The Galaxy S5 is here.
Our main takeaway from our brief time with the Galaxy S5 so far is that Samsung is has been listening to customers and critics alike, and has finally gotten around to addressing many of our gripes with its build quality, software and UI. It’s still a plastic phone, and a plastic phone running TouchWiz at that, but the GS5 represents a clear improvement for Samsung in a bunch of important areas. The new Samsung UI strikes us as something we might enjoy using, rather than software that’s just there. And the soft-touch back feels infinitely nicer in the hand than the glossy, slimy plastic of old.
It still baffles me how Sony, HTC, and even the Chinese manufacturers can make such beautiful, elegant, and well-built Android phones, and then people go out and buy Samsung Galaxy phones. They’re so… Eh.
Personally, I quite like the look of Samsung phones. I didn’t think much of them first, but they grew on me, probably not because of their own merits, but just because I see them all the time. Familiarity often improves your opinions of things.
Reliability is an issue too. I trust Samsung’s brand at least as much as any other smartphone maker. HTC has a bit of a reputation for poor quality control and I’d say Sony handled the rise of smartphones poorly with some shoddy products (as SonyEricsson).
Samsung’s infnity of SKUs can also help since any niche feature you may want is likely offered by Samsung.
I’d say some of the complaints about the Galaxy line are things that don’t matter nearly as much (or at all) to the general public as they do to journalists and bloggers. Aluminum? Who cares, rubber cases feel much worse than any Samsung phone, plus you quickly get used to the feeling of the phone and no longer think about, unless your a review with a different phone every few weeks.
Touchwiz isn’t so terrible really – I have a Samsung tablet and I’ve never had any problems with lag. Seems to work just as well as my iPad or Moto phone. I like the toggles in notification shade which, last I checked, are not in Android as distributed by Google. It has some features I don’t use, but it doesn’t bother me that they’re there (does anyone really use Siri?) I’ll grant, the uninstallable TripAdvisor app is fairly obnoxious – how often does Samsung think I’m going on vacation? I like that Samsung apps don’t try to badger me into using G+. I don’t care if the back is button is on the right.