final rating

reviewed on
this review has been viewed 11563 times

Criteria Comments Rating
  • Reception and call quality Calls are clear and crisp, especially with T-Mobile's HD Voice. That being said all the speakers on this phone suck. good
  • Display It's bright, clear, vivid. Auto adjust is great. Outside viewing is comfortable. It's my first experience with AMOLED displays, and it is a much welcome change. great!
  • Battery life I've been using my Galaxy S5 since launch. I always make it to my bed with battery to spare, even days of heavy use outside with the brightness cranked. great!
  • Camera Pictures turn out clear and crisp. Low light performance is lacking. It also shakes when not in use resulting in an annoying rattle. Other than that it's goood. good
  • Ease of use TouchWiz is clean, fast, and finally appealing to me. All of Samsung's tweaks are overbearing and annoying in the settings menu. They force feed them to you. so-so
  • Design and form factor Samsung is sticking to it's guns on this one, and that's not a good thing. There is little innovation or change, but what did you expect? so-so
  • Portability (size / weight) It's light, but not too light. It houses a 5.1 inch display and all the disadvantages and advantages come included. It's hard to use with one hand. good
  • Media support Included Micro SD card slot enables me to throw any format of any kind of media at this phone and thanks to 3rd party apps, I can play all of them. great!
  • Durability The only redeeming factor is the IP67 rating, allowing me to use the phone with confidence in dangerous environments. good
  • Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) The real star of the TouchWiz has to be S Health. Which came to me as a surprise. It's a full features app with a lot of potential. great!
Detailed review
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 devices up to this point. My previous phone, the Nexus 5, left me wanting something more. It was a great phone but I was still hungry, and when I saw nearly everybody around me embracing the phone and purchasing their own, it immediately lost it's charm. Yes, it was shallow of me, but it ended up pushing me towards the Galaxy S5 and I am not even tempted to look back.

The phone handles well, even with the cheap build. TouchWiz is clean and can be really snappy. But at times is lags and struggles to let the 2.5Ghz processor do it's job. In fact, the S5's biggest enemy is it's own maker. Samsung has a weird perspective and feels that they have to revolutionize to stand out. Scrolling through the settings can take forever as you are overloaded with way too many utterly useless "features."

The fingerprint sensor leaves a lot to be desired. It works about 70% of the time and you have to develop a certain muscle memory to find consistent success. You can only save 3 finger prints, as opposed to Touch ID's 5, but you get used to it. You can rely on it, but I chose not to.

The real star of the updated TouchWiz is S Health. It came as a shock to me. I thought it would be an app that I would think nothing of, but the more I use it, the more it surprises me. Every aspect of the app feels thought of and not some child with daddy issues. The Heartbeat Sensor is nifty, but really only useful for health nuts. The pedometer has had me wanting to walk more, and I have even found myself shaking my leg to rack up more steps.

Samsung got a lot right with the S5, and what it got wrong doesn't result in a deal breaker. They refined the most used aspects of the phone but all of their extra effort seems to drag the phone down. Until Samsung realizes that they should be striving for perfection, and not radical innovation, and until they stop force feeding gesture control down your throat, just so they can put a huge list of features on the box we will keep getting phones like the Galaxy S5, and the huddled masses will continue to buy up what they put out.