2: Design & HardwareNext
Samsung Galaxy S5 camera review
Lars Rehm | Published: Jul 9, 2014 at 19:49 UTC83
In terms of hardware the Samsung Galaxy S5 offers some of the best you can find in a 2014 flagship smartphone. The device is powered by one of Qualcomm's currently most powerful SoCs, a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon S801 quad-core unit. The S5 offers 2GB of RAM and users can pick between versions with 16 or 32 GB of storage. If you need more space for your images there is a microSD card slot, too.
The Android 4.4.2 OS is controlled via a 5.1-inch 1080p Super AMOLED touchscreen that offers very good viewing angles and brightness. Compared to the predecessor the screen has grown slightly but comes at the same 1080p resolution. A couple of recent high-end devices, the Oppo Find 7 and LG G3, haven overtaken their Samsung rival in this respect by offering qHD screens with the staggering resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. Also worth mentioning are the fingerprint sensor and microUSB 3.0 port.
The Galaxy S5 does not disappoint in terms of camera hardware either. The 1/2.6-inch CMOS BSI sensor has not quite the same dimensions as the 1/2.3-inch sensors in most consumer level compact cameras or Sony's Xperia Z1 and Z2 but is larger than the tiny 1/3-inch sensors used in most smartphones including the S5's predecessors. At F2.2 the maximum aperture remains unchanged though and the new model still does not come with an optical image stabilization system. In terms of AF Samsung uses a new approach (at least among smartphone makers) by adding phase detection sensors to the usual contrast detect system.
With its rounded corners, metal band around the edges and the faux-leather back, the S5 looks pretty much like a smaller version of the Galaxy Note III phablet and as such a little bland. The S5 does not have the minimalist look nor the premium feel of metal and glass dominated devices, such as the HTC One M8 or Sony's Xperia Z models but still gives you the impression of being a solid device. It's also water- and dust resistant with an IP67 rating, which allows you to take photos in the rain or on the beach without having to worry about your expensive device.
Like most current high-end Android phones the S5 is quite large and if you have smaller hands probably too large for one-handed operation. Nevertheless when using the device as a camera and holding it with two hands it feels natural and thanks to their positioning there is very little danger of obscuring lens or flash with a finger.
The S5 is one of the few Android phones that still offers a physical home button. We prefer the on-screen versions of the competition but this is arguably a matter of personal taste. Additionally you get the power button on the right and volume rockers on the left side of the device but no dedicated two-way shutter button.