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.

What I did on my summer break, Part 2: June

September 4, 2013 at 9:54 am

I did a bunch of stuff in June that apparently was awesome enough to warrant photos. Some big stuff, some small, but I’m dumping it all here. This is going to be long. I wouldn’t even try to read it if I were you. This should have been about 10 blog posts during June, but instead you get one all mushed together that seems to never end.

This photo is actually from May, but I wanted it memorialized: our last walk to Mack’s old elementary school…

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On to June: the last of the school projects for the year (a shoe box float about New Hampshire, the granite state, also the birthplace of Adam Sandler)…

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Directly from the last day of school the boys and I road-tripped to Charlotte to visit my sister and her family. We were also visiting my parents who just moved there from my childhood home in Tennessee. It was an exciting trip, getting to see their new house and my new niece, Vivi Lee.

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Somebody got a little jealous of the baby.

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Of course my nephew Cody was a major attraction as well.

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I got to help Janet give Vivi Lee her first bath.

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Mom and Dad closed on their new house while we were there. Our move was a huge upheaval for us after living in our old house for 17 years. I can only imagine what it was like for my parents to leave Bristol after more than 45 years! They now live just a few minutes from my sister. My Mom threw her traditional combined summer birthday party for all of the boys in their new, empty house.

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Their new house is in a gated, adult golf-cart community. They are lucky to have a few friends in the neighborhood already…some also from our home town (notice the Tennessee banner):

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My sister’s little horse farm always offers plenty of adventure and entertainment.

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Uncle Bob builds lots of bonfires, which means s’mores…

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It was a great trip.

Once back in Florida it was time for swim team to commence.

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I spent most of the summer working on our new house. June was the beginning, and I was picking fabric for curtains and paint colors.

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I managed to get that one wall with the window painted before our trip because I wanted to make sure it was painted whenever our blinds were ready. It turns out it took over six weeks to get the custom blinds, but at least that wall was ready! I spent most of June painting the rest of the living room, the dining room, and the little hall that you can see through the archway above.

In addition to painting walls, I also took a furniture painting class in June with my friend Cami. We learned a bunch of techniques using chalk paint on various finished and unfinished surfaces.

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The lovely Celesta of Paper Street Market showing off their Cece Caldwell Chalk Paint selection…

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When Cami and I went thrifting in May I bought this buffet for cheap.

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My sister gave me these old green glass lamps when I we visited as a housewarming gift. She got them from a neighbor who was cleaning out their deceased mother’s house and were going to throw them out. I love them!

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As for the buffet, I loved the mid-century lines and details of the piece and structurally it was solid. All of the drawers moved smoothly and the cabinet doors closed properly, but the finish was a mess. Originally this piece had a blonde wood finish, but at some point it had been painted over with a gel stain and then suffered some water damage.

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Using my newfound chalk painting skills I painted it, leaving the drawers in the gel stain finish. Luckily the finish on the drawers did not show any water damage, and I liked the contrast.

After one coat of chalk paint, and before any wax was applied…

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I also polished all of the hardware, which took about ten times as long as painting the piece. I probably spent at least 20 minutes on each individual piece. They were seriously grimy and I think they had some of that gel stain on them as well. It was rough, but they look awesome now!

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After my spruce up…

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Also in June we had a portrait drawn of Chewie by the super amazing talented Mark Noll, a local St. Pete artist. He does beautiful sculpture and carving and was recently injured and had to take a break from his normal work. During his recovery he ran a special on his fabulous pet portraits, and I’m so glad we took advantage of it.

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This drawing is 11X14 and is so detailed and beautiful in person. He really captured Chewie’s personality. He also used Chewie’s portrait in an ad!

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Speaking of Chewie, he got some new dog beds for the new house. He has one in every room now. He approves.

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We celebrated Father’s Day of course, and Chad’s gift was this bar height bistro set for his pool table room.

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At some point in June there was a fabulous Yelp event at Mazzaro’s, an Italian specialty store here in St. Pete.

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I went with my pal’s Ali and Val.

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It was pretty fab. The piece de resistance was the bacon-wrapped breadsticks with maple cotton candy. Um, yeah. This is my friend Charlotte of Charlotte Smiled and her boyfriend Matt…

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In June, we closed on the sale of our old house! It was bittersweet. We said farewell to our shelter of 17 years.

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It sold after only being on the market for three days. We had multiple bidders and got well over asking price. We took all of our realtor’s advice and put quite a bit of work into getting it ready to sell.

We repaired everything that was broken or wonky, like the off-track pocket doors and the never-worked doorbell. We had the master bathroom re-tiled and painted. We had the entire interior and exterior of the house painted. The storage shed got a new front and doors and was also painted. We had new carpet put in the bedrooms. We even replaced the entire electrical panel because our old one had been recalled and would not have passed inspection. I planted flowers! In all, we put about $15,000 into the updates. Our house never looked that good the entire time that we lived there.

