Tag Archives: Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 – 17 Part review

Below are all the review posts covering the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Part 1 – First Impressions – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/samsung-galaxy-s5-first-impressions/

Part 2 – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/samsung-galaxy-s5-day-2/

Part 3 – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/samsung-note-3-day-3/

Part 4 – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/samsung-galaxy-s5-day-4/

Part 5 – Godzilla Mode – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/godzilla-mode-on-the-samsung-galaxy-s5/

Part 6 – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/samsung-galaxy-s5-updated-views/

Part 7 – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/my-favourite-samsung-galaxy-s5-photo/

Part 8 – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/hidden-gems-with-the-samsung-galaxy-s5-info/

Part 9 – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/samsung-galaxy-s5-battery-life-feedback/

Part 10 – Dropbox and S5 Problem – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/a-huge-con-free-50gb-dropbox-bonus-space-on-samsung-galaxy-s5-no-chance/

Part 11 – HTC One M8 vs S5 camera – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/htc-one-m8-or-samsung-galaxy-s5-which-has-the-most-popular-camera/

Part 12 – S5 Official Wireless Charging accessories review – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/samsung-galaxy-s5-wireless-official-charging-cover-review-with-samsung-charging-pad/

Part 13 – S5 Free Gifts issues – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/samsung-galaxy-s5-free-gifts-issues-latest-update/

Part 14 – Camera lag solutions – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/samsung-galaxy-s5-camera-lag-and-tips-for-a-fast-response/

Part 15 – Wireless charging update – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/samsung-galaxy-s5-and-wireless-charging/

Part 16 – One month later review with new firmware – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/samsung-galaxy-s5-review-update-one-month-later/

Part 17 – S5 Takes on ICE Bucket Challenge – https://gavinsgadgets.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/samsung-galaxy-s5-takes-on-the-ice-bucket-challenge-lol/


Samsung Galaxy S5 takes on the Ice Bucket Challenge – LOL

I really thought this was a wind up, but the S5 takes on the Ice Bucket Challenge and nominates several other smartphones. I just wonder why the S5 didn’t nominate the Sony Xperia Z2 😉

And whilst Samsung has semi hijacked the ice challenge, Samsung UK has made a donation to the Charity for ALS based in the UK. This has now helped gather some momentum for the UK Charity.

Samsung Galaxy S5 – first month update – with new firmware update

So it’s been exactly one month with the S5.


So what has the first month been like? Is the S5 a laggy nightmare? Do you need an alternative launcher to make it nippy to use?


Firstly, I decided to use Touchwiz instead of Apex or Nova Launcher. I tried both but I missed some of the extra neat touches that Touchwiz provide from “My Magazine” , “Ok Google” voice activation from home screen without touching widget and other touchwiz widgets eg S Planner Month view which is on my last home screen.


I also like the weather widget which now has transparency control. Also the variable coloured folders.

So what about lag. My initial posts mentioned lag. I now have none. No lag ever. In fact I have a fast supercharged S5, and I could make it faster. No lag when launching the camera either. How? First turn off S Voice launching as a double tap on the home button. Google Voice is active without touch so there really is no need for S Voice. Next. Lock screen. By default Samsung have many options active on the lock screen. Turn off the weather and pedometer. The difference is remarkable. Now if you want your S5 even faster you can activate developer mode, and turn off animations or reduce them. I haven’t as the speed is fast enough. Amazing what a firmware update can do to improve matters. Let’s hope it stays this good over time.

Battery. Check location services are using power saving mode and GEO news is not active. These 2 options hurt the battery. Otherwise, I don’t use any power saving options until I get to 3% or less. I easily get a full day or day and a half from the S5.

Bloatware or value added. I would say most of the S5 is value added. The S Health app is excellent. Samsung have also provided some additional software trials as long as a year in places. But you can manage just with S Health. If you don’t want to use any of the health options, just use the hide apps options. The point is the phone is designed for different people with different interests. You just select the suite of options you require. That’s value added.

Early adopters usually have software issues. The S5 is the first phone where I wasn’t waiting for an update to majorly fix or improve something. Everything is really well thought out. Simple things like plugging in your headphones and having a choice of 5 apps you might want to use with your headphones. The toolbox option is useful. But more importantly, everything just works which is a first for a phone just released.

