BBC News

Samsung Galaxy S5: First impressions

By Joe Miller
BBC News

media captionThe BBC's Mark Gregory gets hands-on with Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5.

After a prolonged introduction from the Barcelona Opera House's chamber orchestra, Samsung launched its latest smartphone, the S5, to a packed crowd at the Mobile World Congress.

The company said it had "decided to go back to basics" with its latest device, and indeed, there were few surprises.

Standout features include a water-resistant casing, improved camera and a heart monitor.

Following in Apple's footsteps, fingerprint technology was also introduced, which can be used to secure the device and make Paypal payments with one touch.

Samsung vice president Jean-Daniel Ayme was keen to show off the S5's power saving mode, which he claimed would extend battery life for up to 24 hours by changing the display to black and white, and limiting the device to phone calls and text messages.

Here is a round-up of what the press and consumers made of the S5:

Technology press

Devindra Hardawar, VentureBeat:

image copyrightVentureBeat

"At this point, it's hard to be surprised by Samsung's Galaxy S releases. The new Galaxy is faster, sports a bigger screen, and is slightly lighter than last year's model - but you could also rinse and repeat that statement for the past few Galaxy releases.

"The big difference with the S5 is its 16-megapixel camera, which Samsung claims is much faster than the S4′s shooter. The camera can take 4K video, and it supports real-time HDR, as well as HDR within videos."

image copyrightSlashGEAR

"All in all, it's a solid update from the Galaxy S4.

"It may not be the first device with a fingerprint scanner, but we still won't argue with the convenience it adds, and the improvement in build quality is welcome; we'll hold our judgement on the 16-megapixel camera until we can see the results from final hardware and software."

image copyrightOther

"The heart rate monitor might be a bit of a gimmick and even the fingerprint sensor could be considered that - but they're good to have as extras and to add greater potential future software development options."

image copyrightTechRadar

"If you're looking for a phone that reinvents the smartphone again, in the same way the Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Desire or iPhone 4 managed, you're going to be rather disappointed with what's on offer from South Korea.

"What Samsung has produced is a phone that's devoid of any standout feature, an incremental update that's played it safe in order to make the the whole greater than the sum of the parts."

image copyrightEngadget

"Perhaps the biggest surprise of all, however, was that Samsung didn't overload its prized new smartphone with a heaping dose of new S-branded features.

"This is a marked departure from the company's previous strategy of cramming in every software feature under the sun, which leads us to wonder if this is related to Samsung's recent agreement to dial back the customization it does on Android devices."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSamsung's boss, JK Shin, presents the Galaxy S5

@DizNas on Twitter: "Water resistant. Best feature so far. #Unpacked5 #GalaxyS5"

Avg_Reddit_User on Reddit: "Meh all around, even if you have an S3, I would hesitate to upgrade"

@shawnmullaly on Twitter: "Wow, new Samsung Galaxy S5 can last 24 hours on Ultra Low Power Mode (Phone/text only, black and white screen) when only 10% battery left."

notsurewhatiam on Reddit: I'm a fitness-centric guy. I'm looking forward for this phone"

@hillbrad on Twitter: "Samsung Galaxy S 5 will allow fingerprint-enabled payments through PayPal. Hmm."

Related Topics

  • Mobile phones
  • Samsung