Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 8th Apr 2014 12:02 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

AnandTech's usual in-depth review.

Overall the Galaxy S 5 is a solid replacement to the GS4 (and definitely to any previous Samsung device). I find that pretty much all the flagships offer some set of tradeoffs that prevent any one from being the perfect device (iPhone's screen size, GS5's materials, M8's camera). It's unfortunate because I'd really like to crown a single device the king of them all, but instead we're faced with a handful of differing optimization points. Samsung got it almost perfect with the GS5. With a metal body, a rear facing camera with larger pixels (perhaps with some tweaks to camera output processing), a better NAND controller, and stereo front facing speakers, the GS5 would probably be perfect.

As much as I dislike Samsung - they simply have no taste - the fact of the matter is that reviews of their flagships are virtually always positive, and users have clearly voted with their wallets. Apparently I belong to a minority.

Order by: Score:
You're not alone.
by benmhall on Tue 8th Apr 2014 12:42 UTC
benmhall
Member since:
2006-03-08

Thom, I am also part of this minority. The only Samsung products I've ever liked or recommended are their internal SSDs. (Which have been uniformly excellent so far.)

I am utterly shocked at how popular Samsung phones are. Especially with nice high-end alternatives from Sony, and great low-end options like Motorola's Moto G. Go figure.

Reply Score: 2

RE: You're not alone.
by judgen on Tue 8th Apr 2014 13:11 UTC in reply to "You're not alone."
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

I do not get it, it is just a phone. Smart or not smart does not matter to me as long as it got great reception and battery life. If i got to choose between a "smartphone" or a tiny phone with those features, even if it lacked a screen i think i would without hesitation i would take the tiny one without screen. I think JLG said it best (free translation from french when they ontroduced the macintosh portable) "I believe in items that does few things very well instead of a swiss army knife approach, doing everything but doing it poorly in comparison"

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: You're not alone.
by grahamtriggs on Tue 8th Apr 2014 13:16 UTC in reply to "RE: You're not alone."
grahamtriggs Member since:
2009-05-27

Phone calls are the least important aspect of a phone for me.

Good *data* reception, Maps, web browser, email / text communication and music / podcast player - and battery life - are my main requirements.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: You're not alone.
by pandronic on Tue 8th Apr 2014 13:23 UTC in reply to "RE: You're not alone."
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Then you only need a phone and not a smart device that can also make calls. I think some people get too hung up on the "phone" part of the smartphone word.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: You're not alone.
by Delgarde on Tue 8th Apr 2014 22:41 UTC in reply to "RE: You're not alone."
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

I do not get it, it is just a phone. Smart or not smart does not matter to me as long as it got great reception and battery life.


Then what you want is just a traditional phone - not a pocket computer. Because that's what a smartphone is - it's not a phone, it's a small computer that happens to include the ability to make phone calls.

Reply Score: 3

Peer pressure?
by AndyB on Tue 8th Apr 2014 13:22 UTC in reply to "You're not alone."
AndyB Member since:
2013-03-22

It's simple, the general public want to be the same as their peers!

I think it's safe to say that most of the buying public are not techy people, so they are easily glamoured by the plus points of each offering, which Samsung do have a lot of lately. People are also glamoured by the fact that because someone else has something, they want it too. This is how the iPhone became what it is and now it seems to be the turn of Samsung S3/S4/S5 phones.

Incidentaly, I consider myself as a techy person as I code interactive websites for a living, and I am just waiting for my S5 to arrive to replace the S3 i've had for almost 2 years, partly because I like large screens and mostly because I like the features offered. The only downsides I can find to the S3 are that it's slippy to hold without a rubber case, and it doesn't have a 4G option on the model I got, both of which are changed on the S5!

Reply Score: 2

RE: You're not alone.
by _cynic_ on Tue 8th Apr 2014 13:26 UTC in reply to "You're not alone."
_cynic_ Member since:
2012-04-18

Techies forget that are other factors. Like price, availability, marketing, sales channels...

Galaxy S series is everywhere and with a wide price range(varies a lot over time).
Moto G ticked all those marks and it is selling well (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/01/moto-g-boosts-mot...).

That said, I'd rather have a plastic phone than something with a lot of compromises like the HTC M8. I have +2 year old GNote1 and it is still going strong without case.

Reply Score: 4

RE: You're not alone.
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 8th Apr 2014 15:20 UTC in reply to "You're not alone."
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I understand Sony's terrible sales in the US. The first android phone was terrible the xperia X10. It ran Android 1.5 when everything else was shipping 2.1/2.2, it had terrible battery life, and a whole host of other problems. Sales people will not recommend them given that history of headaches it gave people.