Hardware. It’s plastic. Get over it. The HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z2 look better but I would want a case with them to stop them getting damaged or scratched. The S5 looks alright. I asked my wife for her opinion and she actually thought it look quite good especially the back. I am not using a case or screen protector. It’s lightweight and lighter than the competition. But more importantly if feels the best in the hand and the easiest to grip. In other words it’s a real world phone and great to use. It also has water and dust resistance built in like the Z2. And then there is the S5 screen. It’s brilliant and the best I’ve used ever. Whether in sun or at night the display adapts perfectly to the conditions.

Other extras. So apart from a full range of software services covering media, photos, business and tools, there is the hardware extras – finger print sensor, heart rate monitor and a 16mp camera. The Ultra Power Saving mode is a gem. One day I forget to charge the S5 overnight. I headed off at the start of the day with 40% battery. At 8.30pm I went out for the evening still forgetting to charge the S5. At 3% battery I activated it. And I still had 3% the next morning.

So is the S5 a good phone. Yes it is providing you spend the time learning it’s nuances and setting it up to your preferences. Now if you prefer hardware design then head over to the HTC or Sony options. There is plenty of choice. And if you don’t need all the fancy software and hardware just buy a Motorola G or X, or even a Nexus 5.

However, ask me how I “feel” about the S5 and my answer will be “disconnected” when using it.

Samsung Galaxy S5 and Wireless Charging – the cold hard facts

For me it’s an experience not worth the effort. And this is all due to Samsung cutting corners. So read on.

First up you need the official Samsung wireless back cover that replaces the one that comes with the phone. This includes the Qi technology and waterproofing seals. As a warning do not use the wireless cards that slide inside the non wireless Samsung back cover as you will not have an ip67 phone. And this has been tested. Just head over to YouTube and watch a S5 get ruined for life.

So I thought it would make sense to get a Samsung Wireless charging pad. The first one was faulty. The second one was fine but stopped charging at 100% which is the correct behaviour. Due to some wake locks that meant at 6am my battery level was at 85%. In any event, the S5 standby time is not as good as the competition.

So I thought I would try the Zens QI wireless charging pad. This stops charging at 100% and starts automatically at 95%. By accident I ordered the eu plug version, so that got returned for the UK plug version. This has arrived except it doesn’t work as advertised.

Basically it doesn’t turn off at 100% so the battery is being overworked and it seems to warm for my liking.

So, I think I’m going to resort back to opening that flap on the bottom and using a normal micro USB lead to charge the S5.

However, I thought I would ask Zens if they knew about any issues with the S5. They replied –

“Dear Gavin,

Thank you for your email and interest in ZENS. Sorry for the late reply. The new S5 was a good choice.

We designed our wireless charger with sustainability in mind. Most of our own products, but also for example the Nokia 820/920/1020 will shut down after the phones are fully charged.
The ZENS Single charger was there before the S5. We had no influence on the design of the S5, so you are correct that the LED will stay on after your S5 has been charged.
However like with a normal adapter it won’t harm your device. The designers of the S5 did not integrate software to stop charging after your S5 is 100% charged.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can be of further help.

Your sincerely



So there we have it. Samsung omitted the necessary extra circuitry and software and this explains why there new pad just stops charging instead of turning off and then coming back on again.

What should have been a great charging method is ruined.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Wireless Official Charging Cover – Review with Samsung Charging Pad- updated

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Above is my Samsung Galaxy S5 fitted with the official Samsung Wireless Cover and charging on the new Samsung Wireless Charging Pad.

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In the box you get a manual and the cover itself. Picture below is the Wireless Cover on left next to the standard cover on right. Shown both ways.
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Now lets have a closer look at the camera cut out on the Wireless Cover. Note the camera is now recessed slightly as well as the flash and heart rate monitor.
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So what are the differences between the Wireless and Standard Cover ?

Weight – The S5 with the Wireless Cover weighs 160g and with the default non wireless cover 142g.

Depth/Thickness – The Wireless cover is a few mm’s thicker. It actually makes the phone more comfy to hold as it has a better curve now on the rear.

Cases – none fit that I have at present with the Wireless Cover.

When the phone is placed on the pad, a message appears across the screen to say charging wirelessly. Overall I am impressed that I now have QI Wireless Charging on my S5. It also feels much better in the hand to hold.

Update – I’m having issues with the Samsung Charging Pad. It keeps flashing orange after a while so I will be returning this pad and another one I ordered as well. Once I get my refund on these I will try a Zens pad which is a brand I have used before with a Nexus phone. If that doesn’t work, then it’s the wireless cover that doesn’t work properly.

Update – I got a replacement Samsung Charging pad and it works just fine. No mad flashing orange light.

Samsung launches the Galaxy S5 in 16gb & 32gb – is 16gb enough?

