So I did an article on the biggest Android phone of the year so far: the HTC One (M8). A beautifully made phone that screams premium and is built to enjoy media, whether music or video, and that is why I went out and bought two of them. But even though the M8 was the first Android flagship of the year doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best flagship and Samsung has one of their own that wants some attention. I was able to get some hands on time with a S5 and a Gear Fit and it is clear that Samsung has taken a completely different approach to their flagship device compared to the HTC One (M8).

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First Impressions are Key

When I picked up the Samsung S5, I immediately noticed how vibrant and colorful the screen was. The basic theme that Samsung had installed took full advantage of the 5.1” AMOLED screen. With a resolution of 1920 by 1080, that gives us a pixel density of 432 ppi, which is slightly less than the HTC One (M8) only because the M8 has a smaller screen and a difference of 8 ppi is negligible, both screens are vibrant and crisp.

The second thing I noticed about the S5 was the plastic back. After using my M8 and messing around with an iPhone 5 and a Moto X, the back feels quite different especially thanks to the dimples. I couldn’t decide if I was a fan of the feel but it certainly wasn’t boring to hold, I’ll give you that. A benefit of the plastic back is that it is removable so you can change the style of your phone without having to use a case like the M8. The only thing that was really noticeable was the port cover on the bottom of the phone. I’m a very fidgety person and I was instantly messing with it to the point of the Samsung representative coming over and telling me to cut it out. No such tab or port cover on the M8 which is unexpectedly great for me because I probably would have broken it by now. It certainly shouldn’t be a deal breaker for anyone but just another little detail for you to consider.

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Second Impressions are Just As Important

As I got past the look and feel of the S5, I started to play around with the software. Everything was snappy and smooth, just like you would expect from a high end smartphone. Compared to the M8, the performance is dead even, everything opened almost exactly at the same time. Once I got to playing with the Gear Fit, that’s where it got a bit hectic. I tried to pair the Gear Fit with the S5 for about 3 minutes with no success. After finally getting it to show me the passkey, my fiancée walked over and touched the back button on the Gear Fit and I couldn’t retrieve the passkey. In other words, I didn’t get to play with the Gear Fit’s software but I can tell you about the look and feel of the Gear Fit.

Simply, it’s beautiful. I knew when I put up my first article on the Gear Fit that it would be a good looking device but seeing it in person was even better. The curved screen fits the design perfectly and it’s light but solid making it ideal to wear on your wrist. I was quite impressed and equally quite saddened by the Gear Fit because it is such a great product but you have to own a compatible Samsung device to use it. Granted, that list of devices has grown from last year’s Galaxy Gear but I wish Samsung would relax their hold and let all Android users have a crack at their great gadget.

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Final Thoughts

Samsung clearly has a top of line smartphone but seems to have a different definition of “top” than HTC. I won’t tell you why you should pick the S5 because this isn’t a full review. What you need to know is that the S5 is definitely a competitor for the prize of top Android smartphone and thus is worth your attention and consideration.

Meet Weston Lanpher

Weston is our professional gadget reviewer. Nothing thrills him more than being able to get his hands on the latest and greatest in electronics.