Camera

16 megapixels, large sensor, phase detection autofocus – it's a treasure trove for smartphone camera enthusiasts.

Samsung's phone cameras are usually among the very best ones available, and we have every reason to think that the one in the Galaxy S5 would further cement this position. Equipped with a new, 16 MP camera with a relatively large, 1 / 2.6” sensor (native aspect ratio is 16:9), and an aperture of F2.2, this already shapes up as a rather formidable camera module! The individual pixel size of the shooter is 1.12 micron, suggesting that digital noise should be kept at reasonable levels.

The Samsung Galaxy S5's camera application has, thankfully, been reworked, and is now much more streamlined than the one that came with the Galaxy S4. Most importantly, there's a nice grid options menu where users can easily see most of the camera settings at a glance. And, as you can expect from a Samsung camera, there's a plethora of different options and settings, including ISO, effects, metering, white balance, timer, HDR, stabilization, and more. The camera modes menu has been greatly simplified, with some modes being sent to the main options grid, while others being moved under the “Shot & more” shooting mode. The latter lets you take an image, and then apply a certain effect, such as Best face, Best photo, or Drama shot. A new shooting mode in the Samsung Galaxy S5 is Virtual tour, which allows you to create “virtual tour experiences”, similar to Street View in Google Maps. It's a rather cool feature, though, it naturally takes a bit of time to create a Virtual tour experience.

There's also an interesting new shooting mode, Selective Focus, which lets you change the in-focus object in a photo after taking it. Basically, in this mode, the handset takes a number of images with different focus, and then you get to choose which one you want to see – with the foreground object being in focus, or with the focus being on the background.

So, what about the actual quality? Is this 16 MP snapper any good? Of course – it's an excellent camera! The images produced by it have a wonderful detail level – everything looks exceptionally sharp and fine when viewing the images from a zoomed-out view. Viewing them in actual size reveals some areas where pixels kind of blend together, but why would you need to view 16 MP photos in actual size... Colors are more than realistic – neither too warm, nor too cold. The fact is that if you're looking at a photo taken with the Samsung Galaxy S5, chances are that the things in that photo have looked exactly the same way in real life, at the time when the picture was taken. The handset also seems to be doing a very good job with exposure – we noticed that it made the more preferable decision in some tricky situations, even if that meant cranking up the exposure in a very dark room, just so that we can actually see what's been there in that room, despite all the noise.

We can't help but commend Samsung for designing this camera so that it can focus object that are extremely close to the sensor. Well, it does, and this enables you to produce some truly breathtaking macro shots. As an added benefit, should you focus on something that's very close to the camera, everything that's in the background gets nicely blurred, achieving a nice depth-of-field effect that is almost as intense as that produced by the Duo camera of the HTC One (M8).

Recorded 1080p video looks pretty decent, though it doesn't blow us away. Details and colors are fine, but you can really feel the lack of optical stabilization, as the image is quite jerky. The GS5 also lets you record 4K video, which naturally has better resolution, but all in all there's nothing to write home about in this respect. It's just a fine camcorder.





Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 2.5
3
300
243
Samsung Galaxy S4 3.4
4.75
1016
486
HTC One (M8) 2.3
No data
444
363
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 2.7
No data
494
353
Sony Xperia Z1 3.2
No data
558
490
LG G2 4
6.5
395
377
Google Nexus 5 3.5
4
406
347





Multimedia

One of the very best multimedia experiences you can get in a ~5” form-factor

The music player of the Galaxy S5 is fresh and inviting, just as most of the other apps on the device. It can filter your musical content in a variety of way, including folders, which is always welcome. In addition, you can use it to access content on other Samsung devices, using your Samsung account.

The GS5's player comes with the mandatory set of sound-enhancing tools, such as SoundAlive, audio effects, Adapt Sound, and Smart Volume. The sound coming through the speaker is very powerful and actually pretty deep (for a phone speaker). Literally the whole handset starts to vibrate when playing some more dynamic music! Sadly, the earphones that come in the retail box aren't as impressive, as they tend to deliver a mostly flat, lifeless sound.


Naturally, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a true multimedia powerhouse – you can play each and every media file type that you can think of, and even if you do come across an unplayable file, you should be able to easily fix this by installing a compatible third-party app. As you can imagine, the 5.1” Super AMOLED display is perfect for enjoying video or games – the contrasty visuals, as well as the extremely vivid colors make content appear quite fancy and eye-pleasing. Add the great viewing angles to the mix, as well as the fact that there aren't any on-screen buttons to take up precious space (very important for gaming), and you actually have on of the very best, if not the best phone in the ~5” category when it comes to audio-visual entertainment.

