Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Samsung goes for evolution over revolution... again.

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a phone to be reckoned with, that's for sure - but how does it stack up with the competition? Remember, you're going to be paying a pretty penny to own it, so does it have the power to match the best of the rest?

HTC One M8

HTC One M8

The obvious threat to the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the HTC One M8 - critically, at least. The two are locked together in terms of specs, with both having the same Snapdragon 801 CPU, a microSD slot, 2GB of RAM, a Full HD screen and rocking Android 4.4.2 (soon to be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop).

However, there are a couple of key differences: the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a much more powerful camera, albeit one that doesn't perform as well as you'd expect it to in day to day snapping.

The One M8 takes photos more snappily, and more in focus, but offers lower quality if you're sharing to a larger screen.

HTC's effort is packing a much, much nicer design though - it's almost bewildering how the aluminium chassis can feel so nice in the hand and yet Samsung continues with the same boring plastic. Even the fact that it's water-resistant doesn't make up for the fact that I feel a little unimpressed each time I pick it up.

Read our review of the HTC One M8.

iPhone 6

iPhone 6

What does the iPhone 6 offer that its predecessors didn't? Quite a lot, in fact. Better design. Faster processor. Better battery, larger screen, higher resolution - in short, answering a lot of the issues older iPhones had.

But is it better than the Samsung Galaxy S5? It depends what you're looking for. The S5 is hardier, thanks to the IP67 rating, and with a larger and more impressive screen that's greater for colour reproduction and sharpness.

However, it's not got the build quality of the iPhone, and while the iOS vs Android debate will never be answered, the iPhone 6 has a simpler OS that doesn't have the overbearing nature of TouchWiz (and we won't get into the weird Magazine home screen). Other Android versions, such as those on the LG G3, are kinder and worth taking a look at.

Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3

Sony's been doing well in the smartphone world: from the Xperia Arc (admittedly from the +Ericsson era) to the current Xperia Z3, there's been a strong upward trajectory.

The same Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU is on offer (despite being seen in the Z2 as well), a microSD slot pervades, and it's also much more water- and dust-resistant. This is a lot better than the Z2 and while it's rather irrelevant to 99% of users, it does give greater confidence in the hardiness of the phone.

Both can also record in 4K, which is still a mostly useless feature, and both have a large and vibrant screen. The design, once again, splits the two, with the industrial chassis of the Xperia Z3 covered in solid metal where Samsung's opted for plastic.

The upgraded Z3 has a stronger battery and a brighter screen than its predecessor,and costs roughly the same as the S5 on contract, so it really depends on whether you like Sony's thicker styling or not.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung has now followed up the Galaxy S5 with you guessed it, the Galaxy S6. And spoiler warning: we loved it. A lot of the criticisms you've seen in this review have been addressed in the newest handset, especially in terms of the design with a new look slathered all over it.

The handset comes with a new home produced Exynos 7420 processor clocked at 1.4GHz and 2.1GHz alongside an impressive 3GB of RAM.

MicroSD has been dropped in favour of larger storage sizes of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. Plus the display is an impressive 5.1-inch Super AMOLED with a 1440 x 2560 pixel resolution and 577 pixels-per-inch.

On the back is one of the key features – the 16MP rear camera is truly stunning churning out some impressive shots no matter where you are.

Samsung made a strange choice to drop the waterproof design of the Galaxy S5 but the company has managed to sort out the problems with the fingerprint scanner making for an all round better purchase than the Galaxy S5.

That said, it's quite a bit heavier on the wallet. You're going to be parting with £559.99 for a 32GB version or £640 for the 64GB.


Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.