Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Samsung Galaxy S5


The Samsung Galaxy S5 is real, alive and kicking, and now that we’ve gotten the official deets from Samsung it’s time to see how it stacks up next to last year’s offering. There are still some people out there who’ll seriously consider the Galaxy S4 over the Galaxy S5 — especially because a lot of companies will be dropping the price on it to ridiculously low levels — so let’s take a look and see if the new kid on the block has enough to convince smartphone buyers to drop another few hundred dollars on a new phone this year.


Build and Design

Samsung’s long taken lashings about their love for plastic. That act didn’t change with the Samsung Galaxy S4, and we’re still at that crossroads with the Galaxy S5. Their latest flagship device does indicate they took care to make a device that looks and feels premium, though, and it looks like they’ve finally hit that balance here.

Some might contend that the Galaxy S5 till doesn’t even look as good as the Galaxy Note 3, though, and think Samsung should still look into using some form of metal or going with an overall new design language for their next go-round. One thing’s for sure, though — it looks like a Galaxy, and it will definitely feel like a Galaxy.

We thought Samsung would be able to pull the same thing they did with the Galaxy Note 3 by increasing the screen size without increasing the overall size of the device, but the Galaxy S5 is a tad larger than the Galaxy S4. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s a bit of a disappointment considering the feat they pulled on the phablet side. Oh, and we’re definitely digging the waterproof and dustproof specification on this thing.


There’s not much to surprise us with here — the display on the Galaxy S5 is about .1-inch larger than the Galaxy S4. Everything else is pretty much the same, with the resolution and display technology not moving an inch compared to the older Galaxy S4.

Processor, Performance and Battery

The Snapdragon 600 processor inside the Galaxy S4 wasn’t too shabby, but Samsung obviously felt the need to bump that up considerably with the Galaxy S5’s launch. The new Snapdragon 801 inside the Galaxy S5 improves on the Snapdragon 800 by about .2GHz, but that’s about the only major difference between the two chipsets. Despite that, it’s still currently heralded as one of the best processors out there.

galaxy s5

We’re a bit surprised Samsung decided to stick 2GB of RAM inside the Galaxy S5 compared to the 3GB inside the Galaxy Note 3. Alas, 2GB it is, and it feels like we’re a bit stuck in time. Thankfully they did bring the USB 3.0 port over to the Galaxy S5, a change which should bring faster transfers and improved charging times.

Much to the dismay of many, Samsung stuck with 16GB of storage for their base Galaxy S5 model. The company did opt to bring back the microSD card slot we all know and love, though, which now supports up to 128GB microSD cards over the Galaxy S4’s 64GB.

Finally, it’s worth noting the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2,800mAh battery, which is about 200mAh more than the Galaxy S4. We’re not sure how that’s going to perform in real world testing, but we can’t say we’re disappointed about the increase (no matter how minuscule it may seem).

Software and Features

The Galaxy S4 is starting to get Android 4.4 KitKat right now, and the Galaxy S5 is confirmed to be launching with it. With that, though, Samsung introduced some new features on the Galaxy S5’s version of KitKat that we’re sure many would love to have.

TouchWiz looks a bit nicer, though changes aren’t quite as drastic as original rumors first suggested. You’ll find the most significant changes in the quick settings toggles, as well as to the far left of the home-screen where Samsung’s Magazine UI now resides.

Samsung’s S Health applications have also been upgraded with great new features for use with the latest Gear smart watches and activity trackers. History tells us that there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a lot of this come to older phones by way of future software upgrades, but for now you won’t find a smartphone experience quite like the one the Galaxy S5 provides.

One thing you also won’t be getting on many other phones is the fingerprint scanner, which will give you secure access to your smartphone with the simple swipe of a finger. It’s also integrated with PayPal, so you can facilitate all your electronic payments with added security and without added frustration.


Megapixels aren’t everything, but the Samsung Galaxy S5’s main shooter does get a slight bump to 16 megapixels compared to the 13 megapixels on the previous iteration. What we’re most interested in, though, is its ability to record 4K resolution video. 4K might not be the standard right now — in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a display to take full advantage of it without paying hundreds of dollars — but future-proofing has never been a bad thing.

