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.