Samsung Galaxy S5 review – price does matter

The most anticipated smartphone the Samsung Galaxy S5 (SM-G900H) is now available in India. The Indian version however comes powered by Octa core processor running on Android 4.4 over a 5 inch screen with FHD resolution. Is the handset worth it? Read the review and find out.

S5 box pack
The box contains the handset, user manual, data cable, travel charger, earphone, earphone ear plug cap and battery of 2800 mAh capacity.

Design / Display
There is nothing new with reference to the design, it looks like any other Samsung smartphone, however there are some new features included. I got the shimmery white color handset for the review. There are dotted textures on the rear and the same is also replicated on the front panel. The handset is pretty light weight at 136 grams with battery.

Build quality and finishing (plastic body) is very good and because of the size (dimensions – 72.62 x 141.79 x 8.20 mm) handset is comfortable to hold. Like most of the Samsung handset the S5 also comes with 3 navigation buttons – 2 touch buttons and a dedicated physical button in the centre. On the Samsung Galaxy S5 the middle physical navigational button doubles up as the finger print scanner.

The power button is on the right, volume rockers on the left and the USB 3.0 port at the bottom. An infrared port and 3.5mm audio jack are placed on the top side. There is a mic at the bottom near USB 3.0 and another on the top next to the infrared port. The USB port comes with a cover to seal off the ports to prevent dust / water from entering. The handset is IP67 certified its water resistant (not waterproof). On the back cover (inside) there is a rubber strip that seals off certain exposed area of the hardware like the battery, SIM/micro SD card slot etc to prevent water from entering into those areas. This is a single SIM handset and you need a micro SIM card.

Samsung Galaxy S5 box pack

The screen is super AMOLED of size 5 inches (5.09 inches to be precise). The color reproduction and viewing angles are just great. The screen supports FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution. There are accelerometer, light, proximity, magnetic, gyro and pressure sensors. Touch is very smooth and responsive.

Samsung Galaxy S5 unboxing

OS, Memory and Storage
The Galaxy S5 runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. There is micro SD card slot that supports up to 64GB/128GB external cards. Apps cannot be installed on the external storage. Of the 2GB RAM, 889MB is available on the first boot and of the 16GB storage about 11 GB is available as storage for apps / user storage. You can connect external pendrives using the OTG cable, OTG is supported.

Performance and Benchmark
The Indian version is octa core (Adonis Prime2) powered – it is using 1.9GHz quad core + 1.3GHz quad core processor coupled with Mali T628 GPU. There is no 4G support but 3G (42.2Mbps) is supported. Performance is smooth and lags free.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review and gaming review

Benchmark scores

  • Quadrant Standard – 22500.
  • AnTuTu – 37644.
  • Vellamo – HTML5 1651, Metal 1259.
  • Nenamark 2 – 59.9fps
  • Multi touch : 10 points.

Camera and Entertainment
The camera output is pretty impressive. The S5 comes with a 16MP camera on the rear with LED flash and 2MP on the front. The rear camera can shoot videos in UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels resolution).

The camera interface is new and comes with many options like selective focus (focuses the subject while blurring out the background), audio zoom, video stabilization, effects, HDR, panorama etc. Following video modes are supported normal, MMX, fast motion, slow motion and smooth motion. Do check the sample images / videos shot using the S5 at the end of this review.

The Galaxy S5 can play UHD videos with ease.

Samsung Galaxy S5 rear 16MP camera with heart rate sensor

Gaming
The hardware is powerful enough and can run many high end games. However the games / apps cannot be installed on the external storage. Modern combat 4 and Asphalt 8 games worked very well, lag free and very smooth even at the highest graphic settings.

Others
The handset supports 3G, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi (a/b/g/n/ac) and GPS with GLONASS. GPS lock is very fast almost instant. Sound is loud and clear. This single SIM handset comes loaded with some new features mentioned below.

Ultra Power Saving Mode
In this mode the screen goes black and white  and the interface also changes. It actually turns the phone into a basic phone with minimal features on the screen. That way it gives amazing battery life, good option to use when the battery is pretty low, in this mode the handset will last for much much more than expected.

Smart Remote
The Smart Remote app makes use of the Infrared port available on the Galaxy S5 handset. With this app users will be able to control TV, video player, AC and many other devices. The S5 will act as your personal universal remote control.

S Health
The S Health app will keep track of your physical activities. It can count your steps using pedometer, It will keep track of calories burned, calories gained (food) and there is the heart rate monitor that will show your current heart rate.

There is a special sensor placed on the rear side that turns red when the finger is placed on it. You need to hold still for some time to get the heart rate.

Finger print scanner
The physical navigation button also doubles as the finger print scanner. This is different to what we have seen on the Apple iPhone 5S. You need to swipe your finger from the bottom screen and over the button. Check the video review to get an idea of how it works. It may take some time getting used to.

Samsung Galaxy S5 finger print scanner

Battery
The Galaxy S5 comes with 2800 mAh battery that as per the company gives up to 21 hours talktime over the 3G networks. I used the handset for 24 minutes running benchmark apps the battery dropped by 9% and then I played MC4 / Asphalt 8 for about 16 minutes at that time the battery dropped by 7 percent. The max temperature when playing heavy games was 38 degrees (in 16 minutes from 31 degree). The estimated usage (heavy usage using all of the cores) is about 4 to 5 hours. (for the battery test WiFi on, Brightness set to auto).

Samsung Galaxy S5 2800 mAh battery

Verdict
The handset is powerful and comes with finger print scanner and with an impressive camera. Battery life is decent enough. Screen quality is superb. The biggest disappointment with Galaxy S5 in India was its price tag. It was launched at a price of Rs. 51,000.

The Indian version was deprived of the 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad core processor with Adreno 330 GPU, instead we got the octa core chipset. Moreover the Indian version does not support 4G. The price of 51K was too high considering the specifications/features. In fact the price has now already fallen to under Rs. 32,000.

As of now the Galaxy S5 price has dropped considerably, it is available on Flipkart for Rs. 24,999 and on Amazon.in for Rs. 31,000.

Image Gallery

Sample Images (Original size)

Samsung Galaxy S5 handset and gaming review

UHD video sample shot using the Galaxy S5 handset

Slow motion video shot using the S5 handset

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