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Samsung Galaxy S5 Review

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The first half of the last two years has been all about the competition between HTC and Samsung’s new flagships. This year, the battle became testier than ever thanks to HTC calling out Samsung for what it perceived to be a lack of innovation and the continued use of plastics in its Galaxy S5. While you could argue that HTC is either wrong or right, there is no denying the continued success of all things Samsung, with the Galaxy S5 likely only continuing the trend.

We aren’t necessarily going to try to settle the battle between these two (that is up for you to decide in the end), but after having reviewed HTC’s new One (M8), it is now time for us to share our thoughts on Samsung’s Galaxy S5. Tim and I have spent three weeks with the phone, so as you can imagine, we feel like we have a pretty good grasp on everything it has to offer. And just like with our M8 review, we have tag-teamed this one.

This is our Galaxy S5 review. 

The Good


Specs

Much like Samsung’s previous flagship Galaxy S devices, the Galaxy S5 does not disappoint on paper. The device features a gorgeous 5.1″ 1080p Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (432 ppi), a Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, an Adreno 330 GPU, massive 16MP rear-facing camera sensor, 2.1MP front-facing camera, removable 2,800mAh battery, the world’s first dedicated heart rate monitor in a smartphone, a fingerprint scanner, expandable storage thanks to a microSD card slot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, 4G LTE connectivity, and finally, comes running Android 4.4.2.

As mentioned, on paper, this device should be an insane flagship from Samsung. As we have seen with other devices, specs are only a small portion of a much larger picture, though. From our time with the device, Samsung’s continuous assault on Android with loads of pre-installed software somewhat bogs down the performance of the Galaxy S5, but the specs clearly speak for themselves.

Before release, rumors had pointed to Samsung throwing in a QHD display (2560 x 1440) into the Galaxy S5, but that didn’t pan out. Whether that is a good or bad thing is hard to say, given that we don’t know quite yet how having a QHD display on a smartphone will affect battery life and performance.

Speaking in just terms of specifications for a smartphone, the Galaxy S5 easily has other handsets from different manufacturers beat out. -T

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Display

In a report released just days before the Galaxy S5 went on sale across the globe, DisplayMate called the phone’s display the “best performing smartphone display that we have ever tested.” I would have to say that I agree with that idea. This display is stunning to look at. The Galaxy Note 3 probably had my favorite display up until this point, but the GS5’s 5.1-inch FHD Super AMOLED display tops it. As an AMOLED, the colors aren’t oversaturated (a critique often expressed in the past when compared to LCD panels), but they certainly seem to have that “pop” that we love without looking unnatural.

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Brightness levels are outstanding, the different modes (Cinema, Standard, Dynamic, Photo) allow you to adapt it your current needs (Cinema is said to be the most accurate), screen sensitivity is as good as it is on any Android phone, and the viewing angles are some of the best we have seen to date. Videos look stunning and photo viewing will impress even the pickiest of pixel pros. This is the display you should want in all of your phones.

If you take a look at the comparisons (above-right) of the GS5 to the One (M8) and Nexus 5 at full brightness, you can see how much better the viewing angles hold on the Galaxy S5. When looking at all three from the top down, they all look mostly the same, but the tones on the GS5 come off a bit richer than the other two. My eyes tend to see LCD displays washing out colors, which to me is what we are seeing on the wood of the image on the LCDs of the N5 and M8, along with the grey top bar on the Droid Life home page.

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Pixel gurus, you will find the diamond arrangement (above) on the Galaxy S5 to be quite odd looking when spied at it through a macro lens. With that said, your eye can’t see this arrangement without a macro lens, so you won’t notice it when viewing the phone at a normal distance. Sure, it’s not a typical pixel arrangement like you would find on the One (M8), but it produces beautiful results. -K

Camera

The camera on the Galaxy S5 is very good for a smartphone. With its 16MP sensor, Samsung is once again leading the charge on Android when it comes to mobile optics. While the camera software has more features than you’ll probably know what to do with, Samsung has at least tried to hide most of them in a Settings menu so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. But if you want to adjust exposure, change to specific modes, use HDR, toggle flash, set a timer, detect faces, or shoot in burst mode, you can. It really is all there, plus Samsung will even let you download new shooting modes for those specific situations where you want to have some extra fun with your smartphone camera.

The UI in general, though, is much better than in years past. First of all, you can quickly access the camera from the lock screen of the phone with a simple swipe up from the camera icon in the bottom right corner. Once inside, you’ll see your shutter, video, mode, and gallery buttons on the right. On the left, you have a button for switching between front and rear cameras, plus three customizable shortcuts, and then a full settings menu. I’ll admit that there are too many buttons, but they aren’t necessarily placed poorly. And, once you take advantage of those three shortcuts, I think you’ll find the camera UI to be quite good. It’s nothing new or refreshing like Google’s new Camera, but it works.

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If you want to talk photo quality, look no further than the photo below, that Tim took. Can you see the amazing detail on that bug? If not, click here to see a crop. Thanks to the 16MP resolution, this is what the camera is capable of, something the HTC One (M8) will never be able to replicate with its 4MP sensor.

The rest of our samples show the brilliant color the Galaxy S5 is capable of capturing, how well it takes macro shots, its ability to capture a face, how well it takes landscape shots that contain different levels of shadow and light, and how its selective focus can create solid bokeh for a camera that only has a single lens (yes, we are looking at you, HTC).

I will say that Tim’s 16:9 shots all seem to have correct exposure and accurate color, while the photos I shot in 4:3 often look overexposed. I also ran into issues indoors while at the Trail Blazers’ arena where the camera couldn’t handle the crazy amount of unnatural light and gave me all of four acceptable photos out of 10-15. The rest of my results were perfectly fine.

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The Galaxy S5 features a couple of notable shooting modes that are worth pointing out too. You should most definitely download Surround Shot (Mode>Download), as this is a take on Google’s Photo Sphere. In the Settings menu, there is also a mode called Selective Focus, which allows you to refocus photos after you have taken them.

Overall, the camera on the Galaxy S5 did not disappoint. You may want to play with the exposure depending on the setting, but overall, the camera straight out of the box is capable of taking brilliant photos with high amounts of detail and punchy colors that are certainly share-worthy.

Removable Battery, SD Card Slot, and Wireless Charging

Samsung continues to stick with a handful of features that others continue to either ignore or move away from. First, they put a removable battery in the Galaxy S5, just like they have with all of their phones. This means you can swap batteries when in need, but also potentially change the look of your phone by tossing on a new back cover. Second, Samsung included a micro SD card slot as well, that holds up to 128GB cards. Google wants the SD card to die a quick death, but Samsung has realized that its users want the extra, removable storage. And last, Samsung has already created a line of wireless charging accessories (not quite available yet, though) because they realized the benefits of not having to plug in your phone each time, especially with the new flap that covers the charging port on the GS5.

It’s these little things that help Samsung phones stand out from others, in my opinion. I for one, love having expandable storage even if developers hate it. I also like being able to lay my phone down on a charging pad without ever needing to find a cable. -K

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Availability

As is tradition, Samsung continued to make the Galaxy S5 one of the most widely available devices in the entire world. Global launch took place on April 11, with roughly 125 countries having access to it. Here in America, all of the major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint had the device on launch day, available for $199 on contract. The device to this day is still purchasable for the same $199 price on contract, but can be also picked up for $599-$649 off contract depending on which carrier you go through.

If subsidies or locked bootloaders aren’t your thing, there is a Developer Edition of the Galaxy S5 in the works, which is reported to come to Verizon and other carriers at some point down the road. As we saw with the Galaxy S4, there could also be a Google Play Edition of the Galaxy S5 coming, but there has been no word or confirmation from Google or Samsung as to whether it will actually happen.

With availability of the device so open across the world, it’s no wonder why Samsung is so strong in the Android marketshare numbers. -T

Accessories

Ever since Samsung started producing a single device in a single form factor for all carriers across the globe, an overwhelming amount of accessories have been available. With a single design, accessory manufacturers have flocked to their devices, so you are almost guaranteed to be able to find something you will like for the Galaxy S5, whether it be a new slim case, an ultra-protective cover, screen protector, or dock. And since everyone is producing Galaxy accessories, you will find them priced reasonably as well. The more options, the more competitive the pricing has become. -K

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Water and Dust Resistant

On the water and dust resistance scale, the Galaxy S5 weighs in at IP67. The 6 means it has complete dust protection and should be sealed fully. The 7 means that it is water resistant in up to 1m of water for 30 minutes. That’s not bad at all, especially if you plan on dropping your phone in a toilet, sink, or puddle of water occasionally/accidentally (not recommended). It should survive all of that over and over again, assuming you have the back battery cover and micro USB port cover sealed properly. Thankfully, Samsung will remind you constantly to check the seal on both of those locations in case you run into a situation where you need that Ip67 protection to come into play.

During my quick water test, I took the Galaxy S5 and dunked it for a minute or two in vase full of water. I then laid the phone on a table, dropped more water all over it and snapped some pretty pictures of the results. As you would expect, the phone survived and still works just fine to this day.

Keep in mind that the phone is water resistant, not waterproof. This is not the ultimate, survive-all, kind of phone, but it was built to survive some of those common situations I mentioned above. The fact that Samsung made it IP67 is a bonus in our book. -K

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Somewhere-in-the-Middle


Battery Life

It seems that Kellen and I differ slightly on how we feel about the battery life. I thought the Galaxy S5 did better than I had initially expected, but Kellen experienced rather dismal battery performance from his time with it. For the sake of fairness, since we both live in different areas and have the Galaxy S5 on different carriers (me on AT&T, Kellen on Verizon), we will say that the Galaxy S5 battery life hits par for the course. It is powered by a Snapdragon 801 with 2GB of RAM, while also lighting up a 5.1″ Super AMOLED 1080p display. Let’s face it, the battery, no matter its size, has its work cut out for it.

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While I personally was able to get a solid day out of the Galaxy S5 which included a normal day of work, errands, and late night grub runs (two sets of screenshots on the left). If I didn’t go anywhere throughout the day and then didn’t plug in the phone overnight, I could get a day and a half easily (mostly on WiFi). The battery life isn’t outstanding, not by any means, but it wasn’t bad either. It was just what you would expect from a device with a ton of features running in the background and top tier specs.

Kellen, on the other hand, had pretty terrible battery life to report, which can be seen in the two sets of screenshots on the right. It could be that Verizon doesn’t have great coverage in his area. As you can tell from his tests, his signal wasn’t green most of the time, so the battery life was likely suffering. Reports elsewhere tend to be more in line with my results, not Kellen’s. Battery life shouldn’t be something to worry about if you purchase the Galay S5.  -T

TouchWiz

For years, we have complained about the dated design and overwhelming number of features contained in Samsung’s TouchWiz skin atop Android. With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is finally giving us a major makeover that combines the design world’s new love of all things flat, while still maintaining a familiar TouchWiz aesthetic that long-time Galaxy owners will understand. It’s actually quite pretty for the most part, but the whole experience can still be overwhelming to someone looking to do the simple things. As is the case in most smartphone situations, and something Motorola proved to us is an organizational focus for its phones, less is more.

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As far as the look of the new UI of TouchWiz is concerned, I get the feeling that most of you will be satisfied. Gone are the Gingerbread-like columns and colors, in is the flatness. From the new notification pull-down circular icons to the revamped Settings menu and the somewhat-Android-guidelines-followed redesigns of core apps like S Health and the Gallery, Samsung has made steps towards a better Android skin. You will still be annoyed by bloopity blooping touch noises (please turn them off) and overwhelmed by the 37 categories in the settings area, but it at least looks much better.

Where we found problems with TouchWiz in the Galaxy S5 is where we always find problems. There are far too many settings (again, there are 37 to try to figure out), too much nature-noise non-sense going on, and still far too many features that we aren’t sure we will ever really need. Things like Toolbox, Multi Window, and One-handed Operation are quite useful in a variety of situations, but others like the Fingerprint scanner, Motion Gestures, and Air View just seem so unnecessary or half-baked. And what happened to really helpful features like app shortcuts and widgets on the lock screen? Why did Samsung allow Verizon to kill off Paypal fingerprint authentication? Where is Download Booster on most U.S. variants? Why can’t I swipe between the panels in the Dialer? Why is it so painful to create a folder on a home screen? Can we ease up on the bloatware? Why does Samsung insist on investing in their own Apps store when we have Google Play?

