Samsung Galaxy S5 review: Fab Five

Fab Five

GSMArena team, 08 April 2014.


Every time the Samsung Galaxy S counter flips a digit, the world is getting ready to be amazed. The lineup that stood up to the iPhone and has been pulling Android to the very top of the food chain, is under new leadership effective last month, with Number 5 keen to prove its flagship worth.

Upgrades are all over the place: a faster chipset, a bigger screen, a couple of exciting new sensors (heart rate monitor and fingerprint scanner), with a vastly improved camera on top. The issue of the played out design is also taken care of and the S5 is treated to a new sort of finish, better than what the widely praised Galaxy Note 3 got.

Samsung Galaxy S5 official images

There's 4K video recording and a bigger battery - the list just goes on. We've tried to sum up the main things the Galaxy S5 has going for and against it below:

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE; quad-band 3G with HSPA; LTE
  • 5.1" 16M-color 1080p Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen; Adobe RGB mode
  • Android OS v4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz UI
  • Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16 MP ISOCELL camera with phase-detect autofocus, 1/2.6" 16:9 sensor and LED flash
  • 2160p video recording @ 30fps, 1080p @ 60fps, 720p @ 120fps
  • 2 MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA, Download booster
  • 16GB/32GB of built-in storage
  • microSD card slot
  • IP67 certification for dust and water resistance
  • Fingerprint scanner with PayPal payments support and private mode access
  • microUSB 3.0 port with USB host and MHL 2.0; Backwards compatibility with microUSB 2.0
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • NFC
  • IR port for remote control functionality
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Heart-rate monitor
  • IR gesture sensor for Air gestures
  • Smart gestures: Smart stay, Smart pause
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • Ample 2,800mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • No OIS or dedicated camera key
  • Rear-mounted mono speaker
  • Poor video codec support out of box
  • Wireless charging support only with an optional back cover

It is a list that grows with every installment, but experience has taught us that there's more to a smartphone than the sum of its parts. When you're dealing with a flagship device of the Galaxy S5's caliber, you are always going to want more than premium design and software tricks that sound cool on paper.

It's the stuff that helps you get things done and skills you can't find anywhere else that seal the deal at this level. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a name that's bound to get a lot of interest and plenty of exclusive features to make you want to give it a try. But the question we'll try to answer is will it convince you to spend your hard-earned cash.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 live shots

Are the new, larger sensor and the first-of-its-kind phase-detect autofocus actually making a difference? Can the larger battery make up for the bigger screen and higher clock speed? And does the new finish work in real life or only makes good publicity? Those are just some of the questions will try and answer on the following pages and, as tradition goes, we start with the physical examination.

Join us after the jump.

Reader comments

US carriers were still selling the regular S4 in 2014. Snapdragon 800 model never came to the US.

Locked bootloaders and cloneware models

No lag on mine. Running Lollipop and Kitkat.