Smartphone supertest: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One (M8) vs Sony Xperia Z2 vs LG G3

3. Samsung Galaxy S5

Galaxy smartphones are known for going big. Big screens, big specs, big tricks and, of course, big sales. But the small stuff can be just as exciting and the S5’s only halfway there.

Samsung’s still enamoured by its Galaxy design DNA: lightweight, durable and now waterproof – it makes a lot of sense. But with a big handprint, ‘modern glam’ back panel and poor size-to-screen ratio, it’s still not beautiful.

Features rule, with a swappable battery, microSD storage, the ability to run two apps side by side and even a heart-rate sensor round the back. It’s not 2K but the 5.1in Super AMOLED screen is the best we’ve seen on a Samsung phone. Plus there’s a superb ad-hoc 16MP snapper with fast autofocus and 4K video – just in case you thought Samsung had gone soft on specs.

That TouchWiz lag is almost gone for good – a few stutters using its My Magazine Flipboard app were all we could force – and battery life is on the longer-lasting end of the Androids That Last A Day spectrum.

If the tweaked build and cleaned-up user interface are anything to go by, Samsung is taking design, inside and out, seriously. There’s more work to do but it’s a mighty close call and Samsung fans won’t be disappointed here.

READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy S5 - the full review

More after the break...

The detail

Design: 8/10
This is a big, wide phone but the new textured polycarbonate makes it nice and grippy. It’s a mere 15g heavier than the S4 and is also more solidly built. We’re not saying “go metal or go home” but a redesign is long overdue.

Screen: 9/10
One advantage the S5 has over its rivals is how easy its screen is to read outdoors. When watching small-screen flicks, blacks look incredibly inky – but the HTC and Sony bring out more detail and there is a slight blue tinge.

Camera: 9/10
Zooming in on landscape shots? Use the S5. Your mate’s face in a dimly lit restaurant? Reach for the HTC or Sony. Elsewhere, the HDR mode is one of the best we’ve used and we like the simplified camera app.

OS and apps: 9/10
Still a little overwhelming, the latest version of TouchWiz sees Samsung trying to edit its gazillions of features. There are cool additions such as S Health and Smart Switch, which imports iOS data if you’re switching from an iPhone.

READ MORE: 8 of the best apps for the Samsung Galaxy S5

READ MORE: The best cases, headphones and accessories for the Samsung Galaxy S5

Comments

 One of the things that's being overlooked about the M8 is it's camera. While in stock form I must admit  it's a mess for outdoor landscapes but If you're willing to root you're phone & install Jishnu Sur's HTC One Cam V3.zip mod it corrects most of it's  shortcomings.  it however doesn't stop there. For even more camra awsomeness, a trip over to Google play to pick up a litle app called  Camera FV-5 will have you churning out 4.5 MB Raw .PNG files that will bitch slap every one of it's rivals in their stock form.  The ultra pixel Camra HTC hyped up  is actualy there. You just have to do a little digging to bring it out. And lets also not forget the sound. as is it's awsome. By simply rooting the phone and flashing the rom you get  a choice of either Beats audio (which I prefer) or the Htc one Harman Kardon presets. 

Most will likely go for the Harman Kardon presets but as a true audiofile I can tell you first hand that while not as spacious sounding (I feel Harman Kardon over did it with the brightness) Beats audio introduces a warm, rich, ampli spacious quality sound with Bass the likes I have never heard coming from such a small device.

Another one of the HTC's strong points are it's actual data thruput speeds. whether it be with wi-fi or 4G LTE.  The phone is one of the fastest out there.

So the bottom line is, If you like to root your device you may want to go for the M8 & if done right your images won't be pixelated and you also wont have a problem with its dynamic range.

The M8  Rooted  is just beautifully awesome.

I've personally gone for the LG G3 after reading this review, listening to some advice off friends and then finally being recommended it when i went into a store. personally i love it does everything i want it to, having been an iPhone user since the originals launch i'm loving the freedom the android OS is giving me and the Luxurys of a removable battery and a huge amount of screen space!

That being said i've found the screen to be a bit of a curse. the battery on the phone seems to last a lot longer than that of my old iPhone 5 when it's sitting in my pocket but the minute you turn on that screen it's one huge power drain, so you really need that option of removable batteries.

I also found today when i was out on a sunny walk and was wanting to turn up the brightness on the screen so i could see it in the bright light i was told that i couldn't turn it up any higher because of the temerature of the screen.

...All this being said, still love the phone and would recommend it to people, but that screens a bit of a double edged sword.

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