Samsung is very popular due to ads, availability, reliability, and the fact that people really don't care about the design of their phone that much. The whole tech elite that demand great cameras or higher end materials, don't often understand that most people don't care. The pictures are good enough, and they'll just slap an outerbox around it anyway. Even those that do choose "good phones" do slap ugly as hell cases on them.

If Lenovo continues Motorola's path of cheap, good phones. I think they'll take off.

Reply Score: 3

I'm not a fan, but...
by grahamtriggs on Tue 8th Apr 2014 13:12 UTC
grahamtriggs
Member since:
2009-05-27

I have to say, I generally avoid Samsung products - virtually every single Samsung manufactured product I've owned has failed within 12 months. Phones, hard drives...

The one area that has been slightly more successful is TV / monitors. They've not been too bad on the whole - although like LG, the TV firmware is usually pretty ropy. In particular, I don't understand why a 1080p TV should have such difficulty in remembering to use Just Scan / 1:1 for 1080p content...

But I find it hard to say they have no taste. You always have to balance with manufacturing cost - and Samsung often do a pretty good job of designing something that's relatively nice and cost effective. If you compare that to the likes of Apple - sure, it looks nice. But it doesn't always function the way I want, and I'm usually paying for an awful lot of "taste" that I don't need or want.

Reply Score: 1

Defiantly count me as one.
by calden on Tue 8th Apr 2014 16:15 UTC
calden
Member since:
2012-02-02

I recently made the mistake of buying a Samsung Tab 3 10.1, it was on sale for 200 dollars. I thought why not, this has got to be the biggest piece of junk I have ever owned. Not only was the lag just unbearable do to the bloat that is TouchWiz, but you are only able to run a maximum of 2 apps at once comfortably because there is only 300MB of free RAM. Yep, the system takes up 700MB of RAM. Then there is the build quality, the screen scratches if you breath on it, the body is all ready starting to crack and it shuts off if you press the back to hard. Ugh, I hate that thing. Why did I do it, I swore I would never by another Samsung tablet again after the fiasco I had with the original Tab 8.9.

Edited 2014-04-08 16:16 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Defiantly count me as one.
by WorknMan on Tue 8th Apr 2014 20:22 UTC in reply to "Defiantly count me as one."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I recently made the mistake of buying a Samsung Tab 3 10.1, it was on sale for 200 dollars. I thought why not, this has got to be the biggest piece of junk I have ever owned.


You get what you pay for. At best, the Tab 3 is a mid-range tablet. I have a Note 10.1 2014 and a Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (used for different purposes), and they both kick ass. Don't expect to pay $200 for a 10" tablet and get anything above mediocre. I'm not saying it can't happen, but chances aren't good.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Defiantly count me as one.
by calden on Tue 8th Apr 2014 22:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Defiantly count me as one."
calden Member since:
2012-02-02

"I recently made the mistake of buying a Samsung Tab 3 10.1, it was on sale for 200 dollars. I thought why not, this has got to be the biggest piece of junk I have ever owned.


You get what you pay for. At best, the Tab 3 is a mid-range tablet. I have a Note 10.1 2014 and a Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (used for different purposes), and they both kick ass. Don't expect to pay $200 for a 10" tablet and get anything above mediocre. I'm not saying it can't happen, but chances aren't good.
"

Yes I realize that however when Samsung released the Tab 3 10.1 it was released at a price of $400.00, same price as your Tab Pro 8.4. So even though the priced had dropped to 200 I was at least expecting a half way decent tablet. I'm done with Samsung tablets and phones, the hardware for their Pro and Note line might be decent but the shell they stick it in just reeks cheapness. I spent a considerable amount of time with one when I returned the nightmare that was the Tab 3. I finally settled on the Lenovo ThinkPad 8, I don't care what people say about Windows 8, I absolutely love it on a tablet. It also has a feature that I really wanted in a new tablet, HDMI. I hate dongles, especially ones so poorly engineered as Samsung's.

Reply Score: 3

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I'm done with Samsung tablets and phones, the hardware for their Pro and Note line might be decent but the shell they stick it in just reeks cheapness.


The shells on the Pro line of their tablets are fine. The LAST thing I want is a tablet like the iPad, with its cold aluminum back.

Anyway, if you've decided to switch to Windows RT, I guess none of that matters ;) I might consider it once they have some decent apps.

Reply Score: 3

Plastic back?
by BenGildenstein on Tue 8th Apr 2014 17:04 UTC
BenGildenstein
Member since:
2013-09-20

The plastic back may be less-desirable to some, but for around $15 users can replace it with an all-metal back in a variety of styles -- as with prior Galaxy S smartphones. This is one of the benefits of having a user-replaceable cover.

Coupled with the all-glass gorgeous SAMOLED front, this is the best of both worlds, and can lead to a very nice looking device.