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TouchWiz has changed for the better in many situations, but again, the same overwhelming nature of it still makes it one of our least favorite Android skins. The Galaxy S5 is yet another phone that we would advise you install a 3rd party launcher on immediately. -K

Speaker and Headphone Output

Coming from an HTC One (M8), the Galaxy S5 was quite a step down in the audio department. I listen to music on headphones a lot throughout any given day, and when I notice that audio quality and overall volume is somewhat poor, it drives me from a device rather quickly. What the Galaxy S5 does well is that Samsung baked in its own audio settings, which allows users to control a very wide range of EQ settings. You have your presets like Rock, Hip Hop, and Classical, but it also has a variety of different artificial effects your music can be sent through. For example, if you want a more auditorium tonality to your music (with more echoes and open sounds), you can select Concert Hall. If you want a classic rock vibe, you can choose a Tube Amp preset, which brings sort of a warm and crunchy tone. As someone who spent years in a metal band, obsessing over tones and effects, I was somewhat surprised at how much of a variety I can choose from on the Galaxy S5.

Unfortunately, these presets don’t exactly make your music sound any better. To top it off, I found that the Galaxy S5 didn’t get loud enough for me or feature a “full” enough sound. I was left wanting more bass or more mids, longing to have HTC’s BoomSound software on the device. The One (M8) features fantastic speakers for when you want to not wear any headphones, and of course, the Galaxy S5’s single speaker can’t live up to that. Sure, the GS5’s speaker gets plenty loud, but the sound just isn’t as close in the quality department to HTC’s. -T

Health Features

When Samsung announced the Galaxy S5 with heart rate monitor and its new line of Gear wearables, I was really excited to dive head first into this new fitness-focused ecosystem. I can tell you right now, that after using its set of fitness features, that I have already stopped using because I have other fitness products I prefer. With that said, it’s something that can be improved over time and could be very useful to some who don’t already own fitness trackers, so don’t completely write it off just yet.

The Galaxy S5 comes pre-loaded with S Health, the hub for most of your fitness categories like pedometer tracking, exercise records, heart rate and food logs, coaching, weight management, and your profile. The pedometer is a tracker that needs to be turned on each day, as it won’t track your steps otherwise (automatically). The Exercise option allows you to track things like running, walking, cycling or hiking. Running is where most of my testing took place. You can take your heart rate using the built in heart rate monitor (Samsung says this is a first for a smartphone). And if you would like to fully take your fitness tracking to the next level, can keep a diary of your food intake, manage your weight, and even use Samsung’s coach-like feature that tries to motivate you to workout more.

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I took the Galaxy S5 on a run that used GPS and the phone tracked my run very well. The pace was spot on with my other trackers, plus it gives you a heat map of your pace throughout, tells you speeds, elevation, and will even let you take a picture to put a memory with your workout. The calories burned count was in the ballpark of where it should have been as well. During runs, you can set goals, use an audio guide, and add music, just like any good fitness tracker would do.

The heart rate monitor works, I think. Since I don’t have another heart rate monitor to compare it to, I can’t exactly say that it is bad. I can tell you that the phone does a hell of a lot better job than something like Samsung’s Gear Fit. As you check your heart rate regularly, Samsung logs them, tosses them in pretty graphs, and really keeps tracks for the most part to help you monitor performance. If you don’t have a heart monitor, this is at least an option.

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My problem with S Health generally comes back to all of the work required to maintain everything. Beyond the sluggishness of the app, it just seems like you are constantly having to tell S Health every single little thing about your life. From keeping up your weight to counting calories for each meal to telling it to start tracking steps to dealing with a faux coach to attaching third party apps to bringing in info from a Gear device to checking your heart rate. It is a lot of work that I found I didn’t have time for. Samsung has updated the app several times over the last couple of weeks, though, and even added a new Sleep tracking app that can pull in info from Gear wearables, so it’s clear that Samsung is fully invested in this new healthy ecosystem. If you are needing the structure of a fully-featured fitness tracking solution, this may do an acceptable job. It will also keep you from having to buy anything else since the Galaxy S5 tries to do it all. -K

The Not-so-Good


Design

The design of the Galaxy S5 just feels like a step in the wrong direction for mankind. The phone is abnormally large when compared to what Samsung did with last year’s flagship phone. They squared it off, making it uncomfortable in the hand. They tossed on a slippery, dimpled exterior coating. They increased bezels dramatically. There is this really obnoxious flap that covers the charging port that will likely break within two months of use. And the faux-metal rim job is nothing but an ugly disaster that makes the whole package look and feel cheap.

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Last year, Samsung bragged (and rightfully so) about how they had made the Galaxy S4 smaller than the Galaxy S3, but upped the screen size and shrunk the bezels. This year, they barely bumped up the screen size from 5.0″ to 5.1″, yet added 6mm of height and another 3mm of width. I’m not saying that they needed to work some miracle and create a smaller S5 than S4, but why the huge jump in size?

As for the shape of the phone, I can tell you right now that if you are going to make your phone this big, you better think about rounding it off some. HTC understood this with the One (M8) and Motorola clearly did with the Moto X. Round things feel better in your hand. The Galaxy S5, has rounded corners, yet somehow feels so squared off that it’s uncomfortable and at times awkward to hold.

Bezels are bezels. We hate them, you hate them. The Galaxy S5 has an extra amount of bezel when compared to the Galaxy S4 or other flagships of today (not counting the One (M8)). Since the phone grew so much, I really would have not liked to see this much bezel hanging around.

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My complaint with the flap that covers the charging port is two-fold. But first, understand that I am fully aware that it is needed in order to make the phone water resistant. I get it, I get it. The problem with the flap, is that it is very difficult to maneuver out of the way of the massive USB 3.0 cable that is used to charge the Galaxy S5. It is also as difficult to re-attach the flap. It takes some real wiggle-work in order to get this thing in place. Finally, I am actually surprised in my three weeks of testing that it hasn’t broken off. If this flap lasts you two years, I would be shocked.

Finally, Samsung removed the gross, glossy coating of previous phones, instead going with a dimpled, almost matte finish. It looks a lot better, but it has been slippery in my testing. Also, the faux-metal rim around the phone – come on, Samsung, you can do better than that. This phone is just begging for a case like no phone has begged before. -K

Performance

Now comes the sad part, which if you would have asked me when we traveled to New York to see the Galaxy S5 for the first time, I would have called you crazy. The overall performance and multi-tasking capability of this device is rather embarrassing and hard to comprehend. As we said in the specs section up top, this device features next-gen hardware – a Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, an Adreno 330 GPU, and runs Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat. Even with these specs, the Galaxy S5 seems to lag and stutter all over the place, with issues most apparent when switching between applications. I have had the device completely freeze at least a few times when web-browsing on the Chrome browser, as well as just skimming through my Twitter timeline clicking on external links. The new multi-task button also fields a solid 2-second delay before popping up your list of recently used apps. My worst nightmare came to fruition when I was playing a game called Impossible Road, making it all the way to around the 40-50 level checkmark. At that time, the Galaxy S5 stuttered momentarily, sending my ball completely off course into the oblivion, with no chance to recover it. Is that experience something I want from a 2014 flagship? Absolutely not.

Should we blame TouchWiz for this outrage? With nothing else to directly point the finger at, we say yes. The reason most people would instantly blame Samsung’s skin is that if you were running plain vanilla Android on this device, it would have the potential to fly. What’s worse is that the Moto X, a device with specs from two years ago, appears to handle and perform with less hiccups and frustration. Could the performance somehow be tweaked in an update to the Galaxy S5 to allow it to perform better? Absolutely.

It’s not all bad, though. When taking pictures with the Galaxy S5, I didn’t seem to notice any lag, allowing me to snap shots and get all of the right moments with no problems.

In the end, I was asked by a reader that if I was forced to choose one device from 2014 to have for a full year, would it be the Galaxy S5? From my experience with the phone’s performance alone, I can easily say there is no way I could handle these types of frustrations for any long period of time. Sorry to say, but once this review is up, I don’t think I will ever touch the Galaxy S5 again as a daily driver. -T

Other Notes


  • Fingerprint scanner:  As mentioned above, the Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner. It can be used to unlock your device, authorize Paypal payments on some versions, and login to your Samsung account. It is pretty limited in its current form, so there really isn’t much to share about it. This really isn’t a selling point of the phone or an area you should really care much about. I can’t imagine many of you utilizing it often, especially since it can be rather finicky. To see it in action, check out our “how to” in the video section below.
  • Bloatware count:  I counted at least 19 pre-installed bloatware apps on the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S5, while Tim found at least 15 on the AT&T model.

Video


Unboxing and Quick  Tour

25+ Tips and Tricks

5 Reasons the Camera is Better Than the HTC One (M8)’s

How to:  Setup the Fingerprint Scanner

Gallery


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The Verdict


The Samsung Galaxy S5 is by all means a perfectly good smartphone. This isn’t a major reinvention of the previous year’s model, though. While the display is out-of-this-world good, the rest just sort of feels somewhat unremarkable. The camera is good, not ground-breaking. The water resistance is nice, but nothing new to phones. Battery life is acceptable, not DROID MAXX-like. TouchWiz’s design has changed for the better, but still causes too much phone lag. And the whole phone design feels extremely dated and out-of-touch.

Look, the Galaxy S5 is a phone that will sell in the millions, we know that. Samsung knows that. They didn’t do anything here to wrong their current or potential customers. Many of you will buy it, love it, and likely think that it is the greatest piece of technology ever built. You know what? There is nothing wrong with that. If you want to watch videos on a stunning display, take fabulous photos, and use a phone that is in an ecosystem that has clearly won the world over, by all means do it. Buy the Galaxy S5.

This just isn’t the phone for me (or Tim it sounds like). I want more than just a beautiful display. I don’t want all that bezel or size. I don’t want a physical home button or TouchWiz’s lag or all that bloatware. I would take the camera, but others have capable cameras. Where is that thing, that is trying to draw me in? Maybe there isn’t supposed to be one? Or maybe it’s coming in the rumored premium version of the Galaxy S5 later this year. Or maybe it will be here in the Galaxy S6.


Links:  Galaxy S5 deals at eBay | Amazon

  • po

    Reading Anandtech’s review and followup, they say that the S5 is slower than the M8 in terms of general UI use. Also, they found that the S5 gets thermally throttled. Of course, to show this they used a benchmark. However, during a somewhat long session of web browsing with multiple tabs or other tasks and maybe in a warmish environment, I can see the phone getting hot enough to throttle in that period. So, were the phones noticeably warm when the very noticeable lag occurred? Were you using the phone for an extended period of time? If so, then the S5 could possibly be suffering from thermal issues which is definitely not good.

    A slow UI (compared to current flagships) coupled with thermal throttling is big concern for me. I do sometimes use my current phone for extended periods and it does eventually get warm. If the S5 cannot handle such a use case then I may consider other phones. I really want the USB 3.0 and removable battery (good thing other phones have SD slots) but thermal issues are bad enough for me to stay away. Maybe DL can try to confirm/deny thermal throttling when under non-benchmark use cases?

    • hkklife

      Samsung phones, at least in my experience, have always gotten very hot. My old Charge & GS3 got scorching hot and my Note 3 gets very warm after any extended usage or fringe reception areas (bit nowhere as bad as the GS3 did).

      • po

        It makes me wonder if the sudden slow down when they were playing a game and browsing was due to the phone throttling. Games and browsing can tax the CPU and GPU. The heat could have been built up and then it throttled causing the lag they experienced during the game and browsing.

        • needa

          its touchwiz. every touchwiz phone has done this. it has nothing to do with the throttling. phones with much less horsepower do just fine.

      • http://www.mecha-digital.com/ Jason@MechaDigital

        Not sure if this counts, but my GNex would occasionally get hot enough to fry an egg on it.

    • Scott Tucker

      Under normal use, the S5 is the fastest Android phone I’ve ever used, and I’ve used most of them. I wouldn’t worry about benchmarks.

