Design and Display
We found that the Galaxy S5’s rounded rectangle shape is a form factor that the company has adopted for its previous flagship devices too, including the ever popular large home button located at the lower central area of the bezel. The rear side of the handset possesses a cover that comprises up of several tiny punctured holes in order to deliver an aesthetic appeal to the device, as well as provide a nice grip to the device. The Galaxy S5’s 1080p resolution looks beautiful on the 5.1 inch screen size. The width of the phone was perfect to type on and we felt that there was ample space present between our thumbs.
As for the display, there are no visible jagged lines when we looked closely on the app icons, and after browsing around the phone’s gallery, the high resolution makes the images look even more embellished. As for the external buttons, the power one is on the top right with the volume buttons located underneath it, and a headset jack located on the top, which for us is the ideal configuration for a button setup. The charging port is located on the bottom of the phone, with a flap covering it in order to protect it against dust and water. When comparing numerous phones, having a charging output present on the top of phones gives us an extra 3-4 inches of room to use the phone while it is charging. While it is not necessarily a bad thing, a top charging port is always preferred.
Power and performance
Running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 SoC, the Galaxy S5 is able to deliver grease lightning performance and the 2 GB of RAM that works adjacent to it provides a smooth experience of the operating system. Apps start up nice and quick and so far, we experienced no delay when firing up the taxing gaming applications. However, one limitation that we did find was that Samsung’s stock launcher does not do the job right as it provides a slight amount of delay and lag while swiping across the home screen. Installing a 3rd party launcher such as Nova Launcher eliminated the issue for us completely. A large chunk of memory is being used up by pre-loaded applications, which is most likely the culprit for the initial sluggish movement of the phone. Removing them (by rooting the phone) improved performance for our device by a considerable margin.
The S5 comes in the 16 and 32 GB internal storage models. Unlike most devices, the commendable thing that Samsung has done is adding a microSD slot that supports up to 128 GB. The only drawback that we found from the microSD slot was that every time a card had to be inserted, we had to pop up the hood of the device. This ends up wasting time but seeing as how most companies do not bother adding a storage slot in its high end devices, there is no point complaining from our side.
Even though the S5’s camera does not possess an OIS unit, the 16 MP shooter is still able to capture impressive photos at a max image resolution of 5312 by 2988 pixels. We found that the camera has difficulty keeping up with the quality of images in low light environments but still give a satisfactory result. Recording 1080p videos at 60 FPS looks as beautiful as it is lightning fast, but recording 4K videos at a steady 30 FPS rate looks beyond stunning.
Samsung’s intention of incorporating a plastic chassis to its smartphones has remained immutable. While the company does this in order to save costs by steering clear from the more expensive metallic chassis, it ends up making the device feeling extremely flimsy, at least to our hands. After the device is gripped firmly, it gave us the impression that the smartphone will crack if enough force is applied. The rear plastic of the phone is quite flexible but far from sturdy, which ultimately leads us to the conclusion that if the phone is dropped from a substantial height, it will end up damaging the impacted area to a very large degree.