In any case, many users also cover their phones with cases to protect them. As such the back material is less important.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Plastic back?
by zima on Sat 12th Apr 2014 22:57 UTC in reply to "Plastic back? "
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

If only metal as a case material wasn't unpleasantly cold to the touch... that's where plastic beats it IMHO in a device designed for holding in your hands.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Anonymous Penguin
by Anonymous Penguin on Tue 8th Apr 2014 17:24 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have 3 Samsung Galaxy phones and one tablet. I am not happy 100% with any of them, but how often are you happy 100% with anything? I had an iPad, but it was not for me. It lacked the flexibility I have with my Galaxy Tab 3, which, at the end of the day, satisfies almost all my needs.

Reply Score: 3

Interesting?
by Windows Sucks on Tue 8th Apr 2014 17:43 UTC
Windows Sucks
Member since:
2005-11-10

Samsungs profits have been down the last two quarters so I am confused as to which wallets are doing the buying?

Something is not right or maybe all those fake numbers are catching up to them on the bottom line.

Reply Score: 0

Why Samsung ?
by Alexey Technologov on Tue 8th Apr 2014 17:55 UTC
Alexey Technologov
Member since:
2007-03-16

This is simple, Watson.

It is the Samsung Android difference !!!

I have written an article of Samsung Android vs Google Android in the past, and clearly Samsung wins everywhere, by a huge margin (like +50%).

Their biggest feature is multi-tasking. (Dual window mode)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KFzxBiq9Ro5UY0U_M0JBQ4Aj1dfcksEy...


Galaxy S5 is the best smartphone money can buy. (Along with Note 3).

-Technologov

Edited 2014-04-08 17:56 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Why Samsung ?
by jbauer on Wed 9th Apr 2014 08:20 UTC in reply to "Why Samsung ?"
jbauer Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, if you don't mind it being slow, bloated, ugly, and an almost total lack of updates, Samsung's Android is the way to go.

Reply Score: 3

Marketing
by tkeith on Tue 8th Apr 2014 18:55 UTC
tkeith
Member since:
2010-09-01

Thom, you are looking at in all wrong. Samsung is strong because of marketing. I'm not saying their product is bad, but good marketing and brand image can do wonders.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/03/14/samsung-lesson-of-...

Reply Score: 4

RE: Marketing
by WorknMan on Tue 8th Apr 2014 20:29 UTC in reply to "Marketing"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Thom, you are looking at in all wrong. Samsung is strong because of marketing.


It's a little more than that for some of us. I haven't decided on an S5 (haven't read reviews yet), but I decided to pass on the M8 for the following reasons:

- I've seen drop tests on Youtube for both the S5 and M8, and both of them can take being dropped from high distances and being ran over by an SUV, and they came out virtually unscathed, except for a broken camera lens on the S5. So I don't really see much of a practical benefit of metal. If anything, it's just a personal preference. Personally? I couldn't care less.

- Boomsound: Don't need, as I'll either use headphones or bluetooth. I'd rather have had a single speaker and had the phone not be quite so long

- The black HTC bezel: The phone is too long as it is

- Blinkfeed: Also not needed, I'm an RSS guy myself and don't play on social network a lot. Not a negative for me, but not a useful feature either.

- Mediocre camera

- The LED light can't flash more than one or two colors, making apps like Lightflow a no-go. This was actually the deal-breaker for me.

Edited 2014-04-08 20:30 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Marketing
by Delgarde on Tue 8th Apr 2014 22:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Marketing"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

- Boomsound: Don't need, as I'll either use headphones or bluetooth. I'd rather have had a single speaker and had the phone not be quite so long


It does puzzle me that some manufacturers make a big deal about the speakers on their phones.
I'm sure it makes the ringtone sound great - but if I'm actually listening to music on my phone, I'm either using headphones to avoid annoying everyone around me, or plugging it into a proper sound system.

Reply Score: 2

Competitor's Missteps
by Jbso on Tue 8th Apr 2014 20:08 UTC
Jbso
Member since:
2013-01-05

Samsung has plenty of advantages - supply chain, distribution chain, retail relationships, marketing budget - but their competitor's have also made a lot of missteps that I think tend to get glossed over. Sony makes great phones now, but I feel like they did a really poor job when the smartphone revolution started (didn't they go Windows Mobile exclusive for a while?) that tarnished their brand. HTC is darling for techies, but I think the have a reputation for shoddy quality control. Samsung, on the other hand, has excellent QC - people trust the brand. LG desperately wants to be Samsung; consumers might as well buy the real thing. Nokia's woes don't need to be rehashed. Not sure what went wrong with Motorola - missing the growing popularity of larger phones might have been part of it. I think they also focused too much on the US (and one carrier) where Apple was eating up all the market- and mindshare.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Competitor's Missteps
by Delgarde on Tue 8th Apr 2014 22:50 UTC in reply to "Competitor's Missteps"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Not sure what went wrong with Motorola - missing the growing popularity of larger phones might have been part of it. I think they also focused too much on the US (and one carrier) where Apple was eating up all the market- and mindshare.


