Samsung Galaxy S5’s bevy of new software features aren’t half bad

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 25 Feb 2014

BARCENA—I was initially overwhelmed when I heard Samsung’s CEO, g-Kyun Shin, list off all of the new software features that come stard with the Galaxy S5. Samsung’s Touchz UI has a bit of a tattered past, the Galaxy S4 was filled to the brim with extra apps features that no one really asked for, like Air View a Samsung-bred app store.

But after spending some time with some of the features that come stard with the new version of Touchz, I’m beginning to believe that it’s not all bloatware.

For instance, the Galaxy S5’s camera application features a new mode called Shot & More. It was introduced to help you actually get some use out of all those various camera modes Samsung packed into its camera app, without worrying about which of them to use before you actually take the photo.

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Select “Shot & More” to take several photos in varying modes. 

After you snap a photo, Shot & More will store several variants of it in the photo gallery. en you’re ready, you can go in choose whether you wanted the burst action shot that it took, or perhaps something else like a nice HDR image to share with your social networks.

samsung focus

You can select the focus of the photo even after you’ve taken the photo.

There’s also a Focus select mode that lets you adjust the focus of a photo after the fact. I like that it offers various focus points rather than asking me to think about where I want to focus before I take the photo, it adds real credence to the idea of using the Galaxy S5 as a point shoot device. 

samsung emergency

Save your battery by limiting your phone’s functions to the basics.

Other features, like Samsung’s Emergency Mode, is great when you need to preserve battery life but you still need your phone to act as your main communication device. The feature dims the screen into a “faux e-ink” mode keeps only the most essential functions engaged. You can make phone calls, send text messages, browse the web, or turn on the flashlight, but all 4G E -Fi connections are shut off to save those precious milliamps.

Now with more

There’s been plenty of talk of how Samsung’s been pressured by to go back to its roots. The folder devoted specifically to ‘s core apps is now front center on the Home screen, while I didn’t try this myself, Brian Klug at AnTech mentions that when he rebooted the device, it displayed a “powered by Android” stamp.

The “menu” key on the Galaxy S5 now also functions as  intended. On Samsung’s older flagship devices, like the Galaxy S III S4, pressing the button brought up a menu, forcing you to choose from a list of actions before venturing forward. Now, it actually brings up the Recents screen, like on Android 4.4. KitKat.

samsung settings

Touchz’s new Settings screen looks nothing like stock Android’s.

Samsung didn’t totally stick with all of Android’s stards, however. The Settings menu has received yet another overhaul, everything has been broken out into individual icons, collected into groups. The settings for the Galaxy S5’s core applications are now available at the very bottom of the Settings list, which confused me at first. Fortunately, you can switch between three different orientations, while I can see the worth in having iconography guide the user toward the settings they’re reaching for, it’s a big departure from stock Android’s list-oriented Settings menu.

I’m excited to get the Galaxy S5 in-house really check out what Samsung packed into Touchz. The flatter UI is more aesthetically appealing, too, with ‘s influence we could be seeing Samsung slow down the transition into its own massive ecosystem