We ended up getting $20,000 over asking and were under contract after 3 days on the market (those three days were spent receiving multiple offers above asking and deciding which one to accept). So, like I said, worth it. It’s a crazy seller’s market right now in Tampa Bay.

The sweet part is that we were no longer completely broke! Our first purchase after the closing was some patio furniture for our pool lanai.

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No more bring your own chair parties! We did have a couple of housewarming-ish parties in June.

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We had lots of rain in June and the tree frog population living in our pool cage was quite happy.

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I guess at some point we went to Largo Central Park…

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Near the end of June I traveled to Portland, Oregon for Fitbloggin 2013. (Click here to read about my Fitbloggin 2012 adventures.) My travel partner was my buddy Mindy from Mindy’s Fitness Journey. It was really hard to get a non-blurry photo in the airport at 5 a.m.

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As soon as we got to the hotel in Portland we hooked up with our fellow Mom Power Team member Kyndra, of Peace, Love, and Low Carb.

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Kyndra was every bit as awesome as I knew she would be.

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(Kyndra and I have both since resigned from the Mom Power Team, but I will love all of those ladies forever and I definitely still support their mission!)

We stayed at The Nines, which was very swanky.

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Soon my room mate, the beautiful Maggie of I’m Not a Very Clever Robot, arrived.

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The fabulous weekend commenced. Fitbloggin is a fitness blogging conference, duh. We spent most of our time eating really unhealthy food and drinking really unhealthy cocktails. Or maybe that was just me.

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I wasn’t really good about taking photos logically on this whole trip. The above is a kale salad that was delicious at Tasty ‘n Alder. I didn’t take a photo of my entrée, apparently. Below is a photo of the fish tacos at The Thirsty Lion in downtown Portland.

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We definitely had some delicious food in Portland.

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Oh man. THIS is why I got fat again this summer.

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There is nothing ironic about this photo being taken while at a weekend conference on fitness blogging. I have decided that I am not a fitness blogger. I won’t be labeled.

It was great to see so many blog friends again, and many for the first time in real life.

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Of course there were a bunch of crazy exercise classes.

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Mindy gave a great presentation at the keynote Ignite Fitness event.

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There was a fitness wear fashion show and I was asked to model some clothes by Taffy, a plus-size active wear line.

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It was fairly mortifying, but the audience was very supportive and enthusiastic and the folks from Taffy were awesome. Thanks for having me Taffy! It was a privilege.

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There were also a bunch of seminar sessions, but to be honest, I didn’t go to any of them. I was too interested in taking in Portland. To that end, Maggie and I took a bike tour of downtown with Pedal Bike Tours.

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When the young guys who were also on the tour with us did this…

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I could not be outdone.

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And then Maggie wouldn’t let me outdo her either.

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I loved how Portland loves bikes.

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On our last night we took a tip from Brett, the Yelp Tampa Bay community manager, as well as the Yelp Portland community manager (I always try to pull strings through Yelp when visiting new cities), and crossed the bridge to try Pok Pok Thai.

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I was actually surprised when I came across these photos, as I have only a sketchy memory of this evening. But it definitely began with some Thai food, which was beautiful and delicious. At least it was beautiful until we ravaged it.

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Apparently we went back to the hotel after dinner and went to the rooftop bar at The Nines.

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After that photo things got crazy and we were all over downtown. I know we had a blast. I just don’t know the details because thus endeth the photos from that evening. Probably a good thing.

The last morning Maggie had to catch an early flight, but I participated in the closing day Fitbloggin 5K with Rachel of Restoring Rachel and Mindy.

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Mindy and I had late flights (like 11 p.m.), so we had all day to waste in Portland. We killed some time with Kyndra who was practically local (Seattle) while she got a new tattoo.

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I loved all the tattoo artwork prints they had at Ever True Tattoo.

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Then we ate pizza, because there had not been enough unhealthy gorging on this trip.

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Mindy and I went to a movie with Tasha, who also had a late flight. We saw The Heat. Loved it. Then it was the redeye home.

Hmmm, at some point we celebrated my mother-in-law’s retirement.

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My nieces in Kentucky made a similar poster that said “Retirement” and my brother-in-law had them merged and printed for her.

Well, that’s all the photos I have unearthed from June. I’m sure there are more hiding somewhere, but that will do for posterity.

If you actually read all this, please leave a comment so I can send you a prize. I think I got super lazy and reveled in nonblogdom in July, so maybe there won’t be so many photos. Not sure, though.

Cya.