Samsung’s newest smartphone also happens to be one rugged player in the world of mobile technology. The Galaxy S5 Active is shock, water, and dust-resistant, perfect for keeping active with your phone in tow. It can withstand being immersed in one meter of water for 30 minutes too.
I was recently sent an S5 Active to test drive and my immediate thought was, how will this compare to the iPhone?
After all, I’ve been using Apple technology since 1992. Would the Android-based phone win over this longtime Apple fan? For the past four years, I’ve religiously kept iCal populated with events and my iPhone’s photo library filled with sharable moments.
Let’s begin. Out of the box, the GALAXY is pretty easy to set up. There’s a Quick Start Guide to walk you through the basics, and many video tutorials to be found on the S5 Active web page. A USB 3.0 charging cable, plug, and earphones are included in the box.
You’ll need a Google Gmail account to access Samsung’s app store (aka Play Store). Once there, you’ll find numerous apps, comparable to Apple’s. Once I’d downloaded my favourite social media, photography, and travel apps, it was off to check out the Smart Remote and S Health apps.
If you own Samsung Galaxy Gear devices (Gear Fit, Gear 2 watch), you can sync them to record steps taken in the pedometer setting, as well as keep records of hiking, walking, and running—and your heart rate. You can also sync music and make a workout playlist within the app.
Smart Remote will find your tv service provider’s channel list and turn it into a remote control. A few basic setup steps, and you’re done.
The 16 MP camera’s loaded with options. I took several shots in and around town in a variety of lighting conditions using Auto focus. While I’m not ready to leave my Nikon DSLR anytime soon, I must admit that the GALAXY S5 Active outperformed my beloved, long-lasting Canon PowerShot Digital Elph camera.
The camera is set for Beauty face (airbrushed effect portrait pictures for enhancing the ultimate selfie), burst mode, panorama, virtual tour (for capturing a 360-degree video), and dual camera (take pictures and record video with both front and rear cameras using a variety of picture styles).
You can also download extra modules to your phone such as Surround Shot, Sequence Shot, Animated Photo, and Sports Shot. Note that for the extra modules, you must create a free Samsung account to download them, or create a Google ID using your Gmail address.
The S5 Active sports a gorgeous, crisp, and clear 5.1” Full HD Super AMOLED screen that automatically adjusts contrast and brightness levels.
Another cool feature? Palm swipe for grabbing a quick screen shot! I love this one. Solidly move the side of your palm over the screen from left to right, and the camera will capture the screen for you.
And then there’s one of my favourite features to turn OFF: that annoying intermittent light that flashes on top of the phone. Easy enough to fix: just go into settings and under Display, you’ll find LED indicator. Once you click there, you can select options such as low battery indicator, voice recording indicator, and notifications. Problem solved.
An Ultra Power Saving Mode2 feature conserves battery life when you need it most by switching to a black and white display and limiting app options, getting up 24 hours on just 10% battery. Severe weather alerts are also available to keep users updated on extreme conditions.
Other tech specifications:
– 2.5GHz quad-core processor
– 16 megapixel rear-facing camera with digital zoom and a full editing suite
– Expandable up to 128 GB with an SD memory card
– Voice Search
– Easy access to Google Chrome, Gmail, G+, Maps, Drive, YouTube, all on same screen
– KNOX WorkspaceTM creates a virtual, separate, and more secure space on the GS5 Active that lets users keep business data secure
– On-demand nutrition tips via the built-in S Health App
– Locqus Field Service Management, ideal for electricians, contractors, home repair service technicians and others to schedule and dispatch jobs, track employee location, and get real-time status
[Pretty impressive detail and shadows in this shot!]
Easy to set up
Excellent photo quality and features
Numerous apps available
Expandable up to 128 GB with an optional SD memory card
Not 100% sure/ready to synch my iCal with Google’s calendar (but here’s how)
Getting used to a larger-size phone compared to an iPhone 5S
Don’t just take my word for it. I’m giving away another one of these powerhouse smart phones (CDN $750 retail) to one lucky reader! All you have to do is follow Vancouverscape and Samsung Canada on Twitter, and tweet the following:
I’ve entered to win a Samsung GALAXY S5 Active courtesy of @SamsungCanada and @Vancouverscape [http://ow.ly/EHdUx].
I’ll draw a winner at random on December 5 at 4 pm. Did I also mention that the phone will arrive to you completely unlocked, so you can use it with any carrier?
Winner must reside in Canada to be eligible for the prize.