Samsung announced the S5 would be available in 16gb and 32gb.  In some countries the 32gb has surfaced.  But not the UK and in fact it’s not available in most places.

This is due to Samsung and the networks choosing the cheaper 16gb model as there is a memory card slot.  And the less storage you have the more you need to stream and the more expensive your contact will need to be. Now if Samsung only made a 32gb with micro sd card support that would be ideal.

But can you manage with 16gb? Yes if you use a memory card and don’t play many large games.  And your phone is a Samsung and the developer builds in some support for memory cards.

Let’s have a look at my two week old S5.


Out of 16gb, 4gb was already used up by Samsung. By the time I installed all Samsung’s apps, extras and my apps and games I had a total of 118 apps of which 40 were games. I have a 64gb memory card installed.


Plenty of space left on the card but remember video recording will swallow that fast.

Now the S5 has a limited support for moving part of an app to the memory card if supported by the developer. 


Above you can see that NFS Most Wanted installed 2gb on the memory card leaving about 15mb for the app in main memory.  But not all games support this.  Ah but not so fast. Look again. The apps that have the right box ticked do have part installed on the micro sd card. Those that don’t have been still installed into the internal memory but under a section called sd card. Confusing.


AVP and Shadowgun only installed to main memory even when using the option shown below where you can force the app to use the memory card. 


Prince of Persia allowed me to move most of the app to the memory card but not all of it. New blockbuster games are busting above the 2gb mark and it’s time for phones to have 32gb as standard especially as most phones don’t support this move to memory card and Google doesn’t like it either.

In new versions of android the memory card is only meant for music and photos mainly,  not for installing apps and games.

However,  so far I have managed with some careful management.

Samsung Galaxy S5 – Battery Life feedback

I thought I would provide some feedback on the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S5. First test was normal usage, no power saving tricks used whatsoever, screen nice and bright too. I did plenty of podcast listening via wired headphones and or bluetooth music streaming.

Below are the results.
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Not too shabby. 15 hours usage and 4.5 hours screen on time. Also note that my S5 is a power user setup so has everything running in the background and tons of notifications. I was not at home when I hit 1%, so I switched to “ultra power saving mode”. Several hours later, I got home and still was at 1% battery.

So my next test was to use the normal “power saving mode”.
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As you can see the usage obtained was considerably longer. I gave up in the end at 5%. It would have gone about another hour. Whilst the screen on time seems lower there was a lot of streaming and tons of background tasks on the go.

So the next option is “ultimate power mode”. This turns the S5 into a near dumb phone and can last a huge amount of hours even on just one percent.

So if you have the S5 you shouldn’t run out of battery until you get home with all the different power saving modes .

Samsung Galaxy S5 – updated views

I have had the S5 for about a week now, and it has grown on me. The hardware is not as sexy as the HTC One M8, but it is easier to manage as it fits nicely in my hand. I do wish it was marginally slimmer, like the HTC One M8, but you cannot take away the fact it is comfy in the hand.

Unlocking by the fingerprint scanner is a pain in the a*se. So I have now switched it off. Even holding the S5 with 2 hands it was never consistent enough and often took several attempts. Apple really have nailed this particular process.

The complexity of the options actually make it a very good phone with all the settings and options you could wish for. Once you have set up what you want and how you want it to perform, you then can just go about your way enjoying the S5.

It does frustrate me though. The camera is like marmite. You either get blown away with the photos or left disappointed. Talking of camera, somehow the settings got changed from shooting at 16mp to 6mp, and I don’t recall changing them myself.

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The lockscreen has coloured dots for my pattern unlock, TV remote controls and camera shortcut. Rather nice homescreen.

Bluetooth Audio – I connected the S5 to my Sony SBH80 stereo headset. Great music clarity and bass. Good voice etc… no issues here.

Clearly the S5 is meant to appeal to everyone and in that regard it succeeds, but if you want something special there are plenty of other options and choices out there.

Samsung Galaxy S5 – Day 4

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So how has another 24 hours faired with the S5. Rather well actually. Above is a screenshot of my current setup using the default Touchwiz launcher.

I know many of you will rush when getting a new phone to put your favourite third party launcher eg Nova, Google Launcher and even replace the default keyboard with your favourite. We all do this to quickly get back to a comfort level and create a familiar arrangement on our phone. If you get the S5, one word, don’t change anything. Allocated a week, and breakdown over each day some time to play and learn each part of the phone. I tried to tackle everything in one day and it overwhelmed me with me cursing the bloatware and even cursing the camera. Nothing felt as easy as the HTC One M8, and it isn’t. And that is because it has the kitchen sink, which is not a bad thing if you take some time to explore what is available. My opinion of the S5 has changed enormously. I am beginning to like it a lot.