Knowing the importance of a smartphone in capturing memories (it’s often the first thing people grab to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments with no warning), Samsung’s also heavily improved focusing speeds thanks to phase detection autofocus. That’s a technique usually only found in DSLRs, and it’s great to see Samsung putting it to use in a smartphone.

It takes about 3-tenths of a second to focus now, which is quite ridiculous for a smartphone with such a small sensor. We’re not sure how well it performs in less ideal lighting conditions just yet, but there isn’t much room to complain about that.

Other new camera features include real-time HDR, selective focus, new automatic shooting modes, and a “studio” mode for editing photos and videos right there on the device.

What’s your take?

And there it is, all laid out for you. The Galaxy S5 isn’t the mind-blowingly amazing device we thought it’d be, but it definitely is worthy of being called a Samsung flagship.

Its tale of the tape reads like something that should be released in 2014, though we’re a bit surprised Samsung didn’t bring some of the most exciting improvements from the Note 3 — such as increased RAM — over to their main flagship for the year.

We’re also a bit saddened to learn that Samsung didn’t go with the ultra-sharp 2560 x 1600 screen resolution that we thought they would, though a 1080p display is still quite sharp at this small of a size.

How about you? Is it a love-hate thing? Is it worthy of an upgrade? Are you going to buy one? Use the poll below to give us your thoughts, and head to the comments section to expand on those thoughts if you’re feeling up to the task. Stay tuned for our hands-on time with the Samsung Galaxy S5.

[polldaddy poll=7827191]

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Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Samesung?

  2. What are you (the actual you and the royal you) doing on the phone that 2gb of RAM is not enough? Wouldn’t the RAM just increase the cost of the phone, lower profits or be passed onto the consumer for something that isn’t even needed at this point in the cycle of phones and the apps used on them?

    I am not knocking you, but am genuinely curious about the desire for more RAM.

    1. Sometimes there are consumers who keep their phones for a longer period of time than other people do. At the point in the game 2gb of ram isn’t further proofing. If you’re buying a phone now, then 3gb is what you must be looking at if you’re thinking of keeping a phone for the next two years…

      1. With KitKat the need for RAM even decreased compared to JB and ICS. I don’t think this trend will turn that fast on Google’s side.

      2. That’s an excellent point, but in the venn diagram of those who need the extra ram and those that keep a phone an extended period of time, do you think that population justifies the additional cost across thousands of handsets?

        Remember, though not a Samsung fanboi, they are doing their customers a favor with expandable memory on some levels. Even though 64gb is only around an estimated $45 for manufacturers, they could charge a premium. Unnecessary spec boosts help keep profit margins high and cost low in the unsubsidized world of smartphones.

        No matter which approach an old takes, it’s a fascinating study nonetheless.

  3. Would love to hear what people think about whether someone should buy a Galaxy Note III off contract or Galaxy S5 (for the many of us who waited for this announcement to make our next move on cell phones). Need to figure out what to exchange the galaxy nexus for

    1. Sporting a gnex?
      I can’t imagine not jumping to the nexus 5. I loved my gnex and went with the one because the 4’s glass terrified the ogre in me, but that n5 is the proper successor to the gnex.

    2. Sony Z2 or wait for all new HTC one.

      1. Thanks everyone for the responses. I’ll see if I can convince my family to leave verizon (all our contracts have expired). The sony phones have looked beautiful to me but untouchable with verizon

    3. I’d say go for the Sony Xperia Z2 or LG G Pro 2. Or wait to see what HTC has to offer.

  4. I’m no huge Samsung fan at all, but even I was surprised they didn’t completely revamp the entire device more than they did. It just seemed as if it were time for a more drastic change this year, even more surprised at only 2GB of RAM.

    1. There’s nothing that really stands out from what everyone else is doing and I think it may hurt them. They may have opened the door for HTC and other OEMs.

      1. They opened it for LG. I’m for sure going LG G3 for my upgrade in May now.

    2. The only reason Samsung needs more then 2GB of Ram, as in the Note 3, is because of there horrible bloatware.

      Stock Touchwiz I’d reach 90%+ memory usage constantly. Now that I have CM, I’m down to 60% ram usage.

