Playing with the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5

July 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm

A few weeks ago a friend of mine who works for AT&T asked if I’d be interested in trying out a Samsung Galaxy S5 for a week or so and sharing my opinion.

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Since I currently have a Samsung Galaxy S4 (through Verizon), I had been paying attention to the buzz about the S5 and I was interested in seeing how different it was than the S4 so I said, “Sure!”

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Other than getting to try out the phone for a week, I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Of course the first thing I did was compare the S4 to the S5 in size and appearance.

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It was just a little bit bigger all the way around. The back of the S5 has a dimpled texture and a matte finish, unlike the smooth (and sometimes slippery) back of the S4. The texture of the back of the S4 shows every smudge and fingerprint, so sorry that my phone looks disgusting in all of these photos. I guess that’s a plus for the S5.

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The S5 has a multi-beveled edge, rather than a smooth edge like the S4, which I suppose also helps in the grip department.

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In addition to the flash under the lens, the S5 also has a heart rate monitor. You just place your finger over the monitor for it to detect your heart rate.

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The heart rate monitor is a fun toy, but since you have to stop whatever you are doing and take your heart rate, I’m not sure I would actually use it that much but some people might. I have used the Samsung health app before, as it will work as a pedometer assuming you are always carrying your phone with you when you are walking. I was able to sync the loaner phone to my existing Samsung account, so that was pretty cool. I don’t use the app religiously, though.

When I first got the loaner phone I spent some time getting used to the new look of the operating system. While the S4 does allow multiple apps and multiple tabs to be in use at one time, the way multiple apps/tabs are accessed is different. The S4 has a side task bar that you can collapse, while the S5 has a dedicated multi-pane button on the front of the phone.

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Recently used or currently in-use apps are displayed as large tiles rather than as small icons, which means that you have to scroll through them more. I guess it’s 6 of one, half dozen of the other…depending on whether you like bigger tiles or less scrolling.

The things I use most on my phone are the camera and the apps, like most people I guess. The camera on the S4 is pretty great, and the S5 was very similar. The main difference was again how the options were displayed (small tiles or icons vs. large tiles).

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Some functions were moved to different areas in the menu, but most of the functions seemed to be the same.

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There was a camera option on the S5 for “dual camera” which I could not find on the S4. It lays the rear-facing camera view on top of the forward-facing camera view. Kind of neat, I guess…trying to think of when I would use that.

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Here is a test shot I took…same exact shot in the basic auto mode with the S4 and the S5. No editing.

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So the S5 has a wider angle lens (good) and the color is better. I like it.

When I cropped both photos in closely on the fireplace, it looks like the S4 actually had better resolution, but that could have just been user-error camera shake. I would have had to use a tripod and a timer to really be able to compare the two.

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Photos of homemade beef bone broth and some Faux Pho that I made.

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Photos on a plane to Kentucky:

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I got to listen to this kitty’s unhappiness for an hour and forty-five minutes! Poor kitty.

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The Yelp app worked perfectly on the S5 (one of my most-used apps for sure).

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We had to travel to Kentucky unexpectedly right after I got the loaner S5. Chad’s grandmother passed away in June. She was a wonderful person, and my grandmother for over 20 years. As with my Dad’s funeral in March, the whole trip was a mixture of sadness and grief and happiness at being with family and seeing so many people that we love whom we had not seen in many years. Like with my Dad, I can not properly express the love that I had for Jackie or the sadness at her passing. I am not a talented enough writer. I won’t even try. But we were happy to be with family.

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We flew to Lexington, then drove from Lexington to Jenkins in eastern Kentucky.

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The AT&T Drive mode kept warning me not to text and drive…

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until I shut it off since I was not driving.

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It had been several years since we were in Jenkins, so it was great to get to see Chad’s other grandparents and relatives.

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It seems kind of strange to take photos before or at a funeral, but we did the same thing at my Dad’s funeral. Everyone is together and looks nice. You want photos.

The funeral service was very nice and Jackie would have liked it. It was obvious how much of an impact she had on so many lives and how much she was loved. We got to spend time before and afterwards with lots of family which was so great.

We spent a couple of days in Lexington before our flight back to Florida. I used the Galaxy S5 to take photos of one of our lunch outings…Critchfield Meats, which is kind of a Lexington institution.

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They have a sidewalk barbeque for lunch once a week which draws a big crowd.

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You can read my review of Critchfield Meats on Yelp here, but we had a nice picnic on the sidewalk.

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My NSNG (no sugar, no grains) burger:

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Of course we had to hit up Fan Outfitters while in Lexington (hey, there’s the S5!):

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Overall, I thought the Samsung Galaxy S5 was pretty cool. I kind of used it simultaneously with my S4, and didn’t really notice that AT&T had better coverage than Verizon or vice versa. I’d have more bars with one service at times, and more bars with the other service at others. I didn’t notice any features with the S5 that made me think, “Whoa, I can’t wait until our service plan is up…I need this phone NOW.” It was a super nice phone and I loved getting to try it out, but I’m pretty happy with my S4 for now. I know that I’ll also be happy to upgrade when the time comes…probably to whatever the newest Samsung Galaxy phone is then!

Thanks for letting me try out the Samsung Galaxy S5 AT&T.

Cya.