Nov 24, 2014
Samsung has come along way with regards to Android OS. The reception of its first forays were somewhat mixed, even up until the the galaxy line appeared on the scene. Back then, there was a different king of Android, and Android, believe it or not, was the underdog.
But then, seemingly overnight, Samsung struck gold. How in the world did the the company rebound from early missteps to create a platform fiefdom? Well, look at what is did.
It landed a modest hit with the Galaxy S2. The S3 lifted the device maker to stratospheric levels; Samsung was smart enough to ensure model variants were available on all networks, unlike the competition, which had devices on limited networks. The S4 continued the tradition, and the latest flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S5 arrived looking to maintain the status as the Big Man on Android’s Campus. The S5 probably best shows how the Korean device maker manages to stay atop a crowded mountain.
We had a chance to look formally look at a Samsung provided unit on Sprint’s network. By now, most of the specs are known, but this doesn’t prevent one from enjoying the personal reveal. It rocks a 5.1 Super AMOLED screen on a 5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 polycarbonate body that weighs 5.11 oz. The edges are slightly (dare I say?) rounded, with the white finish braced occasionally with metallic-looking accents around the ports. It sorts a 2MP camera on the front and a 16 MP one on the back. On the bottom front bezel, the ubiquitous home button resides, flanked by a new capacitive recent apps button on the left and the back button to the right. The micro-USB port is centered on the bottom, and is notably covered, which hints at the limited waterproof functionality. There’s LED, speaker grills, and audio jack at the top, and the volume rocker is on the left while the on button is on the right.
Internally, we get a variable Quad-core chip, and beside the usual sensors (accelerometer, proximity, etc), we get a heart rate monitor. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, infrared: check.
The screen is addictive; turning it on is a pleasure. It comes with skinned Android 4.4.2, and had all the basics with regards to Google Apps. Touchwiz is a bit more palatable in this iteration, but there is a fair amount of bloat included; still, the S Health feature is a pleasant feature I enjoyed exploring.
Performance-wise, the S5 lived up to expectations, with smooth performance and no lag.
And there you have it. Samsung just does it. It created a product line that is nimble and familiar at the same time; standard base core with the Apple-esque yearly refresh. It pretty much has its own store, and somehow, even TouchWhiz feels less annoying over time. Couple all this with Samsung’s propensity to provide devices and accessories in practically every conceivable product category, it’s easy to invest in its system.
Bottom line? Samsung makes itself relevant to everyday consumers.