      • po

        I don’t know if my (maybe long to some) periods of browsing is considered normal use but I can see it making the phone hotter and hotter during the session. Some sites can be pretty taxing. My concern is if it will get hot enough to throttle to cause the stuttering explained in this review. Even if it’s true, I’m still considering the S5 due to USB 3.0 and the removable battery but some testing would be nice.

  • Chris VanAnden

    So, what IS the phone for you and tim? For me, I LOVE my Moto X. The only phone I’d currently consider replacing it with and likely still wouldn’t, is the HTC One (M8)

    • evilfatcow

      Pulled the trigger on it. I’m rocking both and I find using the M8 more. The trade off with the speakers and size is worth it. I added a launcher and added a gesture that when i swipe down on the screen, the notification bar will pull down. love the build quality, its gorgeous and its a beast of a battery.

      • Tiltasauras

        Are you using Nova Launcher? I love it, but I’m using the Google Launcher for voice commands and Google Now to the left of the home screen.
        I don’t see why people complain so much about Sense and TouchWiz when Launchers are so readily available.

        • evilfatcow

          I have nova because it has a couple more gestures in the free version but yeah. I mean nothing really compares to the moto x and hands free experience so going old fashion by swiping up on the home is good enough. But honestly I am a bit upset that I do have to put a launcher on because I wanted to give sense a try. It’s blazing fast, and I hate TW and everything Samsung stands for lol. But it’s a gorgeous phone and if you want something more professional looking while the latest specs, I’d pick the m8 over any phone right now

    • RoadsterHD1

      Don’t do it. The Moto X feels better in hand, the difference from the M8 and Moto X is day and night. Performance is not an issue on either, so not to be considered.

  • topherct

    Great review. I have had the S5 on Verizon since the first week it came out. I personally love it but I see some of the downsides listed in this review. It is definitely too big, but I found texting is great with the large screen. I really haven’t had any problems with lag on the phone and my battery life has been excellent compared to the Galaxy Nexus. Also, if the size of this phone is too big, forget the M8 that seems to tower over the phone. This phone isn’t for everyone but I couldn’t be happier with it.

    • Tiltasauras

      The M8 is skinnier and the sides are rounded, so some might find it easier to hold.
      That said I don’t think the S5 is too large and they made the bezels bigger for a reason, durability.

  • Godzilla

    The following is exactly how the research and development of the S5 went.

    Boss- Ok guys the S4 isnt selling so well because many are trying this new moto x and/or hanging onto their S3’s. We need to make the S5 and hurry.

    Engineer- “OK boss, why dont I just toss in the latest CPU, screen tech, and our newest camera setup and call it good?

    Boss- “Ok great, so i can have in in a few weeks?”

    Engineer- ‘Yup”

    What that gave us was a phone with impressive specs but with zero software optimization and a piss poor and ancient design. I totally agree with this review after playing with the S5 for 30 minutes this morning.

    I have an S4 and in order for Samsung to keep my business the S6 better be something very new and awesome.

    • Frettfreak

      You havent even tried an s5 have you? I dont care for it, but its obvious that more went into it than that. They paired back touchwiz enough that i can call it acceptable (in the way it LOOKS only, performance is another matter). But i get it and you probably are TOO far off!! lol

      • Godzilla

        Did you read my last paragraph? I played with iit this morning for over a half hour.

        • mcdonsco

          I played with the m8 for a while in store too and didn’t like it at first…now that I own it; much different story.

  • Godzilla

    The S6 needs to be an all new design. Come on Samsung impress us with your engineering skill and give us very little bezel and light weight touchwiz. You can do this.

    • needa

      the s6 will be this with a larger screen. thus reducing the bezels and giving samsung the ability to once again say the newer is the same size as the older.

  • Ron_Swanson

    LG G3 FTMFW.

  • Adrynalyne

    Jankwiz strikes again.

  • zapote21

    But at the end of the day this is just YOUR opinion of the phone. Not a review of the features and benefits. Funny that you say it doesnt have the best feature of this phone or that phone or the other phone… But it does have a very good combination of a lot of features. Maybe not the battery life of the maxx but very good life anyway… Its a package deal, that in the opinion of a lot of people it IS the best phone out there. The review was awesome up until the part where you threw in that it is not for you… Who cares? It is for millions… Seriously… you dont like Touchwiz… You dont like big screens, and you dont like Samsung… how can it be a fair review?

    • po

      I think very noticeable lag is not for anyone though.That’s the main issue for me based on this blog post. I’ll have to check it out in a store still though.

    • needa

      lol. it is funny that this exact issue was just brought up on the android central podcast. the consensus was… a ‘review’ is an opinion. kinda like how a guy that reviews movies will give his opinion on it.

  • flosserelli

    It’s really a shame that this phone needs a custom rom in order to run smoothly. The only way I would have this phone is with CM or some other AOSP-type rom. If Touchwiz was my only option, I wouldn’t have it.

  • jaks

    I held a white s5 in a local store, i thought the back felt nice

    • Frettfreak

      totally agree on that. the soft touch dimple thing feels great

      • flosserelli

        I like soft touch dimples…but not on my phone.

  • neal

    If you get a good case that covers up the phone, then the build quality and bezels and anything else visible on the phone would not be a factor. And having a phone this expensive should be a no Brainer to getting a protective case.
    I personally have not experienced lag on my phone. I switched to Nova launcher and everything runs smoothly.

    • po

      Did you not experience lag with the stock launcher as well?

  • yummy

    That is a very useful review.
    Thanks guys.

  • jaydenrobins08

    if the phone already has noticeable lag right out of the box, what are customers going to expect after having the phone for a year. That has been my biggest gripe about Android and the main reason why I switched to an iPhone. Performance is very important for me and until recently there wasn’t an Android phone that could match the iPhone when it comes to consistently buttery smooth performance. Customers should expect better from Samsung. I don’t see how this phone will be usable in a year without software updates that work out the issue.

    • Turb0wned

      Or you could have just bought a Moto X.

      • joejoe5709

        Or a G2

    • Adrynalyne

      Um, iPhone slow down with updates too.

      • jaydenrobins08

        Believe me! I am aware of this. I had my 4S for over two years. I would bet you that an iPhone 4S on would run faster than an S3 at this point in time.

        • Adrynalyne

          That is not an Android issue. That is a touchwiz issue.

          I’d make that wager if the S3 was running stock android.

  • mcdonsco

    I just returned mine for one primary reason; absolutely the worst speakerphone I’ve ever encountered (which I use a LOT).

    Got the M8 instead and while I LOVE the hardware, I HATE HATE HATE sense (I would take touchwiz over sense every day of the week).

    Can’t wait for a good stable GPE ROM for it (Verizon, so can’t do the official GPE M8 unfortunately).

    • Dominick White

      I agree with you on that, I use to love sense but now I can’t stand what they have done with the notification bar. That thing is ugly has hell

    • Godzilla

      Put nova launcher on it and sense is pretty much gone.

  • jack61

    Honest Review? Really? Droid Life seems to really hate S5. Maybe paid off by the competition. Doesn’t jive with the other 10 reviews I just read!

    Their comment:

    [QUOTE]The design of the Galaxy S5 just feels like a step in the wrong direction for mankind. The phone is abnormally large when compared to what Samsung did with last year’s flagship phone. They squared it off, making it uncomfortable in the hand. They tossed on a slippery, dimpled exterior coating. They increased bezels dramatically. There is this really obnoxious flap that covers the charging port that will likely break within two months of use. And the faux-metal rim job is nothing but an ugly disaster that makes the whole package look and feel cheap.[/QUOTE]

    Is really off base! They were looking for something to bash and probably paid by HTC to do so… :rolleyes:

    I like the looks of it fine, maybe not as fancy as HTC, but everyone puts a case on their phones so all of that is MOOT!!! Slippery? The black version is not slippery at all, the white version a little more. I tell you what was slippery… the red S3, S4 versions were very slippery, but I liked the looks of them much better… but, like I said above, once a case is on, all that goes out the window…

    Their so called [B]performance [/B]comments don’t jive with all the other reviews out there, again off base. For one example, I’ve done what they said here:

    [QUOTE]The new multi-task button also fields a solid 2-second delay before popping up your list of recently used apps[/QUOTE]

    Didn’t happen to me! Maybe they had the Developer options Transition animation scale set to full bore 10X which will do that… maybe, mine is set at 0.5X.

    Nope, they were looking for some things to bash!

    • maxx1987

      regarding the design, they complained that the bezels were larger, and the phone was proportionally larger without much of an increase in screen size compared to the s4. those are real, physical measurements, so how can that be off base?

      if you read all the other droid life reviews of samsung products then you would see that they typically love their devices. thinking they have it out for samsung is just plain stupid and immature. no need to get so defensive.

      • jack61

        Read ALL of my post… not just part of it. I have one so I know exactly what works and doesn’t.

        • maxx1987

          i did read all of your post. how can i argue the “well it works for me so they must be wrong” statement? That is not an argument, that is an opinion. I can’t argue that. give me something with more substance and i’ll try to address it.

          Look, this is the galaxy s5. it is the flagship device from one of the most successful device makers in the world. standards are high. maybe you haven’t noticed performance issues yourself, but if people are noticing stutter with the most basic of functions then something must be going on and it doesn’t seem like a mistake that the reviewers noticed it also (please check the replies below and you will see that others have noticed the stutters as well).

          And yeah, knocking the aesthetic design of this phone is easy to do from an functional perspective, which is what they did. look at how lg somehow managed to fit a larger screen into a much smaller body than the s5. look how the moto x did the same, and also created a form-fitting design for the hand. look at how even though the m8 is massive they manage to taper it to make it easier to grip. did the s5 accomplish those design advantages? no. when compared to it’s competitors the form of this phone doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table. and no, cases are not utilized by everyone. again, your opinion, your way of doing things, so i don’t know how you can generalize that into some argument for why the design isn’t a big deal.

      • jack61

        Very small difference is size between the S4 & S5. Not enough to nitpick about ;)
        I still have the S3, S4 and now the S5 can tell you the S5 blows those two out of the water.
        Those performance complaints were way off base.
        Either they got the phone with some tweaks that made it slower like I mentioned in first post OR done on purpose to make the phone look bad.
        I’ve read every review on this phone and none had those complaints. Most complains were about the plastic and how it looked cheap compared to iPhone & HTC. I agree they look better, but the S5 don’t look nor feel cheap to me. However, it is all moot as everyone puts a case on their phones anyways and that changes everything.

        • maxx1987

          ok there is no changing your mind that you think for some reason a site that typically adores what samsung does has it out for them. and again, no, the whole world does not put a phone on their case.

          • jack61

            You live on Mars? Look around on Earth, most people put cases on their phones! ‘)

          • po

            I look around and find that most smartphones don’t have cases. At least around here. Maybe there are regional differences on how people treat their phones. I personal wouldn’t use a case. These flagships are already too big for my personal liking and unless you get those 1″ thick cases then all they do is mostly protect it from just scratches anyway. Plus cases can prevent the phone from dissipating heat well. Heat can cause throttling and also can cause the battery’s max charge capacity to drop quicker over time (not good for non-replaceable batteries).

            Anyway, I’m going to visit a VZW store this week to check out the S5 to get a better feel for its size and if I notice sudden intermittent lags while browsing. I’m hoping I can cope with the phone in one-handed use and the lags are non-existent or not that bad. Then I’ll make use of the 14 day return period to really see if I experience the described hanging/freezing problems described.

    • Dominick White

      This really isn’t the place to come for a 100%honest review of Samsung phones.. Or any other to be honest… They always show their personal bias about whatever they review. I have only found a small number of reviews that don’t

    • po

      I hope you’re right about the performance issues. Maybe these guys had some weird out if the box set up. Not sure if these are review units or store bought devices. Based on other electronics, that could have an affect in both hardware and software.

      As a note, I don’t use cases especially at this size phones.

    • ThatFool

      Your comments don’t jive with the rest. Maybe you were paid off by Samsung.

  • mustbepbs

    Not surprised on the performance. The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 slogs along too. The recent KK 4.4.2 update, custom ROM and kernel treatment ironed out most of it, but for God’s sake Samsung, get a hold of TW.

  • Liderc

    It’s a bummer that they can’t get this phone right. So many good features but it’s too big, it STILL has a physical home button (hello 2008) and it’s still plastic.

    Samsung, you won the Android race, now make the perfect phone and stop screwing up.

