Living with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo

Review

We spent a week with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo to see what it’s like in everyday life…
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Living with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo

Neo? Are you sure this isn’t the old Galaxy S5?

I know the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo is based on the original S5, but going by looks alone I really couldn’t tell this new phone from the old one. The durable plastic body, waterproofing and textured back are all identical.

It seems a little strange that Samsung’s done this because there was only ever one complaint about the S5 – the way it looked.

Once you get past the physical side of the S5 Neo, though, there are some important differences. I very quickly found that there’s no fingerprint scanner, for example. On the plus side, I also found that the phone’s built around Android Lollipop, so the software’s more up to date.

Overall, my first impressions of the S5 Neo were good. I always liked the build of the S5 because it never felt fragile, and the updated operating system is a nice addition.

Samsung Galaxy S5 NeoThere are new cameras too

The camera is one of the main features on a smartphone for me, so it wasn’t long before I tried out the snapper on the S5 Neo.

It turns out Samsung’s upgraded both the front and rear cameras. In fact, they seem to be the same cameras that you find in the Galaxy S6, so I was taking brilliant shots in an instant.

The rear camera weighs in at 16MP and has an ultra-wide f/1.9 aperture, which makes it better at shooting in low light. The front-facing camera has a 5MP sensor and the same aperture, so the few selfies I took looked pin sharp (sorry, you’re not getting a sample shot of my ugly mug).

While the cameras have been updated, their video capabilities have been scaled back. On the S5 Neo you can record in Full HD (which makes sense given the Full HD screen) but the old S5 could manage 4K video recording, which was nice if you had a new TV. There’s also no slow-mo video function built in, which we enjoyed on the original S5.

The screen’s as good as ever

Samsung’s super AMOLED displays have always been outstanding. They’re bright, colourful and have amazing contrast that makes everything look really vivid, and the S5 Neo’s 5.1-inch Full HD screen is no different.

From playing games to watching clips on YouTube, the colours and detail have really stood out.

Speaking of gaming, it’s been really good in general. The S5 Neo has an octa-core processor made by Samsung, and it runs stuff really smoothly and produces great-looking graphics.

There’s plenty of power to keep you entertained all day too. The battery’s a good size and the phone has seemed pretty efficient. I’ve been plugging it in for 45 minutes while getting ready for work and that’s been enough to get me through the day.

The verdict

In the week I’ve spent with the S5 Neo I’ve never thought it lacked anything. Considering I usually use a phone that’s worth twice as much, that’s impressive.

The real standouts, though, are the cameras and screen. If you fancy yourself a bit of a photographer, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo is a great value smartphone that you should definitely consider getting.

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