      1. Though I will agree that touchwiz takes up more space and ram, (not to mention processor cycles) android can and does efficiently make use occupying the ram. (This is by design) Seeing your phone using less ram isn’t helping you in the slightest.

        Also CM is garbage. Its laughable that their whole team gets stuck on a bug and claim that its unsolvable, but then single developers like Chad Goodman (Anthrax) work out those same bugs in days. But that doesn’t even touch on their real issues, but I digress…

        1. Not to get into any kind of debate here, but it might just happen that Anthrax is a better developer than the guys at CM, and as such knew how to solve the bug the CM team couldn’t solve.

          1. Oh, no debate from me… Chad is defiantly the better dev, I just think its a bit funny how bad they hate on him because he fixes their “unfixable” issues, then they steal his code and claim it as thier own and badmouth him. (they do the same to others as well)

      2. I’m curious where you saw the memory usage stat. Do you mean storage space or RAM?

        1. Have an app that monitors RAM usage. It alerts you when you reach a certain threshold. In this case 90% RAM usage.

          It wouldn’t necessarily be bogged down. But utilizing that much RAM while only doing a few things seems excessive.

          As I’m typing this (On CM nightly Rom on Note 3) I am at 57%.

  5. At the very least, they could’ve tried to make the screen non-pentile. That’s just one of my pet peeves with samoled.

    1. lol…this is a non issue and has been for a few years.

      1. Penile is still an issue on sgs4 when scrolling light text on an all black background. It’s mentioned plenty of forums and happens on the device I’m typing on now.

        1. Penile is definitely an issue ;)

        2. Penile on your phone and your name is Mike Hunt ahahahaha

  6. Do you guy still think that this version of the s5 is the low spec version and that later on we will see the release of the “prime” or higher spec version of the S5?

    1. nexus 5 ftw.

  7. this phone was announced with a snapdragon 800 not 801 as far as I have read on other sites. This is the first one claiming it has an 801.

    1. I have been trying to figure this one out, all they say is 2.5 quad core processor

      1. The 800 and 801 are the same internally. Just a bump in clock speed. If you overclock and 800, you have the 801.

  8. i seriously expect something more out of samsung this year.. yet again they fail to deliver.. its not about maintaining the similar design anymore.. with that price point.. samsung should realize how a “premium” phone should feel.. imo premium phones dont go underwater and the plastic built like the S4 active wont make people feel confident soaking it..

  9. It’s frickin waterproof man!

    – Todd, Gold Rush

  10. By the time my contract expires and I’m in the market for a new phone, the S5 will have already been superseded by the S6 (or whatever’s next).

    Samsung seems to know that this isn’t going to be a smash hit; it’s a stop-gap until 2015.

    1. The same thing was said about the S4.

  11. This phone will for ever be known as the Galaxy s4s or the Galaxy Meh 5. No wonder the reveal was so quiet. Here’s hoping the camera and battery life don’t suck in the new Nexus.

    Gotta say I’m gutted about the size increase. Not a trend I’m a fan of.

  12. big fail samsung!

  13. What a about the heart rate sensor under the flash? Pretty cool.

    1. You say cool, I say useless – You’re not going to be holding your phone when you are running, so it would have been smarter to keep the sensor in the gear fit and included a bare bone version in the package (with gyro, temperature sensor, and compass).

      1. I typically take heart rate immediately following an activity not during an activity, and resting heart rate. It’s not like the phone lost .2″ of screen on the front by adding this sensor, but like you said some people will find it useless. And some people find a compass useless.

    2. The feature is remarkable but unnecessary. That is all.

  14. Pass. That’s my take.

  15. Folks, you need to get a grip. This is going to be a hell of a good device. I’m glad we are getting evolutionary devices, we can go back to keeping our phones for more than a year and have them feel relevant.

    1. I don’t think anyone is saying this is a bad device, cause it’s not.
      It’s just a fact that it’s a very minor upgrade from the S4, and it doesn’t bring anything new to the table compared to other OEM’s…Not to mention the same old bloated TouchWiz and same old design. That’s what people is ranting about.