    • n900mixalot

      No one will EVER make the perfect phone for anyone on tech websites. For now, we just have to find what makes us happy.

      • Liderc

        I don’t understand why people say that, the perfect phone is out there, it’s just a combination of 2-3 phones.

        Samsung CAN do it, they just can’t get away from that plastic design and physical home button.

        All the software we can get rid of.

        • PoisonApple31

          And if they did that they wouldn’t be Samsung anymore. They have done a home button on each Galaxy S flagship, although I don’t think the U.S. saw that until the S3.

        • n900mixalot

          But see, I LIKE having a plastic phone and a physical home button. And I like the software. In fact, if it weren’t for TouchWiz features, I’d have a different phone.

  • Chuggowitz

    TL;DR One step forward, two steps back.

  • tylerc23

    M8 vs S5?

    • joejoe5709

      Wait for late summer releases if you can

  • Defenestratus

    All these faults and its still a much better phone than the M8 because it has a decent, some may say good camera.

    HTC should never have skimped on the camera on the M8. Its the one thing that phone buys will not and should not tolerate.

    (and for those that say that the camera is “just fine” on the M8, no… no its not. Its downright terrible in fact. Two of my friends have returned the M8 because the camera after I recommended the phone to them, one has a Note 3 now and the other has a G2)

    • Frettfreak

      I wouldnt say terrible.. BUT, its the same sensor as in the m7 and there is no way around it… its a nice looking 4mp pic. no more no less. the detail it misses is nuts! Had that for a year and that is the thing that pushed me away from the m8 more than anything else.

    • mcdonsco

      I had the gs5 for about two weeks, took it back for a variety of reasons and got the m8 and while I will FULLY ADMIT the gs5 camera is much better (despite what a recent DL post suggested), the m8 overall is a MUCH BETTER PHONE.

      Besides the obvious and easy to pick on build quality (which in my opinion just about puts the two in different categories all together; the m8 is THAT much better there) the speakerphone on the gs5 was just about unuseable, its laggy as has been mentioned before, multiple app crashes on it, call quality in general was poor at best and it just didn’t feel, to hold, or use, like a true flagship should.

      The only things to me the gs5 has over the m8 were the camera, swappable battery (which without the flap I can deal with on the m8) and wireless charging; with those exceptions aside; the m8 destroys the gs5 IMHO.

      The only thing that I REALLY HATE (AND I DO REALLY HATE IT) about the m8 is sense…but thats something a good ROM can take care of … The issues I had with the gs5 that solidified my decision to return it (horrible speakerphone and piss poor call quality) cannot be resolved with a ROM.

    • Tiltasauras

      The camera on the M8 is totally fine. Would I rather have the S5 camera? Sure. Do I think HTC are idiots for sticking with their 4 ultrapixel sensor? Totally. Is the M8 still an amazing phone despite its camera? Absolutely. The camera “experience” on the M8 is actually really good. It crushes the Moto X camera experience and quality and people “lived” with that camera.
      I think the S5 is a damn good phone, but saying which is better, the S5 or M8 is a totally subjective choice.

  • Sean Bello

    There’s nothing worse than a faux metal rim job lol

    • Liderc

      no kidding, it’s awful. Makes the whole device look even cheaper, if that’s even possible. The Razr’s fake metal rim is fking terrible.

      • maxx1987

        that one flew over your head eh?

        • Liderc

          No, I understood his innuendo, but he was making a valid point. That fake metal rims look awful.

          Maybe it’s you that can’t look past it?

          • maxx1987

            well you never acknowledged the joke in your post, how was i supposed to know you you got it ;-)

  • James

    Does Verizon sell the Droid Maxx with 32 or 64 GB of storage? I’m considering it too. Anyone here have any typical battery life figures?

    • hkklife

      32GB was the original Droid Maxx internal storage but they recently released a 16GB variant in new colors.

      • James

        So the 32 GB model is not available to purchase anymore?

        • hkklife

          32GB is still available in the original black. The new black w/ chrome and gloss red are available only in 16GB. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the original 32GB model eventually phased out but for the time being its still available for sale.

    • mcdonsco

      Battery life on the Maxx is awesome, had the phone for quite a long while…The camera on the other hand is horrible; just fyi.

  • James

    These flagships don’t seem that great. I guess I’ll just buy the Galaxy S4. I’m also considering the Droid Mini as well for the smaller physical size. I do want the USB 3.0 port for the faster speed and charging from from USB 3.0 notebook ports but the downsides of these current flagships aren’t worth the price for me.

    • 2001400ex

      Consider the G2 if you are thinking S4.

      • hkklife

        And if you want something bigger than the G2, get a Note 3. It doesn’t resemble a band-aid and has a microUSB 3.0 port and, supposedly, faster NAND than the GS5.

      • James

        Thanks, I’ll look into the G2 as well.

        • mcdonsco

          G2 over GS4 every day of the week.

          • Frettfreak

            i would agree with that 1000%. James, if you dont at least check out the g2, IMO you will be doing yourself a dis-service. i wrote it off for the longest time and got one when i took back my s5 in the return period… dont regret it for a second! good luck!

  • Jkdem85

    When I said there was bad lag after playing with it at best buy on launch day I was ripped apart. Vindication!

  • Dominick White

    I should know better than reading the comment section on Droid – life, when the subject as anything to do with Samsung or Verizon. It’s like reading about Gmo. All the nutters seem to come out in waves

  • Garrett

    Surprisingly my experiences with this device have been absolutely unlike either of yours. This is especially to in concerns with the battery. I have no idea why Kellen’s phone would have results so different from mine. Mine shut off after 37 hours of usage with 6.5 hours screen on time for me, this was mostly browsing Reddit with bacon reader, and emailing and browsing the internet. Then again I’m on T-Mobile (excellent service where I live), and am almost never out of WiFi range.

  • Turb0wned

    Moto X is the best damn phone in the world. I only have the Moto X and the iPhone. Unless they take steps backwards, that’s how its going to stay.

    • mustbepbs

      From the rumored screen size, I’m gonna be keeping my Moto X for a long, long time. Easily the best mobile device I’ve ever owned.

  • Synacks

    Whoever reviewed this must’ve had a bad device. I have NO lag on my GS5, not once, not ever.

    • Ralph

      Neather have i and all these peaple are saying it lags i dont get it

      • trext

        Neither-just sayin

      • Frettfreak

        Ok, then to both of you… post a vid on you tube and i want to see 3 things in the video (WITH ANIMATIONS ON).

        1. go into an app, any app. hit the home button (count to about 2 and you will see your home screen)

        2. from anywhere, hit the multitasking button… again this will be another 2 second count

        3. slide over to my magazine (yup.. you guessed it, 2 seconds)

      • mcdonsco

        Use a non touch wiz flagship / gpe, dev edition or minimial skin (moto x even) released in the last year…after using it for a while, go back to the gs5 –> lag.

    • Jonathan Figueroa

      If your coming from the s4 or any device besides the current flagship crop (M8, Nexus 5, Lg G2, etc) then you’ll never noticed the lag. If you come from any of the other flagships I’ve mentioned then you will notice it constantly.

    • mcdonsco

      Its not just their device…the guy below that asked if you were coming from an s4 (or s3 I suppose) is absolutely right…you wouldn’t notice it…but use an m8 or other gpe / nexus for a while then the gs5; laggy.

  • squidward

    Good reviews hope the next moto x flagship is this honest. But yeah the bugs are pretty accurate but throwing a costume rom should fix most of the issues, thanks Iman now noticing the bezels, fml.

    • Turb0wned

      Yeah throw a batman costume on it, might improve it.

  • Jeremy Buro

    ANNNNDDDD DROID MAXX FOR THE WIN STILL!!!!! Woop woop go Motorola!! [Even if ur not a Google company anymore :( ]

    • mcdonsco

      Normally I dont let cameras effect my buying decision as I’m not a big camera buff on phones, I just want it to take decent pics, but the camera on the maxx was what ultimately led to it hitting eBay; it was barely acceptable at first but when kit Kat hit the device somehow it made it worse.

      Not sure why or how, but it did…so I sold it.

      Only thing I miss about it now is the battery life (which also took a hit on KitKat).

      Great phone, horrible camera.

  • WitnessG

    On the topic of build quality, HTC definitely made a device that feels a lot better than the S5 but it is way too slippery. The S5 has better grip, that’s for sure. HTC took a step backward, the M7 felt nice and it wasn’t as slippery.

    • Frettfreak

      Completely agree. I think they messed up with the size of that thing too. My m7 was and still probably is my favorite device to date. Between the size, and the fact that it’s the same sensor in the camera (4MP is 4MP doesn’t matter how they want to spin it) I just couldn’t go to the m8

      • WitnessG

        Yup, the M8 is way too tall. And when I saw the camera I knew I was never going to buy the M8. They can throw all the gimmicks they want on the camera but it will never have the sharpness or amount of detail like an S5 or Z2. I also think the pictures are way too overexposed. I’m sure you could manually adjust it but I’m not the type of person to do that. I like my phone to be able to get a good picture instantly.

  • JimmyWangYangGang

    I have an update in June. Should coming from the OG Razr Maxx, should I wait for a better phone, or just get the Note 3?

    • hkklife

      I have 2 coworkers and 1 friend, all on VZW, who have upgrades coming up in April-May. One is planning on getting either a G2, GS5 or M8 (probably a G2 due to price), another is torn between a Droid Maxx and the BB Z30 (!) and the third one is thinking of jumping ship from Android to WP 8.1 or iOS.

    • maxx1987

      same situation, same phone even. thinking G2 or waiting until the G3 is shown (that’s happening in may right?)

  • UncleFan

    I hate the flap, too, so I removed it! All you have to do is remove one tiny screw so you can pop off the hatch that covers the flap’s “anchor”. I keep the flap in the box my S5 came in so I don’t lose it.

    • Nikuliai

      But you remove the water resistance with that, that’s why it’s sucks :p, same way as the phone doesn’t resist water at all if you happen to remove the back (exposing the battery to water)

    • Defenestratus

      Once you get a wireless backplate for it, there’s absolutely no reason to plug your phone in anymore. I haven’t plugged my Note 3 into a a USB or charger for months now outside my car dock, which just got replaced by an airdock this week so no need to plug it in at all!

  • moew

    NO ROOT = NO S5

  • Ant

    Where is that thing, that is trying to draw me in? The only thing that draws you in kellen is the Moto X lol

    • Nikuliai

      He’s using the Nexus 5, not the X, the X is amazing, but has a few big downers :P

      • Turb0wned

        Yeah? Explain which ones?

        • Nikuliai

          NO

          jk, camera is the most obvious one, but size is the other reason (“the X looks like a toy after using the new flagships”), I don’t really care about any of those things but some (most) people do.

        • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

          The camera is the most obvious choice. It’s virtually unusable, once you’ve used one of these other phones.

        • Liderc

          Screen size/quality, cheap feel, bad camera.

          • Scott Capodice

            Cheap feel… Really? Never saw that on any review of the moto x. Definitely a personal opinion there. I personally think it’s a solid phone. OK it doesn’t have metal… Who cares everyone uses cases… Sigh

        • Tiltasauras

          Battery life. Slow and laggy. Screen brightness and color (whites were awful). Camera is terrible, even after the update.
          I love the Moto X (I’ve owned two), but those are major deficiencies.

  • Kane Desousa

    The phone does tend to lag way too often. I’ve had this phone twice and the me twice. Back on the s5 now and it’s noticeably lagged but I’m sure an update will fix it a lot. The m8 was amazing but the quality control issues really killed me… I have accessories for both phones now and I still don’t know which I wanna keep…. I paid full price for the phone.

    • Nikuliai

      Sorry but it won’t, they never fix performance, I wouldn’t really bet on them starting now

      • Kane Desousa

        Oh well I guess we will see. They both have their shortcomings

        • Nikuliai

          Yup, don’t really feeling all the fuzz, not gonna get any of those phones, waiting for LG and Moto (Nexus phones doesn’t fill my cup anymore, OEMs have enough “iconic plus” to actually make the Nexus a decent phone that I wouldn’t buy unless I’m $100-$150 short for the phone I actually want)

  • Hershel

    amazing how touch wiz still can be laggy in 2014 while HTC’s sense has been cleaned up and has little to no lag

    • Frettfreak

      IMO, Sense is the best Android you can get (and that goes for stock too). just my opinion obviously but i LOVE sense. I was REALLY surprised by how much i liked LG’s UI on the g2. I had always written them off as a touchwiz knock off, but they did it SO MUCH BETTER than samsung imo.

