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  • Samsung Galaxy S5 with Lollipop vs Galaxy S5 with KitKat: UI comparison

Samsung Galaxy S5 with Lollipop vs Galaxy S5 with KitKat: UI comparison

Samsung Galaxy S5 with Lollipop vs Galaxy S5 with KitKat: UI comparison

Guess what, we updated one of our Galaxy S5 champions with Lollipop! Well, we also have a backup one that is still running the TouchWiz variation of Android 4.4.4 KitKat on board. Curios as we are, we could hardly wait to put them toe-to-toe and check out what's changed and what's the same. That's right, it's time for a UI comparison!

Generally speaking, regardless of the OS version, the presence of TouchWiz is dominant. While Lollipop is almost a complete overhaul over KitKat, Samsung has only borrowed a few bits of Google's newest OS. Apart from the enhanced notification drawer, the Settings menu, and the overhauled Recent Apps switcher, we generally failed to notice any other stark differences. The bigger changes are the under-the-hood ones (mostly the default ART runtime, Project Volta, etc.), as Samsung has generally retained the same design language with just a few touches here or there.

We should also note that Lollipop running on our S5 felt a tad more snappier and less prone to lag. While KitKat showed a few hiccups here or there, its software successor surprised with its smooth performance. Yes, we were expecting the new firmware to fare better, and, boy, it didn't disappoint!

Without any more ado, let's explore the visual changes right below!

Notification drawer

Samsung has borrowed a lot from Lollipop as far the notification drawer is concerned. Your notifications are now listed as cards. The brightness slider has been merged with the toggles at the top, which further consolidates the looks of the drawer. Speaking of the toggles section, it now comes painted in a brighter and more vivid shade of blue. This might appeal to some, but we feel that it's less "contrasty" than the darker hue that is omnipresent across the KitKat variation of Galaxy S5's firmware. Also note that the drawer itself no longer sports a handle at its bottom, which further simplifies the looks. As a whole, the drawer now looks a little bit cleaner than before, and while it's still a bit overwhelming with information and buttons, it's a definite improvement over its KitKat counterpart.

Dialer, Contacts, Messaging

The white color that is widely-used as a background in many apps in Android 5.0 Lollipop is an AMOLED display's bête noire, but Samsung has decided that it should be used in its Lollipop build. That's why many of the system apps now come with a white background instead of darker one. A slew of default apps, namely the Dialer, Contacts, and Messaging, have been adorned with a Lollipop-y white background


Although the layout has retained mostly the same, the Settings app has also scored a white background. Alas! Apart from thisentirely visual change, the philosophy behind Samsung's tabbed interface has remained mostly the same. A pretty nice , yet somewhat hidden addition is the improved Running Apps tab in the Application Manager, which now provides you with a more advanced breakdown of your RAM, giving you a generally better understanding of what apps take up the most operational memory.

Battery consumption

The improved battery information menu that came along with Lollipop has landed on the TouchWiz variation of the OS. Galaxy S5 users will now know how long it will take to fully charge their device. When unplugged, on the other hand, it will show you an estimate of what battery life you'd be able to squeeze out of the juicer at the back. Nifty.

Recent Apps and active applications

Here it is, the overhauled Recent Apps menu that made a debut alongside Android Lollipop has been fully adopted by Samsung inside the brand new firmware for its flagship. The card-based carousel does not only show you all of your recent apps, but also all of your browser tabs, broken down to different swipable-cards.  Yes, it gets populated faster than its KitKat counterpart, which shows you separate apps only. Samsung has, luckily, not forgotten to throw in a "Close all" button in the recent apps menu of its Lollipop build for the S5, something that is not present in vanilla Android 5.0. You can still access your active apps from there, too.

Calculator and Clock

Both of these apps have also scored a little something something from Lollipop. The ones coming alongside Lollipop look cleaner, though both have also scored the white background.

Gallery and Video

Prepare yourself for yet another round of apps that have waved goodbye to the battery-friendly dark backgrounds and welcomed the trendy white ones. It might be a placebo effect, but the gallery in the Android 5.0 build feels a little bit faster than its KitKat predecessor, which is a a most welcome improvement.

Conclusion: Should you hold your breath for the Lolllipop update on your Galaxy S5?

Yes. Although it is not a big improvement over KitKat, the new Lollipop firmware for the Galaxy S5 is definitely worthy of your unprecedented attention. It's true that visually it's quite similar to the older TouchWiz, but the hidden improvements will surely breathe some new life in your slightly-dated Galaxy S5 and make it feel snappier. We are yet to test the new firmware more extensively, but or first look at the new firmware of the popular Galaxy S5 is definitely more than positive. 

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posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:22 8

1. shaineql (Posts: 421; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)

Looks awesome !
And with latest touchwizz optimizations it runs like nexus

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:26 5

4. ciprian.ruse (Posts: 311; Member since: 13 May 2014)

I can tell you for sure that it's no where near as smooth as a nexus. You need to test it for yourself. I have a Galaxy S5 with lollipop on it since a month a go and I also have my old Nexus 4 in the house.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:37 1

8. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

A ROM from a month ago? Official or unofficial?

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:41 2

10. ciprian.ruse (Posts: 311; Member since: 13 May 2014)

Poland BNL2 firmware and it wasn't released for OTA but it's on sammobile if you go to firmwares/G900F and you will see that was released on December so I flashed it via Odin then.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:25

14. iushnt (Posts: 2259; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)

Did u rese thet device after flashing ROM through Odin?

