Function over form. The Samsung Galaxy S5 ($660, or $27.50/month) is America’s best-performing smartphone, bringing glorious voice quality, a superb camera, rapid performance, and a best shade we’ve seen on a handheld yet. It’s improved than final year’s Galaxy S4 in a garland of ways, many particularly in indeed sportive patience for a initial time in a while. Mainstream smartphone fans, people who like to roller a Web, and shutterbugs will disturb to this model, creation it one of a dual Editors’ Choices for T-Mobile smartphones.

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But that’s a thing—the Galaxy S5 doesn’t mount alone, and since it doesn’t mount alone is telling. Samsung simply can’t figure out reward design, during slightest from an American perspective. we spoke to a designers behind a S5, and they announced a cosmetic form to be “modern glam” with a “warmth and softness” (as good as a removable battery) that isn’t accessible on glass-and-metal phones. But reason a S5 subsequent to a other Editors’ Choice on T-Mobile, a HTC One (M8), and a S5 doesn’t feel like a costly one.

Physical Features
The Galaxy S5 still has an disturbed attribute with a possess materials. At 5.85 by 2.85 by .31 inches (HWD) and 5.1 ounces, it’s a vast phone, nonetheless that’s customary for a march nowadays. It’s all plastic. The behind is a stippled, textured faux-leather, borrowed from a Galaxy Note series, that is a vital step adult from a slick, fingerprint-collecting surrounding on a Galaxy S4. The behind comes in black, blue, gold, or white. The pattern is roughly ruined, in my mind, by a inexpensive chromed-plastic bezel. You’ll learn to live with it, nonetheless we didn’t learn to adore it. Near a top, a useful colored LED blinks blue when we have a new message. On a bottom, a vast micro USB 3.0 pier promises quick charging and quick information send in sell for wanting to be lonesome by a china cosmetic door. A earthy Home symbol with dedicated, light-up behind and multitasking buttons are a tiny some-more accessible than a quite practical buttons on a HTC One.

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The S5 is water-resistant and usually a bit rugged; it’s about as tough as final year’s Galaxy S4 Active. That means it’s hermetic opposite liquids and done from stretchable materials, so we don’t have to worry about removing it soppy or dropping it on a edge. You can still moment a screen, though, so a shade guardian would be useful.

Dr. Ray Soneira of DisplayMate Labs put it best: The Galaxy S5 has a best screen we’ve seen nonetheless on a smartphone. It’s brilliant, vibrant, and rarely customizable, appearing brighter and punchier than competing displays in roughly any circumstance. The pretence isn’t usually a 5.1-inch, 1080p Super AMOLED panel, nonetheless a row itself has improved tinge representation and a some-more even subpixel blueprint than a S4’s. It’s software. Samsung’s Professional Photo and Cinema Modes give picky viewers loyal whites, while Adapt Mode constantly alters a arrangement tinge for extent readability, and Super Dimming Mode creates a phone ocular in a dim yet floating out your eyes. Adapt Mode also deals unequivocally good with outward observation conditions; we had no problem reading anything on my S5’s shade by a week outward in Seoul.

The shade has a few other neat tricks, too: It works flattering good with styli, including regulating a tip of a graphite pencil on a shade as a stylus. While there was still a tiny bit of lag, a GS5 showed most improved pointing when drumming with a tiny stylus than other Android phones I’ve tried, solely for a Galaxy Note line.

Call Quality and Battery
The Galaxy S array have always been glorious voice phones and this model is no exception. The earpiece here gets unequivocally loud. If we need volume, you’ll be happy. The earpiece tinge can also be tuned to your specific conference profile, usually like on a Galaxy S4. Do that if calls sound a tiny muddy, that they competence on a default setting. Transmissions in normal call settings come by clearly. The phone cancelled travel and automobile sound unequivocally well, nonetheless some credentials gibberish from a Starbucks came by underneath my voice.

GS5 Inline

The single, small, back-ported speakerphone performs ideally adequately, nonetheless it’s nowhere nearby as transparent and absolute as a HTC One’s front-ported BoomSound speakers. Transmissions by a speakerphone mic, on a other hand, are glorious interjection to Samsung’s top-notch sound cancellation. we also had no problems with Bluetooth headsets.

Battery life looks unequivocally good. Because of SIM provisioning issues, we couldn’t finish a customary single-long-call test, nonetheless a 2,800mAh battery was still during 41 percent after 11 hours, 15 mins of calling. In a week’s value of use, it lasted out a day any time.

The new Ultra Power Saving mode delivers assent of mind: Kick it in when your battery is around 15 percent to extent a phone to calling, texting, Facebook,and Web browsing, and watch a phone news that it magically has some-more than a day’s value of standby time remaining. With a battery down to 2 percent, we managed to fist out several hours of standby, a few content messages, and even a brief phone call. That was magical.

Wi-Fi and LTE
The Galaxy S5 takes networking to a new level. Its Wi-Fi opening outdoes a HTC One significantly when 25-50 feet divided from an 802.11n router. At a 30-foot stretch from a router with a 30-Mbps-up-and-down tie in a tough environment, a HTC forsaken to 7-10Mbps nonetheless a Galaxy S5 confirmed 15-20Mbps. we saw a identical disproportion adult to about 75 feet, when they both forsaken off. That will make a critical disproportion when Web browsing.

Lousy Starbucks wireless connectors could be serve extended by Download Booster, a Samsung underline that combines Wi-Fi and LTE throughput when you’re downloading files incomparable than 30MB. I’m disturbed about this one, though, since it was infirm on my phone. Samsung insisted to me that it would be enabled with a firmware refurbish during launch, nonetheless this is usually a kind of thing a conduit could kill.

Otherwise, a S5 comes in 4 opposite conduit LTE versions. We tested a T-Mobile model, that facilities a carrier’s Wi-Fi calling. Radio-wise, a handsets all support several carriers’ highest-speed networks nonetheless won’t switch between U.S. carriers well. The non-T-Mobile models miss T-Mobile’s categorical 3G band; a ATT and Verizon models miss any other’s 700MHz LTE, and a Sprint indication won’t work on anyone else’s LTE network. So we need to buy a right indication for your conduit and hang with it, like with a HTC One nonetheless distinct with a carrier-flexible iPhone 5s.

Annoyingly, both a ATT and T-Mobile models miss LTE Band 12, that T-Mobile and some regional carriers are implementing during a finish of this year to urge farming coverage—so far, usually a HTC One has shown that rope on a spec sheet.

The phone comes with 16GB of memory, with 11.5GB accessible (slightly some-more than on a HTC One). There’s a microSD label container underneath a behind cover that took my 64GB label yet complaint.

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