This is the best kind of comparison; the old model versus the new model. Where we can look at what kind of improvements have been made and we can ask ourselves – if I currently own a Samsung Galaxy S4, is it worth it for me to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S5, or wait for the Galaxy S6 next year (this is, of course, what you would say if you were a Samsung enthusiast). Others may ask themselves if they should look elsewhere, but this comparison is ONLY between the S4 and S5. Let me start by saying that ALL of the new devices launching this Spring are very much alike – the newest processors and QHD screens are just not yet ready for massive retail – I have never seen a more level playing field…which is not good for yearly upgraders that are finding out that most of their favorite devices are simply a refinement of last years’ model. Such is the case with the Galaxy S5.
I am not saying that the Galaxy S5 is not a ‘solid’ device, just like all of the other entries this Spring, it is just a little ‘boring’ – there are no ‘AH-HA’ moments! Compared to the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S5 is full of subtle refinements. Both devices have nearly identical displays, although the S5 does have the ‘next generation’ of Samsung’s AMOLED screens which was chosen as DisplayMate’s best display ever tested. They both have 2GB of RAM and the same choice of 16GB or 32GB of internal storage and both devices have a microSD card slot. Both are using Android 4.4.2 KitKat – the S5 comes out-of-the-box and the Galaxy S4 should be upgraded by now. The Galaxy S5 is slightly larger and heavier and retains the polycarbonate body of the S4. The battery only jumps from 2600mAh to 2800mAh. So you have to ask yourself what is different between these two devices and is it worth the upgrade. Below, take a look at the specifications of the two devices and then we will look at each individual device and point out the differences to reach our conclusion.
Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung should sell a lot of their newest ‘S’ series, the Galaxy S5 – but for all of the wrong reasons. It is first and foremost a Samsung and they, like their Apple-toting counterparts, will buy nothing but a Samsung. Another reason is that there are many Galaxy S3 owners out there just dying to trade up to a new model, and for them, the Galaxy S5 is a great upgrade – heads and tails better than that old S3 they are replacing.
The Galaxy S5 has a much improved display over the Galaxy S4 and even the Galaxy Note 3, especially in brightness, according to DisplayMate’s latest tests – they were also impressed with ability to choose the color saturation of the display so that true coloring was available. The S5 comes with the most advanced processor available – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 clocked at an incredible 2.5GHz. The microSD slot can now add up to an additional 128GB for you internal storage for those ‘GB hungry’ movies, videos, pictures and songs that we store on our devices these days. The camera is certainly an improvement from the Galaxy S4’s – and I know that more megapixels does not equate to a better camera (although it gives it more of a fighting chance to be better) – Samsung jumped the megapixels up from 13MP to 16MP and adds its ISOCELL technology for better low-light pictures. The software is also an upgrade and it allows you to view a photo in HDR mode before you take the shot. The battery jumps from 2600mAh to 2800mAh adding a little more power, and that coupled with design changes increases battery life over the S4. However, Samsung also incorporates a few battery savings options, from subtle help to the new Ultra Power Saving Mode. To charge that battery and to help in the data transfer rate, Samsung has brought USB 3.0 to the new S5. The new Galaxy S5 also has a new fingerprint sensor and a new Heart Rate Monitor built into the device – some would call those ‘helpful’ and others will call them a ‘gimmick.’ The entire device is now water and dust resistance which is a nice plus over the Galaxy S4.
Samsung Galaxy S4
The Galaxy S4 was the best selling Android device of all-time and with over 40 million sold, it held its own against the other flagships out at the time, plastic and all. The processor is only the Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core 600 clocked at 1.9GHz, although some non-LTE markets received Samsung’s own Exynos Octa-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz – in either case they are no match for the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. The smaller megapixel camera, smaller battery, and less features and a slightly ‘heavier’ TouchWiz are also differences from the Galaxy S5.
…and the Winner is…Galaxy S5
Okay, I know you could see this coming from a country mile away – certainly the Galaxy S5 is a better device than its predecessor. It has better and brighter screen technology, a much improved processor over the Galaxy S4, better camera technology, less Samsung bloatware, including a better TouchWiz, an added fingerprint sensor for more security, a larger and better managed battery, and for the health nuts it adds a Heart Rate Monitor, and better all around software and features. Now the big question about upgrading – I would say if you want to stick with Samsung and you own a Galaxy S3 or below…grab the new S5, you will be amazed at the difference. However, if I owned a Galaxy S4, I would wait until the Galaxy Note 4 or the next Galaxy S6 comes out – then you will most likely get a 64-bit, next generation processor, not an overclocked Snapdragon 800.