back to article Samsung Galaxy S5 in El Reg's claws: This time the 'S' is for 'sensible'

When Samsung launched the Galaxy S4, its features made little sense. That the handset could respond to your fingertips gesturing a mere millimetre or two above its screen surface was cute, but hardly a game-changer. Ditto the phone's ability to track your eyeballs in order to scroll pages. All that fuss about fitness was also …


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  1. Captain Save-a-ho


    "It's not a cheap marvel: the Australian price of $AUD929 translates to $US829 or £517." "'ll be hard to resist."

    I suspect it will be quite easy to resist. My three-year-old Galaxy Nexus does everything I want and the battery lasts two days if I dim the screen as much as possible (20% left at the very end of an arduous day on the default settings). As once was noted, "There's a sucker born every minute," and I doubt the S5 will go completely unsold. Still, +500 quid is just idiotic for any PHONE. Not a laptop mind you, but just a bloody phone. Pfft.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Re: Huh?

      Every bloody time...

      Dude, inverse snobbery ain't attractive. The Nexus is a very nice phone. The Galaxy S5 is also a very nice phone. The latter offers rather more than the former. Make your own mind up as to which offers what you want at a price you are willing to pay. Do not presume to make those decisions for other people.

      Personally, I will be getting an S5 - IP67 and decent thought being given to the ergonomics of how a phone is held is worth a huge amout to me, and a removal battery and expandable storage is worth some more. Enough so that I'll happily pay the monthly premium to get hold of one, hugely though I like the value of the Nexus range.


    2. foo_bar_baz

      Re: Huh?

      It's what new top of the range "pocket computer fashion accessories with telephony" have been priced for the last ten years. Your Galaxy One cost £475 - £515 when it came out.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Huh?

        My Note 3 cost me £425 at launch. runs for 3 days on a single charge if used normally, 1.5 days if I hammer it, does everything I want it to. My galaxy S2 has been relegated to "kids phone" (FFS kids having a galaxy S2!) mainly because it has been rooted, firmware changed and has enough adblocking, firewalling and site blocking to ensure they cant get to a host of pages I dont want them too.

        For the S5 to cost more for essentially ip67 I cannot see how they are justifying the cost over a note 3. If you need less then get a note 2, they can be picked up for less than £300 now.

        1. Irongut Silver badge

          Re: Huh?

          And will your Note 3 fit comfortably into my trouser pocket? With that 5.7" screen I doubt it. Since I don't carry a man bag that makes it completely useless to me. The S5 however will be a nice upgrade to my S3 in 6 months or so when my contract runs out.

          1. Professor Clifton Shallot

            "And will your Note 3 fit comfortably into my trouser pocket?"

            If it helps my Galaxy Note is fine in a pair of Levi's 501s but slightly uncomfortable (more from a vague sense of apprehension about its survivability than any actual nutcracking) in a pair of 511s.

            Other trousers are available.

          2. phr0g

            Re: Huh?

            Never understood this argument. I have my private Note 2 and my works iPhone 5 in the same pocket.

            Do you wear leggings?

        2. Peter 48

          Re: Huh?

          How on earth did you manage to find a note 3 at launch for £425? I searched high and low for one and the cheapest I found from a legitimate source was £595 at launch. Even now it will cost you at least £420 incl vat

  2. Len Goddard

    But it's waterproof

    "A small quibble: my neatly-trimmed fingernails struggled to open the protective cover, especially after the sandy sojourn when some grains occupied the prising-open niche."

    So, go dunk it in the ocean to wash the sand off!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But it's waterproof

      I don't think it is possible to have an easily removable cover and be truly waterproof at the same time. But I don't get why people worry about how easy it is to remove the cover anyway. I used to have phones with a removable cover, which I only did once or twice ever - and regretted it on my KRZR as the back never snapped into place quite securely after I removed it, so it came off every time I dropped the phone or looked at it cross eyed...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But it's waterproof

        I had a Siemens once, about fifteen years ago. If I were to put it down a bit too hard --not even throwing it, just putting it on the table-- the SIM card would dislodge or something. You wouldn't know it unless, several hours later, looking at the bloody thing you'd see there's no reception.

        I took that backcover off several times a day, every day. Kept a ten cent coin in my pocket just to open the hatch. Got a Nokia after that, no complaints.

        1. PeterM42

          Re: But it's waterproof

          And the moral is - Don't buy Siemens - never seen a decent bit of IT kit from them, and the phones are cr@p.

          'S'pose their trains are quite good.

