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What I love and hate about Samsung’s GS5

What I love and hate about Samsung’s Galaxy S5.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has been one of the biggest smartphone releases of the year. Its easy to see what people love about the device, but what about its flaws? Having owned the phone since release I can honestly say I have tested it to the max. Read on to discover what I love and hate about the device:

The things I hate:

Whilst the S5 is by no means an ugly device, it does leave a lot to be desired. Samsung never seem to listen to consumer feedback and even after 5 incarnations of the Galaxy smartphone Samsung has shown no signs of incorporating metal into its designs.

The micro USB port on the bottom is just stupid. I feel like a surgeon trying to get it plugged in to charge on a night. With the lights off its impossible. After a few beers…well I’m sure you get my point! Its by no means an easy task.

The screen always wakes up in my pocket. Ill be walking down the street when ill hear the touch tone key pad in my pocket. Or it will start dialling random numbers from my pocket. Perhaps the unlock button is too sensitive or just in the wrong place? It also regularly restarts itself because of the unlock button being depressed in the pocket. I have never had another phone cause so many issues from the pocket.

The external speaker is not very promising. Compared to the HTC One the S5’s speaker is a bit pants. Audio output via the headphones is also not as good as it could be and I’m always finding the volume doesn’t go loud enough.

I have found a number of software glitches. The whole voice activation has just stopped working all together. It started as an intermittent fault but now doesn’t work at all – even though it is enabled in the settings. Another problem is that sometimes apps don’t shut down properly and get stuck in the notification bar or on the lock screen. It means having to restart the device. The camera app is also a bit strange in that you cannot access the ‘mode’ option sometimes. I have no idea what causes this. Im not too concerned about this glitches however as I’m sure they will be resolved with future updates.

The finger print reader is s**t. There I said it. Its nowhere near as intuitive as that of the iPhone 5S as it requires two hand operation. It also rarely recognises my finger print unless I scan it exactly right – there is a sweet spot which is really difficult to master. The backup password option is also a bit frustrating as you are presented with the full qwerty keypad and have to use both letters and numbers as part of your password. On the iPhone you are just presented with a number pad. I wish you had this option with the Galaxy. The whole experience just lacks polish and is a little frustrating.

The things I love:

The device is very quick and responsive. Touchwiz is very smooth for once and switching between the home screens is glitch free. The device is ample powered and really eats through all the latest apps and games. The processor is clocked slightly higher than on the HTC One M8 which gives it a bit of an advantage. Im not sure why Samsung didn’t opt for 3GB RAM but it matters little as 2GB is just fine. Everything runs smoothly and the device is a pleasure to use.

The screen is easily the best I have ever seen. I was very impressed by that of the HTC One M8 but the S5’s Super Amoled HD display wins hands down for me. The colours really pop and contrast is excellent. Viewing angles are also very good and sunlight legibility is amongst the best I have seen. The screen really is stunning and has to be seen to be believed. Having owned an iPhone 5S for a number of months I find the S5’s screen really refreshing. I no longer have to squint to see things and browsing the internet is great. watching videos and playing games is also a really great experience on the S5 with the screen really bringing everything to life.

Battery life is excellent. I can use the device all day quite intensively and if I have less the 30% battery life when I go to sleep then its a bad day! there is also a battery saving mode if you need it. I use the built in pedometer all the time and as such I would have expected this to effect battery life. It doesn’t however. Smartphones rarely last more than a day on a full charge but I am really impressed with the S5’s endurance.

The camera is incredible. The device takes really quick and hassle free images. The 16MP snapper takes stunning images and also supports 4K video capture. Close ups look great and the ability to set the focal point is very cool. This is one area where the S5 trumps the HTC One M8. If you want a good camera then the S5 may be the phone for you!
Generally speaking the Galaxy S5 is a great smartphone with many strengths. I previously owned the HTC One M8 but of the two devices I do prefer the S5. The user experience is really nice and everything just seems to work as it should. Im sure the software issues mentioned above will get resolved with future updates and perhaps the finger print scanner experience will evolve a bit. I just wish Samsung would put a little more effort into the design. People are getting used to quality looking devices nowadays and Samsung just don’t seem to get it. The recent announcement that Samsung’s head of design has been relocated may prove to be a good move, indicating that the company may finally be upping its game and reconsidering its design philosophy.

Samsung Galaxy S5

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Samsung Galaxy S5 VS HTC One M8. Which is best?

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the the all new HTC One are two of the biggest handsets to be released this year. With both companies hoping to build on the success of previous models, we are sure to see some aggressive competition. The Samsung Galaxy S range has seen some of the most popular smartphones ever made and sales have matched and even beaten those of the ironing iPhone. For HTC however, It is no lie that they have been struggling lately. That said, the original HTC One won universal praise and is considered one of the best smartphones ever made. As such both companies will be hoping to top sales figures and claim the title of ‘smartphone of the year’. The question then, is which one should you get?

Design and build.

Yet again Samsung have stuck to their previous design philosophy by using an all plastic construction. The device does not look that dissimilar to the GS4 and still incorporates a aluminium look band which runs around the edges. The corners however are slightly squarer and the device now looks more like the Note 3. Samsung have gone for a leather look back for the device and although similar to that of the Note 3, it does look more plasticky. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is by no means an ugly device but the all plastic design started feeling old about three years ago. An added bonus with the GS5 however is that it is certified as water proof.

The original HTC One really challenged the excellent build quality of the iPhone with a mainly metal build. HTC have never in my mind built an ugly phone but the One was a step forward. The new HTC One M8 is even better that the original. HTC have now used a build which consists of 90% metal and the plastic rim of the original is gone. It is slightly taller and fatter than the original but it matters little. The HTC One is a stunning looking device.

There is frankly no competition here. The build quality of the HTC blows the GS5 out of the water (literally). Im frankly getting a little tired of Samsung’s choice of build materials and I really cant understand the reluctance to include a little metal. I probably won’t buy another Samsung because of this.

Specs

Both devices have some pretty awesome specs and use relatively similar hardware. Both use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 801 processors with Adreno 330 GPU’s. These are some of the latest hardware components on the market and as such both devices are lightning fast. The GS5 however has a slight clock speed advantage at 2.5GHZ compared to the One’s 2.3GHZ. In reality however there will be little difference in performance. Both devices also sport 2GB RAM and will be available with either 16GB or 32GB internal storage. With regards to batteries, the Samsung’s is slightly bigger at 2800mAh vs HTC’s 2600mAh. Again there is little realtime difference as software optimisation will be a big element of battery life.

Its worth mentioning that the GS5 also incorporates a heart rate monitor and a finger print reader. It may be that this sways it for you, particularly if you are into your sports!

Its a difficult call to make with such similar specs, but with the GS5 wins technically with its higher clocked processor and slightly bigger battery. Not to mention the additional hardware mentioned above.

Screen

Screen technology is always a controversial issue with opinion playing a big part. This is an issue of LCD technology vs AMOLED technology. AMOLED usually produces more vibrant colours and better contrast, but LCD tends to produce more accurate colours and sometimes appears sharper. Personally I love the popping colours of a AMOLED display and Samsung have always made pretty awesome displays.

Samsung’s GS5 sports a 5.1 inch full 1080p Super AMOLED HD display with HTC’s One incorporating a 5 inch LCD 1080p IPS display. Both are incredibly good and are likely some of the best screens available. Technically the HTC has a higher pixel density with 441 pixels per once (PPI) compared to Samsung’s 431. This really wont make any difference however with the difference being marginal.

This is very difficult to call as it all comes down to personal opinion. Both screens are exceptional. Although I prefer AMOLED, I know plenty of people will prefer LCD. Lets call this one a draw.

Cameras

This isn’t going to be a straight forward comparison with both devices having different ideas about smartphone cameras. The samsung uses a 16mp auto focus snapper compared with HTC opting for an ultra pixel camera at 4MP. The HTC cant really compare to the Samsung with regards to pixel count as the GS5 is way higher. The Ultra pixel camera on the HTC however has supposed to capture more light and as such claims to be better in low light situations. Clearly however if you want larger high quality pictures then the Samsung will be best for you. HTC do have a trick up their sleeve however with the inclusion of a second sensor used to create debt. This means you can play around with the background and create 3d like images.

Its worth mentioning that the One incorporates a front facing 5 MP camera which is great for selfies. The GS5’s front camera has a lower 2MP sensor. That said Samsung have an advantage in that the GS5 records video in the 4K format whereas the One only supports 1080p. This may change however.

Whilst the HTC One’s intuitive camera can create some really cool effects, it cant really compete with the high pixel count of the GS5. Samsung are pretty good at doing cameras and as such this will be a win for Samsung.

Software

Both devices will come preinstalled with the latest version of Android – 4.4.2 Kitkat. Both will also include the latest UI’s (user interface) – HTC using Sense and Samsung Touch Wiz. HTC’s Sense 6 will include the innovative ‘Zoe’ app which allows you to put videos and pictures together into short clips. Blink feed is also included which works a bit like Flipboard. The GS5 has something similar called ‘my magazine’. The GS5 is also heavily fitness optimised and includes Samsung’s new ’S Health’ fitness tracker software which works with the imbedded heart rate monitor.

This is very difficult call to make with the GS5 perhaps being more desirable to fitness fanatics. However, I have said it before and I will say it again, HTC Sense is way better that Samsung’s Touch Wiz. This sways it for me and I reckon the HTC One is the better device where software is concerned.

Conclusion

Technically, judging by the comparisons above both devices are equally impressive. The GS5 has possibly a better camera and some cool but perhaps gimmicky add ons, but the HTC One is far better looking with a much nicer design. Really, both devices are exceptional and both should sell by the bucket load. It’s really going to come down to which one you prefer.

If you want my opinion then I prefer the HTC One. Build quality is a big motivator for me and the device looks much cooler that the GS5. It will likely last longer too. The camera isn’t really an issue for me as I only take casual images on my smartphone. The One’s ultra pixel camera is perfect for quick pictures and has loads of flexibility when it comes to adding cool effects. Also, as mentioned above I really cant forgive Samsung for continuing to use plastic. Its outdated and it feels cheap. Smartphones have become fashion accessories and I don’t think samsung are going to win any prizes.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Underwhelms

The Samsung Galaxy S5 went official yesterday at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

In what may be viewed as being a little underwhelming, the Galaxy S5 shares a lot of design aesthetics with last years Galaxy S4.

The S5 sports a Super Amoled HD display with a full 1080p resolution and measures up a 5.1inches. This is basically the same screen found in the S4 and whilst this is no bad thing, I was expecting something a bit better. The device also houses a Snapdragon 800 CPU with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. This is still top end but doesn’t offer anything new.

The S5 has taken a leaf out of Apples book and aims to appeal to sports mined consumers. The inclusion of a rear facing heart rate monitor is a cool idea but only time will tell wether this turns out to be a gimmick. Not unexpected is the finger print scanner. How accurate this is I don’t know but lets hope its less temperamental than the one found on the iPhone 5S.

The camera has been bumped up to 16mp and also films in 4k, contrary to initial reports. Other additions include water and dust proofing. This has however made the device slightly bigger.

Design-wise, the S5 shares a lot with the S4 but moves towards a slightly more angular appearance such as the Note3. It is unfortunate that Samsung have decided to stick with their all plastic design philosophy. Again there is no metal in sight, although Samsung have included a rubber touch back plate.

To me the S5 seems to be more of an incremental upgrade than a whole new device. Perhaps it should have been called the 4S! I am rather disappointed with the design and build and really wish Samsung would start using some high quality materials. ITs not that its a bad phone, its just not exceptional. There is no 64bit processor like in the iPhone 5S, and the device doesn’t really do anything revolutionary.

You should be able to order the S5 in April. Im sure Samsung will sell bucket loads!