|+ Pre installed apps with Touchwiz||- Performance not quite as good Galaxy S5|
|+ Longer lasting battery||- Plastic chassis|
|+ Priced to sell||- Not ultra cool looking|
Samsung has brought us a reworked version of the Galaxy S5, but this time it has the benefits of removable battery and expandable storage.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 never really made many waves – it was a nice enough phone but didn’t really make headlines. Samsung has brought out the Neo essentially to extend the phone’s shelf life.
It comes at a reasonable price – around £20 a month on Three with a £49 upfront price, compared with £30 a month for the S6.
The S5 Neo’s display measures 5.1 inches and is a capacitive multi-touch Super AMOLED screen. It boasts a 16:9 aspect ratio, a resolution of 1080 x 1920 resolution and offers 432 ppi pixel density.
It produces vivid images, high constrast and rich colours. AMOLED screens are sometimes not as bright but we found any difference negligible with the S5 Neo – maybe a little less than on the Galaxy S6.
We’ve rapidly got used to Samsung’s move to metal bodies for its Galaxy phones, so the plastic chassis on the S5 appears remarkably old-fashioned . The Neo gets rid of the textured look for a more streamlined feel, but it is still a way off the feel of the S6. Despite this though, it looks and feels like a well-built device – and there will be plenty of people who are pleased to see a removable battery and microSD slot for expanding storage. The latter is particularly useful as the S5 Neo comes with only 16GB of onboard storage.
Unlike the S5, there’s no fingerprint scanner and Micro USB 3 port has been replaced with the USB2 version.
Under the hood, Samsung has replaced Qualcomm's quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor with its own octa-core 1.6GHz Exynos 7580 chips, which leaves performance pretty much the same as the S5.
The S5 Neo sports a 16MP rear snapper complete with LED flash. The specs have been upped from the S5, putting the cameras more on a par with the Galaxy S6. The front-facing cameras has a 5 MP sensor (up from 2 megapixels on the Galaxy S5). Fire up the camera either on screen or via the voice control or volume rocker. The images are decent in good light conditions, and there’s even a facility for taking group selfies without having arms as long as an orang utan’s or wielding a selfie stick. But the lack of flash means that in low light your selfies will suffer from a good deal of noise. The front facer can also shoot video at 1920x1080 pixels.
The rear snapper boast 16 megapixels and sports a wider aperture, which translate to better performance in low-light. There’s a number of picture modes to select, such as panorama, automatic, HDR and continous shooting,
Pro mode lets the user choose exposure, ISO value and white balance.
Pictures boast rich colours and great detail – even in low light we were impressed by the sharpness of our images. However, videos are a tad disappointing – we lost detail in darker areas and they suffered from lack of sharpness. You can use the flash to help brighten up your scenes, but you still get a lot of blur.
The S5 Neo has great battery life, but Samsung has still included some useful energy-saving modes. Power saving drops the display’s brightness, while Ultra Power leaves you with only basic functions, such as calls and texts.
The Galaxy S5 Neo runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop tweaked with Samsung’s own TouchWiz user interface. One of its features is the Microsoft Apps folder, which includes the likes of Word, Excel, OneDrive, OneNote, PowerPoint and Skype. You’ll also see S Planner and S Voice, an app for taking notes, and Smart manager.
Anyone trying to keep in shape will enjoy using S Health, which lets you check your heart rate with the built in heart rate scanner, and stress levels. You can even keep tabs on your caffeine and water intake. If you’re trying to eat healthier food, it can help you create your own diet too. S Health also allows you to both set and keep track of fitness goals such as calories burned, distance walked and so on.
Another intriguing feature is Motions and Gestures. Want to make a call – press the device against your war. Want to mute calls and notifications? Cover the screen with your hand, or turn the handset over. Nifty
The S5 Neo has fabulous battery life – with light use you’ll be waiting a couple of days to recharge – and even on really high use you’re looking at more than 16 hours before the juice runs out.
Not only that, but you can actually replace the battery if you want – so you can revitalize the phone if it’s just a tired battery that is letting it down, or use an expanded battery pack.
For wireless networks it can use the fast Wi-Fi standard 802.11ac. It also has a download booster that uses both Wi-Fi and LTE together for speedier downloading.
The S5 Neo takes full advantage of Three’s 4G Super-Voice signal, which can travel further into buildings. This means that you can browse the web, make calls and send texts in places where you couldn’t before.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo doesn’t look as smart as the S6, and not everyone will appreciate its plastic chassis. However, thanks to its fantastic battery life, improved camera performance – and its removable battery and expandable storage – there’s a lot to recommend this phone – particularly at this price point.
Processor: Octa-core 1.6GHz Samsung Exynos 7580
Screen Size: 5.1in
Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080
Rear camera: 16 megapixels
Storage (free): 16GB (11GB)
Wireless data: 3G, 4G
Operating system: Android 5.1.1
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