Samsung S5 - Hype or Habit Forming?

You should know that I’ve been a happy enough iPhone user for many years. All of my work is on Apple products.

But, last year when I was given a Moto X to review I realized that Android was the mobile OS for me. It gave me more power, flexibility and customization than iOS ever would. Plus, I live in the clouds most days and Google is one of my masters since I use their apps for pretty much everything.

There was a single thing holding me from switching to an Android phone and that was one with a camera that could compete with an iPhone. It was the only thing I didn’t like on the Moto X (which is a great phone).

As a photographer, the camera on my phone is critical. On the road there are many times when my phone is the only camera I have with me so it has to perform.

People raved about the camera on the Samsung S4, but outside of playing with a few friend’s I had never had one for an extended period of time.

Earlier this year I was invited to join a Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers Network and one of the immediate perks was that I was given a Samsung S4 to review.

This was a couple of weeks before the Samsung S5 release, so while it would have been late for most people, it was perfect for me. Finally, I had a chance to see how I liked the phone and the camera.

galaxy-s5

I liked it so much that the morning the S5 hit shelves I went to the store and bought one for myself and left my iPhone behind.

Android isn’t for everyone, but I love it. Having instant access and syncing to all of my Big G apps is critical and such an improvement. Plus, I still have my iPad so I’ve got access to any iOS apps I need and all of my content I buy through iTunes. I can’t imagine giving up my iPad anytime soon. That is for damn sure.

The S5 camera does meet all my needs. While my preferred camera app Camera+ is not available on Android, after MUCH searching I finally discovered Camera Zoom FX which gives me the manual controls I need.

I’d love to see Samsung take some lessons from Nokia and really step up the manual controls directly in the phone. Nokia’s in-phone camera is the best I’ve seen out there at the moment when it comes to controls and performance.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase of the Samsung S5. It is light, quick and has a beautiful screen. Apps open quickly and over the month I’ve had it, I’ve only had one crash.

On the flip-side, it does feel like a LOT more hype than it was worth. I’m not sure I needed to go out and buy the S5 because the S4 I was given worked pretty much the same and there doesn’t seem to be that many upgrades.

I still haven’t gone on a trip yet with the phone and I’m worried when I do that it won’t go well because of the poor battery life. They’ve built in some great utilities to maximize battery life, but they are for those last hours when you don’t have enough juice to keep going. I want better battery life all the time. This is something it seems all phone manufacturers have not figured out yet.

While I love that I can pop off the back and put in a new battery if needed, I’m hoping someone makes a battery case for it soon. My go to Mophie doesn’t seem to make one and the brands I’ve heard about, don’t seem to have ones for the S5 yet.

There are also many quirks that I can’t seem to figure out.┬áThe biggest one is that sometimes my phone vibrates, like it should when a phone call comes in, but many times it sits there silently on my desk and I miss the call.

I also hate that Samsung decided on having a unique plug to charge the phone. In today’s world of too many chords this pissed me off on a whole new level. Yes, I know that Apple did this too and I’ve always hated that decision as well.

Oh, and don’t believe those silly commercials about the phone being waterproof. The little cover that prevents water from getting into the charging port broke off after only two weeks. Cheap plastic hinges never last long.

If you want a more detailed review, check out this one from my friend Ewan. He covers the tech specs more than I did here.

In the end I don’t regret my purchase, but I do believe I fell for some of the Samsung hype that they’ve been paying millions of dollars to generate.

Guess marketing still works?

 

 

 

  • Christy @quirkyfusion

    Nice balanced review, CC.

    • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

      Thank you.

  • lucrecer

    Awesome review,my friend. I have an S4, having upgraded from the S2 and I really don’t have much of a complaint about it. I have had an iPhone and what I miss the most is some of the apps. Outside of that, I live in the cloud like you do and I have many Samsung devices that work very well together (tablets, phones, cameras). I would love to see them make the case of the S series phones look and feel a little more substantial. I am not fond of the plastic casing at all. Camera is awesome and I have had some success with their manual controls for the camera. I’m so glad you joined me on the Android side. Now we can beam stuff to each other. Well, when we are in each other’s person. ;)

    • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

      You were one of the biggest reasons I even considered getting the phone.
      Seeing the photographs you were taking with it and talking to you about how happy you were with it influenced me in a big way.

      As a fellow Samsung Imagelogger, I am curious to see how well the phones play with the cameras. It was a perk I didn’t think about until after I bought the phone and I still haven’t done much with it yet.

      • lucrecer

        Beaming my images directly to my phone from the cameras is a huge selling point for me. When I show people this, they are blown away with how easy it is to move their images from one device to another.

  • http://www.bringbackdesire.com/ Ande Lyons

    Great review C.C…. I’ve been sitting on the decision between the Nokia and the S5 via Verizon platform… camera capability is key… along with ease of use and Google Apps. Thoughts? MUAH!

    • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

      As much as I love the camera on the Nokia, since it is owned by Microsoft it isn’t very friendly when it comes to playing nice with Google.

      Hopefully everyone will learn how to play nice together in the future, but right now if that is critical to you then don’t buy a Nokia phone.

      • http://www.bringbackdesire.com/ Ande Lyons

        Thanks C.C. – wishing you a wonderful weekend with your beautiful family!

      • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

        You too sweetie!

  • Kathy Drewien

    I upgraded from S3 to S5 and couldn’t be happier. The S5 ships with a custom charger which enables me to charge from my computer usb.This wasn’t possible with the S3. Additionally, I can use the S3 charger with the S5.

    • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

      That jump I can totally see.

  • geekbabe

    I really love the rapid charger, I can carry one cable & charge my Note 3 & my husband’s S5. As far as the Nokia goes, elegant device, terrific camera & camera apps. I’m quite Google dependent though so I agree with you on that score. Oh and the S5 is water resistant, lol, I dropped it into a bowl of soup by accident & it survived. :) Great review here!

    • http://www.cc-chapman.com/ C.C. Chapman

      Yeah I love the speed of it, but always like to keep my cables to a minimum when traveling and knowing that I have to bring one like this that only serves one device irks me.

      Glad to discover that I can charge with a regular USB cable though. Wish they told you that in the documentation. I only found out about it by reading a blog post.

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