Samsung Galaxy S5 Information and Review

The new Samsung Galaxy S5 is in stores now, and it comes packed with reasons to upgrade from your Galaxy S4. On Amazon, the 5.1-inch phone is going for around $189.99 when it’s bundled with a two-year contract, and $699.99 without a contract. You can find it for a bit less on eBay, with “Buy It Now” prices ranging as low as $629.99 (don’t forget to check the shipping charges and watch out for customs fees!).

Front and back Galaxy S5The Galaxy S5 runs the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system on a 2.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16/32GB of memory (you can add up to 128GB with microSD). Overall, its screen feels more vibrant, and its responsiveness feels a bit more snappy that than of its predecessor.

Samsung says the S5 "offers the most advanced LTE experience and Wi-Fi performance available today, ensuring  fast data speeds for unrivaled media consumption and productivity".

Camera Galaxy S5The 16-megapixel camera has excellent, continuous autofocus, which makes for some spectacular selfies. It’s also capable of capturing beautiful 1080p HD video. Novel new hardware and software features also include the security enhancing fingerprint scanner and the improved S Health app, which works with a built-in heart-rate monitor on the rear of the phone.

The overall look of the phone hasn’t changed much from the Galaxy S4, with a rounded rectangle shape and just a small modification to the central home button. Instead of the fingerprint-prone back of its predecessor, the rear of the Galaxy S5 is covered with tiny, matte dimples. The size of the phone is about the same, too. It’s only very slightly taller and heavier than the Galaxy S4.

On the bottom of the phone, the USB housing has been upgraded to feature a full-sized USB 3.0 port that’s backward-compatible with regular micro-USB inputs. This means that all of your old chargers will work, but you have the option of charging faster with the supplied USB 3.0 cable.

The Galaxy S5 meets all of the IP67 standards for water- and dust-resistance. There’s a rubber gasket just inside the back cover, and you may notice that your cover fits a bit more securely. You can drop your phone in up to 3 feet of water and it will stay good for up to 30 minutes.

Samsung’s TouchWiz interface does a great job of expanding the capabilities of the KitKat OS. You’ll never be far from an onscreen menu button, and a Google search box is ready and waiting for voice activation on the home screen.

Interestingly, Samsung is including some fitness tools with the S5.  The phone offers a comprehensive personal fitness tracker to help users monitor and manage their behavior, along with additional tools including a pedometer, diet and exercise records, and a new, built-in heart rate monitor. Galaxy S5 users can further customize their experience with an enriched third party app ecosystem and the ability to pair with next generation Gear products for real-time fitness coaching.

Other new features include the Kid’s Mode, which is a downloading 58MB module that serves as a sandbox for your phone. Here, kids can play with the camera and other approved apps without the potential for messing with any other, more important areas of the phone. There’s also a new ultra power-saving mode that dramatically increases your battery life during those times that you left the charger at home.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S5 isn’t making any dramatic breakthroughs, but why take chances when you’ve already got a good thing going? It adds just enough improvements to make the upgrade feel like an actual upgrade, and when you’re talking about upgrading a phone that’s already good enough to go head-to-head with the iPhone, that’s plenty.

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