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Review: Samsung Galaxy S5 is the 'Botox' of smartphone upgrades

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LA Gadgets Examiner Rating: A-

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On Friday morning, the much-hyped Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone arrived on all of the nation's major carriers. There were no "iPhone" lines to be seen in any of the areas we checked in Los Angeles. But from our four days of experience with the Galaxy S5, we can guarantee it will see consistent sales for months to come.

The Galaxy S5 looks very similar (and cheap) to the previous versions with some subtle improvements. Just like Botox, the beauty improvements are meant to be subtle, but impressive. Smartphone enthusiasts won't be happy until they use the phone for at least five minutes. There is a lot of like about the upgrade to Samsung's signature smartphone.

Basic specs:

Operating System: Android (4.4.2) TouchWiz UI
Dimensions: 5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
Weight: 5.11 oz (145 g)
Screen: :Super AMOLED, 5.1-inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels
Battery: 2800 mAh
Processor: Quad core, 2500 MHz, Krait 400z
Memory: 16GB internal memory, 2GB RAM, microSD card reader
Camera: 16MP still images, 4K video clips

Build and design

The Galaxy S5, like previous versions, still feels like a slab of cheap plastic. However, this time the plastic on the back of the unit is given a rubberized texture with holes. It is an improvement, but Samsung needs to go further.

Samsung gets away with the cheap plastic build of their products, because everybody knows Samsung products--in general--are anything but cheap. They realize that Samsung uses the "plastic" approach to make its devices lighter. However, we are sure that users would rather have a unit that--even if it weighs a couple more ounces-- has an aluminum build.

This time around, Samsung has made their Galaxy S update water and dust resistant. The Galaxy S5 has an IP67 rating, which means it can be dropped in the toilet and still survive. However, it is not recommended that one keeps it in the toilet bowl or decides to use the Galaxy S5 on deep sea diving adventures. This is an excellent feature to have.

Screen

There is a noticeable difference in screen quality on the Galaxy S5 when compared with the Galaxy S4. Even though it still has the same 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution, the colors are sharper and the screen gets a lot brighter. It is also a lot easier to read in direct sunlight. Even with sunglasses, we were clearly able to see the Galaxy S5 screen (when it was set at full brightness) without having to flinch.

Some people wanted a screen with a higher pixel resolution. However, the Galaxy S5 displays 432 pixels per inch. The human eye really can't tell a difference when the resolution of a screen is above 400 pixels-per-inch. The screen is definitely the best feature of the Samsung Galaxy S5.

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