    • Marikel

      In love with my HTC One M8. Has not lagged on me at all for the time that I’ve had it.

    • mcdonsco

      Yes, I was amazed on the m8 that it really has zero lag, but Jesus I HATE sense…everything looks so gingerbready.

      Plus, I find a lot of it really non-intuitive, the phone app and call log system is horrible for one.

      Can’t wait to get a good gpe ROM on this thing.

      • Hershel

        sense 6 is FAR from gingerbread like. if anything touchwiz is more gingerbread. just look at those square tabs

        • mcdonsco

          Your opinion…that’s fine.

          • Hershel

            well how do you see it as gingerbread?

          • mcdonsco

            Not sure how to describe it other than its constantly reminding me of my og droid, thunderbolt…just early droids in general…right down to the app tray (which thankfully I dont see any longer now that I’ve got Google now launcher on it).

            The gs5 didn’t do that, I really only put Google now launcher on the gs5 to get better/faster/easier access to Google now with the swipe to it. Didn’t feel a need to otherwise.

            With sense on the m8 I simply couldnt tolerate it; AT ALL, It had to get the gnl immediately to keep me sane.

          • Hershel

            to each their own. I had the orgnaial EVO and every evo to date and imo sense 6 is far from those. (and I used to be a huge fan of the first few sense versions and was disappointed when they changed it till I actually got to use it and became to like it better) Stock android is so boring and bland.

            example the phone app all i have to do is swipe between pages. NO separate apps or tapping on bunch of silly tabs. Google now? just swipe up from the home button. I changed the front to Helvetica and the over all experience is better with a cleaner, thinner font.

            but thats whats great about Android. CHOICE. some like stock, and some want a more enhanced experience :)

          • mcdonsco

            Yes, I just prefer stock, but could also be that being on Verizon I dont get to use a device with aosp unless I ROM (which I rarely do as I’m no where near a dev, just tech savvy enough to get myself into trouble).

            But with this, I’ll get a ROM on it as soon as I see something aosp that’s stable.

          • kyle

            well why dont you root or buy a nexus if you want the stock look,

            sense has come a long way since 2010. some people are just blinded by the light. nerds, geeks, low lifes.

          • mcdonsco

            Notverizohere you were going with the last part of that but the only reason I haven’t rooted it and stuck a ROM on it yet is two fold.

            A) I’m currently using a best buy bought m8, wasn’t sure about the gs5 / m8 decision & best buy has a no restocking fee return policy plus I get 45 days to return as silver plus member…so got (and returned) the gs5 there, but still wasn’t 100% sold on the m8 so I also got it there…now though I am sold on the m8, so buying it from Verizon today and returning this one to best buy.

            Sidenote: I would just keep it but best buy just initiated a new policy of not price matching Verizon at full retail and no way I’m letting $750 for this (or any phone) stay on my books…bb f’d up there, they just lost AT LEAST $2,400/year from my business alone with that new policy and gained a few new returns each year as I dont mind paying their adsurdly inflated full retail prices knowing I’m just trying it out and will get every penny back. Once I know which phone I want, I’ll go give my money to verizon instead.

            B) I dont know of any stable aosp based Roms for it right now.

        • kyle

          maybe the colors ROFL

  • Frettfreak

    FINALLY!!!! an HONEST no BS review about the S5. You guys deserve so much credit for not bowing to Samsung and writing another BS review calling this device amazing! THANK YOU!

    As someone that had the S5 13 days (had a 14 day return window) and returned it i can FULLY agree with the performance, and over-all ergonomics of the device. This thing kinda sux on the performance side. Between the lag on multi-tasking, the lag going back to the home screen when you hit the button, and just the all over slowness, i couldnt stand it. Not to mention that sitting next to my wifes note 3, it really isnt much smaller! I couldnt fit it in a pocket comfortably (not to bad before you get a case, but i tried 3 different slim cases and no matter what, it just didnt feel good in ANY pocket. I was just so underwhelmed (especially coming from the HTC one (m7) i couldnt stand it. Took it back, got the G2 and you know what… this thing is pretty damn awesome! IMO, WAY better than the s5 (especially on the software side) and even using an “old” snapdragon 800, there is no lag ANYWHERE.

    Thanks again for a truthful review

    • Hershel

      rofl

    • sonicyoof

      +1 for G2. Still the best!

      • Frettfreak

        honestly i wish i would have actually gone to a store and played with the g2 WAY before i did (never actually used one til i went in on the s5 launch day). I am so late to the party but i am really enjoying this thing.

        • Woe, Is [S]unjay

          But….but…..but the G3 will be here soon. Couldn’t have waited a teeny weeny bit longer?

          • po

            What’s soon? September?

          • Woe, Is [S]unjay

            I’m entirely sure but possibly. The leaks are looking great.

          • Frettfreak

            Honestly, no. lol. I was itching for a new phone and wanted something different (love HTC but had them for 2 years straight). So i had already traded in my M7 (on tmo JUMP) when i bought the s5 so after that, there was no turning back. I know. Honestly, i almost walked out with the g2 on launch day for the s5 but the fact that the g3 was so close made me stick to the S5. i know. it kills me that its so close HOWEVER, if rumors are true, i am not sure i want a 5.5″ screen (even if it is bezel less) but i will wait to pass judgement til i see it. :)

          • fatmoe

            where are yall to wait for the G3

        • SA_NYC

          Basic question: does the G2 have a removable battery? I had thought it did, but reading up on it after your comment I’m seeing that might only have been the Korean model.

          • Michael Harrison

            Correct, only the Korean model had the removable back.

          • SA_NYC

            Thanks.

          • http://androidforums.com/members/kwest12.html kwest12

            Crap, I didn’t realize that. I was all excited for the G3 to have a removable battery, but I guess that’s unlikely. :/ Damn.

      • ki11ak3nn

        I’m glad I switched from a Verizon Note 3 to a T-Mobile G2. It was a breeze to root and feels really good in the hand. So let’s see what the G3 has to offer. Or the OnePlus One.

        • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

          How does the G2 camera compare to the Note 3? I am looking to JUMP from the Note 3 to the G3 when it arrives.

          • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

            The G3 camera is fricken awesome, especially if you get one of the 2 major camera mods available if you root.

          • Frettfreak

            I am rooting today and doing the mod. That is the only reason I am rooting Lol

          • Frettfreak

            I would say very favorably. The note is a little faster to get the shot off because the focusing is a little slow on the g2 but really both are great

      • AndroidUser00110001

        G2 is best phone I have owned up to this point. S5 and M8 do not interest me at all. I can’t wait for the G3.

        • Nikuliai

          I think the same about the Moto X (best phone I owned yet) and don’t care about the S5 and M8, I think both companies have made enough progress to keep their clients happy and loyal to the brand, same with Nexus devices, but I wouldn’t change to neither the G2 or N5, excelent devices, but I love my features, I’m pretty sure you think the same about the G2 experience :P

          Main problem to me here is that neither of the new flagships have anything I can hype about, I honestly don’t get it (Samsung doesn’t really need it tho)

          • AndroidUser00110001

            If the Moto X had a bigger screen I would have went with it. I got one for my wife and she loved until she dropped it and cracked the screen. I replaced it with a N5 which she does not like as much as the X.

          • Nikuliai

            Well let’s hope the screen size moto maker option makes it to the X2

            PS: I get why your wife doesn’t enjoy the N5 that much, if you use any of the extra features on the X you kinda miss those in the other phones, as good as they may be the package is unique.

        • http://smartgadgetsindia.blogspot.com/ Mahesh Mehta

          i have a second hand samsung galaxy s4 which will remain with me for few more years and rooting the phone makes even awesome….

    • John Davids

      And for a cherry on top, the VZW G2 is probably one of the easiest bootloaders to unlock. There is a one-click app for it, which in this day and age of virtually every carrier and manufacturer locking the hell out of their devices is pretty unheard of. Oh, and OIS + HDR = hands down best pictures I have ever seen coming off a smartphone. G2 is bomb!

      • Frettfreak

        That’s REALLY surprising considering it’s vzw! Lol. Awesome but surprising

      • Ralph Bretz

        Isn’t it just a root work-around to install TWRP and the bootloader isn’t actually unlocked? When i was deciding between the Moto X and G2 the G2 bootloader did not have the ability to be unlocked so I went Moto X Dev.

        • KleenDroid

          Its called Loki bypassed. You chose wrong. But the X is a cute little phone. My daughter likes hers.

          • mcdonsco

            That was just mean…

          • joejoe5709

            Haha up voted.

          • Ralph Bretz

            I feel i chose correctly. Truely unlocked bootloader. No worries on OTA updates. Faster updates, better overall features.
            Plus better stock ROM, no reason to constantly modify the phone.

          • KleenDroid

            Sorry son, it wasn’t meant as an insult. I tried Motorola all day trying to buy one during that sale during the holidays then finally got a code the following week. It is a cute little phone as I said and myself and my daughter really like it.

            For myself I would have chosen the G2 however that is why there are choices.

            I am very happy you were able to release all your frustration.

      • joejoe5709

        Heck yeah. Dev community is awesome. Almost GNex good.

    • Mudokon83

      if only the G2 had an sd card slot. i love my 64gb of music and roms storage. Darn!

      • grumpyfuzz

        The one in Korea does I think, but you’re out of luck if you don’t live in Korea :P

        • Woe, Is [S]unjay

          It has a micro sd card slot but a slightly smaller battery.

          • po

            I’d take the slight battery hit for an SD card slot. Seeing that SD slots are coming back, maybe the US G3 will have one.

          • Woe, Is [S]unjay

            I guess that’s true. More storage > a little less battery life.

          • Mudokon83

            rumors are that G3 will have 32gb internal and a sd card slot. fingers crossed!

    • Leif Sikorski

      I’m wondering how much it has to do with the AT&T and Verizon stuff. So far I haven’t heard about performance issues here in Germany, but here many people buy retail phones or pick a carrier who doesn’t put their own software on phones. The only problem a few had was the MyMagazine thing on the homescreen, but since that was disabled everything was fine. Maybe there is a little glitch.
      I’m always surprised that people in the US still buy phones from the carrier if they do such a crap to their customer. The best example is the recent Kitkat Update for the S4 on Verizon….others had this since almost 2 months. I would never buy a phone from such a carrier and support such a behavior.

      My biggest critique on the S5 would be that Samsung doesn’t ship it with wireless charging. It wouldn’t cost them that much more and would be more comfortable for the user because of the flap.

      About phones in general:
      It’s kinda sad that other Android manufacturers suck so badly with their cameras compared to Samsung and Apple. I think it’s the first time that Samsung used an own sensor instead of a Sony – this might have been a good step in the right direction

      • Frettfreak

        Doesn’t have anything to do with the att and Verizon. Hell my phone was tmobile. The reason people here still buy phones from carriers is cause it’s instant gratification and usually low cost of entry. Doesn’t mean it’s right. That’s just my opinion though. People can spend 200 instead of 7 and walk out with a new phone. In tmobiles case here in the US, you can walk in and pay the tax on it and walk out with the device and make payments on the rest. It’s just easier. That’s why. I wish the US had better regulations on somethings like Europe has though.

    • Nw_adventure

      Note 3 – word

      • Frettfreak

        You know, I will say this. The note 3 is pretty awesome as long as you are using it with all the “note” features. It’s WAAAAY to big for me though. It’s the first phone that my wife was actually excited about after she got it and still loves that thing!

        • Nw_adventure

          I agree its not for everyone but I felt that getting the N3 would help alleviate always having to manage two devices (phone+tablet) browsing on an S3 is somewhat limiting and then grabbing the N7 and making sure the phone is still nearby for calls, texts..sometimes became problematic. Using multi-window on the N3 is actually pretty functional and surprisingly the N3 actually fits in all pockets so far. I dont think I will use the stylus much but I do see why people who do use it swear by it. Getting the phone off contract for $250 was a no-brainer until I am due for an upgrade- waiting to see what happens with the X+1 but after using a 5.7 inch screen as a daily driver anything under 5″ might not be for me anymore.

