So, I bought a Samsung Galaxy S5. I didn’t intend to buy it, but I saw it in the store yesterday and a couple of things lured me in. I’m also becoming a bit bored with my Nexus 5, which didn’t help.

I’m not sure whether I’ll keep the S5 or if it will become eBay fodder, but I’m giving it a go at any rate.

Update (Sunday, 6.45pm): Added some sample photos and videos. Click here to scroll down!


That screen. I think the Galaxy S5’s Super AMOLED screen is one of the most gorgeous mobile displays I’ve ever laid eyes on. Colours are vibrant and punchy, text is plenty sharp.

The screen shone especially brightly in my dimly-lit room last night.

Whites still look a bit bluey-green, which is something we also noticed in last year’s Galaxy S4 but you really have to compare it side by side with an LCD display to notice.

Outdoor visibility seems better than I remember for an AMOLED display, and off-axis viewing is as good as it gets to my eyes.


The short version: I quite like it. Yes, it’s not metal, but that’s not a problem for me.

The design overall feels a little understated, but then I have the “shimmering white” phone – yes, I didn’t go for the so-called “glam” colours (“electric blue” or “copper gold”). The back is definitely nicer than the glossy finish of the previous two Galaxy S phones. It’s not as grippy as the rear of the orginal Nexus 7 (to which it seems this is most often compared), but it looks just like it.

The chromed rim of the device looks a little cheap, but not awful. I do already miss the grippy sides of my black Nexus 5, though this is probably something easily fixed with a case

I used the Galaxy S5 in the rain today and wasn’t concerned at all that it got wet – Samsung gets a big thumbs up for this!


The camera is is the second reason for my purchase. I’m super keen to try out the fast shutter, live HDR preview, HDR Video, slow motion and 4K video. On features and specs alone, the Galaxy S5’s camera is a tempting proposition.

Even in a quick test last night, I found the live HDR preview was a nice touch. Consider the examples below, one with HDR preview and one without. It’s great to be able to see what you’re shooting!

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take any snaps yesterday, but we’ll add some samples to this post.


TouchWiz is TouchWiz. It’s not my favourite interface but it’s cleaner than it’s previous incarnations. It’s designed to showcase a high contrast display, and does that well.

Some of the same old problems are there: the Gallery app in particular is laggy – sorry, it just is. The dock still isn’t editable. Yes, you can install another launcher, and I will, but not everyone knows you can do that and shouldn’t have to.

There’s plenty of features and options packed into the Galaxy S5, and I’m thankful that a lot of the gimmicky ones like smart pause, smart stay, etc are turned off by default.

Of concern however is the amount of RAM free in general use. A quick look in the apps settings revealed that 400MB of RAM out of 1.8GB was available. For comparison, my Nexus 5 usually runs with at least 1.2GB RAM free. The Galaxy S5’s software is using triple the resources consumed by the Google flagship.


My general feeling is that the Galaxy S5 is powering along nicely with a minimum of fuss. It’s only the first day but so far it’s been pretty good. Navigating the UI is not quite as slick as a Nexus 5, but it’s not far behind.

Other rough areas include some occastional stutter while browsing in Chrome or viewing pictures in the Gallery, but those seem more like software issues than a cause for concern over the hardware’s capability.

What’s Next?

I’m not sure, but my Nexus 5 is looking on nervously in the background.

Editor’s note: Ausdroid’s Galaxy S5 review unit didn’t arrive before the retail launch. We’re grateful to Geoff for taking the plunge and offering us his initial thoughts on his new purchase, and we’ll have a full review as soon as we can.

Camera Samples

Having had a bit of time to play with the camera, I’m pretty impressed.

I took the Galaxy S5 out for a spin at Highpoint today. Here’s a few samples:

And some other samples I’ve shot over the weekend:

In good light, I have little doubt that it could easily replace an inexpensive point and shoot camera. The images it produces have lovely detail and good exposure.

Selective focus mode allows you to choose between near, far or “pan” focus (“pan” seemingly being an amalgamation of both near and far) in post. It’s quite effective:

In low light, the story isn’t as good. Here’s a couple of photos of Glory, my cat, from last night. On the left, the Galaxy S5 and on the right, the Nexus 5:

The Nexus 5 image is colour correct and well-focused, considering the lighting. The Galaxy S5’s picture is too yellow, a bit soft and a little blocky. I find the Nexus 5, with its larger 1.4µ pixels and Optical Image Stabilisation, allows for a longer exposure without movement – I think it’ll always have the upper hand in low-light conditions.

Something the 16MP camera does handle well is shooting 4K video. At this resolution, the video bitrate is 46Mbps!

It also lets you play with slow motion video – you can shoot 120fps at a 720p resolution. Here’s Glory again:

Did you buy a Galaxy S5 yesterday? Give us your first impressions in the comments!

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