So lets talk about Touchwiz. It really has moved on since its last version. Now the icons are flatter, the settings have round icons and much more. If you look at the screenshot, you will see you can now colour the folders. This makes it faster to recognise the different folders. Also looks good too. Swiping from the main home screen on the left side edge to the right will reveal the My Magazine page. If you don’t like this you can switch it off in settings. The settings are HUGE. You will need a few hours to plough through them to start to appreciate what this S5 can do. I tried installing a different launcher but I removed it as I lost some of the Samsung widgets which are excellent like the monthly S Calendar widget. Also Touchwizz supports the hot word “ok google” to launch the Google Voice search hands free. The diversity of what the S5 can achieve is enough to give you a heart attack, but it is also incredible on the flip side.

Anyway, it was a hot sunny day last night. So I took a few more photos. Shot and More mode was used on the last two. Click on photos to enlarge.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 – Day 3

So here I am on day 3 of the S5. It will be last post reviewing the S5. Overall, I just don’t like it enough. Sometimes, you can forgive a few things, but my S5 journey is over. Or is it. (Spoiler. See end of article).

Let’s start with the positives –

– Grip and feel in the hand, finish. It’s not metal but it does not matter. It feels solid and durable, and fantastic to hold. It is IP67 so feels durable outdoors in the elements. The flap for charging was well designed. It pulls open with ease and rests along the charging cable to prevent damage. Also, you get the pop up message when you pull the micro usb cable out to warn you to shut the flap properly.

– audio quality via headphones. Very powerful and high quality. Really good actually. I tested it with a number of decent Sony and Sennheiser headphones.

– Loudspeaker – better than you think at a sound output of 83-84db. Also clear for podcasts. But with music it lacks bass and vibrates at full blast so you will need to lower volume a tad.

– software – you get offers for Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, loads of health and fitness apps, in app purchases for free with Cut the Rope 2 and lots more.
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The problem is they are only limited time durations offers or apps of the same kind. I mean how many health and fitness apps do we need that do the same functions, and why do we need them at all when Samsung have their own on board offering? But for some this will be ideal and the choice welcomed

– screen – brilliant, and good in all conditions.

– hardware extras – fingerprint scanner (with ability to pay via paypal, samsung app store and unlock phone), infra red blaster, usb3 connector, pedometer, gyro, barometer and heart rate monitor.

To be honest there is not much missing. So what don’t I like –

1) Laggy sometimes and some memory redraws

2) Camera is nowhere need how Samsung have promoted it. I struggled to get decent shots in good light. Pixels were smudged. Pets were a nightmare to capture. Lower light was hit and miss. Auto focus did not always work. Camera app was confusing.

3) Touchwiz felt cluttered, as did all the apps and repetition of apps that did the same task.

4) To have screen at a reasonable brightness hammered the battery. Also, I had times where I had the official Samsung charger plugged in but the battery was dropping faster than the phone could be charged. And Samsung did not include a USB3 lead for the connector. How to piss people off in one easy move! Using a USB2 lead now takes a lot more skill to make sure you have lined it up properly on the right hand side of the USB3 connector.

5) Polish – the overall package just felt lacking consistency and finesse.

6) Fingerprint scanner – what a complicated mess. Great for secure payments. But not natural for unlocking the phone, like the Apple Touch ID implementation.

So there you have it. Many will crave this phone and its new improvements over their S3 or S4’s. Others won’t. I shall be going back to the HTC One M8.

I wrote the above yesterday over lunch. And then I thought I would give the camera one last chance. It was a beautiful sunny day and I took several shots including these below.

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And so I spent the rest of the day until nearly 11pm giving the S5 a second chance….. to be continued….

Samsung Galaxy S5 – Day 2

It is amazing what a second day can bring to using a new device. You begin to feel what it is like to really use it in real life as opposed to gawking at the spec sheet.

So, yesterday morning I headed up on to my backyard of Dartmoor with my wife and 3 labradors. My aim was to take as many shots of the landscapes in the daylight and of my dogs in action. I took 100 photos in total and lost 10% battery in doing so.

