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.