Jan, 16 2015

Samsung Galaxy S5 back DSC05780

WARNING: Loads of opinion ahead, leave your fanboyism at the door. If you’re looking for a honest opinion, please proceed.

With that out of the way, I just want to say I understand well that there is no such thing as the “perfect” smartphone. Like my mother used to tell me, you’ll never find the perfect woman, only the perfect woman for you. Because, Android is a wonderful mess right now, manufacturers put a lot of time and effort into offering their unique versions of Android, that simply put — aren’t for everyone. Having owned the Samsung Galaxy S5 for a full week now, I think it’s time to stop beating around the bush: this phone simply isn’t for me.

Bu don’t get me wrong, I tried to make it work, I wanted to make it work. Despite my friends and family warning me that buying the Galaxy S5 would only end in heartbreak, I went against their better judgement and purchased the phone anyway. Why? There were only 2 features on my mind: SAMOLED display, and the high-resolution ISOCELL camera. Like a great pair of…. eyes on a woman, they’re all I saw. Everything else? I figured that would work itself out. “I could always put a case over it and TouchWiz is all new,” I told myself. Boy, was I wrong. May I present to you, my list of top 8 things I hate about the Samsung Galaxy S5.

1. TouchWiz Lag

I like to think of myself as a patient man. Whether it’s kids, pets, or the ‘ol gf, it takes a lot to get under my skin. But one area I absolutely have zero patience for is in my electronics. Laptop, camera, you name it. Having owned a HTC One (M7), Nexus 5, and an LG G2 for all these months, maybe I’ve just been spoiled by snappy, lag-free performance. Who knows.

What I do know is that there is something horribly wrong with the fact that you can have a phone with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, software based on the the newest, lightest version of Android yet (KitKat), and yet still somehow serve users a piping hot plate of lag on a silver platter. It takes a special kind of “software” to mess that up.

Whether it’s waking up the phone from a sleeping state, waiting for the keyboard to popup or catch up with typing, opening the multitasking menu or applications — lag, lag, mother-effin-lag. I couldn’t handle it. I kid you not, I was having nightmares that my phone was getting laggier and laggier, only to wake up and find myself in cold sweats.

Is a .8 second lag going to kill you? Probably not. But I paid too damn much for this phone only to have to”suffer” with lackluster performance. Still don’t believe me? See this video here. I mean, what’s the point of upgrading to a faster processor, when you don’t actually reap any of the benefits? The Galaxy S5 is Lag City. Population: you.

2. Limited Internal Storage

Galaxy S5 Storage constraints

External storage is great — when there are apps that actually support. Aside from KitKat making things fun with the way apps handle external storage, finding applications other than games that can actually be moved to the SD card is rare. Sure, you can always root and move everything to the SD card, but that’s a topic for another time. You can have a 128GB UHS 1 micro SD card in the phone, but a 16GB Galaxy S5 — the only version currently offered by US carriers — sucks. There’s no way around it, and I don’t understand how this was overlooked.

3. Touchscreen Sensitivity

Galaxy S5

No, I’m not saying the Galaxy S5’s display isn’t responsive enough. The problem I’m have is that that it’s too responsive. I know, that sounds like a silly thing complain about, but when you type as quickly as I do, the phone is registering screen taps/long presses I never meant it to. In fact, I thought for a minute there I was losing my mind. Really, who would notice something like this?

I think this might have something to do with S5’s new “Air gesture” feature that allows you to interact with the display, without actually touching it. This also means the phone can register screen presses even while wearing gloves — a great feature for sure — but not when it messes with normal use. There is a reason, after all, they included an option to disable it. But even when disabled, it’s far too sensitive (note: I’ve had it disabled since day 1). A great idea, just one better left on paper.

4. Camera

Sony A7 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Woah, woah, woah. I’m not saying the Galaxy S5 camera isn’t great. It is. But my problem is it only performs well in the most ideal of situations. Taking it out on a bright Spring day, shooting some pics of the kids by the pool, it performs wonderfully. Images are razor sharp.