          • Frettfreak

            Note 3 for $250?!?! Yeah, thats a no brainer.

            “anything under 5″ might not be for me anymore.” thats what she said! ;)

          • malcmilli

            how did you get it for $250? I see a guy on instagram selling gs5’s and notes for $250/280 but he only does deals through western union.

          • Nw_adventure

            It was an ATT refurb one day blowout off contract. Mines working great although the speaker seems a bit scratchy.

      • mcdonsco

        Liked it a lot, but ultimately I just couldn’t handle the size.

    • chris

      The G2 looks like a Samsung knock off with buttons on the back. Pretty much looks like sht! Poor thing cant even outsell Samsung.

      • Frettfreak

        spoken like a troll that has never owned one. I honestly thought the same thing… until i went into a store and tired one. SOOOO much better IMO. but good thing you can make yourself feel better by coming in here and talking sh!t for absolutely zero reason.

    • Vanquishgc

      Having messed around with this, the M8,and the G2 (Nevermind using the Moto X as my daily driver), I am seriously disappointed in Samsung. Yeah the camera is great. The display is admittedly amazing. But that bloatware, and not from Verizon, is absurd, and it’s no shock that it slows things down tremendously. The M8 and Moto X are so much faster. Yeah the M8 has a lot of bezel, but at least there’s a reason. And then there’s build quality. Shame on them for going so cheap. Yeah it’ll sell like crazy, which kills me. Hopefully the M8 gets some traction through word of mouth, and LG wows everyone. And of course Motorola being the darkhorse, could have something major in store with the X successor. You know, I loved my Note 2, but no more Samsung for me for a long time. Just not worth the money. And thank you guys for the honest review. That’s why I love this site. Keep it up!

      • Frettfreak

        You know. For me the straw that broke the camels back (after I was already disappointed with the s5) was the interview with the samsung exec the other day and he basically confirmed that they are going to move from Android. Android is a good portion of what got them where they are today and they are just going to ditch it like garbage. I can’t support a company that thinks like this. Honestly it makes me not want to buy anything Samsung.

        I have had several samsung phone in the past and loved them, but they have just stopped trying so hard imo

      • mcdonsco

        Seems to me the bezel was more pronounced on the gs5? Though I haven’t looked at or measured that spec to compare.

    • SA_NYC

      I was thinking the same thing: nice to see a no-BS review.

    • joejoe5709

      I have never used the S5 but I bet the G2 keeps up just fine. Nine months after release. That kicks ass.

    • http://BGR.COM/ riggs

      Gamercore (Chris Chavez) of Phandroid gave an honest review of the S5 a week ago and basically said the same thing Kellex did. Both are great reviewers and deserve a lot of credit.

    • A2theC

      What kind of pants are you wearing that it won’t fit in them? Skin-tight leather?

      • Frettfreak

        No. Jeans. Not the skinny variety either. I out my phone in my back pocket and it would always stick up several inches. Obviously it “fit” but not something I would want to walk around with or sit down with.

        • A2theC

          Why would you sit on your phone? I like deep pockets so I can fit a variety of things, and they won’t fall out. Then again I’m from the group of kids in the early 2000’s that had baggy clothes… ;J

          • Frettfreak

            Cause its in my back pocket. Why would I want to take it out every time I sit down? Sometimes I do but depends on how long I am going to be driving.

          • A2theC

            I just don’t get it, I never put things in my back pockets….must be just me, lots of people put their wallet in their back pocket, I don’t. front pockets don’t mess up your hip alignment as back pockets do somewhat, as I’ve heard from one of my doctors. Its easier to pull your phone out to answer in front pocket while driving (bad idea overall) BTW, I’m genuinely interested, I’m not trying to badger you.

          • Frettfreak

            That actually is a pretty good point really. I have heard that before. I am a pretty minimal person though so my wallet is super thin and usually don’t notice the phone. But maybe I will reconsider. Just habit to put it in my back left pocket

          • A2theC

            You could think about those wallet/case things, I have one I never use :D

          • Frettfreak

            I have thought about it really but just haven’t pulled the trigger. I am scatter brained sometimes. Then if I leave my phone somewhere it is everything! Lol. But have almost bought one on multiple occasions.

          • A2theC

            I can understand that LOL, I would get one of the flipcover wallets, but they make me drop my phone, I can’t handle the flip part. So I have a standard plastic shell with one slot. I ended up just bringing my wallet, after I got pulled over for a traffic stop and my phone didn’t have my insurance in it. LOL (I straightened it out, but still)

          • Frettfreak

            Man that’s something I would have never even considered was insurance card! Lol.

          • A2theC

            In a panic I couldn’t find it on their website either LOL!

  • nosedive94

    The world is in dire need of the Moto X2

    • Hershel

      Kellen and the boys will be happy

    • The Narrator

      The 5.2/1080 seems to fix most of the problems. Needs a big battery/ camera. Although stock android will never be a good camera unless google revamps it.

      • Nikuliai

        the problem on the X camera was the sensor, I mean, the SW sucked anyway, but the main issue was HW

        PS: 5.2” doesn’t fix it to me, it breaks it (insert sexual pun here), but Woodside did say he wanted screen size as a Moto Maker customization

        • Frettfreak

          now THAT would be revolutionary. the ability to get top tier guts, in the size screen you want! BRILLIANT!!

          • Nikuliai

            He said it last year, screen and (I think) battery size, but Woodside is gone, let’s hope they keep the same plans, otherwise I would have to REALLY think about the X2, 5.2” it’s actually not that comfy (but there are lots of people who like big ass phones)

          • John Davids

            Project Ara

          • Frettfreak

            I am so freaking excited for this.

          • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

            I just don’t think Project Ara is the answer. Everyone hates plasticy phones and yet people would be happy with a fragile, fugly, modular phone that would shatter into 10 modular pieces when dropped?

            The concept is cool, but all of the modular stuff needs to take place beneath a single removable back cover and not be exposed. I love the concept, I just don’t love the real world issues. And I also would just rather have new hardware once or twice a year rather than replacing modular parts. If every year the camera, the processor, the screen, the radios…are all getting better, then it just makes sense to upgrade the whole phone and not piecemeal.

          • John Davids

            So you work on Ara then? I can only assume you do since no one other than the small group of engineers who are alpha’ing it would know if it is made of plastic, what the final design looks like, how fragile it is, if it shatters into 10 modular pieces when dropped, or that there will be no unified cover for the device.

          • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

            I don’t work at Ara but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night. Oh and there are the simple laws of physics which this hardware will abide by. Namingly, gravity, and entropy.

            When a modular phone hits the ground or some hard object with velocity, it will surely come to its individual pieces. Even my Samsung phones that have really durable back plate that snaps on very sturdily, I’ve made to come fly off and my battery and SD card get ejected after a hard fall.

            I’m happy for their effort and what can be learned of such a project. I just doubt that in the world of increasingly finicky cell phone users, that project Ara is going to be a solution, or THE solution to all of the interested parties who are taking interest at this early state.

        • grumpyfuzz

          too bad Woodside is no longer the CEO of motorola.

          • Nikuliai

            Yup, that was kind of painful to hear… I enjoyed the direction moto was taking

    • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

      And the G3.

      • Nikuliai

        G3 should be here pretty soon :P

    • n900mixalot

      Ugh, no thanks. I’d rather get a HTC One, G2, Z2, Note 3, or a Nexus 5.

  • MicroNix

    Why can’t there be an everything great Android phone? And no, Narrator, the G2 isn’t a perfect Android phone. Its damn good, but certainly not perfect.

    • Frettfreak

      totally agree. Loving my G2, but not perfect. Camera needs some help for sure! but they NAILED the size and shape! lol (and honestly i really like the buttons on the back)

      • MicroNix

        I’m waiting to see if the G3 improves the camera or not before making a decision. My S3 still is a killer phone overall. I’m almost afraid to upgrade because its been such a solid performer.

      • The Narrator

        Try the different settings, or the G Pro 2 camera ports. OIS+, Chromaflash, Magic Focus- Kicks ass of many new phones.

        • Frettfreak

          tried different setting, but i think the different camera will be the key. The new google camera app is pretty slow too though, but i have been hearing alot of the chromaflash stuff. cant wait to try them.

          • The Narrator

            Yeah, the new IA(Intelligent Auto) Works fantastic, HDR, Magic Focus is really cool (Basically HTC/S5 refocus), 4K video, 720/120, OIS+ helps too.

          • Frettfreak

            did they get magic focus working? i was reading on one of the threads and it seemed like that was the one thing that wasnt quite right yet.

          • The Narrator

            I’d attach it but it’s over 2MB. Its definitely working good

      • catalyst11

        If you’re rooted, the developer xdabbeb on XDA has a camera mod that makes the LG camera a lot better on the G2.

        • Frettfreak

          PLanning on rooting later today, just havnt gotten to it, but i have heard that mod helped a lot!

          • catalyst11

            Yeah, definitely helps. If you’re going to install a custom recovery, I’ve been on Malladus’ KK ROM and it’s been great.

        • joejoe5709

          It is a lot better. I can confirm this.

      • WitnessG

        The G2 is an amazing phone but I have to problems with it. I personally hate the UI of it, just don’t like the way it looks with the grey/cyan color scheme. I would probably put CM on if I had it. I also don’t like the glossy plastic. I haven’t used the camera on it so I can’t really say anything about it. Other than that, its a pretty good phone.

        • Frettfreak

          Cyan must have been before the kit kat update. Mine is all Grey in the notification panel

    • Hershel

      nothing is perfect, if there was then there would be no need for any updates

      • MicroNix

        How about a re-wording. Why can’t there be a solid Android phone that isn’t overly deficient in something? Many have bad cameras, some have bad battery life, some lag, some require 3rd party apps to offset sucky software, etc. Why can’t there be a solid performer in all categories?

        • grumpyfuzz

          oneplus one ;P, although if you need a removable battery and sd slot, then it’s not perfect, which I know is deal breakers to many.

          • Tiltasauras

            It’s pretty darn big too…

        • safsa

          note 3

  • maxx1987

    gs5 compact. do it and i’d buy it. otherwise there’s no way i’m buying something that large unless it’s a “note” variation.

    contracts up mid june, probably won’t be getting this…review kind of pushed me over the edge. that camera looks nice but not worth it in the end. any suggestions on what to upgrade from my razr maxx? what’s the timeline looking like for the other flagships coming out this year?

    • Frettfreak

      i had it (see below for more detailed info) but this review is VERY truthful. I was severely underwhelmed with it and ultimately took it back to get a 8 month old device that is WAY better IMO (G2).

    • PoisonApple31

      Just wait for summer!

  • Arian

    I would love an honest discussion in the comments as opposed to plain anti-Samsung/anti-Verizon circlejerk, but I must admit this review makes me sad. I thought this would be the phone of the year, but seeing that the lag is still an issue along with the average battery life makes this phone seem like a waste of time. I expected great things out of the 2014 Samsung flagship but I guess i’ll have to settle with a better performing phone with a crappier camera.

    • Frettfreak

      just wait. I bet either the G3, Nexus 6, or Moto X2 will NAIL IT! Fingers crossed.

      • Arian

        thanks…I’m seeing you all over this thread! you are the sweetest

    • Ralph

      the s5 is a great phone i hhave it and it is great .i spead it up and the battery life is fantastic now it lasts over 24 hrs on average use .i went in to the settings and turned on Developer options .By going into About device and tapping on build number 7 times .That turns developer options on .In there you can turn off all the animations off .Then turn off the power saving mode off to speed up the phone .that makes it really fast

      • Frettfreak

        i will agree with you though, for the 13 days i had the s5, battery life was really good (especially stand by). I could EASILY go a day and a half between charging. with modified use and mostly on wifi i squeezed almost 2 days out of it. though FYI, powersaving mode only kicks in when battery is low or you manually turn it on. wont change how fast the phone is unless you were running it all the time.

