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Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5 comparison review: Don't rush to upgrade just yet

£549 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung has launched the new Galaxy S5 smartphone and you probably want to know how it's different to the Galaxy S4. Well, read our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5 comparison review to find out.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5 comparison review

It's hard to believe we're already on the fifth generation of Galaxy smartphone but the Galaxy S5 is here and now on sale. In light of that, here's our Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5 comparison review.

Whether you've got a Galaxy S4 (or previous Galaxy) and pondering whether to upgrade or a non-Galaxy owner trying to decide between the two, our comparison review will help you make that decision.

We've broken the review down into different areas so you can see the differences which are most important to you.

See also: Samsung Galaxy S5 hands-on review: No leap for Samsung in smartphone innovation.

Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5: Price

There's no official price for the Galaxy S5 but UK phone retailer, Clove, has priced the smartphone at £550. We're talking SIM-free here and the sum is a little lower than we expected but could change by the time the S5 is available to buy on 11 April. See also: Samsung Galaxy S5: Release date, price and specs.

Now the Galaxy S4 has been around for a while, nearly a year by the time the S5 launches, its price is much lower. A search on the web at the time of writing reveals that the Galaxy S4 can be obtained for just over £300 and this is likely to drop further once the Galaxy S5 arrives.

That's quite a big difference so should you upgrade from the S4 to the Galaxy S5? Read on to see what the new flagship Galaxy has to offer. Read: Galaxy S5 price and where to buy in the UK.

Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5: Design

From the front, the Galaxy S5 looks almost identical to the Galaxy S4 and in a sense could be any Samsung smartphone – it looks very similar to the Galaxy Note 3 too. Flip it over and it does look pretty different though with a soft touch 'perforated' cover. This comes in black and white but also in 'Electric Blue' and 'Copper Gold'.

18 best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014.

Samsung Galaxy S5 design and build

An easily missed design tweak is that the left-hand touch sensitive button is multi-tasking rather than menu.

The Galaxy S5 has a slightly larger screen than the Galaxy S4 and this, combined with other new features, means the smartphone is bigger, thicker and heavier than its predecessor. It's not a large amount but it's not the way we would want it to go.

At 8.1mm the Galaxy S5 is only 0.2mm thicker but 15g heavier at 145g is a more noticeable change. You might not like the fact that it's also around 3- and 6mm wider and taller than previously.

This size and weight gain is more acceptable since the Galaxy S5 is dust- and water-resistant to an IP67 certification – similar to Sony's top-end Xperia devices. This means there's a cover over the microUSB port but not the headphone jack. It's surprising that the rear cover is removable so you'll want to make doubly sure it's clipped in properly before heading out in the rain.

Read our: Galaxy S5 vs All New HTC One 2014 comparison review: Samsung Galaxy 5 underwhelms... what has HTC got?

Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5: Fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor

Two key features of the Galaxy S5 are the fingerprint scanner and hear rate monitor – neither of which are found on the Galaxy S4.

Situated below the camera on the back of the phone, the heart rate monitor does exactly what is says on the tin so will appeal to the more sporty types out there. Meanwhile, the fingerprint scanner can be used to unlock the GS5, launch a 'private mode' or authorise mobile payments via PayPal.

Like the iPhone 5s, the scanner is built into the home button but requires a swipe movement rather than just touching it statically.

Samsung Galaxy S5 heart rate monitor

Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5: Display

As we mentioned in the design section, the Galaxy S5 has a larger display than the S4. However, it's only 5.1in compared to 5in so only a tiny bit bigger. Despite rumours of a super high-res display, Samsung has stuck with Full HD 1080p for the GS5. This means pixel density has dropped slightly, but not enough to be noticeable.

Super AMOLED technology is also another element which stays the same but Samsung has introduced what it calls Adaptive Display. This means the display automatically adjusts the colour gamut, white tone and contrast depending on the lighting conditions you're in.

Samsung Galaxy S4 display

Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5: Processor and GPU

In the UK, we got the Galaxy S4 with a 1.9GHz quad-core processor, not the Octa-core Exynos 5 chip. Despite rumours of an iPhone 5s rivalling 64-bit chip, the Galaxy S5 has a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor which is also found in the new Sony Xperia Z2.

This means things have moved from Krait 300 cores to Krait 400 cores and the GPU has been upgraded from an Adreno 320 o the Adreno 330. We haven't had a proper chance to test the performance but things seemed nice and nippy during our hands-on time at Samsung's Unpacked launch event in Barcelona.

Going forward, you're going to be better off with the Galaxy S5's newer hardware but the Galaxy S4 is certainly no slouch.  

Next page: Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S5 storage, wireless, cameras, software and battery

Samsung Galaxy S5 Expert Verdict »
Samsung Galaxy S5 Scores 8.9 out of 10 based on 746 reviews
Display: 5.1 inch Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 432 ppi
Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
GPU: Adreno 330
OS: Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) with TouchWiz
Camera: Main (Rear): 16 Mega pixel phase detection autofocus with LED flash, up to 4K video
Sub (Front): 2 Mega pixel camera, Full HD recording @30fps
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (MIMO), GPS/GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE), Infrared (Remote Control), 4G LTE (Cat 4)
Memory: 16/32GB internal, microSD slot (up to 128GB), 2GB RAM
Dimension: 73 x 142 x 8.1 mm, 145g
Battery: 2,800 mAh removable

We're not blown away by the Galaxy S5 with its similar design. Its new features can already be found on non-Samsung devices but might make the device worthy of an upgrade if you own an S4 - If you want, namely, a fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor and a better camera.

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

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