Samsung Galaxy S5 Review

Review posted 08/15/2014

Quick Take
  • Auto shooting mode is accurate and easy in most situations
  • Video capture is just one touch of the LCD away
  • Waterproof features save your phone from accidents
  • Excellent outdoor image quality
  • Outstanding in-camera effects and editing suite
  • Full 1080p, 5.1-inch Touch LCD is bright and full of detail
  • Excellent burst shooting performance
  • Ability to capture great 4K and 1080p HD videos
  • Cell phone features allow you to share your images from anywhere
  • Good Battery Life
  • Competitively priced
  • Available at most major carriers
  • Slightly slow AF
  • Weak Flash
  • Poor low-light results (which are typical with most smartphones)
  • No optical IS
  • No optical zoom
  • No HDMI output for HD movies on an HDTV
  • High noise levels at mid to high ISO levels
Bottom Line
The Galaxy S5 is Samsung's flagship smartphone for a reason. It includes all of Samsung's greatest features, including a 16-Megapixel camera, Full 1080p Touch LCD screen, and quad-core processor. The 16-Megapixel camera is one of the best that we have seen on a smartphone and will do well for you in well-lit situations. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the company's newest flagship smartphone for 2014. Evolved from the Galaxy S4, the S5 features improved dust and water resistance, an updated operating system, new security features, slightly larger display and a better camera.

The rear facing (primary) camera boasts a 16-megapixel CMOS image sensor capable of capturing UHD (4K) video. Autofocus has improved this year with the addition of the ultra-quick Phase Detection. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is available on video recording as well as stills, where the new Rich Tone system improves contrast. Selective Focus allows the S5 to replicate the shallow depth-of-field of a DSLR camera.

The Galaxy S5 also includes a Finger Scanner, for security purposes, and a Heart Rate sensor as a part of the phone's Fitness Tracking software.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Features
  • Android 4.4.2 Kitkat
  • 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED Display
    • 1920x1080px
    • 432 ppi
  • 2.5GHz Quad Core Processor
  • 16GB-32GB internal storage + microSD slot (up to 128GB)
  • 2GB RAM
  • IP67 Dust & Water Resistance Certification
  • Rear Camera
    • 16-megapixel CMOS image sensor
    • Flash
    • UHD (4K) Video Recording (@ 30fps)
      • HDR
      • Video Stabilization
    • Improved Autofocus (with Phase Detection)
    • Selective Focus
    • Virtual Tour Shot
    • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Rich Tone
    • Panorama
  • 2.0 MP Front Camera w Full HD 1080p video recording
  • Heart Rate Sensor
  • S Health Personal Fitness Tracker
  • Finger Scanner
  • Kids Mode
  • Download Booster (LTE + WiFi)
  • 4G LTE, 3G, 2G
  • Google Mobile Services
  • Ultra Power Saving Mode
  • Wi-Fi
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • USB 3.0
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 3.5mm stereo audio jack

Samsung's Galaxy S5 is availabe in black, blue, or white. Unlocked versions with 16GB will run you $699.99, while signing up for a two-year contract with cellphone carriers like AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon will drop the upfront cash requirement to $189.99 or less. See our best price box at the top right of this page to see what some online retailers are charging.

What's in the box?:
  • Galaxy S5 smartphone
  • USB 3.0 cord
  • Charging adapter
  • Headphones
  • Instruction book

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.