Samsung Galaxy S5 review roundup: A step forward, but no revolution

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 8 Apr 2014

Samsung’s next flagship phone is here, sort of. The Galaxy S5 doesn’t officially release in the U.S. until April 11, but the early reviews are out, the consensus is nearly universal: this is Samsung’s best phone yet a significant upgrade from the Galaxy S4. But it’s also an incremental step forward, not a revolutionary rethink of Samsung’s blockbuster phone series.

Our own review will be here soon, we recommend waiting to read it before you make any major purchasing decisions. But if you’re dying to know if you should rush down to your carrier store on Friday to pick one up, here’s what the rest of the web is saying.


The Snapdragon 801-powered Galaxy S5 is a huge step up from the Snapdragon 600 in the GS4. rhaps the most exhaustive benchmarking is found at AnTech, who finds it trades wins against the HTC One (M8) – it’s slightly faster in some tests, slightly slower in others, but you’re not likely to notice the difference in everyday use. As an interesting side note, the dual-core ione 5s wins a few benchmarks against even these new high-end Snapdragon phones, proving that number of cores isn’t everything when it comes to performance.

Battery life is improved over the GS4, again, similar to the HTC One (M8). One are where the GS5 take the cake is charging speed. You can fill up it’s battery very quickly.


The 16-megapixel shooter on the GS5 is a winner, with sharp detail better low-light performance than last year’s model. Of particular note is the fast focus short shutter delay. As Harry McCracken remarked in his e review, “…the phone aced the photographic test that many competitors flunk: It let me take pictures I was happy with, as fast as I could snap them.” The video quality seems especially good. The camera app, on the other h, could apparently use a little sprucing-up.

Many comparisons will be made with the HTC One (M8)’s camera. It appears HTC’s has similar fast-shooting performance superior low-light capabilities, but suffers in very bright outdoor shots can’t resolve nearly as much detail at only 4 megapixels. 


The new Touchz Samsung apps are sleeker simpler than in previous Galaxy phones, but reviewers agree that the overhaul is not dramatic. The sentiment expressed by Own llams at TheNextb is echoed in many reviews: “Designs across the OS have been tweaked to be less garish in places but mostly still resembles the S4′s version of Touchz.”


at of that fingerprint scanner heat-rate monitor? ll, they work, but as ssica Dolcourt notes in her CNet review, “neither one strikes me as important enough to tip the scale in the S5’s favor.” You have to be very precise with a vertical swipe on the fingerprint scanner, making it nearly impossible to use one-hed. 

The heart-rate sensor is similarly impractical. Reviewers say it’s nice to have, but nobody who wrote about it got it to work every time, holding your finger on the back of your rather large phone isn’t really the most useful way to measure your heart rate when you’d really want to (while exercising).

Better than the HTC One (M8)?

Everyone seems to love the Galaxy S5. Highlights include a great display, snappy performance, improved battery life, touched-up Touchz, a very good camera (especially for video), nifty extras like the S-Health app. 

But everyone was enamored of the HTC One (M8) a couple weeks ago, too. ich of these flagship phones is better? Most of the reviewers are unwilling to put a stake in the ground. The GS5 holds the edge in display quality, rear-facing camera, software extras. On the other h, the HTC One (M8) has better build quality ergonomics, superior sound, a better front-facing “selfie” camera. It also gives you 32GB of internal storage for the price of the 16GB Galaxy S5.

CNet summed up the comparison well: “On specs alone, the Galaxy S5 has more tricks, hs-down. But when you add core hardware Android functionality, they’re evenly matched. … At the end of the day, these phones are fairly neck–neck, with Samsung pulling ahead in camera quality software capabilities, the One M8 besting the Galaxy S5 on look, feel, value.”

If you want some reading material while you wait for our expert review, we suggest the following: