The Samsung Galaxy S5 was Samsung's flagship in 2014. Packed with a 2.5GHz Quad-Core SnapDragon 801 Chip, 2GB of RAM, a 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED Display, and more, the Galaxy S5 was one powerful and popular device when it launched.
Now fast forward an entire year, where is the GS5 standing now? Still the King of the Hill? Find out with our look back at the Samsung Galaxy S5: One Year Later
The Samsung Galaxy S5 was supposed to be a big deal. Sadly, its launch wasn’t something Samsung anticipated. You can say that for the whole year actually. 2014 wasn’t a good year for Samsung as they would have wanted. But let’s take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S5 and see how relevant or irrelevant it has become in just a year’s time.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 had a design that resembled the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the S3. The main difference was on its display size, materials used in the back, and also the new water resistance rating. On the front, we had a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920x1080—a beautiful display even up to this day.
But the design didn’t live up to any of its standards of the hardware. It still featured the same plastic chrome sides seen on previous S models. The newer Galaxy S5 came with a dimpled back that we’ve never seen before but it reminded us a lot of a golf ball; only it was softer. The positive thing that came out of materials was the IP 67 rating. Thanks to the flap on the microUSB port, the S5 can withstand dunks on the sink and spills of water with no problem. It was a pretty useful feature, to be honest.
Now for hardware: the Galaxy S5 was a flagship and that means the best of 2014 hardware. It was packed with a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip, 2GB of RAM, Adreno 330 GPU, and 16MP camera. Another addition to the hardware was the heart rate sensor right next to the camera and flash module. Often it was referred to as a gimmick feature but they did take off on wearables since they made more sense.
The last piece of new hardware on the Galaxy S5 was the fingerprint sensor on the home button. It wasn’t Samsung’s finest attempt since it needed the user to swipe instead of placing the finger. Throughout my experience, it worked maybe 40% of the time. Plus, you’d think that Samsung would have improved this technology on devices like the Galaxy Note 4 but that problem still persists there as well.
The software on the Galaxy S5 was questionable when it launched. Right before it debuted, there were rumors about Samsung and Google becoming really good friends so many were hoping for a lighter version of TouchWiz. Unfortunately, what we got was Android KitKat with the same old TouchWiz with a few updates to make life a bit more difficult. The skin was, and still is, a very heavy skin. Going through home screens was fine but you’ll start getting frustrated with TouchWiz’s menus. For example, why do I need to press more than four buttons to get to my settings? There are menus, sub-menus and sub-menus to those sub-menus. It just seems a bit too excessive.
And for those who are still awaiting Android Lollipop to arrive, don’t hold your breath because TouchWiz looks to be just as efficient as it is now running on Android KitKat. Performance-wise at launch, it was one of the quickest devices around since flagship specs are usually deliver good performance and Samsung knows how to give you that. With two devices, like the HTC One M8 running a light version HTC Sense with almost the same hardware, it was quickly overshadowed. The biggest trick against the Galaxy S5 was definitely the OnePlus One. For tech people who didn’t get their hands on the device, they already knew it was one special device. And it helped to know that it cost half as much as the Galaxy S5 with all the same hardware.
One redeeming feature of the Galaxy S5 was definitely the camera. Samsung had dialed down the camera technology with the Galaxy S5. It was honestly the first Samsung device that wowed me with its camera. It delivered pretty good-looking 16MP photos while its 4K video was untouchable at the time. The camera tech later evolved into the Note 4 with the addition of OIS. To this day, the Galaxy S5 and Note 4 have one of the best mobile phone camera, especially for recording UHD videos.
That sort of sums up the Galaxy S5. It was a phone that launched with a huge amount of PR and positive reviews. But it was sadly overshadowed just weeks after phones like the HTC One M8 debuted along with the biggest impact to mobile space, which was the OnePlus One. It sold okay, millions of handsets were moved worldwide. It even had a faster and more resolution display version in Korea called the Galaxy S5 LTE-A but it never made it to US shores. If you’re looking at the Galaxy S5 as a less expensive flagship to 2015, I would suggest you wait. It may be more expensive with the upcoming release of the Galaxy S6, which looks like a promising model from a hardware standpoint.