Probably the latter. Motorola simply haven't had much presence outside the US for years... they don't advertise, they don't have models in stores, etc...

Reply Score: 4

RE: Competitor's Missteps
by grat on Wed 9th Apr 2014 16:37 UTC in reply to "Competitor's Missteps"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Motorola lost me as a customer after repeatedly promising Android updates that never arrived, and insisting that the bootloader being locked was a critical security feature that would result in the downfall of civilization if people found a way around it.

Reply Score: 2

Just an "IMO" post
by Flatredline on Wed 9th Apr 2014 05:25 UTC
Flatredline
Member since:
2014-03-27

Two of the things that I personally look for in a smartphone are a replaceable battery and SD card expandability. I also like a large screen, since I do web browsing and even remote desktop sessions from my phone. At the time I bought my phone (about a year ago) the Galaxy Note II fit quite nicely. The performance is more than acceptable, the camera takes decent pictures, the screen doesn't leave me squinting, my large hands don't fumble as much on the onscreen keyboard, and it is Sd expandable, so I can add space. Being able to replace the battery means that when the original wears out I can just drop a new one in, and I can also just carry an extra if I am away from civilization for a while and cannot charge it.

I do like the look of the HTC and would consider it if I were due for an upgrade from my provider, along with a few other models (Nexus, perhaps?) but the replaceable battery and SD expansion slot are key requirements for me; I do not personally care if it is an HTC or even one of the new Chinese manufacturers. Sometimes it is about function and not aesthetics.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Dr-ROX
by Dr-ROX on Wed 9th Apr 2014 07:38 UTC
Dr-ROX
Member since:
2006-01-03

OPPO Find 7 has been just released!

Reply Score: 1

Taste is a personal thing
by sicofante on Wed 9th Apr 2014 23:37 UTC
sicofante
Member since:
2009-07-08

First of all: Samsung has great design in many areas. They make the most beautiful TV on the market (the 8500 plasma series, which happens to be probably the best TV set out there -bar LG's OLED- as well). I'm not especially happy with their phone designs, but I would say that about every other manufacturer, including HTC for sure, and Apple too if you ask me (boring, outdated, form-over-function, etc.). The only design I like in phones is the N9 heritage in Nokia phones, but sadly I'm not going to use Windows Phone no matter what (here's hope their Android "experiment" goes much better than expected and makes inroads into their high end line). But even that is flawed from a function point of view. Because of the following:

Like other commenters, I think the reasons for Samsung phones are their fidelity to replaceable batteries and microSD cards. I will never buy a phone that doesn't offer BOTH. I'm not into consumerism and my phones last much more than their batteries. Data plans are very expensive almost everywhere and coverage is not that good when you travel, so local storage is MUCH more important than cloud based one.

For me AMOLED is yet another reason to go Samsung. It's the third condition I require from a phone, so that leaves me with pretty much only Samsung. Even if they can't use it properly (like the N9 did) _I CAN_ (thanks open source), but they also have achieved the best screen on the market with their S5, according to Display Mate. I'm only waiting for the mini version because the 5" sized crop of phones is beyond ridiculous to me. When it comes out I'll upgrade from my very solid and long lasting Nokia E52 (I have a second hand Galaxy SII but I use it only as a mini-tablet to read in bed and eventually as my Android testing platform).

So, Thom, no need to turn your personal taste into "journalism". Especially when your reference is HTC...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Taste is a personal thing
by ilustrul on Thu 10th Apr 2014 19:42 UTC in reply to "Taste is a personal thing"
ilustrul Member since:
2014-04-10

Haha. 100% agree with you. Sincerely, Thom is very anti-Samsung biased, so no surprises here.

I read many GS5 reviews. OK, the design is a little bland but, anything else, this phone is VERY GOOD. More shock-resistant, dust&water proof. The interface is improved, and the performance is top-notch. Why hate this phone with such a passion is beyond me.

No need to troll everything, just because is Samsung.
IMHO, HTC One M8 (which Tom seems to love) sucks in more areas than GS5 do (non-replaceable battery, poor camera, non-expendable memory).

As far as I am aware, Galaxy S5 "sucks" only in design department.. and this thing is pure subjective. I for one find the white version very nice looking.

Have a nice day!

Edited 2014-04-10 19:45 UTC

Reply Score: 1