Welcome to part five of our 10 years of Samsung Galaxy S flagship series, in which we here at SamMobile talk about our experiences and memories of each of the nine Galaxy S flagships that have come before the Galaxy S10. Today, we look back at the Galaxy S5. The Galaxy S5 was the last of Samsung’s plastic flagships and introduced a number of firsts, like a fingerprint reader, IP67 water resistance, and a heart rate monitor. But it was the design that really got the S5 all the attention, and it wasn’t the good kind of attention.
People found it hard to look past the rather cheap textured back and the fake metallic trim, something Samsung had opted for to make the S5 look somewhat premium, as competing phones were making phones with metallic unibodies that looked considerably more high-end. Of course, one couldn’t deny that the S5 also offered a couple of advantages thanks to the plastic body. Despite being water resistant, it allowed users to swap out the battery, and it also offered more grip than a metal or glass body phone.
If Samsung had just stuck to a regular back cover instead of one with that textured pattern, perhaps the design wouldn’t have been criticized as much as it was. People had also begun to complain that Samsung’s software was becoming more bloated and laggy, and one can say all of the criticism was the catalyst for the major redesign Samsung brought with the S5’s successor. However, it also turned away a lot of fans as they lost removable batteries and expandable storage, features that Samsung was one of the last few manufacturers to be offering to consumers.
What are our fondest memories of the Galaxy S5? Read on to find out, and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts and memories about the Galaxy S5 down in the comments section afterwards!
The Galaxy S5 felt like a disappointment to me. It was the first Galaxy phone with IP67 water resistance, but it didn’t feel special. Almost everything sucked. The wow factor we had with the S4 went away with the S5. And around this time, metal and glass builds had popped up, but Samsung was still sticking to plastic. Yes, the S5 was light but the overall experience wasn’t great. I feel Samsung lost its mojo that year. Thankfully they released the Galaxy Alpha a few months later with a metal frame, and I think that Galaxy Alpha should have been the Galaxy S5 instead.
Ah, the band aid phone. I can remember that I actually liked the Galaxy S5, even its design. The phone wasn’t at all slippery, and it was the first water-resistant Samsung phone. It was almost magic for me to be able to hold the phone underwater and find it still working. I even got the LTE-A version from Korea because that was Samsung’s first QHD display and it was awesome. The only thing I really hated on the S5 was the microUSB 3.0 connector.
The Galaxy S5 isn’t a phone that I can remember because of the device itself, but because that was the first time I had attended Mobile World Congress (and gone to Europe; my only foreign trip before that had been a trip to Oman in 2010). It was also the first time I met my SamMobile colleagues. We probably spent more time fooling around in Barcelona than focusing on the phone.
As for the phone itself, I was instantly turned off by the textured back, but as a function over form kind of person, I did not mind the plastic at all. In fact, I remember when the rumors began to come out about Samsung working on making a metal phone, I was disappointed that it would also join the ranks of phone makers like HTC and start selling phones with slippery bodies. But, again, that back panel looked horrible on the S5.
Despite the initial disappointment right after its launch, the Galaxy S5 proved to be quite a durable phone. Its much-hated plastic body turned out to be pretty life-resistant, and the phone’s IP rating became a permanent thing with the rest of the Galaxy S series. It was that useful of a feature, after all.
The Galaxy S5 was the last phone before Samsung really started paying attention to design. It was also the last flagship with a battery that could be swapped by the user – a feature that many people even today would still appreciate. Granted, that niche is small, but it is a reminder of the price that was paid for the improved design of later devices. The same could be said about the SD card, but at least that made its comeback two years later in the Galaxy S7.
Don’t forget: We want to hear about your fond memories and experience with the Galaxy S5, so go ahead and get a discussion going in the comments!