Review: Samsung Galaxy S5

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone.

Arguably the most successful range of Android devices to date, Samsung’s Galaxy series has proven a formidable force, as the Korean company keeps packing in newer and better features with each iteration.

Improvements in the camera and software in the latest Galaxy S5 have gone down well with buyers.

Its special features include:

Rear camera

The 16MP rear camera did not just get a megapixel bump, as Samsung also tweaked the software where it matters most.

The new phase detect speeds up autofocus considerably, providing greater speed and clarity in fast action shots.

A Live HDR (high dynamic range) mode shows tweaks in the lighting in real time.

As in the HTC One (M8), there is a Selective Focus option that takes a shot with all details in the background and foreground in focus. It is then possible to choose just one object to be in focus, with the rest rendered in soft focus.

While the greater megapixel count here means the photos have more details than those taken with the One (M8), the execution here is not as robust. At times, the camera will fail to recognise the focus on objects in the background or foreground.

Ultra Power Saving

Most smartphones have a power saving mode that strips features, such as social networks and push e-mail, to prolong battery life while enabling calls and text messages to be transmitted.

Samsung has gone a step further with its Ultra Power Saving mode that can reportedly make a 10 per cent charge last for another 24 hours.

It does this by turning the screen to greyscale, dimming the screen and also capping the phone’s processor speed.

Biometric sensor

A biometric sensor on a phone is hardly new, as HTC’s One Max and the Apple iPhone 5s already have it.

But one can use the Galaxy S5’s sensor to authorise transactions via the online payment service PayPal and not just for unlocking the device or making purchases from Apple’s iTunes store.

Extras

A heart-rate monitor makes slightly more sense than throwing in an infrared blaster or having augmented reality effects. It is likely that not only health nuts will find it useful to be able to measure their heart rate during and after a run, hike or bicycle ride, or just to keep tabs on their general health.

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