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Part 2: Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5
Photo courtesy of LA Gadgets Examiner, used with permission.

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Performance

The Galaxy S5 contains a powerful 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 processor along with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. These components combine to deliver the fastest performance we have ever seen on a smartphone. For example, even though the Galaxy Note 3 has more RAM, the Galaxy S5 still runs faster and uses its RAM more efficiently.

The fact that the Galaxy S5 can play back 4K videos immediately is a perfect example of how high-powered the smartphone is. The Galaxy Note 3 would often stutter when playing back 4K videos it filmed. Sometimes, the Note 3 would turn off and reset in the middle of 4K video playback. This isn't the case with the Galaxy S5.

Android's KitKat operating system takes full advantage of the Galaxy S5's power and, along with Samsung's updated TouchWiz, makes the case for the smoothest running operating system in existence. The Galaxy S5 barely stuttered and ran all the apps we tested on it very well.

Multimedia

The lack of great outside speakers is more evident on the Galaxy S5 than previous Galaxy S smartphones, only because every other multimedia aspect is perfect. You couldn't pick a better device to watch movies on--the colors swim in front of you with perfect color reproduction. Audio playback with headphones has improved from previous Galaxy S units and with the Galaxy S5, you won't need to buy yourself a separate iPod Touch. We'll talk about the camera in a little bit, but let's get back to the speakers.

It's a shame Samsung couldn't take a clue from HTC and include bass-pumping stereo speakers in the Galaxy S5. Perhaps the S5 couldn't handle dual speakers--if so, why not just make one excellent speaker? As it stands, the speaker on the Galaxy S5 is tinny and the audio is the opposite of rich. Everything changes, however, once you put headphones on.

One thing the HTC One (M8) didn't have is a great camera. The Galaxy S5 camera is miles better than previous Galaxy S units and is slightly better than that of the Galaxy Note 3. The pictures we took, in most lighting situations, are outstanding. The unit excels even more when it comes to videos.

Samsung finally added another hidden microphone, which allows for the user to take full 4K videos with outstanding stereo sound. While you won't notice the difference between 4K videos and 1080p videos on the Galaxy S4 screen, you will see the major improvement when you play the videos back on your Retina MacBook Pro or, even better, an actual 4K television. The videos taken with The Galaxy S5 are the most lifelike we have ever seen.

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