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Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Samsung Galaxy S5 review V3

The Galaxy S5's top-end components and portfolio of security services make it one of the most enterprise-friendly Android smartphones ever made. However, needless customisations from Samsung will undoubtedly hamper its ability to upgrade to newer Android versions, a factor that could limit its long-term appeal.


Great performance, crystal-clear display, good camera, decent portfolio of security services


Touchwiz, average battery life

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £580

Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung aimed to take the enterprise by storm with its 2013 flagship smartphone the Galaxy S4, claiming its Knox security software and added productivity features made it the most enterprise-friendly Android handset available. Conversely, coming loaded with a sea of unwanted applications and a slightly flimsy-feeling design, the Galaxy S4 fell short of achieving V3's hallowed five-star rating.

One year on, Samsung has returned to the field with a new ruggedised Galaxy S5 smartphone, shown in our video demo below, which it hopes will address these concerns.

Design and build
The Galaxy S5 follows the same design philosophy as previous Samsung smartphones. It has a slightly curved "pebble" design with metallic sides, a detachable polycarbonate back and Gorilla Glass front, complete with a dedicated physical home button.

It is only when you get close to the smartphone that you notice that Samsung has made a number of subtle design tweaks that differentiate the Galaxy S5 from previous Galaxy models.

The most noticeable difference is the backplate's slightly perforated texture. While this sounds like a minor thing, we found it made the Galaxy S5 far more comfortable to hold than previous Galaxy smartphones, which featured smooth and slightly slippery feeling polycarbonate backplates. The comfort factor was also helped by the Galaxy S5's 142x73x8.1mm size and 145g weight. Samsung Galaxy S5 review back

We also found the perforated backplate felt significantly more robust than those on past Galaxy handsets. Pressing down on the S5's case, it offered next to no give and in general felt significantly more scratch and drop-resistant than previous Samsung flagships.

The backplate's ruggedised feel is likely the result of Samsung's work to ensure the Galaxy S5 is IP67 certified. The IP67 certification means, like Sony's Xperia Z1 Compact and Xperia Z2, that the Galaxy S5 is dust and water resistant. Specifically, it means the Galaxy S5 should be able to survive submersion at depths of one metre for 30 minutes. Testing Samsung's claim by dunking the Galaxy S5 in a kitchen sink full of water, we can confirm the handset is indeed water resistant and it survived the experience unscathed.

A consequence of the certification is that the Galaxy S5's micro USB 3.0 and USB On-The-Go ports are protected by covers that match the case design. This means some users may feel the Galaxy S5 looks a little chunky compared to its predecessor, though we approve of the more industrial, rugged design.

More subtle additions to the Galaxy S5's design include a new custom fingerprint scanner integrated into the physical home button, and a biometric heart monitor, which sits underneath the phone's rear camera. More on these later.

Next: Display and operating system

Processor: Quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Display: 5.1in, 1920x1080, 432ppi, Super Amoled touchscreen
Storage: 16GB and 32GB upgradable via micro SD, 2GB RAM
Camera: 16MP UltraPixel rear, 2MP front
Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G LTE
Operating system: Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Touchwiz
Dimensions: 142x73x8.1mm
Weight: 145g

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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