        • Nikuliai

          I go a day and a half with the Moto X and that thing has a little battery… it’s not really that good

          • T4rd

            Then the S5 would prolly get you at least 2-3 days. ;-)

          • Nikuliai

            3 and a half, since I wouldn’t touch that brick ;)

            Point is, the battery life is average, I feel like everyone is making a huge deal of it and it’s freaking average

          • Frettfreak

            its the same as the x with a MUCH smaller display and only pushing 720p. I would say thats pretty good.

          • Nikuliai

            yeah, but the X has a lot smaller battery too, that’s why I say it’s not pretty good but average, because of battery size vs battery life

          • Frettfreak

            We can agree to disagree on this one. I have had LOTS of smart phones and the s5 was better than almost all of them. To me, that’s pretty good.

          • Nikuliai

            Haven’t tried it yet so I can’t really be objective here, just talking about the day and a half, I always have tons of apps installed sucking up battery and a get a day and a half with moderate usage, best phone I had (just battery) lasted 2.5 days with the same usage, 1.5 is average to me. So yeah, we agree to disagree here (definitely not gonna buy the phone since it doesn’t offer anything that Good to me)

          • Tiltasauras

            Moto x battery life for me was awful. I think it really depends on your usage and accounts.

          • Nikuliai

            there are some apps that drink your battery life pretty fast, I identify and uninstall in most cases, but I use all the (usual) social networks, calling, data usage, packet tracking (china, us and hongkong) and it still lasts me almost 2 days, I guess it depends :P

          • Frettfreak

            it is in todays world. not much will give you more than that and a smart phone that can ACTUALLY go a day with REAL use is not very common. the X’s problem (which hopefully wont be repeated again) was availability for me. I use tmo jump and they never had it available really to tmo customers unless i want to pay full retail up front (which i dont) or i would have already had one. REALLY wanted to try it though.

          • Nikuliai

            It does go a day with REAL (mid/intense, without gaming), it gives me 15-16 hours, which is enough in most situations, of course if you wanna use your phone all day at work and then go party and use it all night it wouldn’t comply, but then again, who wants to go party and use their phones every 3 minutes. And in that case I would use an external battery.

            I didn’t know the TMo thing, I actually bought a TMo (unlocked actually) and bring it to my country, but I’m prepaid in both countrys so… I have to pay full price :/

        • mcdonsco

          Depends on how you use the phone though…

          My gs5 needed charging in the afternoons, usually around 3pm it was getting sub-30% … The m8, though rated lower, seems to be doing better for me…at 75% now with LOTS of use so far today and its noon…the gs5 would have been around 50% now.

      • Arnold

        Hopefully you weren’t typing on it lol. Go reread what you just wrote.

        • Ralph

          OK i did what was wrong with it ..two hs in have

          • Marikel

            Were you dropped on the head as a child? :(

    • MicroNix

      As with any review, the best critique of a smart phone is your own. Go try out the phones you are thinking of and make it your decision. Everyone says the S4 lags and my wife’s does not. Buy based on what matters most to you. Here what you’ll see matter most in the comments is Moto anything and Nexus anything. There’s an automatic bias against Samsung (looks at Narrator) from people who never even owned the phone and feel compelled to comment negatively in every Samsung article written.

  • Charles Walker

    Another +1 for Moto X! Woo!

    • MicroNix

      Except for the photos unfortunately.

  • Maxim∑

    Amazing now at 2.5Ghz Quad core, still lags. Does Samsung even care?

    • Hershel

      Nope. They want you to wiz while you touch and carriers love to shove that bloat down your throats.

      • moelsen8

        Haha I shouldn’t upvote you..

    • The Narrator

      They never will. Until they release Tizen.

      • Hershel

        That may have some lag as well….. its samsung after all..

    • PoisonApple31

      Wrong question. Does the general consumer even care? The answer is no.

      • Maxim∑

        yes? since when did consumers enjoy lag

        • PoisonApple31

          Sales would have gone down. Each Galaxy S has lagged year after year.

          • The Narrator

            Marketing. I still don’t see how complicated it is to understand. Everybody is fooled by ads.

          • PoisonApple31

            There is more to a successful business than marketing alone.

          • The Narrator

            lol no

            Without marketing, you have no business basically.

          • mcdonsco

            Whoa, wait a second! Did you just utter something semi-intelligent?

          • Frettfreak

            you have obviously never owned a business. While you cant stand on marketing alone, samsung certainly isnt. While the phone isnt perfect, its not horrible. Combine a mediocre phone with a really ridiculous marketing budget and its gonna sell. period.

          • PoisonApple31

            What are you talking about? My comment was in reference to everyone on here just using “marketing” to explain Samsung’s success. That is way too simplistic.

          • Nikuliai

            I think they are all saying the same thing I am, but just not expressing it on an objective way (it’s not just marketing, but marketing is huge, tends to be simplified to “just marketing”)

          • calculatorwatch

            The thing about “marketing” is people assume you are just saying Samsung advertises better than it’s competitors, but there’s a lot more to it.

            The biggest factor I think is brand loyalty, about 2 1/2 years ago we had a bunch of mediocre phones on varying carriers and then there was the Galaxy S2 on all carriers. The S2 was a great performing phone for its time and just about everyone I know that had one was happy with it. So that’s about when Samsung gained the average consumer’s trust and by offering a consistent product every year without any major downfalls they haven’t lost it. So it’s true that their products are no longer any better than the competition, but because people who don’t actually go online and read reviews have more trust in the Samsung brand than any other, that’s what they buy. That’s still successful marketing in my opinion.

          • Nikuliai

            Yup, marketing and brand loyalty are Samsung’s and Apple’s keys. Tbh the S2 is the last Samsung I actually liked, and they got a ton of faithful customers with it, I’m a tech ho’ so they never got me :B. I consider the brand loyalty as Marketing too btw, they use their image to keep and gain customers every year even tho they arent what they used to

          • Nikuliai

            Average product + HUGE marketing division = Profit.

            Ask Samsung and Apple, none of their (smartphone) products is actually that good anymore, but they sell like crazy, because of iconic marketing and MARKETING ORIENTED STEPS

          • PoisonApple31

            Bingo. You got my point! They didn’t have to advertise like this before because no one else’s products were even close. The smartphone market is so fricken stale now, and other company’s are starting to offer better choices than Samsung.

          • Nikuliai

            Yup, that’s the whole thing, but the main point that makes SS and Apple so ahead of everyone else is marketing, their marketing divisions are kind of brilliant (I hate their products tbh, but they DO make research to know what tickles people and mage a HUGE deal about it), HTC could had sold a lot more phones if they got that, to me their device is superior in many ways, but the marketing is HORRIBLE and the size and camera are unappealing, which is PRECISELY what non tech people are actually looking for… Same thing going on here for Moto, with decent marketing would had been a best seller, but the general opinion was “a device with too little cores is bad -even if I don’t know what multicore means-” and (choose one here) “I don’t know if I would use those extra features” or “what are those extra features?”

            I really love the X I own, it’s BY FAR the best Android I’ve owned even if unperforms on multicore actions but honestly, who which isn’t an intense “mobile gamer?” (pff, there is no such thing) cares about this. Marketing killed that thing.

            LG on the other hand, is making better marketing now (last 2 years) with funnier campaigns and the numbers are showing that (would be third if it weren’t for the chinese explosive grow -> mostly just on China -> Huawei+Lenovo -> we mostly don’t care rofl)

          • Tiltasauras

            Nice post – I totally agree with you. I loved my Moto X but I DO think they kind of blew it. The screen was pretty poor, it didn’t get very bright at all and whites were horrible. I spend a lot of time in my car and the screen was just annoying to use on sunny days. Also, mine started to suffer from lag pretty bad toward the end. I’ve upgraded to an M8 and it’s an amazing experience. I’m shocked I can deal with the large size, but the phone is an absolute pleasure to use.

            Hoping Motorola upgrades their screen tech on the X+1 and uses the 801 CPU. I think that with some smart marketing can help them chip away at Samsung’s market share.

            Either way I’m psyched to get a Moto 360 and see what the G3 brings to the table!

          • Nikuliai

            you surprised me on the lag, mine doesn’t sweat yet, the only “issue” is that the battery life is starting to decline now (but to be fair I went hardcore gamer on that thing for a month and went to the charger like 3 times a day and even played while charging -> damn OCD)

            I’m betting on the S800 CPU tbh, I think the leaked one is the new X without the X8

          • NoICrap

            Just like Spent a huge amount money marketing the Iphone 5C….Just because you market doesn’t mean people are going to buy it. They are going to return it if they don’t like it. Your product has to be at least somewhat decent enough for people to pay a high price.

          • Nikuliai

            The 5C was an overpriced device (even compared to the iPhone) that doesn’t offer a thing, it was an obvious failure, the hype about it was because people though the c was “cheaper” and it meant “colors”, and considering the HUGE offer in cases the product offered nothing… that’s not an average product with huge marketing, it’s a pile of garbage that they didn’t even invested that much in marketizing

          • PoisonApple31

            No one is fooled by Microsoft’s ads.

          • Nikuliai

            Samsung has an excellent marketing team, there is no denying that.

        • Nikuliai

          Consumers are idiots, they don’t notice unless it’s 5sec delay, and when IT IS (6 months from what I’ve seen on the S4 users I know) they are like “well I’m screwed, can’t change this thing now”

          • this is getting ridiculous

            You’re the idiot that has to offend people. Why do you care what people buy? Go buy the phone you like and shut your MOUTH! Worry about yourself!

          • Nikuliai

            I don’t care what they buy, I’m just saying they’re idiots, you can be over sensitive about it or not, doesn’t change a thing

            PS: you started your statement offending people ;)

      • WitnessG

        Not really. The lag isn’t that bad, its there but general consumers don’t mind it as much as techies.

        • Arnold

          With those specs (which everyone raves over), there should be ZERO lag. No excuses. The software is garbage.

          • n900mixalot

            No Android device, actually no devices at ALL have ZERO lag. Not even the Nexus 5. If you’re looking for it, you’ll find it.

          • Arnold

            My Moto X (specs from two years ago) is about 99.8% lag free. The S5 couldn’t even hold a candle to that. Point made.

          • n900mixalot

            .2% lag is still lag. If you’re looking for it, you’ll find it. And the Moto X can’t hold a candle to the S5’s camera, screen, etc., etc., etc. The heavier the car, the more energy it needs to move, and the more moving parts.

          • Frettfreak

            yeah, lag is lag… but 0.2% is infinitely better than 20% if it were a test that would be the difference between an A+ and a B.

          • Beavis

            I’d gladly use a decent camera (instead of very good) and a 720P screen over a 1080 (esp for a phone) than use software and hardware that is complete garbage. Tradeoffs I suppose, but definitely in Moto X’s favor.

          • Garbage

            I think this review speaks for itself. The S5 just isn’t very good lol

          • Arnold

            Meh. The camera does just fine for my needs. Same with the screen. I don’t watch videos on my phone all day, as I assume is with most people.

            The camera and screen may be a bit sharper on the S5, but at the end of the day, the Moto X outperforms the S5 in nearly every category in regards to software. The rest of the hardware on the S5 is also subpar. Just read the extensive review above. Moving on.

          • Tiltasauras

            My Moto X was very laggy. Switching to an M8, there’s a night and day difference. I think people’s experiences are quite a bit different depending on what apps you use and what kind of accounts are attached.

            That said, I don’t think the average consumer cares or even knows what “lag” refers to.

          • Arnold

            You must have had a bad device. I’ve never heard of anyone having lag on the Moto X.

          • n900mixalot

            .2% lag is STILL lag.

            People need to get over this lag BS.

          • Arnold

            *says people with Samsung phones*

            U mad?

          • n900mixalot

            Nope. Enjoying TouchWiz, without being hindered by all of the “major” lag. Along with tens maybe hundreds of millions of other Galaxy device owners who really-don’t-care. Or notice it. Too busy getting sh** done.

            Some people love stock Blandroid, others have moved on.

          • Frettfreak

            I would say my M7 with Kit Kat and sense 5.5 was REALLY close to zero lag. I am sure it had to a few times but i honestly couldnt tell you when and dont remember it much if it did.

          • n900mixalot

            Right, so there’s no point to the .2% vs zero lag arguments people seem to be obsessed with. Phones are doing very well, and HTC has a great formula. Samsung’s isn’t quite there, but it’s still far from horrendous.

