Each and every year, we await the new flagships that set the standard for the Android market. Now, if you want to read more about these flagships, then we suggest that you go here instead. This editorial is going to focus on one particular flagship that has a very large impact on the market, the newly-announced Samsung Galaxy S5.
Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung took the wraps off its flagship for 2014, the Galaxy S5. Featuring specs such as a 5.1-inch 1080p display, 2.5GHz quad-core processor, 16-megapixel camera, waterproofing and new fitness features, the Galaxy S5 was meant to blow us away. Only it didn’t. Not by a long shot.
In fact, we can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the Galaxy S5. That’s not dependent on just one thing, that’s due to several things; one of the biggest being the design. While some may appreciate the simple, square design of the Galaxy S5, most of us are disappointed that Samsung didn’t try anything new with design and if anything, went backwards with the design. The bezels grew larger, physical buttons persisted, the waterproofing required a flap over the charging port and worst of all, that stippled back reminds us of a Band-Aid.
The Galaxy S5 Gold, or what I call the Galaxy S5 Band-Aid pic.twitter.com/xU5fzvWrvz
— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) February 24, 2014
We were also left with mixed feelings on the camera. While Samsung has certainly added some nifty features such as hybrid auto-focus and improved HDR, it also left out some important features. The most important being optical image stabilization. OIS is a feature that other manufacturers have been adding for over a year now and it makes a significant impact on picture quality, especially in low lighting. This is a clear oversight on Samsung’s part and leaves us wondering whether or not the camera sensor will be able to perform in low light.
Another area in which we were disappointed was the software. All of us waited with bated breath for a revamp to Samsung’s infamous TouchWiz software. What we were greeted with was a software experience that had very minor differences from previous versions of TouchWiz. A far cry from the major revamp that we were all expecting and hoping for. Rather, we’re greeted by the same heavily-skinned version of Android that’s packed to the gills with Samsung’s own software and S branded apps.
Most of all, we’re disappointed in the fact that the Galaxy S5 is such a marginal improvement over last year’s Galaxy S 4. Many things remained the same and some, such as the design, arguably even regressed. The Galaxy S5 paints a powerful picture of Samsung’s declining innovation. After dominating for so long, Samsung seems to be relying on its brand name and existing market share, instead of impressing us with new creativity. Unfortunately for Samsung, brand name and market share don’t last if you don’t continue to deliver a product that excites and intrigues consumers.
How do you feel about the Galaxy S5?