Dartmoor has its own weather system due to being over 1,800 ft above sea level. That means glorious sunshine can become a heavy rain storm within 10 minutes. Well, for the very first time, I wasn’t worried about getting my phone wet from any potential rain. Normally, I carry a small waterproof bag to put my phone in to should it start raining. So the S5’s IP67 waterproof and dustproofing is definitely a worthy feature.

So I have started examining the photos and currently remain unimpressed. I have uploaded about 40 shots to my flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/ . The S5 photos start from the newest which are scenic shots all the way down to the 8mp crops of the dogs. Last night I discovered I have left the camera lens film protector on! But removing it revealed it had a hole in the middle, so I am not sure what impact it will have. But I will try shooting some more photos and compare. In the meantime, let me know what you think.

So what else have I noticed. If you shake the phone, you will hear it rattle (thanks Dave goes to for discovering that) and that really all these camera marketing spiel is a nonsense. If you want decent photos by a proper camera!

App drawer – it appears folders can be created, but cannot be on the same page as apps, so you have to have 2 app drawer pages, one for apps and another for your folders. Weird and wrong surely.

I’ve used the Download Booster and it works really well. Nice touch.

Battery – hard to tell but it does seem to drain quicker than the M8 but it is early days. I noticed 100 photos drained the battery by 10%.

Samsung Keyboard – hop in the settings and add your own shortcuts texts to the number keys. So a long press on a number key enters the text. I really like this time saver.

More tomorrow.

Update – The S5 photos are now in a flickr set for ease https://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinfabl100/sets/72157643875623354/

Samsung Galaxy S5 – First Impressions

So, I have had nearly 24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy S5, so what do I think so far.

I choose white over black, being the only 2 colours available at launch, as I felt the white looked better with the fake silver metal trim. The phone is very comfy in the hand, light and well balanced.

The micro usb3 port is covered with a flap. I have found it not so cumbersome, and the flap is simple to open and close as it pulls downwards with ease. But my S5 did not come with a micro usb3 lead, simply the older version. That cannot be correct, so I will have to investigate.

Camera – I have not really had much time to use it but in bright light the shots I took were amazing, better than the HTC One M8. They were so good, I had to do a double take. Inside in lower light, this is where it all goes wrong. People’s faces became oil paintings, so unnatural. Hey, I might win an award for the best painted picture. The low light shots were noisy too. The S5 camera is fast in good light to focus, but often I had to press screen to help it focus first before taking the photo. Also, the camera modes and settings within the app are a mess. Samsung, what have you done to the camera app! They should have kept the pre installed modes that are available in the S4, Note 3 and Samsung Cameras. Comparing the S5 to the M8, the M8 has a faster time to first photo, and a quicker shot to shot time. The M8 camera is vastly more flexible in most conditions. I need to spend more time with the S5 camera, but at the moment, I may end up swapping the S5 for the M8 as the M8 and its 4mp ultrapixel camera is far more creative, flexible and works in all lighting conditions.

Audio – using my Sony XBA-H1 in ear canals headphones there was massive volume available and really good sound quality. The loudspeaker created vibrations are full volume due to the waterproofing and was clear and loud enough on spoken voice. The HTC One M8 with its Boomsound speakers wipes the floor on the S5.

GPS – I used Google Maps navigation on the S5. Worked flawlessly.

Screen – what a cracking screen that looked great in the conditions I have used it so far. I also like the fact I can reduce the brightness so it is dim at night for reading. The M8 even with brightness off was very bright in a dark room.

Free – we all like free. There was a page of free software to download. I have downloaded it but not yet looked at any of it. But I did notice 6 months free of Deezer music streaming, and other free offers.

The S5 includes an awful lot which I am still to dscover. I have not been able to set it up properly either, which should be completed this weekend.. So there will be a lot to report back on.

One thing I did do was burn through 1.24gb of mobile internet data yesterday!

So did you get the S5? If so share your views.

Update – so it appears Samsung decided not to include the usb3 lead. What cheap scates!

Also some of the good lighting photos have been now viewed on my computer screen. They are mixed in quality. Even more disappointed with the camera.

Is the Samsung Galaxy S5 the phone to set new sales records?

According to T-Mobile US and Carphone Warehouse they have both received more pre registrations enquiries than the outgoing S4. T-Mobile US has already had 300,000 enquiries.

Sounds amazing but how many people will actually convert their interest into orders? How many people will have shown interest on multiple sites?

One thing is for sure, this phone will sell and will probably out sell all other offerings until the new iPhone arrives later on this year.

My other concern as with any new model, is there will be a surge of activity in the first few months and after that interest may subside. This is when the S5 sales longevity will be key to its success.

So who has this on their radar?