The Samsung Galaxy S5 is arguably one of the best iPhone alternatives for 2014 with a large screen, carrier support, new software features and refinements that polish the Android experience. Simply put the Samsung Galaxy S5 offers a collection of features that are exciting and worth a second look from iPhone owners, even those who haven’t considered an Android phone since they bought an iPhone 4s or iPhone 5.
In 2013 and into 2014 we are seeing iPhone users look at Android phones as Samsung and HTC led the charge to deliver a better user experience with faster updates, more accessories and better build quality. Google helped with new versions of Android that improve performance and usability. If you bought an iPhone in 2011 or 2012 after a bad experience with an Android smartphone, take a few minutes to look at the Galaxy S5. Android phones from 2011 and Android phones from 2014 don’t share many characteristics.
While iPhone owners are undoubtedly looking at the iPhone 6 which we expect later this year, as a new smartphone to buy in 2014 the Galaxy S5 is an option that shoppers should not pass over just because it doesn’t come from Apple.
Galaxy S5 Camera
The Samsung Galaxy S5 camera is one of the phone’s most impressive features thanks to the improved speed and the numerous modes and features that it offers. The Galaxy S5 features a 16MP sensor, but the biggest reasons to look at the Galaxy S5 are more than just megapixels.
The iPhone 5s camera uses an 8MP sensor and offers users just a few options like Auto HDR, Panorama, Square and Slow Motion video. There is no mistaking the iPhone’s ability to capture good-looking images and it’s popularity, but the Galaxy S5 offers more software features and modes that are typically found on a point-and-shoot or a DSLR.
Samsung delivers a much faster camera experience over the Galaxy S4 with faster auto focus which helps users take photos faster and capture better looking snapshots. in addition to this speed users can also see the benefit of HDR before pressing the shutter button, making it easier to compose a shot.
Samsung also adds a new Selective Focus mode that allows users to change the point of focus after taking the shot. This allows users to blur the background or foreground of a photo to make a more dramatic looking shot. There are also modes like Drama Shot which can show action in one photo and eraser mode which can remove an unwanted object from the scene.
There are many other modes as well as the ability to record 4k video that make the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera an attractive feature. Check out these Galaxy S5 sample photos.
The iPhone 5s arrived with a M7 chip that tracked steps and movement, but Samsung is going all in with health on the Galaxy S5. On the back of the Galaxy S5 is a pulse reader that allows users to take their pulse while using the Galaxy S5. There are apps that can use the iPhone 5s camera to do this, but that’s not all Samsung is offering.
The Galaxy S5 includes S Health, an app designed to track personal fitness from heart rate and steps to exercise, calories burned and more. Users can also buy the Gear Fit, a small fitness tracker that includes a pulse reader, fitness apps and can also show notifications from the Galaxy S5 on your wrist.
Add Storage and Replace the Battery
Samsung lets users add more memory to the Galaxy S5 and swap out a battery to keep going without finding a plug thanks to a removable back. The iPhone requires a battery case to get more power and for more storage users need a WiFi hard drive or a case with built-in storage.
The Mophie Space Pack is over $100 to add a battery and extra storage to the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. The Galaxy S5 accepts a Micro SD card that owners can buy for $20 to $30 on Amazon and a battery that we expect will retail for $40 to $50. These options are cheaper and don’t add bulk to the device.
Larger, HD Display
The Samsung Galaxy S5 arrives with a 5.1-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display, which offers a larger canvas for watching movies and playing games at a resolution matched by most HDTVs. The iPhone 5s only offers a 4-inch 1136 x 640 resolution display that is small by comparison.
Samsung also includes a feature that changes the display automatically to deliver a better looking picture based on the environment and activities. With the Galaxy S5 Samsung also includes new low brightness and super-high brightness options.
If you love to game and watch movies and TV on your phone, the Galaxy S5 may deliver a better overall experience for you.
Water Resistant & Dust Resistant
The iPhone and water do not mix, not even a little. If you drop the iPhone in the sink for 30 seconds it might be toast, and it certainly won’t last 30 minutes.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is water-resistant and dust resistant without being large and out of date like many heavy-duty smartphones. This is not a rugged smartphone, but it can survive 30 minutes in 1 meter of water. That makes it safe for the kitchen, bathroom and rain without a big, expensive case.
Samsung continually faces criticism for making plastic smartphone, and while the Galaxy S5 is not made of aluminum like the iPhone 5s it is much nicer to look at and to hold than the Samsung Galaxy S3 and other phones from two to three years ago.
The back of the Galaxy S5 is made of a better feeling plastic with a soft touch finish and dimples that make it easy to hold on to. The feel of the phone is more solid than the Galaxy S3, which flexed under pressure.
While there are certainly shoppers that would love to see a metal Galaxy S5, this is still a well-built smartphone.
Smart Battery Saving Technology
There are tips and tricks to get better iPhone 5s battery life, but Samsung is working to make sure the phone can help you without manually turning off a lot of features.
There are battery saving technologies from Lucid which helps deliver better battery life while gaming, browsing the web and using GPS. This can help deliver a two or three hours of additional battery life without asking users to change habits or limit use.
Samsung also includes Ultra Power Saver mode that turns the display black and white and limits running apps when you need the battery to last as long as possible.
Samsung matches the iPhone 5s with a new fingerprint reader built-in to the home button. Samsung’s solution requires a swipe over the home button, instead of sitting your finger on the home button like on the iPhone 5s.
While this is not something that beats the iPhone 5s, it is an important feature because it makes using security easier than a password or pattern. Samsung allows apps to access the scanner, something Apple doesn’t do. This allows users to use a finger to authenticate PayPal and to lock documents up with a Private Mode.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 includes Android 4.4.2 and NFC which means users can install Google Wallet and use the phone to make mobile payments by tapping on supported cash registers.
The iPhone only supports a similar option with a case, which is not an ideal way to make mobile payments. With the Galaxy S5 users can tap on a credit card reader at McDonald’s, some grocery stores and even vending machines to make payments.
If you have multiple credit cards you can carry them all in the Galaxy S5 and switch to the ones you want right before you pay.
The Galaxy S5 features a kids mode that lets parents put kids into a special are with pre-approved apps and access. When in this mode kids can’t delete parent’s apps and information. There is even an option to limit the time kids can play on the Galaxy S5.
The iPhone allows users to set some limits and make changes, but there is no one-tap to kids mode and then back to adult mode. If you share your phone with a kid, this could be a Galaxy S5 feature you use every day.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 runs Android 4.4.2 which means users can pick from many different keyboards to use across the entire phone. The iPhone 5s only offers a single keyboard option to users. There are apps that include their own keyboards, but iPhone owners can not pick a new keyboard to use for everything.
On Android, users can pick from Samsung, Google, SwiftKey and many others to use the perfect keyboard on their device, based on their preferences.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Release Date
The Samsung Galaxy S5 release date is set for April 11th in over 150 countries. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular have yet to confirm a specific release date, but they are planning to start selling the Galaxy S5 in April.
We expect to see a 16GB and 32GB Galaxy S5 on sale in the U.S., but the 16GB model may be the only one available in stores on the release date. We don't expect to see sell outs or long lines like an Apple launch, but we do anticipate carriers will make a big deal out of the day.
Galaxy S5 buyers can expect to see two color options, black and white, and many accessories available on the release day.