          • Beavis

            Much easier to find on the S5 LOL

          • WitnessG

            I agree, TouchWiz is needs some serious optimization/rework done. But my point was that the general audience won’t really have as big of a problem with it like us techies. As long as their devices don’t take 5 seconds to do something, they will be alright with it.

  • Rodeojones000

    This review could have simply been, “It’s a device with TouchWiz. If you want a laggy, bloat-filled phone made of cheap plastic this is for you.”

    • The Narrator

      They just blue themselves.

    • Woe, Is [S]unjay

      Lol, sums up my idea of any Samsung phone. I immediately flash Cyanognemod without looking back, to hell with TouchWiz.

      • n900mixalot

        Please stop buying Samsung phones if they’re so sh*t. You can get any other phone and slap CyanogenMod on it.

        • Woe, Is [S]unjay

          I will only buy Google Edition Samsung phones….or maybe I could live with a stock Note device because of the extra features.

          Though, I would also like better build quality a brand that is less mainstream.

          • n900mixalot

            So why not just save some serious cash and get a Nexus 5? The Google Edition devices are lost on me.

          • Woe, Is [S]unjay

            The Nexus devices are great but they disappoint in three areas.

            1. The lack of MicroSD support. Google insists that the MicroSD cards are things of the past and that we should move on to the cloud or music streaming services but I like having my music on my SD card. I have over 32GB of music, this does not include pictures, anime and manga. 32GB is just too small. I can live with 64GB but MicroSD cards get the preferences.

            2. I am disappointed with the performance of Nexus devices. They have the latest SoC but they suffer from heavy thermal throttling, thus, you are unable to benefit from the latest SoC.
            http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/11/when-benchmarks-arent-enough-cpu-performance-in-the-nexus-5/

            http://forum.xda-developers.com/google-nexus-5/help/nexus-5-heavy-thermal-throttling-antutu-t2510025

            3. I am also disappointed with the lackluster battery life in Nexus devices.

            I don’t have anything against skins, I love Sony’s Xperia Home and Sense isn’t bad….I just want to stay as far away from TouchWiz as possible. I have had two bad experiences. I have a restraining order. I might make an exception for the Note 3.

          • Mark Aaron Collado

            All of your Nexus 5 problems can be fixed with a custom rom/kernel. I know this is a little unconventional but you can buy http://www.meenova.com/ to use a micro sd card.

          • Woe, Is [S]unjay

            I thought of those two options but i’m unsure of something.

            Won’t I lose my updates if I root?

            Some devices that don’t have a a MicroSD card slot have MicroSD card support like the HTC One M7 and the LG G2. Meenova works out of the box on them but it requires root and 3rd party apps on the Nexus.

          • Mark Aaron Collado

            That’s true. You can always flash a rom that are compatible with usb-otg and after that you can just use any file explorer to view your stuff from your MicroSD. Updates are usually baked in the new versions of the custom rom you are running. Let me know if i am incorrect.

    • PoisonApple31

      Why bother? This is your yearly review.

    • dave

      Haters going to hate that’s all I have to say to you. As to the review, you guys are getting better and better at this. I won’t go into details. From my point of view the Samsung galaxy S5 is a good phone. The TouchWiz is definitely smoother and less leggy than their pervious. I don’t own this phone reason is in not ready to go from a 5″ yo a 5.1″ even though it’s only a .1″ bigger but that extra bezel is just too much.

      • SpellCheck

        Where you drunk when you wrote this? Either that or go back to school dude. That’s just terrible.

        • Marikel

          Oh, the irony.

          Were*

          • The Narrator

            How long did it take for you to type this out to make sure it was perfect?

      • hey

        I couldn’t agree more! Let them hate and talk all they want. Still wont hurt Samsung or the people that buy it. You dont like it then dont buy it and shut your mouth!

        SO CALLED “EXPERTS” HAHA

  • Ray

    Man all i keep hearing about this phone is lag. it must be really awful

    • Carlos Lopez

      Its not unbearable but it is noticeable and annoying, right now im just waiting for cm11 on it and it should fix that

    • Ralph

      I have the S5 it has no freaking lag at all i dont know what these people are talking about they must not have this phone or they have the i crap phone

      • Frettfreak

        Maybe you should look up the def of lag. I owned it for 13 days. the phones performance SUX. at least a 1-2 sec lag while in an app and hit the home button, same goes for multitasking. No, they finally figured out hot to scroll a homescreen without jittering but everywhere else it is kinda slow imo.

        • Ralph

          then you didnt tun on Developer options and turn off the animations then

          • Woe, Is [S]unjay

            Why should we turn off animations? Other OEMs don’t lag with the animations off.

          • Ralph

            because you dont need the animations on any phone .samsung has put this on here so you can turn them off i dont think you can turn these off on anyother phone .The animations are the inbetween screens where you go from home screens theres a little animation befor e you get to the next screen .Now there is no lag between screens and between web pages makes thing smoother and faster

          • Nikuliai

            Let’s put all this features that will lag the phone, they can disable those if they don’t want a phone that lags!, also, let’s put touchwizz in this thing too!

            Seems like a smart idea ;)

            I had decent performance in crappy phones by custom roms, doesn’t mean the OEM actually did a decent job, the machine is good, the software is utter crap

          • Woe, Is [S]unjay

            The stock S3 Mini gets 5000 in Antutu but gets 10,000 with Cyanongenmod. I understand Touchwiz on highend phones like the S4 that easily gets 26,000 but the S3 Mini was butchered by TouchWiz.

          • Nikuliai

            TW butchers everything, it’s just more noticeable when the phone has lower specs (they try to mod it to work better and they outdo themselves by making it even worse -> nope, not kidding, that’s why I don’t do low SS Smartphones as gifts anymore -> Moto G or Huawei Y300 if I’m short of money)

          • Frettfreak

            who gives a crap about benchmark scores?? really?? both samsung and htc have been caught red handed cheating benchmarks. that should tell you something.

          • Woe, Is [S]unjay

            I don’t need it but I want it because it looks nice.

          • Ralph

            Turning off the animations does not change the look of the screen its still 1080 res .you cant see the animations between screens it just closes the gap between the screens

          • Woe, Is [S]unjay

            I’ve done it before, I like the speed improvement but I like to watch the animations. I also like the animations. *sigh* I prefer with the lag than to lose my precious animations.

          • Rod

            No animations suck.

            People love them.

          • Frettfreak

            its called a USER EXPERIENCE. why should you have to disable something on a brand new flagship phone?? WHY????

          • Ralph

            cause you dont need it on and it makes your battery alot better and it makes it faster .you cant see the animations between sceens it dont change the screen resalution at all i dont know how els to explin it look it up on google

          • Frettfreak

            Well technically you only need 1 kidney and really those legs you have can be replaced by a wheelchair so why not schedule surgery? You don’t NEED them.

          • Ralph

            What …….we are not talking about body parts

          • Frettfreak

            Neither am I. It’s the same concept. They are things you don’t need. Why don’t you get rid of those to? You are saying that in order to get a good experience I need to disable something that should run perfectly fine (and does on every other flagship) same concept man. Just more personal to illustrate the point

          • Ralph

            OK do you have the s5 .if so dont turn off the animations to make it better than it is now ..it works great eather way

          • Frettfreak

            Obviously you are “that guy” maybe no one has told you before.

            So you just completely contradicted yourself “turn off animations so it doesn’t lag” 8 posts down “don’t turn them off and it still works great”

            Gonna file this in the idiot files and call it a day. Have a good one

          • Ralph

            im just saying that you CAN make it faster than it already is so F U and good by

          • Rod

            Lags a lot. Disgusting

          • Frettfreak

            You have been able to turn off animations since gingerbread I think. Maybe before

          • Ralph

            ya i did it with my two gs3 and it really helped alot

          • Rod

            Because touch wiz sucks.

            Go buy a Nexus.

          • Rod

            We do need them. Makes everything smoother.

            Buy a Nexus and enjoy the pretty animations.

            Ps: they can be turned off in any device through developer options.

            Ps 2: no one will want to turn them off

          • Frettfreak

            he wont get it. Just let him troll his life away. Must suck to live like that..

          • vzwuser76

            The ability to adjust and/or turn off animations is part of android, not touchwiz. It was on HTC phones when I had them and it’s on my Motorola phones.

          • Frettfreak

            OK, let me take out a feature that this phone should TOTALLY be able to handle off so i get a good experience?? look at those specs!! there is no WAY i should have to turn off animations. Look at the annimations on a G2 with last years SOC. they are WAY cooler than anything samsung has and the phone handles them like its nothing. Not saying the G2 is some super amazing thing… but it has last years 800 in it and KILLS the animations. No reason the s5 shoulnt

          • Rod

            Wtf?

            Animations are part of the experience. And no, they don’t cause any lag in my pure-bred Nexus device.

      • Hershel

        settle down. This is about the s5, not iphones.

      • The Narrator

        Calm down ralphie you’ll shoot your eye out

        • Ralph

          lol I have the s5 and it is amazing

          • Nikuliai

            you may find it amazing, you may be in love with the phone, doesn’t change the fact it underperforms considering the specs

          • http://people.ign.com/mrfrodo24 MrFrodo24

            Ignorance is bliss. Don’t burst his bubble.

          • Rod

            Lags.

            Not amazing by any chance

      • StrattHacks

        To say the S5 has no lag is just plain stupid. Look at this if you REALLY do not see any lag. Because there is LOTS.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DChf8nhi2tM

        • MicroNix

          Its still blows my mind that people are critical about <1 second differences in opening apps. If you are going to dance around your apps many times a minute, that might make a difference. But really, while its definitely not as good as the M8, its not enough to sink it as "your daily driver".

          • StrattHacks

            For me it translates to the overall speed of the phone. Like they mentioned above, the multitasking is slower than on the M8 and other competing phones. I’m not talking about app open times, I’m talking about switching through apps. It may be more or less noticable depending on usage but it all comes down it the fact that it shouldn’t be there. If other phones can run a heavy intrusive theme with zero issues, like the LG G2, then there is no reason the S5 can’t.

        • blairh

          Love the Italia wallpaper. Kudos.

  • benjaninja

    If they could make a Galaxy S5 mini without making ‘mini’ specs than I might consider it. Gotta be under 5 inch screen with minimal bezels.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      That’s exactly what we need.

      • MicroNix

        So completely take away the Moto X. How does the performance stack up against the rest?

        • Frettfreak

          doesnt. the g2 actually blows the s5 OUT OF THE WATER (so did my m7 for that matter) in terms of response and no lag.

          • The Narrator

            Debloated rom, no Verizon apps running, camera port from G Pro 2, battery life 20+ hours, 5+ screen on, love it.

          • catalyst11

            Plus Qi wireless charging built in. If the G2 had a microsd slot, it would be very close to being perfect for me. Like Frettfreak, I think it’s a tad big as well but it’s still the best choice for me. I almost went with the Moto X instead but the camera turned me away.

          • Hershel

            G2 is over rated

          • Frettfreak

            you misspelled UNDER-rated ;)

      • Frettfreak

        thats what i thought too… then i used the G2 with a 5.2″ screen and found out that its more about the whole package than screen size. still just a little bigger than i would like but SO much better than the mammoth s5

    • Woe, Is [S]unjay

      Get a Z1 Compact.

  • http://Google.com/+boojay boo Jay

    Great, honest review.

    • Hershel

      define “honest” if its one man (or a few mens) opinions

      • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

        Because they wrote it with an unbiased opinion?

      • Obvious

        Because they wrote about the good and the bad? Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean it’s not honest.

  • TSY87

    I prefer a stand alone heart rate monitor (I have a chest strap). I use it when I go out biking to track my heart rate for the whole ride so I can analyze that with my speed, climbs, decent, etc. The fact that you have to place your finger on the monitor kinda kills it for me and really makes it a gimmick IMHO rather than a feature.

    • Nikuliai

      We all know that’s a gimmick, you have that feature since 2009 with any Android with a flash (at least I did, it may have been there before that) using an app.

      Even a watch with an AWESOME HR monitor will be less accurate than a chest strap, but most of us don’t like to carry that thing, anyway… agreed, it’s a gimmick, screen and “camera” is all I take from the phone

  • Jack March

    I have the Galaxy S5 in hideous gold with me at the moment and I’m not missing stock android at all