      1. actually it’s a very nice upgrade from the s4. The problem is people are not comparing it to the s4 specs they’re comparing it to the note 3 specs. Whether they think they are not that’s what they’re doing

        1. True.

      2. I agree. This could have been a hit if they added the following: wireless charging, especially since it’s waterproof and you will be constantly moving the port covers to use them which can be somewhat of a pain. 3GB of RAM especially with the bloated Touchwhiz taking up so much memory. 32GB and 64GB internal storage, 16GB on a top class smartphone is out dated especially when your ROM is 8GB. Onscreen buttons, the ability to remove every Samsung App, and a 3,000mah battery.

        1. Why does everyone like on-screen buttons so much? I don’t really understand the advantages people perceive.

          1. I prefer the on screen buttons because they do disappear when you are watching a video or playing a game and you get more screen real estate. I also like the flexibility of setting 3 or 4 buttons and changing the colors to fit my mood or current wallpaper. With the regular capacative buttons they are always there wasting space, and always lighting up for the most part and I just think the on screen buttons are more responsive in my experience, and honestly, I think they just make the phone look cooler.

      3. Do you guys on this site do any research. They are coming out with the s5 prime with better specs. And though some of you may think touch wiz is much I don’t think so. It has stuff I won’t use and still I will but iiiiiiii want to be the one to choose. Not motorola or Google. Some people go to dealerships to buy fuel economy some of buy luxury and some by speed. Same idea with phones. Samsung is luxury(in my opinion) they give you more than you need so you can hace some left over for later. “Better to want and have to need and don’t”

        1. Give me a link that is certain on the S5 Prime. All i see are old speculations when i search.

          I hope there is one, and that it comes out around the same time as the S5

    2. Samsung may have not had much room to innovate on the hardware side, but there were tons of things to improve upon on the software side over the S4. In my opinion, they didn’t do nearly enough to move the ball on the software side of the equation. It’s still the same bloated, ugly-as-sin TouchWiz with some of the fat and skeumorphism trimmed off. My opinion of course, but I think there are others who share it.

      1. Skeumorphism?

  16. I’m sure Samsung will come out with something new and special for 2015… right?

    1. I don’t know about something special, but I’d expect something new from them in a week or two. Seems to be the pace they’re reaching with releasing phones for every market niche. I mean think about it, we still need Zoom, Mini, Mega, and Active variants among others.

      1. Expand (and diversify) or die. If they didn’t make so many devices Apple would have brainwashed customers in the Europe (and the US, especially) even more than they have. Only way to fight a self-righteous company who takes everyone’s money while not giving as much as you’d like in return for a device is to take advantage of their unyielding nature towards how their devices can function for different people.

    2. No need to wait till 2015… can you imagine the Note 4? haha :P

  17. Am interested in much more battery life, much better cameras (and camera UI), and better options for sending what’s on the phone to other displays (in car, on desk, in living room). More storage (SD), faster charging, better durability, lower price and Nexus-like access to Android updates. Better audio quality to headphones, too.

    Am interested in granular management of permissions for each app.

    Not interested in having my phone collect data about my fingerprints and heart rate. Not interested in Samsung’s take on an email client.

  18. Samsung, welcome to Apple’s world. Where good is never good enough and incremental updates brings out haters.

    From what I gather, people wanted a useless 2k screen, mostly cosmetic metal back, and 3GB of RAM. So basically nothing innovative or of value.

    I hope people realize you can only do so much with a phone. MotoX stepped outside the box and what did that get them? Meh sales and additional debt. HTC had a beautiful design and that got them meh sales and a continued downward slide. So much for innovation and design.

    Start a phone company and design your own. Companies have visions and goals and some people are onboard and some are not. 40mil were onboard with the S4 and millions more await the S5. Get over it.

    1. they have indeed become just like apple.

      the Samsung Galaxy S5. you’re all gonna buy it anyway.

      1. Apple makes a new side m device pretty much like the last model. Samsung has two lines of phones so that fact alone blows your bs out of the water. Secondly while the s5 is a little lackluster the s5 prime is going to have the real specs. It’s Samsung the could make 5 other s5 this year lol

    2. It is call marketing when you have close to a billion dollar in marketing you can sell 40 million. And the. S4 did not do as well as they would like. This is an early release for them.

