Galaxy S5 Initial Thoughts

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by ggibson913, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. ggibson913 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2006
    Like many folks who have been with the iPhone for a long time, I had never contemplated switching to Android. What seems like many years ago, I had no choice under Verizon and had the original Droid which was nowhere even close to the experience on the iPhone and couldn’t switch off fast enough and swore that I would never leave the iPhone again.

    Well fast forward 4 or 5 years and what a difference it makes. It was a struggle for me when I bought the iPhone 5 between that and the Galaxy S3 but in the end I chose the iPhone 5. This time round, I decided to take a chance and switch to the Galaxy S5 and here are my thoughts on the phone. I am presenting as unbiased as I can, both have strengths and weaknesses and of course opinions vary.

    Switching was about the easiest thing I had ever experienced. Samsung has really stepped up their game and have an app called Samsung Smart Switch Mobile, it is an app which transfers your contacts, calendars, Pictures, Alarms, Notes, Text messages, and even call records to your new phone from either a previous Android device or your iCloud account. For me, I needed a couple of tries but I did get it to work properly. Although it did disconnect a couple of times, it was still faster than transferring all that information manually.

    The Galaxy S5 is big, really big, it is about the maximum size in a phone I would even want. I have big hands so I can hold it and one hand it. For some who have smaller hands, it may be an issue. I carry my phone in my front pants pocket and it fits nicely in there even with the case on it which adds a bit of bulk to the phone. I am considering the HTC M8 because it is a bit smaller in the hand but haven't decided yet.

    Coming from an iPhone there is a learning curve as Android does somethings differently, not worse, but different. I can certainly see where many former iPhone users give up and go back to the familiar territory of the iPhone.

    The screen is a 5.1 inch 1080P screen. It is absolutely gorgeous and is fantastic to look at. Also it is nice to watch video without the black bars you get with the iPhone and on a bigger screen. Of course, anything past retina is not really noticeable, but the improved video viewing is definitely noticeable.

    The call quality is no different as it was on my iPhone and actually a bit better on my end, ont eh other end there was no noticeable difference.

    The camera. The camera on the iPhone 5 and this are an even match but I have to give photo quality to the iPhone 5S experienced through friends phones. Not that the Galaxy S5 doesn’t take great pictures, it is just that the 5S takes better pics more consistently. I have to give that one to the iPhone though to be honest, that has always been an Apple strength.

    Swype is an awesome feature. It allows me to text or write much faster than on the iPhone keyboard and I wish they would allow that feature to be done on the iPhone.

    App quality for the most part is on par with the iPhone but there are a couple of apps that I have noticed that aren’t the same quality experience. I can still get things done but the iOS experience is a bit better, that isn’t the phone’s fault as much as the app creator. I imagine as the Android market improve that will change over time. The good thing is that I can default any app I want to do the work. I can default my Browser to Chrome or open directions in Waze. This is something that used to frustrate me on the iPhone. I can use Google Maps but the default app was Apple Maps which for practical use, was an inferior product.

    I did get my phone through AT&T and the amount of Bloatware on the phone is annoying to me but not a deal breaker.

    Notifications work way better in Android, I can see everything right in the phone and can select any of the notifications to go right into the app or to dismiss them immediately.

    Battery life on my Galaxy S5 is way better than on my iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 was almost two years old so yes there is the issue that over time a phone battery loses the ability to keep a charge, but importantly, if that happens in my Galaxy, I can just replace the battery with a new one as opposed to the iPhone where I have to give it to Apple and have them replace it.

    The Galaxy S5 is 16 GB which is ok as I can put an SD card in the phone to increase storage space. Increasing storage with an iPhone is $100 per jump. I would much rather spend $20 on a 32GB memory card than $100 on native storage. It allows me to buy the cheaper model and still get all the usage out of it I want.

    Widgets are awesome, they are a way that I can have the information I want on my screen in front of me and not have to open an app. Weather is one that I look at every day when I get up, it is very helpful that all I have to do in unlock my phone to look at it. In addition I have widgets for Flipboard and a couple of S apps as well.

    Conclusion: I won’t say the iPhone is a bad phone. It is a very good phone. I switched because I see more value in the Android ecosystem than I do the Apple ecosystem. I wanted a bigger phone and yes all rumors point to the iPhone 6 being a bigger phone. But Android allows me to customize my experience a little better, allows me to control my experience a little more, if I don’t like Google Maps, I can change the default, if I like SwiftKey as my keyboard, I can change that as well. I guess that is where the difference lies, iOS is a very fixed experience, Android is not so much. I still love my Macbook Pro and my iPad Air, and wouldn’t trade them for anything, But smartphone wise, while there are some compromises with Android, there are areas where it is better and for now, for me, those improvements outweigh the compromises. I hope this helps anyone on the fence.
  2. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
    Being able to customise is huge for me. I want a phone I want to make it how I want. Not let apple decide how I should have it.

    Too many better options on Android compared to Apple.

    Even something as simple as the back button is one thing I would miss too much.
  3. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    Many of us here are device agnostic and switch between devices and operating systems and your review / hands on was great reading as I'm sure many of us experience similar things whenever we switch or switched.

    Enjoy your new phone :)
  4. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    I wrote this on another thread but I think Android is fantatic. I just don't care much for the Samsung hardware or software. The phone is entirely too big for someone with average sized hands to use one handed. If Apple comes out with a phone this big, a lot of the female crowd will probably seek greener pastures. And overall build quality just isn't up to par. I can feel the phone vibrate from the earphone when on the phone, unit heats up frequently, etc. Just little things which detract from the overall experience.

    I'm curious to see how I feel about this phone after some more use.
  5. Vegastouch macrumors 603


    Jul 12, 2008
    Las Vegas, NV
    To the OP, just so you know, the HTC One M8 is a bit narrower but it is also a bit taller than the GS5.
  6. Oohara macrumors 68020


    Jun 28, 2012
    Honestly I don't think women prefer smaller phones any more than men do. I see plenty of women using Galaxy Notes and other large phones on the subway. Lots of women carry purses which makes it easier for them to have a large phone than anyone who doesn't usually go without a bag of some kind, and for people with really small hands the one handed argument is moot anyway - for them even a 5S isn't really usable with just one hand.

    My girlfriend even volunteered "no, I hate those small screens" when I suggested she might upgrade to a 5S from her 4S. She's now getting a Nexus 5 :)
  7. mel823 macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2012
    As a female I have to disagree with this comment. Maybe it's a NYC thing, but the ones I see with the larger phones are the females. Like the poster above me said, we have purses to carry our phones around so the bigger size really doesn't bug us. Screen size is a matter of preference for us just like it is for men.
  8. kupkakez macrumors 68000


    Apr 4, 2011

    Agreed. Just because women typically have smaller hands doesn't meant we would be turned off by a bigger screened phone.

    I don't even really use my 5c one handed so a bigger sized phone wouldn't affect my usability.

    I would welcome a giant iPhone! :D

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