  3. Michael Langner

    So... They incorporated even more features the old Sony phones had, and used the same partially-sealed waterproofing as the old Sony V...

    Eeeeh innovation, where?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waterproof, yet vulnerable to moisture.

    It's sad that manufacturers still are unable to make electronic gadgets that are fit for the world we live in. It's nice that the phone can take a splash. It's not so nice that it can't cope with temperature-changes and condensation. We need phones that either have a vacuum inside (nothing to condense) or electronic components that are sealed. Manufactures still claim that warranty is void when a phone, waterproof or not, has been exposed to moisture. That tells us that their products are rubbish.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Waterproof, yet vulnerable to moisture.

      "It's sad that manufacturers still are unable to make electronic gadgets that are fit for the world we live in"

      I have a "bought at launch" galaxy S2 that has been used as a kids teething toy, taken an excursion into the bath (battery pull immedialy followed by a night in the airing cupboard), dropped more times than I care to remember, has a crack neatly starting at the power button and traversing right round to the volume down button (smeared epoxy under the battery to add a bit of bracing), paint has gone from the sides completely (nice looking silver underneath the 2 coats of paint, in fact a dab of nitromors might be a "mod" to perform). It has played music on the beach in menorca, taken pictures in the rain at festivals, video'd on rollercoasters and generally been everywhere in my pocket. I must admit that I did put it in an aqualock bag when it was used as a satnav clamped on my motorbike but it was certainly subjected to being cold. Now my kids use it as a media device.

      Still ticking and the screen is flawless - not a single scratch (the home button is scratched and a little warped)- by far the best phone I have ever had, build quality is exceptional. The only thing I have changed is the battery (some nooname chinese 2500mah from ebay).

  5. Chris Gray 1

    USB port cover only

    @ DougS: My reading of the article is that the cover in question is one over the USB port - not the back cover of the phone itself.

    The only time I took the back cover off my S4 is when I put the SD card in. I plug in the charger cable quite a bit more often than that. Sounds like S5 owners would want to try to get the wireless charging stuff - article doesn't mention that. As far as I've seen, I would have to insert some non-standard stuff (receiver coil) beside the battery to make it work for my S4.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Re: USB port cover only

      Samsung will be selling an official replacement back for wireless charging, I read. Probably worth the extra money in this case, to retain the IP67 rating.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh Gawd

        Are the phone manufacturers still selling phones that don't charge wirelessly, out of the box?

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Oh Gawd

          car manufacturers also sell cars without spare tyres.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Oh Gawd

            If I want wireless charging, I'll buy a phone with wireless charging built in. Mine's the one with Nexus 5 written on it.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Oh Gawd

          The hint is that you can't buy a phone that has BOTH Qi charging AND a removeable battery at the same time. Reason being the QI coil has to be near the back to be effective and needs a decent amount of surface area: enough that fixing it in place would block battery placement. Even now, all the Qi chargers for S4 and up have to be placed ON TOP of the battery, requiring them to be removeable. That makes for some fiddly stuff, so save them for people who know what's involved.

          1. Peter 48

            Re: Oh Gawd

            There is nothing fiddly about it. I purchased an aftermarket qi coil for my note 3 and it simply gets stuck on the battery with the contacts lining up with the 3 contacts on the back of the phone. Works without issues, only cost a few quid and barely bulges the existing cover.

  6. JDX Gold badge

    Fitness Fad

    This whole thing for fitness functionality seems to ignore the fact most of the Western world is fat and lazy (myself included)

    Or are such features akin to gyms offering cheap deals in January for 12-month memberships, knowing it makes them money but will never be used?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fitness Fad

      "Or are such features akin to gyms offering cheap deals in January for 12-month memberships, knowing it makes them money but will never be used?"

      Broadly speaking yes. A committee will have sat down and been bored through a Powerpoint presentation on many global meta-trends, one or two of which will be "ageing fat white people", albeit under a hip and reasonably polite scenario name, like "Silver sloths".

      Since interfering halfwit politicians will try and interfere if makers really offered what this market wanted, it probably isn't acceptable to offer discount deals with McDonalds (1) nor to offer free Alzheimer's Help Apps (2). And in marketing terms you might find too many in the target market believe themselves to be lithe fitness-freaks-in-waiting, and therefore to be put off by the straplines suggested below. The next best thing is therefore to appeal to lost youth and fitness, and the human inclination to put off till tomorrow what could be done today, foolishly believing that the same thinking will not apply tomorrow. Hence dubiously reliable blood pressure monitoring, fitness apps and training schedules.

