Thinking out loud... or I should say deciding about my next phone out loud? Part 3

Here is the third phone that I was looking at. is still the most detailed review so here is my inspiration piece on Samsung's Galaxy S5.

It seems this is the most appropriate smartphone ever. It excels at everything that matters -- Android 4.4 KitKat OS, an excellent display; superfast quad-core processor; and an top quality camera experience. What’s not so good is the small upgrade from S4 and all that with the Galaxy S5 costing significantly more than rival top-rated handsets.

Let’s get into some details: it looks good, it performs very well, and it has everything you need to become a fixture in nearly every aspect of your life. But, like a candidate running for reelection, the GS5 gets where it is today based on experience and wisdom, not on flashy features or massive innovation.

The Samsung's Galaxy S5

The 5.1-inch, quad-core Android 4.4 KitKat machine with a terrific 16-megapixel camera is well worth snapping up. But like in this whole adventure of researching top smartphones, other fill the “gorgeous” and sophisticated looks position – like the HTC One M8. We’ll see this one in a future post. OR see the previous posts on LG G3 – another breathtaker. Even iPhone has given in to the competition on coming up with a larger display on the iPhone 6 Plus.Given that, should you buy the S5? If you want to go to sleep at night certain that you own the most capable, robust phone, yes.

Galaxy S5 is one mean speed machine. Its 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor is at the top of its game, which reflects in both real-world and diagnostic tests. Navigation feels smooth and fast. Apps opened without much delay, and content loaded quickly.

The phone’s battery is at 2,800mAh. Its reserves predictably dropped the more videos I streamed -- a lot -- but didn't drain much overnight when I left it, unplugged, as my alarm. It's always tough to tell battery-life needs when you're intensely testing a new phone, which requires constant use, even during times you may ordinarily lay your phone down. How much charge the phone holds also decreases over time, much to everyone's consternation.

CNET's video runtime test shows that Galaxy S5 clocked an impressive 15 hours, 18 minutes of video playback before shutting down.

The Galaxy S5 has 16GB internal storage, though it's also on sale for 32GB; both variations have 2GB RAM and expansion slots that take up to 128GB in external storage.

What is a little different is the USB housing on the bottom of the phone. Like the Galaxy Note 3, the S5 now features the elongated USB 3.0 port, which is backward-compatible with standard micro-USB cables. In other words, you can still charge the phone with legacy USB cables, but it'll really juice up quickly with the compound USB 3.0 cable Samsung supplies.

A cover that clips securely into place is one indication that the S5 has met IP67 standard for water- and dust-resistance. A rubberized gasket behind the back cover is another clue. Feedback about the waterproof Galaxy S4 Active prompted Samsung to send the Galaxy S5 down its waterproof path, which means that it can take a bath for up to 30 minutes at about 3 feet down. Navigation is one other alteration you should know about: the capacitive button to the left of the physical button no longer calls up the menu. Now, it manages multitasking. The target area is a little big if you ask me; I accidentally pressed it more times than I wanted, interrupting myself.

Only a few exception of a nonessential hardware and software additions -- like the fingerprint scanner and novel heart-rate monitor -- and a few design tweaks, you're pretty much looking at the same phone Samsung released in 2013. The S5 is more of a Galaxy S4 Plus than it is a next-generation device by transforming almost everything to a smoother and faster operation.

Since the Galaxy S5 already folds in the Galaxy S4's gestures and capabilities and then builds on top of them, here are just some newer items.

If you're a fan of persistent shortcuts, you're going to love Toolbox, which you can toggle on in the notifications pull-down or through Settings. It's a floating circle that expands to reveal five shortcuts for apps like the camera and calculator. Everything's customizable, and you can move the circle if it gets in your way.

Ultra power-saving mode is for those of us who forget the charger when on a weekend trip. A quick press of a button turns off most connections and transforms your phone from technicolor to grayscale. Limiting color, apps, and activities boosts your phone's run time immensely; we're talking days, depending on how much charge you have left. Samsung says that with 10 percent battery left, you'll be able to make it another 24 hours before charging, a claim that remains to be tested...

Another new software tidbit, download booster, joins together your Wi-Fi and carrier data connections to give you faster download speeds. Watch out for extra charges...

One that will be visible and which Samsung hopes you incorporate into your daily routine, in the updated S Health app and widgets, to try to draw fitness-interest folks of all levels. A pedometer and exercise scorecard meets a built-in nutrition monitor and all-new heart-rate tracker (more on this below). The app looks more polished than before, and the home screen widget (which you can remove, of course) keeps an ongoing tally of your steps.

On the camera, Samsung has bumped up the S5's camera megapixel count from 13 to 16. Images taken on automatic mode are characteristically colorful and clear, especially those taken in ample natural light. Samsung's new, co-processing power and Isocell sensor together make the camera quicker, low light images clearer, and some of the neat tricks you'll read about possible.

Low light has been a weak point for Samsung in the past, and the Galaxy S5 seems to have indeed improved photos taken without a flash in dim environments. They weren't quite as blurry, grainy, or dark as you'd get on the Galaxy S4.

Video captured in the phone's default 1080p HD resolution is equally beautiful and smooth. Colors pop. Video of my favorite testing subject, a BMX-style trick rider practicing outside of San Francisco's Ferry Building, faithfully reproduced his movements and the scene -- and that's the crux of what you need from smartphone video. However, if you duck into the settings, you can also turn on UHD video, or ultra-HD, which is also known as 4K video.


This is a premium phone. Absolutely. Fast, good looking, great everyday use. Small improvements over the S4, but plenty of features to keep you busy. Great camera and good battery life. If you are a fan of metal case phones, stay away from it. If that is not an issue, then it might be the right choice. If you are water exposed often, then… even more, this might be the one for you.

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