Samsung Galaxy S5 review - now with Android 5.0 Lollipop

Powerful, with a fantastic camera and incredible battery life, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a superb all-round smartphone

3 Mar 2015
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Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
560
inc VAT
Buy it now for 

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Screen size: 5.1in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 16-megapixel, Storage: 16GB, Wireless data: 4G, Size: 142x72.5x8.1 mm , Weight: 145g, Operating system: Android 5.0 (Lollipop)

In the run up to launch, the Samsung Galaxy S5 had to be one of the most hyped and anticipated Android smartphones of the year. With a new focus on fitness, a range of high-tech wearable accessories and much-improved internals, there's no question the Galaxy S5 certainly improves on its predecessor, but is it the best smartphone you can buy today? We've put Samsung's latest and greatest to the test to bring you a final verdict. Since the phone launched, Samsung has updated the operating system to Android 5.0 Lollipop, so we've updated this review to reflect the changes.

It's also worth noting that this handset won't be the flagship model for long, with the metal and glass Samsung Galaxy S6 having just been announced. For those that want a handset with a unique design, there's the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge handset, too. Both are better made, more powerful and have a higher screen resolution than the S5; if you're looking for the best, these models are probably worth looking for. However, these launches are bound to mean that the S5 drops in price, so you'll soon be able to pick up this handset for a lot less, if you're not bothered about having the absolute latest smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Design

The Galaxy S5 is best seen as a refinement of the Galaxy S4, as both share a very similar outward appearance. The S5 has slightly bolder curves than the S4's flowing corners, but sat side-by-side they look almost identical. A metal effect bezel surrounds both handsets, although the dimpled, rubberised rear cover on the S5 feels classier than the S4's glossy finish. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 home screen 2

It looks sleek, and at 8.1mm thick it's also very thin, but we can't help feel a little disappointed that Samsung has stuck with an all-plastic construction. Now that the almost entirely metal HTC One (m8) is on sale, the Galaxy S5 feels a little cheap by comparison. On the plus side, the Galaxy S5 is now IP67 water- and dust-resistant, meaning it is completely protected against the effects of dust and can survive a dunking in up to 1m of water. This should hopefully put an end to dead handsets after dropping them into drinks, toilets or puddles, and gives Sony's Xperia Z2 one less killer feature to draw away potential customers. You won't be able to take underwater photos using the touchscreen, as it can't detect any inputs when under water, but you can use the volume key as a physical shutter button instead.

Unfortunately, in making the phone IP67 compliant, Samsung has been forced to add a flap over the USB port to protect it from water damage. It can be a little fiddly to remove for charging, and is held in place with a piece of rubberised plastic; should that snap off the phone would lose its weatherproof abilities. The port itself uses the faster USB3 standard, but Samsung bafflingly doesn't include a USB3 cable in the box. That means you're stuck transferring data from a PC or Mac at USB2 speeds until you buy the right cable, which costs a few pounds.

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