Samsung cannot be ignored, and the importance of the Galaxy S5 cannot be overlooked. New bearer of the crown of “best-known Android smartphone” it’s a chance not only for Samsung to make more money, but to demonstrate what cleverness it can bake into a flagship device. Samsung’s approach to innovation has been more scatter-brained than focused, however, and with each generation of Galaxy there’s been equally as many needless bells & whistles as there have been legitimately useful additions. The Galaxy S5, Samsung insists, has been built with deliberation, but has the company spent its time on the right enhancements?
I hardly think so.
The Samsung style isn't remarkable: the Galaxy S5, without the Galaxy S4 alongside, is easy to overlook what physical changes have been made. The blunter corners and the slightly broader top and bottom bezels, which add up to a handset that, at around 3mm wider, 5mm longer, and a fraction of a mm thicker, has grown in all directions.
Controversial from the announcement is the finish, with Samsung eschewing the glossy back of the S4 in favor of a dimpled, matte-finish plastic. In its favor is the fact that it’s easier to grip and less readily covered in greasy smudges and fingerprints; to its detriment is the fact that it lacks the premium feel of the HTC One M8 and the iPhone 5s.
The dimpled finish that has led to Band-Aid comparisons by some is practical but hardly artful, and we’re unconvinced by Samsung’s faux-leather conceit that was similarly cheesy on the Note 3 and the company’s recenttablets. True, it’s effectiveness is quite color-dependent, but having been impressed by the hand-feel of the Galaxy S4 Active, we’d hoped the Galaxy S5 might feel the same. It was clearly not to be.
The dimpled finish that has led to Band-Aid comparisons by some is practical but hardly artful, and we’re unconvinced by Samsung’s faux-leather conceit that was similarly cheesy on the Note 3 and the company’s recenttablets. True,...