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

20 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)

With the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge about to hit the market and garnering a huge amount of hype, it's easy to forget about its predecessor, the impressive Samsung Galaxy S5. Since the phone launched, it has come down significantly in price, and is now available for a reasonable £325 SIM-free from Expansys - not bad for a (just about still current) flagship phone. It's now bang up to date, too, as Samsung has recently updated the operating system to Android 5.0 Lollipop.

However, if you want the latest and greatest Samsung handset, you should wait a few weeks for the Galaxy S6 handsets to arrive. 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. You can read all our thoughts on the differences in our Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 article.

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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