Creative individuals will be able to take advantage of some built-in media-editing features in the Galaxy S5, in order to enhance their photos, or create fancy video highlights. The Galaxy S5 sports a full-fledged photo editor, as well as an option allowing you to compose a nice photo-collage.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 0.43
Samsung Galaxy S4 0.38
HTC One (M8) 1.28
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 0.43
Sony Xperia Z1 0.29
LG G2 0.29
Google Nexus 5 0.36
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 81
Samsung Galaxy S4 77
HTC One (M8) 75.2
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 76
Sony Xperia Z1 68
LG G2 66
Google Nexus 5 71


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137 Comments

1. abdane

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

The S5 gets 9.1 and the M8 gets 8.8 ? M8 > S5

2. jellmoo

Posts: 2541; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Gotta agree with PA on this one. The better camera, ergonomics and use of space but the S5 ahead of the M8.

53. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

80. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Plus the phone is Water/Dust proof, something the HTC One (M8) can't say...

138. TeritorialDemon

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

Highly over rated device. Had the S5 for about a week before returning it and glad I went with the M8. S5 had a little bit of lag, the screen really isn't better than the M8 IMHO, Touchwiz just seems a bit too much. For the S5 to have the specs that it does, which on paper is great, the over all real world test and experience is really a shame when compared to the M8. The S5 does have a good camera but the M8 camera is more than enough. If I wanted a best of the best camera then I would buy an actual camera. The specs of the S5 made me think that Samsung actually had something here, but nope. They need those specs to run the phone and even with those specs the phone still lags. The M8 is a to the point Sense with great options.

5. rkoforever90

Posts: 417; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

atleast an 8mp ultra pixel camera should have gotten htc an 9.5/10

42. Droiderr

Posts: 35; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

If u are not aware.. ultrapixel was one of the biggest fails of 2013. I would not count on it.

10. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

8.8 is pretty high score for a 4mp ultragimmickpixel camera lol

56. Onami

Posts: 16; Member since: Mar 29, 2014

8.8 for metal uni-body, new sense, balanced display, boomsound, great battery life... if M8 had a better camera, it cound win S5 IMHO. BTW I dont like both of them design, I prefer Z2 ...

103. RuiBacelar

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

Yes, the only flaw on M8 it's the camera, again...but a bigger bat and water and dust prof would make the M8 a total killer!

121. cdwjustin

Posts: 28; Member since: Sep 18, 2013

and if a pig had wings it could fly

143. mcflu

Posts: 9; Member since: Jun 12, 2015

Penguins have wings....

15. iushnt

Posts: 3083; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

M8 doesn't even deserve 8.8 if it was me

24. true1984

Posts: 864; Member since: May 23, 2012

meh, why do you care? does iteffect how you see the m8?

51. lamnpt

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

M8 sponsors less than s5. Simple

113. walnuttt

Posts: 153; Member since: Apr 11, 2014

still S5 wins over the useless M8 with gimmicky dual camera.

120. AnukulVcool unregistered

camera on galaxy s5 kills the poor camera on htc one m8

123. crazzyd77

Posts: 36; Member since: May 07, 2014

Agreed.

126. sanopa

Posts: 2; Member since: May 16, 2014

Its all about marketing budgets and who pays more. I have the S5 right now and hate it. I wish I had never got rid of my Nexus 5. It had far better performance and battery life.

127. kbreeze415

Posts: 24; Member since: Jul 21, 2012

You must have a faulty one as far as battery life is concerned. The nexus 5 battery is terrible.

128. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

The nexus 5 battery life is really good given the specifics of the phone. You must have some bad apps installed or something constantly trying to fetch location or even a weak cellular network connection. Are you using location reporting/services? What colors are present under battery stats for "mobile network signal?" The battery should last all day no problem unless you spend your entire day streaming videos and music.

3. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Samsung FTW

4. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Man when is PA going to understand. Nobody gives a F to color accuracy. Its the most practical display.

20. vincelongman

Posts: 5653; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Also if you want color accuracy, just change it to Cinema Mode, according to DisplayMate and AnandTech its just as accurate as LCDs now

101. almostdone

Posts: 426; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

S5 vs M8 Screenhttp://www.trustedreviews.com/samsung-galaxy-s5_Mobile-Phone_photos_76 "Although the S5 screen looks blown out, this is the fault of the camera (/photographer). The real points to note are the S5's faultless black levels and the masses of extra shadow detail. Just look at how much clearer the bushes in the window are compared to the HTC One M8."

104. RuiBacelar

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

Amen my friend

6. cheeseycheeser

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 24, 2011

Seeing the M8 and S5 in person, the M8 was a major throwback to my thunderbolt. It photographs fairly well, but was overall disappointing. The S5 is nice in person and a very, very well balanced offering.

7. ysk79

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

besides camera, HTC One 8 is better than S5. Looks like its the most important feature when it comes to scoring by PA

14. jellmoo

Posts: 2541; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Could you explain why? What about the M8 makes it objectively *better*?

26. pocketbook

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Of course he can't explain it, blanket statements are everywhere.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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