Health is also a big part of the package nowadays, and that’s hardly a shock given how many health-related gadgets we’re seeing. Samsung was pushing a bit of the health concept in the Galaxy S4 too with “S-Health,” and it’s back in the S5, still monitoring your steps, but now adding in a heart rate monitor at the back of the phone.
This piece of tech is next to the camera (which we’ll get to shortly), and sits inside the slot where the camera flash is, shining a red light against your finger and looking for your pulse, measuring it, and then reporting it back.
And does it work? Well, it seems to, though Samsung does warn that the technology isn’t for “clinical or medical use,” and won’t work if the room is particularly loud, so while it’s not exactly a gimmick, we’d also suggest to go see a health professional or use a proper heart rate monitoring device if you need to check your heart regularly.
Finally, some of the favourites are still here, such as being able to use multiple Galaxy products to play music through “Group Play,” and even control your TV through the infrared port at the top of handset.
This last one was popular last year, though in this model, we’ve noticed that not all brands are available, and unlike some of the competing smartphones supporting this technology, Samsung’s implementation won’t learn from unknown remotes, meaning if your TV brand isn’t supported, you can’t train the remote app to recognise the functions, and you merely have to wait until Samsung’s people add the brand to its database.
There’s also a “Samsung Wallet” sitting around now, waiting for you to take advantage of coupons, tickets, and more, though few places in Australia seemed ready for this at the time of testing.
You can even take your phone in the drink, with IP67 certification applied here, making it water and dust-resistant, provided the bottom USB cab is plugged in and the back casing is snapped on tight.
The bottom cap is actually one of the more irritating requirements of the water-resistant design, and it means that every time you want to charge the phone, you need to pull the cap off, which hangs there with a bit of plastic. It’s a little annoying, but you’ll get used to it, and the one time you decide to accidentally drop the phone in the pool, well, consider it an issue easily forgotten.
One last thing is the “My Magazine” screen, which moves past the Flipboard screen the Galaxy Note 3 had installed, providing a screen of constantly refreshing news to the left of your homescreen.
You can turn this off if you like, and you can even customise what loads, but even though this is linked to Flipboard, it for some reason won’t load any of your own Flipboard settings.
This means that Samsung has essentially made it more awkward for customisation than even HTC’s Blinkfeed, which too lacks the ability to add your own websites and is totally reliant on a different service. Indeed, with the Galaxy S5’s My Magazine, we could select categories to have it pull information from, but not grab the websites we would read regularly, making it less of a thing we were likely to use.