      1) "20% off when you supersize your meal and pay using Samsung NFC, and auto delete any salad options!"

      2) "Press the big button in the middle of the screen (marked "press me") to be reminded who you are, where you live, and what medication you forgot to take today!"

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Now with an even bigger range of data slurping un uninstallable apps?

    I know, you can't find that out from 1/2 of play.

    But they do have form for that.

  8. Cuddles Silver badge

    Low-power GPS?

    "low-power GPS chips meant regular runners and cyclists could use apps like Strava and MapMyRun for more than an hour at a time."

    You mean unlike every phone with GPS I've ever had, including a Galaxy S2, which can happily run said apps for a whole day with battery to spare at the end? Reducing power use is always going to be a good thing, but when you're publishing product reviews it's generally best to describe how things actually are rather than making ridiculous exaggerations.

    Re: Fitness Fad

    Rather than ignoring that lots of people are lazy, maybe that's the whole point and they're trying to encourage people to be more active. If you can make exercise easier and/or more interesting, people will do it more.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NFC Card Support

    Just for the record, last I checked, Host Card Emulation, which lets Google Wallet act like your favorite credit card without the need for a Secure Element or carrier support, is part of the Android 4.4.2 update, which is available now for the S4. I cannot vouch for the general case, but it seems to work just dandy for me.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: NFC Card Support

      Not if you're in the UK apparently. Specifically not on the Nexus 5.

  11. darklord

    brittle screen

    Have the fixed the brittle glass. which failed on my wifes S4 after she put a plastic container of salad on it by accident!!!!!!!

    1. Guus Leeuw

      Re: brittle screen

      Dear Sir,

      hopefully the wife did not conclude that salad was too heavy to eat.....



  12. envmod


    just want to say the "just a phone" argument annoys me every time I see it. it's not just a phone is it. it's a small pocket computer that does a whole host of things outside making phone calls. were this device only to have the ability to phone people up and cost £500+ then yes, it would be vastly overpriced. as it (and any other smartphone)does an awful lot more than that though, you're argument just makes you sound either ignorant or simply trying to argue for arguments sake...which makes youlook like an idiot.

  13. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Swipe less heavily

    "Have you ever seen someone say they're desperate for a phone they can swipe less heavily?"
    While waiting in the snow waiting for a bus, being able to use gloves with a phone is a real bonus. The phone already cost an arm and a leg; I don't want to lose my fingers to frostbite too!

    Oh and the after-market cover that has a window in it is very useful (although a bit over-priced). It gives you wireless charging, and with the cover shut you can still access a limited set of functions because the touch screen works through the ~1.5mm glass window.

    And don't know about the S4 or S5, but the gestures on the Note 3 are not 2mm above the screen. It's more like if it's on the desk sleeping, and you wave your hand about 6" - 18" over the top of it, it wakes up enough to display a brief status (missed calls, messages, etc.). All in all not unuseful (although it doesn't work with the aforementioned cover shut).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Questionable opinions

    I constantly find most recent reviews of Samsung phones utter tripe as they constantly focus on ridiculous points, which can be sensationalized, but fail to discuss the pertinent ones.

    Most recent reviews of the latest Samsung phones utterly dismiss the points of mediocre, mostly plastic build quality while the competition goes more and more metal-upmarket AND the incredibly underperforming display with poor color accuracy, too high color native color temperature & low brightness output as compared to both the HTC and Apple competitors (a triple display failure that is completely glossed over). The two biggest things in a handheld device - feel and sight - get completely blown over time and time again!

    But let's focus on the low power GPS chips, a graphics benchmark that at a ONE PERCENT advantage over its competitor allows the claim "catapults itself to the top of the smartphone gaming heap" (direct quote from C/net), 441 ppi where the eye can't resolve over 300 anyway, and fingerprint scanners.

    This week I went to look at the HTC One W7 and the Samsung S4 and there is no comparison - the Samsung is a miserable device to actually hold and try to use in a bright environment. There is no question as to which one impressed me, and it WASN'T Brand 'S'. The Samsung needs a redesign, FAST. But as long as media reviewers fail to educate their consuming readers, I guess nothing will change.

  15. neillanwarne

    Giant reporters now?

    "The Galaxy Gear Neo smartwatch comfortably fitted on your heavy-set,

    189cm correspondent's wrist, but you probably don't want a watch much bigger than this"

    Read that as 189cm wrist. That's one hell of a cuff size ;)

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