Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Samsung's jack-of-all-trades returns with an improved display, waterproof case & biometric scanners

Editor's Choice
Price
£33
  • Excellent display; Good battery life; Waterproof/dustproof; Decent camera; Download booster; Wealth of premium subscription trials
  • The heart-rate monitor is unnecessary; Fingerprint scanner is inconsistent; Software features can be overwhelming

Samsung has introduced a fingerprint scanner and heart-rate monitor as the headline hardware features in a bid to provide a "wow" factor. Ironically, these are no-where near the best upgrades.

These are good ideas in theory but need immaculate execution to avoid being labelled as gimmicks. Apple proved fingerprint recognition takes the hassle out of password entry through it's Touch ID feature. You place your finger in a static position on the home button of the iPhone to register a print. Samsung has taken a different approach and has not been able to replicate the smooth and consistent user experience provide by its nemesis.

You can register up to three fingerprints on the S5 and this is a fiddly process. It requires eight swipes to register one finger, which isn't the problem. The reality is you'll end up doing more than a dozen swipes as you need a perfect connection.

The scanner is reminiscent to those you'd find on Windows laptop. You have to start your swipe on the screen and then continue downwards over the home button. If you don't catch the scanner dead-centre your print won't be recognised.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

It's almost impossible to register a swipe when holding the device in one hand as your thumb will be at an angle and you need to have it straight down. Get used to an error message asking you to swipe the device again when unlocking it.

This is a shame because Samsung has teamed up with PayPal to allow users to authorise payments with the scanner. But with the inconsistency, it's odd-on you'll turn the feature off.

The heart-rate monitor on the back is a curious inclusion. Located directly under the rear camera it reads your pulse via a finger. Despite Samsung promoting the health tracking features of the S5 - the heart-rate monitor is unnecessary. The location means the device is not able to track your pulse during exercise, the time during which the information is most beneficial.

Ironically, Samsung is selling its Gear Neo and Gear Fit smartwatches. These can provide up-to-the-minute heart rates and can sync up with the S5. But with those devices costing 200, they are a substantial expense.

A simple wristband accessory included in the box with the S5 would have been a better proposition, as it would have given users a taste of wearable devices and been more useful.

Featured Resources

2,000 days: the CIO's world in 2025

What the role of the CIO will look like in five years time

Download now

The workers' experience report

How technology can spark motivation, enhance productivity and strengthen security

Download now

6 best practices for escaping ransomware

A complete guide to tackling ransomware attacks

Download now

The IT roadmap from modernisation to innovation with consistent hybrid cloud

A guide to a modern, cloud-enabled IT infrastructure

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/354468/if-not-passwords-then-what
cyber security

If not passwords then what?

8 Jan 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/31772/gdpr-and-brexit-how-will-one-affect-the-other
Policy & legislation

GDPR and Brexit: How will one affect the other?

9 Jan 2020
Visit/web-browser/30394/what-is-http-error-503-and-how-do-you-fix-it
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020