My issue? As soon as you lose some of that light — shooting indoors on a cloudy day, or a dimly lit restaurant, etc. — everything turns to absolute sh*t. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at my comparison photo above. One side you have a picture I snapped with my full frame camera to show you exactly how much light was actually in this scene. On the right is how well the Galaxy S5 handles in the smallest dip in light: like a muddy mess. Not good. In fact, there were many a times, my Nexus 5 performed better than the Galaxy S5. Don’t believe me? Check out this image here.

5. S Emoji

Galaxy S5 emoji

You’d think that having the system wide emoji support in KitKat would be great new feature, but not when you see what Samsung’s done with them. Say hello to the most hideous emoji’s this side of the iPhone. Like some kind of bastardized version AOL smileys meets Lisa Frank, they look horribly out of place on Samsung’s new minimal interface. What I don’t get is, why even change them? What was so wrong with Android’s stock emoji that you had to create these abominations? Not cool.

6. Chrome Bezel

Samsung Galaxy S5 water logo wm DSC05776
Like many of the items on this list, this ones more a subjective opinion. So let me just say, I abhor chrome. I don’t want it near my electronics, I don’t like it on my rims, and I sure as heck can’t stand it on my smartphone. I thought we left this behind with the original Galaxy S? Whenever I see it, it reminds me of 1950’s future and not modern smartphone design we see on devices like the HTC One M8.

Besides its looks (which I found myself wanting to sand paper away or Plasti-Dip over), the chrome rim around the side of the phone is actually raised, creating a lip around the glass. Everyone praised the Nexus 4 for including beveled edges on the sides of the display (something we also saw in the HTC Sensation back in the day). This ensured sliding the ever growing UI elements from the sides of the display was always a pleasurable experience. The Galaxy S5 is the complete opposite of that.

7. USB Flap / No Wireless Charging


Until USB 3.1, becomes the new standard, it’s bad enough we have to put some level of thought or concentration into getting our USB cable inserted correctly into our smartphones. If you thought that was annoying, how about not being able to access this port until you first removed a plastic flap? I get why it’s there, I do. In order to IP67 certify the Galaxy S5, some ports would need to be covered. But it doesn’t make it any more convenient.

Besides needing a healthy amount of fingernail to get the damn thing open, the real problem I have with the S Flap, is it wouldn’t even be an issue if Samsung simply included wireless charging with the device. Sure, you could always spend an extra $30 and order one direct from Samsung, but why should you have to? It’s because between the fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor, Samsung had to cut those “little” features no one really cares about (sarcasm).

8. Fingerprint Scanner Home Button

Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Reader

When Apple introduced the fingerprint scanner in the iPhone 5S, for the most part, it was done well. Offering a medium level of security, you were able to press the home button as you’d normally do, but this time it’d only take you to the homescreen if it recognized your fingerprint. Great for keeping snooping eyes out of your phone, sure it wasn’t full proof, but it was enough security for most cases.

As we all know, the Galaxy S5 uses a similar security feature, with a new fingerprint scanner found in the home button. Only problem is in their implementation, you actually have to slide your finger across the home button, not simply press it. Why is this a pain in the ass? Because this means every time you go to unlock your phone, you’ll have to use 2 hands to do it. Once again, I know it sounds crazy to complain about, but think of all the times you’re using your phone with only 1 hand available. Holding a beer, your gf’s hand, walking the dog, eating. Requiring 2 hands to simply unlock your phone is a major oversight, and one that should have never made it out of R&D.

Samsung Galaxy S5  back cover removed DSC05768

Before I leave you, I just want to remind that this is merely the opinion of a single lonely blogger (no matter how right it is). Also, there are a lot of things I like about the Galaxy S5 that many of you may find more valuable than the minor annoyances listed here. Things like the small bezels, battery life, the Super AMOLED display (along with saturation controls), camera (when shooting in daylight), super quick 2A charging, removable battery, or its weather proofing.

Those are all great things, wonderful things about the Galaxy S5. But unfortunately, things that for me couldn’t outweigh the “bad.” Come tomorrow I’ll be packing up my Samsung Galaxy S5, heading on over to my local T-Mobile, and eating their ridiculous $50 restocking fee. Here’s to the Next Big Thing.

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