Wicked Review of the Samsung Galaxy S5

Let me just admit from the beginning that I’m loving the Samsung Galaxy line — and I’ve been able to be “hands on” with several models at this point… even an UBER large 12.2″ tablet this last week that I was working to set up for my 92-year-old grandmother to use (I’ll write a blog on that experience soon!)

I also adore my Samsung Galaxy Note 3, so reviewing a smaller screened device didn’t excite me much… at first.

The Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

At First Glace

Size

The size is probably easier for people who aren’t enamored with size like I am 😉 It does fit in even a smallish hip pocket and will fit down in the side pockets of most purses/jackets and not feel like it’s going to leap out.

Display

The super AMOLED touchscreen is sharp — and REALLY crisp. It’s so nice, in fact, that I felt compelled to go look up the pixels on it. This version packs the same number of pixels (1080×1920) into its 5.1 inch screen as my Note 3 has in its larger 5.7 inch screen. Nice. It’s also covered in Gorilla Glass – my personal screen protection of choice.

Sound

Downright impressive volume emits from this little thing. Seriously. It’s LOUD. This makes me happy because I don’t want to have to wear headphones to watch a movie or listen to music. The days of volume-boosting apps are over with Samsung devices, it seems.

IR

Although I don’t really use the NFC function this phone offers on my devices (maybe I will someday, but today is not that day), I do use IR. This one works great. I like having a universal remote app on my phone. First it’s super convenient (no more lost remotes) and second — to freak out the BF by making the TV appear possessed. True, that was a one-time stunt, but WHAT a kick! A seriously enlongated punk’d experience involving technology tricks waged against an uber tech geek. Those opportunities don’t present themselves often. HUGE fun! 😀

Fingerprint Reader

No thank you. I’m sure some people love this technology. I don’t. I’m a tin-foil-hat girl and, although I love my technology, I’m not interested in having my fingerprint stored on various databases, thank you very much.

Easy Transition

As soon as I set it up on Google and logged in, most of my standard apps appeared “automagically” on the new device. It made testing this phone uber-easy because much of the “what do I want to test” decisions were no longer necessary. That will be important to someone transitioning from another Android phone. Major time-saver.

Snappy Performance

even once my overload of apps were up and running, this little guy never missed a beat. I particularly noticed how quickly it responded to screen rotation – an area where even the slightest lag makes me crazy on mobile devices.

Upon Further Use

The Camera

OH MY! I’m LOVING this camera. 16 MP awesomeness. The stabilization is good, the detail and pixel rate is awesome. May I please get this surgically implanted in my Note 3? Pretty please?!?! The front facing camera is a yawn — I really wish they would improve those on smartphones! How can I possibly get a great selfie with my mother and her mother with a low (2MP) front facing camera? We all want to be sure we are smiling properly at the same time, don’t we? 😀

The Battery

Not as impressive as I had hoped. I’m a power user — seriously. My phone is usually playing music, creating video background noise, being used to surf or chat or talk — almost constantly. It’s on 4G, usually has a BT headset attached and is often tied into the WiFi as well. I give a battery a work out.

I don’t like having a phone that has to be plugged in even once a day. I need a day and a half. That way, I can have it working or playing for me all day long and into the night — and it will be fully recovered if I remember to plug it in when I go to bed. And if I forget, it doesn’t fail to alarm and wake me up in the morning and I still have a couple hours to get it hooked up before it dies. I didn’t get the advertised battery life from it — but I’m not an average user. Besides, my Note 3 has me spoiled.

My Menu Button

It’s gone. I use that all the time and it’s missing! What is in the “menu” slot (to the left of the “home” button) is a task manager button. I’d probably like this… eventually… but getting used to having standard buttons moved around is irksome.

Cool New Features

Waterproofing on Samsung S5 Smartphone
Waterproofing on Samsung S5 Smartphone

Waterproofing

I didn’t test the waterproofing (yeah, call me a chicken, it’s ok.) But I did notice that the “plug guard” for the charger port was a little cumbersome. Not a huge deal, but a little bit of a hassle. But, I’m sure if I ever let my phone take a quick dip (accidentally, of course) in a sink or puddle, that I’d be more than happy to deal with a plug hassle to save my phone. Putting on my geek-hat…it seems like a good reason to investigate wireless charging options. 🙂

Health

This phone offers a heart monitor (which is a really cool feature – but requires placing your finger on the fingerprint reader — humph!) and a pretty accurate pedometer built in through their Health Service app (found under S-Health).

I don’t want to have to carry my phone with me all the time to keep up with my steps (I have so few, and I want them all to count!) because I usually leave it on my desk while I’m at the office.

I must admit that if I did use my phone for all my health-related data (and if I were more competitive in the exercise arena), I’d like this GUI to do that. There’s a workout trainer app that you can add to the platform as well. This app offers personalized workouts for you and demonstrates via photos and video how to perform the exercises.  Some of the workouts are free, and some require a pro membership (19.99 one-time payment) or a Pro+ membership (6.99 per month).

Maybe I SHOULD be a little more health conscious… *sigh*

Conclusion

If I were buying a smaller phone or if I decided to trade in my phablet for a standard size, I’d pick the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. I like it that much. It fits my hand, it offers the Samsung performance and features I’ve come to expect and it offers more whiz-bang features for me to discover as I tire of the basics. The stuff I like and new stuff to test — that’s the perfect blend in a piece of tech for me.

Disclaimer: I reviewed this product on request and gave my honest opinions of the strengths and weaknesses. There was no agreement as to the content of my review and the opinions expressed herein are my own.

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