Review roundup: Critics love 'clutter free' Samsung Galaxy S5

So what are the tech critics saying about the new Galaxy S5? Here's a quick round-up.

Samsung has finally unveiled its latest flagship device, the Galaxy S5 smartphone at the Mobile World Congress. Samsung hasn't gone for anything too drastic as far as the phone's design is concerned, and it looks exactly like the S4 except with a slightly bigger 5.2-inch screen. It has a number of new features however, like the Fingerprint scanner, Heartrate monitor under the camera, and a new Hybrid auto-focus. it has also upgraded its shooter to a 16 megapixel camera, an upgrade from the 13 megapixel camera in the S4.


So what are the tech critics saying about the new Galaxy S5? Here's a quick round-up:


Re/Code's Bonnie Cha says that those expecting something radical will be disappointed, but she adds, "I also think it’s okay to focus on improving existing features to enhance the functionality and usability of the device."


As far as the design is concerned, she points out that Samsung's effort to glam up by add a pattern to the back, didn't really work. "Samsung did try to “glam” it up by adding a perforated pattern to the back cover...Glam isn’t exactly the word I’d use, but it does make the phone feel less plasticky," she writes.


She also points that where UI is concerned Samsung has indeed cleaned up the phone."Samsung has cleaned up the Galaxy S5 a lot by removing many of its proprietary apps and services. For example, Samsung Hub is no longer on the phone, though you can still download it from the app store. The only Samsung services that come preloaded on the Galaxy S5 are ChatOn, S Health, S Voice and Samsung apps," she says.


As far as the fingerprint scanner goes not everyone is impressed. Cha says that the fingerprint scanner, "seemed a little temperamental and took a couple of tries to work." Read full story here.


This is sentiment also echoed by The Verge's Dan Seifert who said that the fingerprint scanner was quite unreliable. He writes, "We found it to be quite unreliable and virtually impossible to activate when holding the phone in one hand. It can store up to three different digits, but it was very particular about the speed and orientation of the swiping motion used — if we weren’t doing a perfectly straight swipe down, it would refuse to unlock the phone." 


However he feels that Samsung's device is faster and easier to user. As far as the design goes, he writes, "It’s much more comfortable to hold and doesn’t slide off of surfaces nearly as much as the S4 — but it doesn’t look as tacky as the fake-leather patterns used on Samsung’s Note line of devices." Read full piece here.


The fact that Samsung didn't go over-the-top showy software features has impressed critics as well. Engadget's Brad Molen says, that is "perhaps the biggest surprise of all, however, was that Samsung didn't overload its prized new smartphone with a heaping dose of new S-branded features...It's still very much a TouchWiz device, but it has a much different appearance than previous versions. It seems to be less in-your-face (again, a likely consequence of Google's intervention) with fewer tabs and menus. " 


He too points out that the fingerprint scanner worked, only when he swiped "slowly enough -- if you're in a swiping hurry, your chance of success will likely drop." Read full review here.


CNET's Jessica Dolcourt wrote that the S5 is "an to be an excellent device that will keep Samsung at or near the top of the smartphone heap." However the plastic is still a problem and she adds, "At the end of the day, the phone still feels like it always has: like plastic. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but if Samsung is at all striving for loftier ambitions, it hasn't reached those heights." Read full review here.

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