully it will be possible to see how the GS5 stacks up against the competition.

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product preview
CNET Feb 24, 2014

It may not be the most exciting new smartphone there is, but from what I've seen so far, the Galaxy S5 earns keeps Samsung's legacy of high-end Samsung smartphones strong.

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product preview
Laptop Magazine Feb 24, 2014

Although this Android phone offers a host of new capabilities, it looks as though Samsung listened to critics who said the S4 was bloated with novelty features. The S5 once again pushes the boundaries of what you think a smartphone can do but in a more practical and refined way.

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product preview
ZDNet Apr 10, 2014

The weight feels good for a device with a 5.1-inch display. I'm not a fan of the silver plastic frame and think this is definitely one area where Samsung could add some metal and significantly improve the quality feel of the device.

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SlashGear Feb 24, 2014

All in all, it's a solid update from the Galaxy S4. It may not be the first device with a fingerprint scanner, but we still won't argue with the convenience it adds, and the improvement in build quality is welcome.

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product preview
The Guardian Feb 24, 2014

The S5 has some of the features, but has a much simplified menu system, making it easier to change settings than previous Galaxy models.

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product preview
Pocket-Lint Feb 24, 2014

Combined with the Gear 2 or Gear Fit the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a complete life tracker and complete life managment device - we can't wait to get our review sample to really push its apparently near-boundless limits.

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product preview
Android Central Feb 24, 2014

Our main takeaway from our brief time with the Galaxy S5 so far is that Samsung is has been listening to customers and critics alike, and has finally gotten around to addressing many of our gripes with its build quality, software and UI.

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product preview
The Verge Feb 24, 2014

Things are faster, nicer feeling, and easier to use, but it’s still a Samsung smartphone through and through, and will likely be just as successful if not more so than its predecessor.

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product preview
TechRadar Feb 24, 2014

... you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a boring phone. It very much isn't - it's got lots of elements that users can dig into - but if you were hoping for something that provides a bar for the rest of the competition to aspire to, you'll be left wanting.

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product preview
T3 Feb 24, 2014

The Samsung Galaxy S5 design is exceedingly iterative, bordering on the conservative. It feels solid in the hand, more so than –say- the S3, and there’s no creaking when flexed.

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product preview
TrustedReviews Feb 25, 2014

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a phone that looks and feels like another top-end S-series phone. It offers loads of new features, and some much-needed improvements to the Samsung interface.

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product preview
ChipChick Feb 24, 2014

Design-wise, the S5 hasn’t changed much. It’s still plastic, still has the same basic shape – again, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

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product preview
Techno Buffalo Feb 24, 2014

... we’re already confident that this is the best Galaxy device yet. In fact, it’s so compelling that we think Samsung is going to attract more fans than ever this time around.

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Android Community Feb 24, 2014

Having spent some hands-on time with the new phone, we're left quietly confident, however: Samsung has brought over the build quality of the Note 3 and legitimately useful features like WiFi/LTE bonding, a heart rate sensor, and more to refine its now 5.1-inch smartphone.

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product preview
NDTV Gadgets Apr 10, 2014

One area where Samsung phones still fall short is in their construction. Although the removable plastic back makes it possible to replace the battery, it comes across as cheap next to the iPhone's glass back and the HTC One's metal body.

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8.0
Kyyul Kyyul

The Galaxy S5 is my first Samsung phone. I've had peers using Galaxy phones around me for years. I've always scoffed at the shoddy build quality and boasted that there were better phones out there. Yet, here I am. I own one now. I've used numerous Android phones, but I've only ever own Nexus...

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9.0
kingslook kingslook

Pros: Was very easy to upgrade from Samsung Galaxy Nexus to this phone. My previous apps immediately started to repopulate after activation, as well as all my pics from google. Problem is those apps combined with the Samsung bloatware all configured in a way to maximally destroy the battery...

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9.0
lawlez lawlez

This is the first time i bought a samsung phone. I am happy with the buildquality, it does not feel cheap like previous versions did and the back of the phone is comfortable to hold. It has many good preinstalled apps but allso many useless ones.. for example you have the google music player and...

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9.0
asianunion asianunion

I had used this phone for a few days only, but I still went through most of the features of this phone. Although it doesn't really give me that much surprise, It is still a powerful phone. I do like this phone, but I probably gonna get the iPhone 6 when it comes out. Another thing i haven't...

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10
nashtheflash nashtheflash

I feel like all of the negativity surrounding this device are completely a result of the plastic/leather combo physical form attributes. THIS IS A GREAT DEVICE! It takes spectacular pictures. The battery lasts all day (and even more than a day if take advantage of certain software...

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9.0
rafaysra rafaysra

After ugrading from the iPhone 5s I've been using the Samsung Galaxy S5 for almost 2 months now. Everything from top to bottom is spot-on!. The display is fanstastic, the camera scores a 10/10 in terms of quality. You really get what you've paid for!. But, one thing has me questioning, apps load...

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1.0
Paulsom Paulsom

I would never again buy/use/own/pay for a Samsung device, horrid.... just horrid...... can't find anything, can't use it, it's all over the shop..... I switched to a windows phone, what a pleasure...... It's all there on the front screen, everything I need... in clear view.

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3.0
Willis74 Willis74

I didnt like this phone at all so I returned it. The new features dont justify an upgrade. this phone was a step back instead of forward.

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