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:43

17. ciprian.ruse (Posts: 311; Member since: 13 May 2014)

Ofc... Clean install all the way.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 18:10

37. sachouba (Posts: 223; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)

BNL9 is waaaay faster than BNL2... You should test it.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 11:05

24. rd_nest (Posts: 1656; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)

Nexus 4? Yet to receive Lpop on my mobile. In any case not much interested considering issues with xposed.

posted on 27 Jan 2015, 15:21

48. remsammi (Posts: 12; Member since: 27 Jan 2015)

After I watched my friend's Nexus 5 stutter through scrolling Spotify and saw the Great AT&T Nexus Recall, I don't think I want my TouchWiz device to be "as smooth as" the Nexus beta devices. Heaven knows they aren't smooth.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 11:45 1

26. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (Posts: 995; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

I would say that Samsung has done a really good job as far as looks are concerned.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:23 6

2. ciprian.ruse (Posts: 311; Member since: 13 May 2014)

I'm on it since BNL2 firmware was out and I don't feel any difference in terms of smoothness. 5.0 BNL9 still weights 1.4 GB archived when you download it from sammobile and compared to HTC M8 firmware that weights 440 MB simply sais it all. Also the huge memory leak that is present in Lollipop until google releases 5.0.3 or whatever to fix it will get on your nerves because memory RAM is getting stressed and also the drawer redraws from time to time. This may be my last Samsung device if they don't skin down touchwzz and optimize stuff as it should be.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:26 10

3. shaineql (Posts: 421; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)

According to posts i have read on XDA by Senior developers , Samsung fixed memory leak in their 5.0 roms .

Also , 440mb is because HTC brings nothing new compared to Nexus.
Go Hard or Go home.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:29 4

5. ciprian.ruse (Posts: 311; Member since: 13 May 2014)

My user name on XDA is ciprianruse88 and if you search my profile you will see that I have almost 10K on the tanks meter and I can assure you that nothing is fixed. I have been running L on my S5 since a month a go and I see how it behaves.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:35 1

7. ciprian.ruse (Posts: 311; Member since: 13 May 2014)

Also there are custom ROM's in android development for Galaxy S5 that have around 500 MB after developers debloat them so that you can imagine how much bloatware stock firmware has. As for HTC saying that brings nothing to the table is not true and you should think two times before posting.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:39 2

9. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

It's actually true. HTC changed very little of their UI from KK to LP.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:28 1

15. iushnt (Posts: 2259; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)

I think u hate Samsung and prefer HTC..

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:48 2

18. hafini_27 (Posts: 898; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)

It is true that Samsung puts lots of unnecessary things running in the background on their phones. I watched a lots of speed test videos and even test them myself. They lack in multitasking power and slower than HTC Sony or LG's

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 11:47

27. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (Posts: 995; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

exactly. Also many of the features offered in various custom Rom`s are built into TouchWiz. Its just that it looked cartoonish and had memory issues. If all of that is fixed it would be awesome.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:30 2

6. antonioli (Posts: 200; Member since: 08 Sep 2013)

So, now the background is white. Cool...

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 09:50 2

11. greenelektron (Posts: 537; Member since: 10 Sep 2014)

If this ciprian guy is telling the truth, sammys ui still sucks.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:49 5

19. shaineql (Posts: 421; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)

Trust me he is not , i just installed note 3 lolipop leak and its runing as fast as nexus 5 , even faster , im selling my nexus as soon as i find buyer. No need for it anymore.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:57

20. Commentator (Posts: 3722; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Five dollars!

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 13:05

32. kalloud (Posts: 152; Member since: 21 Jun 2012)

Do you sell it for 100$ ?

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 11:04 1

23. rd_nest (Posts: 1656; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)

Very informative comment. Please keep sharing your highly valuable inputs.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:09 4

12. redmd (Posts: 1367; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

So hopefully the battery did not worsen with the white motif in tow.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 13:02 1

31. tahirk (Posts: 25; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)

Exactly, that's what I think. That much of whites on AMOLED, battery killer.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:19

13. bursahandphonesamsung (Posts: 16; Member since: 13 Jan 2015)

its cool hope the battery not getting hot...

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 10:40 1

16. jpkelly05 (Posts: 105; Member since: 13 Nov 2012)

I still think "What is cool, is up to the user!" It's your phone. Make it yours and do what you want. Don't get caught up on what a developer says between 2 manufacturers, and no offense is meant here. Dev's are awesome! But for some of us, not all, an unrooted POS Bloated device is all we need, with a lot of cool apps and launchers available. I have gone both routes (Rooted with ROM & Stock). Both work well. Dev's see a lot more of what a device can be or should be but for some stupid reason... manufactures just do crappy things to appease carriers (or it could be the carrier itself)... and some more than others.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 11:01 4

21. Cyberchum (Posts: 749; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

I wish that not just Samsung, but other android OEMs will add black background option alongside the mostly used white. That's where android with all its flexibility and customisability is lacking.

posted on 13 Jan 2015, 11:02 1

22. TA700 (Posts: 83; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)

I prefer KitKat's UI, hopefully someone would provide a theme for it when eventually I have to update for under the hood changes.

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