Samsung Galaxy S5 finally arrives – what do the reviewers think?

November 11, 2014 : TECHFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Samsung Galaxy S5 finally arrives what do the reviewers think

OK, so it probably won't generate as much excitement as a new iPhone, nor result in the kind of round-the-block queues we see outside Apple stores when an updated model is released, but if you're a fan of Samsung's smartphones – and there are a lot of you out there – then you're probably pretty excited about the fact that the Galaxy S5 is now available to purchase.
Samsung reckons it "redefines how technology innovation enhances our lives" and focuses on the features and capabilities that matter most to smartphone users. But of course Samsung was always going to tout its latest offering as the best thing since sliced bread, so here we take a look at what the critics have made of this shiny new gadget.

The camera
The S5's camera is supposed to be one of its big selling points, since it boasts the world's fastest autofocus speed – 0.3 seconds to be precise. Matt Warman, the Telegraph's head of technology, is a fan, noting that the autofocus is so fast "you barely notice it happening" while high dynamic range makes images look "consistently excellent".
CNET's Jessica Dolcourt reckons the S5's 16-megapixel camera is "one of the best you can find on a smartphone" and Owen Williams from technology blog TNW said it takes "incredible" shots for a phone and that using it on a day-to-day basis is "delightful".
However, the Wall Street Journal's personal tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler wasn't quite as enthusiastic, claiming it doesn't perform very well in low light.
The fitness features
A nifty set of fitness tools was another of the features Samsung bigged-up when it unveiled the S5. There's a personal fitness tracker as well as a pedometer, diet and exercise records and a built-in heart rate monitor – all fantastic additions for users who work out regularly.
Chris Hall from Pocket-Lint said the inclusion of the heart rate sensor on the back of the S5 sets it apart from other smartphones on the market, but the fitness apps don't really offer anything new.
Business Insider's Steve Kovach didn't see the point of the heart rate monitor, insisting that Samsung's new Gear Fit fitness tracker and smartwatch offer better ways of tracking your heart rate. Most of the reviewers also mentioned that in order for the sensor to work correctly, you have to hold your finger very still.
The design
This seems to be where the Galaxy S5 falls down. Samsung said the phone was "modern" and "glam" with a sleek and contoured shape, but the critics don't seem to be quite so enamoured by its looks, with most of them commenting on the fact that it's made of plastic rather than metal.
Gareth Beavis from TechRadar described the device as "creaky" and reckons it's not up to the same standard as rival handsets from Apple and HTC, for example, while the Telegraph's Matt Warman rather politely declared that the design is a "matter of taste".
Time magazine's Harry McCracken didn't like the dimpled back of the phone, describing the white model he looked at as "a little like a golf ball that got flattened by a steamroller".

This isn't the be-all and end-all though – and a high-quality Samsung Galaxy S5 case should solve any issues users might have with the feel of their phone.
TNW's Owen Williams, on the other hand, thinks that while the S5 is "not the prettiest girl at the party" it is actually quite an attractive device, and definitely an improvement on its predecessor. Indeed, most reviewers are in agreement that the design of this new smartphone is significantly better than the S4 and that it looks and feels much better in hand.
Other standout features
So what else made the reviewers tick? And what did they find a turn-off? Well the battery life was one thing that impressed, as were the download speeds and the fact that the phone is waterproof.
Of course there are other waterproof phones on the market, such as Sony's Xperia models, but these have sealed backs and the batteries can't be removed. David Phelan from the Independent said a waterproof phone with a pop-off back like the S5 was quite a "technological achievement".
The fingerprint scanner didn't really attract much praise though, with critics pointing out that Apple has been there and done it better. They noted that Apple's Touch ID is much easier to use, with the Samsung scanner often requiring two hands to use.
Overall the critics were impressed with the S5 and definitely saw it as an improvement on the S4. However, while they do think it excels in some areas, it is entering what is a very crowded market and doesn't quite have the mind-blowing innovation some were hoping for. Overall, they agree its very much a case of evolution rather than revolution..

This entry was posted in TECH and tagged on by sarahstooks
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