For the past few weeks, I’ve slowly transitioned to using a new mobile phone because Samsung Canada was kind enough to send me a recently released Samsung Galaxy S5 Active to test drive.
I was really excited about the 16MP camera that is said to have the world’s fastest auto-focus, but it’s been a slow transition period. It’s the only telephone I’ll carry on my upcoming 2-week trip (which begins Monday), so I’ll have a more detailed review soon. Until then, I just wanted to share my first impressions.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
At first, I was skeptical about transitioning from an iPhone to an Android phone and I couldn’t quite figure out how to set it up. It seemed quite simple and the camera didn’t have the features I expected. Finally, I asked a friend and long-time Samsung user for help and he quickly pointed out my phone was in Easy Mode. With that turned off, I finally set about discovering the pros and cons of my new telephone.
It’s Built for Abuse – I’ve always used a Lifeproof case to protect my iPhone, but that isn’t necessary with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active. The entire phone is built to withstand my abuse. It’s shock-resistant and dust-proof, plus its waterproof at 1 m for 30 minutes.
The Camera Kicks Ass – I use instagram to showcase my photography, but I rarely post mobile photography images. I’ve just never liked the quality and always notice a sharp dropoff in engagement; however, the Samsung Galaxy S5 changes all that. I’ve begun using the 16 mp camera consistently and sharing the images. The general consensus is that the quality, depth of field, and colours all look fantastic.
The details on the camera are quite spectacular. It’s a 16 MP sensor, with the world’s fastest auto focus system. It also comes with a handful of great modes, like sequence shot, burst shot, and panorama.
It’s Good for Activity – Although I don’t see the continual need for the built in heart rate monitor, I do appreciate the dedicated Activity Zone button that’s found right above the volume control. One click opens up a menu for quick access to a compass, barometer, flashlight, and stopwatch. One click further, brings up the Exercise menu, which is a great health-tracking app for everything from daily exercise, calorie tracking, and heart rate. The pedometer works all day, tracking each step I take. I’m stoked to see I average a little over 10 000 on non-active days.
It’s Widgetized – Rather than just place apps and folders across my homescreen layouts, the Samsung device includes several widgets. Now, I can post to facebook, tweet, or post to google+ without opening a single application. On another home screen, I have four world clocks and the contact icons for some of my best friends who live abroad. From the same screen, I can now check the time in Gold Coast, Australia, and text my mates Garry and Lauren.
No iMessage Equivalent – iMessage is an incredible app, as it automatically detects if a text message is destined for another iMessage account or not. It enables free worldwide texting and it’s a service I use on a daily basis to chat with friends in Australia, Sweden, and throughout North America. While there are apps like What’s App, Viber, and Kik, nothing equals the user friendliness of iMessage. It’s a shame and one of the hardest features to walk away from.
Less Responsive Display – I’ll admit, I spend a lot of time using instagram and I find it tricky to double tap an image on the new Samsung display. It just seems that I have to tap harder and quicker to have it register.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Active Overall Impression
Although it’s been a slow transition, I am really beginning to enjoy the new device. The camera is really phenomenal, and that’s coming from somebody who generally carries a high-end dSLR and several lenses.
As long as the phone can make images like the one above, I think I can make do without iMessage and other apple-only products. Add in a bunch of user-friendly features, like it’s exercise mode and widgetized homescreens, and I’ll call it my new go-to telephone.