We’ll talk about the screen first, because it’s easily one of the best areas of the Galaxy S5, with the 5.1 inch Full HD display showing gorgeous visuals. There has been a minor drop in pixel clarity, though technically our eyes can’t tell the difference, and outside of reading the numbers on the page (432ppi versus last year’s 441ppi), yours won’t either.
Technically, the pixel clarity argument is a futile contest between hardware manufacturers, and beyond 300ppi, the human eye can’t really tell the difference.
In fact, the loss of a few pixels per inch means nothing on the Galaxy S5, with the screen looking perfect from nearly ever angle.
It would be fair and accurate to say Samsung has made one of the best screens we’ve ever seen in the Galaxy S5, and it even works in direct sunlight, pumping out so much brightness that you’ll laugh at all the other phones and their attempts to deal with the outside world.
Back indoors, the screen can be overwhelmingly bright, but the automatic sensor does a great job of working out what you need, and you can even tweak this part to provide up to 5 levels of minor brightness both up and down the scale, depending if you think Samsung is getting it right.
Over to performance, and this is a mixed area.
For the most part, the system handles its own, providing near instantaneous app loads and multitasking, but there are some catches here and there. Even though Samsung is reliant on the same uber-impressive Snapdragon 801 chip as the HTC One M8 has — hell, Samsung actually has a faster model — we did notice the occasional lag that reared its ugly head when the battery dropped to around 30 percent. For some reason, when you’re there, you may find that apps stall, lag, and even crash, causing your phone to become unresponsive for a good minute or so.
It’s frustrating, and the times we noticed it, the problem seemed to occur when the battery was depleting, which also seems to happen relatively quickly, especially if you’ve bought one of Samsung’s new Gear smartwatches.
Battery life isn’t one of those things that will have you screaming “yes, I’m so glad I bought this over an iPhone,” because on the Galaxy S5, it’s not far off that device.
We’ve measured around a day-ish max for the iPhone 5S, and Samsung has more or less nailed the same for everyday use. For us, that consisted of making phone calls, surfing the web, reading and writing emails, doing some social networking, taking pictures, and watching the odd video here and there.
That resulted in a day of use in our tests, and that was pretty consistent across the few days of testing that we did, which is a little startling. Use your phone less and a day and a half to two days is possible, though power users will eat through the battery in the space of a day with no problems.