    3. Agree and disagree on your points. Most people expect more than minor spec bumps on a flagship device, especially android owners. The 2k screen is useless on a 5inch device. Heck, a 720p screen would be enough for something of its size. I still think 3gb of ram should have been included, since Samsung already had an S4 variant with 3gb ram in the Galaxy J. I do like that they are getting the ball rolling on the water and dust resistance being standard though. A minimum of 32gb of storage would have also been nice. 16gb is getting pretty paltry anymore.

      Moto X wasn’t given much of chance to begin with, given the dire situation when google scooped up Motorola. The moto G is turning into quite the seller though. The sale of Motorola to Lenovo probably had some outside influence from other android oems, especially Samsung, but that’s just a guess. I never really believed that Google wanted Motorola to succeed anyway. Given another year or two I believe Motorola could have turned around their misfortune. But hey, that’s just me.

      1. Great points. 720p is good enough and saves on battery life. 2k is useless. I would have liked to see 3gb of ram. With Samsung touch wiz bloat, your ram doesn’t go as far as on other phones. And 32 gb should be standard for phones now.

  19. The specification are impressive for sure but I’d still rather have a Nexus 5.

  20. so now we know whats under the hood. lets see what features and software this phone brings to the table.

  21. I applaud their decision to replace the menu button for the recent apps button. Other than that, it’s a big meh.

    1. Yup, no more messing with the framework in order to remove the home-button lag.

  22. Still has microSD ….. yup ….. we have a winner even if Samsung just re-released the S3 in 2014, it would still be far more usable than any new phone without microSD. Sorry Google but you killed the Nexus line for much of your fan base.

    1. If Google offered a 128gb verson I wouldn’t mind not having a MicroSD card.

      1. If your phone accidentally fell in water or got run over by a car you can’t recover everything from the phone but you can still take out the memory card.

      2. Yes, that would be a perfect solution that Google wont do. They want you to have your files on their servers so they can mine that info. Nothing wrong with this inherently except having local files is a way better user experience.

  23. Taller, wider, thicker and heavier than the last model with more Touchwiz. No thanks. Moto X is the best Android phone.

    1. Lol that phone is to small and had about 3 OK features. And that might be pushing it. How can you compare that to a water proof phone with a. 3.0 charger ir blaster and a heart rate monitor? That has 16mp camera that shoots 4k with image stabilization! Are you insane?

      Granted it wasn’t what people expected (because the prime is what is going to be the real best) out isn’t a bad phone to blow every other phone out of the water, except the note 3

  24. Ok so again, micro SD but like all other models…is the S5 going to destroy the memory card without warning. It happens on the S3, S4 and Note 2 and Note 3 yet samsung dont believe its an issue.

    1. Never had that issue on my S3, S4, or my note 3. But then again I don’t use SanDisk cards and haven’t for years due to them suddenly failing. (And the common denominator from all I had heard of these devices were people using sandisk cards… just take a few minutes to look over at all the threads on xda)

      1. That’s funny because I only have sandisk and they all work fine in my captivate and my s4 and my 2014. But that’s an easy fix anyway lol

        1. you guys are on phandroid….go and search the forum for “samsung killed sd card” in all the forums for each device and see what you come up with. My S3 ate Sandisk, Kingston, Samsung and a local manufacturer here in australia…its a problem….samsung know its a problem but dont know how to fix it!

    2. It is a known issue and it not Samsung’s fault it is Google’s. The Android program mediaserver is buggy and when it tries to catalog a MP3 library of any complexity it corrupts the card. Put a .nomedia file in your music directory and use Poweramp

      1. its not the mp3 issue. they still play. i’ve lost thousands of images because all of a sudden the phone cant read the memory card. its a samsung problem mate

        1. Did you format exFAT or FAT32 …. on 4.1.2 exFAT is a mess. What kind of reader do you use with the card when transferring files to and from the PC. One read of a 64Gb microSD card in a older PC SDreader is a guaranteed corrupt. 64 GB cards are not back compatible with 32GB readers. See my thread:


          If that doesn’t work for you you have a duff card or phone

          1. mate i appreciate these comments and the link to the thread..but that is not the problem. there are MANY more people like me where this has happened. Its not a dodgy card…i’ve used different classes of different brands and they all fail after a period of time..samsung, sandisk, kingston, kogan. there is something with samsung that is eating memory cards. i’ve taken mine out and had no problems with the phone writing images to the internal storage for the past 4 months!

