Samsung Galaxy S5 review

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

Editor's Choice
  • 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 - 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

Transform the operator experience with enhanced automation & analytics

Bring networking into the digital era

Download now

Artificially intelligent data centres

How the C-Suite is embracing continuous change to drive value

Download now

Deliver secure automated multicloud for containers with Red Hat and Juniper

Learn how to get started with the multicloud enabler from Red Hat and Juniper

Download now

Get the best out of your workforce

7 steps to unleashing their true potential with robotic process automation

Download now

Most Popular

Microsoft Windows

This exploit could give users free Windows 7 updates beyond 2020

9 Dec 2019

Patch issued for critical Windows bug

11 Dec 2019
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft, not Amazon, is going to win the cloud wars

30 Nov 2019
big data

Google reveals UK’s most searched for terms in 2019

11 Dec 2019