Unfortunately, what it results in is a phone that has the control gradually being shifted away from the user.

Do you want to make the phone look and control the way you want? Too bad, if you leave the phone running stock, because Samsung doesn’t want to let you.

Ultimately, you can always replace the Android overlay with one of your own choice, and if you’re against some of these choices Samsung has made, that’s what we’d recommend, as it can make a phone with excellent hardware perform just as it should: excellently.

But with TouchWiz working the way it is on Samsung’s Australian Galaxy S5, this is, more or less, a phone made for people who don’t care about customisation or change, which given the nature of smartphones, totally confuses us.


There’s no doubt that the S5 is an excellent handset, but it won’t be the same level of excellence for everyone, namely people who like to change things. The hardware is top notch, the screen is mesmerising, and outside of the battery, the performance is bloody good and will last you until the next model or two pops up, without a doubt.

Add to this the awesome concept of being able to pay at the supermarket with our phone and we’re delightfully intrigued with what the Galaxy S5 has to offer.

But then there’s the lack of customisation, an issue which can be dodged by installing workarounds to get around the way Samsung has compromised the phone for Australia. It’s a shame, too, as these flaws mean the phone is never truly yours, which is such a terrible concept.

In fact, every time someone asks us what’s wrong with the S5 and we tell them, we get told that these issues would stop them from buying it.

We asked at the beginning of this review of the Galaxy S5 was Samsung’s best handset yet, and honestly, we’re not sure.

There are things about the S5 that are marvellous, there really are, and then there are things that just drive us away, and make us think Australians are getting the dodgy end of the stick.

Fortunately, you can get around these issues — we’ve even written a guide on it — but you shouldn’t have to. You really shouldn’t have to, especially since tweakers will do it by default, but regular people expecting a phone just as good if not better than their current model will be anticipating something extraordinary in this handset.

So basically, if you don’t mind dancing around Samsung’s flawed Australian version of Android, the Galaxy S5 is a great handset, providing decent specs and cool features, just remember to charge it daily, because it needs it. And if you don’t mind not being able to customise your phone, you’ll love this handset more than anyone else.

Flagship (mostly) fantastic: Samsung’s Galaxy S5 reviewed
Price (RRP): $929 Manufacturer: Samsung
Fast system performance; Textured back makes it easy to grip; Beautiful screen; Excellent 4G performance; Water and dust resistant; Still features a remote control; Built-in heart rate monitor is a neat idea; Amazing screen that works beautifully in direct sunlight; Monochromatic power saving option will really help in the most dire of times; Security features for fingerprint scanner and Aussie banks are a nice touch;
Australians are given virtually no control over customizing their handset; Battery life needs work; The occasional slow down tends to rear its head in the worst possible way; Remote control can't learn from unknown remotes; My Magazine seems less customisable than HTC's BlinkFeed;
Value for money
Ease of Use
4.4Overall Score
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