  25. after the s2, s3 and s4, i wont be changing my s4 for this one, i think ill wait for the nexus 6

    1. Orrrrrr the s5 prime

      1. Or the new HTC ONE due next month.

  26. Mo-to xxxxx. Looks a lot better now son!

  27. How is this better than the G2 or the G2 pro, for that matter? I think they may have left the door open for the likes of LG, and HTC.

    1. Well the SoC is faster, the camera is definitely a lot better, and it is waterproof. I’d definitely pick the S5 over the G2 if I could pick right now, but the Z2 imho beats them both.

      1. But at that point you still own a Sony phone lol

    2. The 5.9″ display of the G Pro 2 would be wonderful but it would probably be unpocketable for me. I think I might get the Note 3 or G2 after my S3 that I have now.

  28. Touchwiz is a horrible, lagfest-ridden UI. Samsung will keep producing, though, because consumers keep voting with their wallets. Don’t listen to sales reps folks! Try the other, and better, devices in the store.

    1. I have used plenty of different roms. And my favorite is miui. But I got my s4 and if I can’t get miui on it I don’t want anything else. Vanilla android lacks soooooo much. I would sacrifice a little slower phone for more features any day. Just like I bought my Audi (05) instead of a 2013 Honda. Better features is more important in my opinion

  29. So a substantial increase in footprint, yet marginal increases in battery capacity and screen size? I’d stick with the S4.

    1. No headphone amp, no stereo speakers, no improvement in display quality (pretty darn good, but worse than the S4 due to smaller pixel density), no huge 3000mAh+ battery like the G2 and Z2. Useless heart rate sensor (they should have put all of the sensors in a band like the Gear Fit, though a version without the display, and included it in the core package, and then allowed people to upgrade to the version with a display).

      1. Samsung should be coming out with another s5 which is why is only a slight upgrade. Should be called the prime with qhd screen and all metal body.

  30. once i used “the Google experience”, not an AOKP, I feel like i can never purchase anything but a nexus. Pure Android is it is meant to be!!!!!!!

    1. Open-source ftw. Wish Samsung and the other manufacturers could see the benefit of working together in improving the core android experience, and add their own in the form of apps instead of new frameworks.

    2. if only phones running pure android had decent cameras

  31. I will keep my samsung galaxy s4.
    The galaxy s5 is a big DISAPPOINTMENT for me.
    Samsung has let me down big time!
    I will wait to the samsung galaxy note4. Untill than, i will keep enjoy withe my great galaxy s4 with the spigen neo hybrid case and with ZAGG screen protector until my next upgrade that will not be galaxy s5.
    I will save my moneny to a much better device.
    Thank you all.
    Meir cohen

  32. Camera on lockscreen is copied from nexus devices!

    1. I hate Samsung as much as the next guy, but isn’t an experience closer to AOSP exactly what we want?

  33. GS4 also has 32GB storage option…

    1. And I think this is a plenty worthy followup. That’s an amazing CPU. This will probably be the fastest smartphone for a while. What were people expecting? 8 cores and a 4k display? Plus… this thing is water resistant. If I didn’t just get an S4, I’d be getting this thing.

  34. I’m sorry this just feels like a slight bump in a few areas. It seems all they want to do is push, push, push new products out. All it does is flood the market with the same phone with slight differences. I would rather wait longer and get some real advances and some cool new tech. The longer the technicians, designers, R&D, etc. have the better the phone will be. Stop rehashing and make a phone that changes the game. Like the original Galaxy series and the original Note. Be inspiring, innovative, and a little daring Samsung. A little risk might go a long way. I love Samsung and have owned 5 Galaxy/ Note phones. I have loved them all, I just want to see more out of my favorite electronics company.

  35. Waterproofing
    650mbps boost download
    24 hours battery life when in battery saving mode when battery at 10%
    Much faster charging with USB 3 port

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