Thursday 23 October 2014

Some hi-tech additions but bigger is still better

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:30

Samsung Galaxy S5

Price:€700 Rating: HHHH

I'M a particular fan of Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, a phone with a large 5.7-inch screen and oodles of features. So the tech giant's new 5.1-inch Galaxy S5 is, from the off, a hard sell for the likes of me. To sweeten the deal over the Note and the (almost identical-looking) Galaxy S4, Samsung has added a few technical and lifestyle features that it hopes might catch the public imagination.

First, the S5 has a security fingerprint scanner (on the home button) that acts as a replacement for a security pin check. (It can also facilitate Paypal account payments.) Second, it has a pulse monitor on the back of the phone that can measure your heart rate. Both of these features work, though I do wonder about their appeal: time will tell on this.

On the technical end, the S5 has a marginally better 16-megapixel camera and (what it claims is) faster connectivity to 4G networks. Under the hood, the S5's power comes courtesy of a quad-core 2.5Ghz chip and 2GB of RAM supporting Android 4.4. There's a choice of 16GB or 32GB of storage, while the large 2,800mAh battery promises to comfortably see a user through until the end of a day.

Aesthetically, the phone is very, very similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S4, with the exception of a more tactile back cover (which strongly resembles the Note 3). Although Samsung has added four colours, the device has not been significantly altered in look and feel.

I'm not sure whether this is a good or bad thing: there's nothing wrong with the look of the S4, but when a 'new' phone looks overwhelmingly like the old model, there's a niggling sense of being deprived of a 'show-off' factor.

Will this phone prove popular? Yes: it's a decent handset with familiar features backed up by Samsung's marketing juggernaut.

But I'm not sure whether it can dislodge a bigger phone for a fellow like me.

(For longer review and video, see Independent.ie.)

Irish Independent

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