With half a dozen flagship smartphones and even more budget models competing for your money, it’s easy to feel bewildered when shopping for a handset. Though there are many worthy options, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the best smartphone you can buy today, hands down. Whether you’re a high-tech geek like me or as tech unsavvy as my mom, there are many reasons why the Galaxy S5 is your best choice.
No matter how it looks, the first thing you notice about a phone is its screen. Let’s face it, even Sir Mix-a-Lot wouldn’t waste time drooling over a device’s backside. The Galaxy S5 sports the most brilliantly colorful display I’ve ever seen on a phone, with gorgeous, explosive reds and oranges, deeper blues and darker blacks than competitors like the iPhone 5s and HTC One M8.
The Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch, full HD screen is simply capable of showing more colors than others; it produced 158 percent of the sRGB color gamut in our testing, a lot more than the HTC One M8 (115 percent) and the iPhone 5s (98 percent).
The 5.1-inch, full HD screen is also one of the brightest on the market, which makes it easier to see in direct sunlight than the iPhone 5s, LG G3 or HTC One M8. Samsung’s Adapt Display technology adjusts the colors for optimum outdoor viewing and battery life.
Smartphone battery life is not about numbers; it’s about your freedom. With most phones, battery anxiety rules your life. I used to have an Android phone that would die by 3 p.m. if I was even using it a little bit.
You should be able to check Facebook, watch movies, take photos or even play games without worrying about running out of juice and limiting yourself. The AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 lasted for 9 hours and 42 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery test, during which it surfed the Web over 4G with its screen at 35 percent brightness.
In real life, even Internet addicts like me don’t use phones for 10 nonstop hours. The S5 will last all day long and then some. By comparison, the average smartphone craps out after 7.5 hours and the AT&T iPhone 5s gave up the ghost after only 6:46.
Unlike most other phones, which hermetically seal their backsides, the Galaxy S5 has a removable battery, which means you can carry a spare. If you’re willing to add a little weight and thickness, you can even buy an extended battery that will double this phone’s endurance. A high-capacity unit like the Hyperion 6,500 mAh battery pack can be had for just $40 and will likely let you go two days between charges. I’d live with some junk in the trunk for an extra day of juice, and Samsung gives me that option.
Like so many people, I use my smartphone as my main camera, capturing important moments such as my toddler’s first ride on a roller coaster or my cats curling up on my desk. You can trust the Galaxy S5 to capture beautiful images of the people, places and pets that matter most to you.
The phone’s 16-MP camera provides incredibly sharp images with beautiful color in a variety of environments. The phone supports real-time HDR, a mode which allows you to take images where both a foreground object (example: a person’s face) and the environment behind it (example: a bright blue sky) get the right exposure.
Some say Samsung offers “too many” camera features, but many of the Galaxy S5’s shooting modes are extremely helpful–and nobody’s forcing you to use any of them. Shot and More mode takes multiple photos of your subject and then lets you choose the best face in a group portrait, erase a stranger who walked through your picture, or create an action-packed “drama shot” that simulates movement. Selective Focus lets you blur the background or foreground to draw attention to a particular object.
Like many Android phone-makers, Samsung has put its own skin over Google’s operating system. Called TouchWiz, Samsung’s software makes Android more powerful. I particularly like the Quick Settings menu, which appears when you pull down the notification drawer.
Also handy, Multi Window mode allows you to run two apps next to each other. I find it helpful to be able to have both the Web browser and my email client on-screen at the same time so I can research a topic and email someone about it without changing my view.
Samsung also bundles the Galaxy S5 with S Health, a comprehensive fitness app that keeps track of your diet, step count and exercise goals. The S5 can even measure your heart rate via a sensor on the back, though it’s finicky.
Last but not least, I love the Kids Mode app, which launches a separate environment with only child-friendly apps.
Many critics ding Samsung for building its phones out of plastic rather than using aluminum designs, like those on the HTC One M8 and the iPhone 5s. But the Galaxy S5 proves that you don’t need metal to make a great-looking phone. I particularly like the soft-touch, dimpled back panel, which comes off and can be replaced with one of a different color or even a wireless charging cover.
Even better, the Galaxy S5 is water-resistant, making it capable of surviving for up to 30 minutes in a meter of water. The iPhone 5s can’t do that. The only trade-off is that you have to deal with a flap for the microUSB port.
If you’re heavily invested in iTunes and Apple’s ecosystem, you’ll probably buy an iPhone no matter what. Apple’s device also benefits from slightly faster everyday performance and some cool exclusive apps. But the S5 boasts a bigger and richer display, more robust software and much longer battery life.
The HTC One M8 is another great option, boasting a more premium metal design than the S5 along with louder speakers and a cleaner interface If you like the idea of writing or drawing on screen with a pen, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 provides a great stylus experience on a large, 5.7-inch display. However, I prefer the S5 to both because of its sharper and more capable camera, more vibrant screen and wider array of special features
If you simply want the best smartphone money can buy, get the Samsung Galaxy S5.
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