Samsung Galaxy S5 review: a solid improvement, but don't rush to upgrade
The S5 is a solid upgrade over last year's model, with improvements to the hardware, software and camera. However, certain headline features like the fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor are mediocre at best. Chances are, you'll be happy with the phone, but don't fork out the extra cash for an early upgrade.
- Fantastic display
- Daylight images are on par with other flagship phones
- Waterproof casing and improved design
- Good battery life
- Fingerprint scanner can be frustrating
- Selective focus doesn't always work as promised
- Heart rate monitor isn't completely accurate
- TouchWiz UI looks better, but is still confusing
When Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S5 and a trio of Gear smartwatches, the company made a big to-do about how it listens to its customers. We know, we know: Every company's supposed to be doing that. But remember, this is Samsung we're talking about. It dominates the Android market by such a wide margin that it makes rivals like LG and HTC look like quaint startups. Put it another way: Samsung could release a phone with no improvements, and it'd still sell millions.
At least, that's how it used to be. The smartphone market has seen a downturn of late and even mighty Samsung has been affected. Sales are down, and the manufacturer must now make phones that give people what they actually want (shocker, we know). So what can we expect from a humbled Samsung? A durable phone that brings a toned-down TouchWiz UI, a better camera, longer battery life, improved performance, a fingerprint scanner and enhanced health tracking. I received an unlocked review unit from GSM Nation, which was the first outlet to start shipping the phone in the US with AT&T- and T-Mobile-compatible LTE. Now that I've been testing it for a few days, let's see if the Galaxy S5 lives up to all those promises.