The phone comes with 16GB of memory, with There's a microSD card slot under the back cover which took my 64GB card without complaint. Processor and Performance The S5 has a 2. Its performance on our benchmarks was pretty much indistinguishable from the HTC One's. Either of these phones will bring the best performance you'll see for the next few months, at least.
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The S5 runs Android 4. Don't worry; I'm close to percent sure that a Google Play Edition is on its way, if you're into that sort of thing. There's a lot less Samsung bloatware than there used to be. Most of the S4's features are still kicking around here, but they've been buried in settings; fewer, flagship features take prominence, so the interface doesn't feel as overwhelming anymore. One of my favorites, S Finder, is a full on-device search that lives in the Notifications panel.
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That helps cut down on hunting through the interface. Samsung's Flipboard preload not quite as configurable as HTC's and TV remote-control app better than HTC's, with support for more streaming video services also come to the front. If you want dual-window multitasking, Kids' mode, Easy mode, Car mode, or a mode where the display shrinks so you can use it with one hand, well, it's all here—you just have to dig for it. That's an acceptable balance. The overall visual effect is still bright and a bit cutesy—the previous 'water droplet' metaphor has been swapped out for 'shining gemstones'—so it's less elegant than the HTC One's, but the bright, colorful theme goes well with the super-vibrant screen.
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The fingerprint sensor is a good try, but like most swipe-style fingerprint sensors, the Synaptics Natural ID sensor's inaccuracy can get frustrating; I often had to swipe it two or three times to register. In , Apple bought Authentec, which makes the unique fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s ; as a result, everybody else is behind. The fact that Samsung's hardware trails Apple's here is especially frustrating because its software is superior: There's an SDK for third parties to use fingerprint ID, and you can already use it to pay for things via PayPal in Samsung's bundled Web browser.
The health and safety features are still gimmicky. The pedometer is useful and relatively accurate, but the heart rate monitor is awkward and a little pointless: You want a heart rate monitor that constantly checks you as part of a fitness band, not something that you put your finger on once every three or four hours. Samsung said they're looking for third parties to find interesting uses for the heart-rate monitor SDK, but for now I consider it a forgettable feature. For real fitness buffs, the Galaxy S5 is one of 18 devices that works with the new Samsung Gear Fit accessory which we have also reviewed.
Camera and Multimedia The camera is one big reason why this phone is an Editors' Choice. Rather, a few important tricks most notably, the excellent live HDR sit on the camera app's main screen, and there are a half-dozen, rather than 30, modes to choose from.
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The camera takes about four seconds to launch, but after that, shots are pretty much instantaneous. In bright conditions, the S5 did the best of the three, especially with HDR turned on. It was followed by the iPhone, and then the HTC which struggled with washed-out images. The S5's flash also worked very well. For flashless photos in the dark, the HTC did the best of the bunch. The S5 doesn't have the manual modes that the HTC One does, but its automatic modes are very, very good. On my trip to Seoul with this phone, I ended up just ditching my Galaxy Camera and taking all outdoor shots with the phone in HDR mode.
They came out looking great. The 2-megapixel front camera is also a solid performer. Not only do you have live HDR video and picture-in-picture dual camera recording, the S5 can maintain resolutions up to 4K and frame rates at 30 fps in all lighting conditions, and there are options for 8x slo-mo and 60fps, p recording as well. Multimedia playback won't disappoint, but it doesn't quite match up to the HTC's level; those big Boomsound speakers and overpowered headphone amp play in a league that the GS5 decided not to enter.
Music on the GS5 is treblier and more midrange-focused than on the HTC, which really bumps up the bass. Conclusions The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the fastest, most functional smartphone available today. It has the best screen, the best Wi-Fi performance, and the best camera for an Android phone outpaced only by the Nokia PureView camera.
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Samsung dialed back its software excesses to produce a lively phone that's more fun to use than the previous model. Samsung still doesn't quite get how Americans perceive style, though.
Over and over again, executives told me how "warm" the phone's materials are and how they follow fashion trends or emulate luxury items. But ultimately, Samsung's plastic-metal and plastic-leather are still fakery, and it shows.
Nokia and LG embrace plastic more honestly, with better design results. The Galaxy S5 triumphs on function, although its style falls a little short; the HTC One is downright gorgeous, but you make some serious compromises with its camera. Both exemplify the current state of the art. He's the head of our Fastest Mobile Networks project, hosts our One Cool Thing daily Web show, and writes opinions on tech and society. Segan is also a multiple award-winning travel writer. Other than See Full Bio.
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