We’ve seen the onslaught of commercials: it’s waterproof, more fun than Apple, and just jam-packed with features. All true.
The screen is a 5.1 1080p HD AMOLED display that’s a smidge larger than the S4 (0.1-inch larger). The image quality is crisp and colorful with the high contrast that puts a lot of Android phones out there to shame. The display comes with several sensors that adjust the screen to different lighting scenarios, too.
Some of the oddball features include an IR-blaster, which makes this phone work with any TV, especially Samsung TVs. The plug is a USB 3.0, which made me feel lost because I would have preferred the USB C-type port, which allows the reversible USB C-type cables. It does support even faster charging if you have the cable and it’s backwards compatible with existing Micro-USB B cables. This phone is the only one that’s waterproof and has met the IP67 standard for water and dust resistance. When properly sealed, it can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes at a time.
The Galaxy S5 also comes with a finger print sensor for unlocking, but it can only store three finger profiles versus five for the iPhone 5S. There are also accuracy issues with the sensor.
The Galaxy S5 also comes with a heart-rate monitor, so you can check your heart-rate when you’re involved in some kind of excessively physical activity like jogging or Pilates.
Software improvements include Toolbox, which is a shortcut launcher to run apps you commonly use. There’s an Ultra Power-saving mode, which is awesome on long road trips or flights where you often forget to carry an extra battery. The phone turns into gray scale, lowers the brightness, and shuts down apps that eat up battery power. This makes your 10% battery life run for another 24 hours, according to Samsung.
Download-booster makes you download files faster by using both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connections for the files. This is nifty because I hate when my Wi-Fi slowed gets slowed down by someone downloading or streaming something online and forcing me to switch to LTE and start all over.
S-Health is Samsung’s answer to the iPhone’s armada of health apps. It has a pedometer, an exercise scorecard, and a nutrition monitor. While it’s functional, it isn’t as sophisticated as other available software.
The Galaxy S5 is still a good phone to own. But I would wait until towards fall, when phone carriers normally have winter specials, such as a BOGO bundle. The first phone costs about $99, and the second one is free, or both are free with a contract. This is a great deal if you’re on a budget and are shopping for family during the holiday season.
Prices will also come down with the rumored Premium S5 and the new iPhone coming out soon. The Galaxy S5 may be a bit less magical, but it’s still an affordable and reliable phone worth purchasing for the discriminating and average consumer.
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