Gadget & Product Reviews

The Mystery Behind The Samsung Galaxy S5 And S5 Plus

What’s the real difference between the Samsung Galaxy S5 and S5 Plus?

Photo credit: GSM Arena
Photo Credit: GSM Arena

When iPhone came out with their variants, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, the difference was obvious. So when Samsung — a brand that isn’t exactly a vanguard of subtlety when it comes to product launches — quietly unveiled the S5 Plus, I got confused.

Didn’t they just release the S5 in February?

Did they add ‘Plus’ because it’s bigger than the S5?

Why aren’t they making more noise about the product — was there something wrong with the old one? Should I tell all my friends who bought the S5 to trade in their just-bought-S5s for this ‘Plus’ version?

Yes. No. And no—apparently, Samsung just felt the need to release the world’s fastest smartphone. Why they did so quietly, is beyond me.

Image credit: The Unlockr
Image Credit: The Unlockr

Anyway, it seems the late season upgrade to the Snapdragon 801, which is what the S5 (and Note 4 as well as Nexus 6 phones) runs on, has been upgraded to an 805 chipset — Qualcomm’s turbo charged and most efficient chipset to date.

That’s just tech speak for “you now own the fastest phone in the world — so far.”

But unlike the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus duo, where one is visibly bigger than the other, the S5/S5 Plus are aesthetically identical to each other. The only way you can tell the difference is when you notice just how fast the S5 Plus runs — at least, until Motorola introduces the Droid Turbo, which will also apparently run on the 805 chipset.

Anyway, apart from the obvious benefits of a chipset on steroids, internal improvements of the S5 Plus over the S5 also include:

  • Improved bandwith memory, which serve to lower the phone’s multitasking bottlenecks.
  • A better processor (now running on Krait 450 vs. 400).
  • Better 4G performance allowing for 300Mbps downloads.

Other than that, it still retains the 5.1”, 1080p screen, a 16MP camera, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, and 2800mAh battery. On the subject of battery, the upgraded chipset might also prove to be more efficient in terms of power efficiency.

Image credit: Samsung
Image Credit: Samsung

Is the S5 Plus a great smartphone? I’m sure it is. But I’ve always wondered how we, as an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, regular users who aren’t about to fiddle and hack the phone’s soft/hardware can really tell the difference in terms of speed. Phones running on the standard chipset seem to be doing fine and personally, I think the most noticeable aspect would be the extended battery life, since the S5 is running more efficiently.

So here’s my take on it: if you’re still running around with an S3, then yes, pick up an S5 Plus, by all means. But if you already have an S5, or an S4 even, be patient. Hold out for the S6 and let’s see what Samsung has up their sleeve.

SPECS

S5

S5 PLUS

Network

GSM/HSPA/LTE

GSM/HSPA/LTE

Launch date

February 2014

October 2014

Design

5.59 x 2.85 x .32 in/145g

Micro-SIM, water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes

5.59 x 2.85 x .32 in/145g

Micro-SIM, water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes

Display

Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen/1080 x 1920 pixels/ Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen/1080 x 1920 pixels/ Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Platform

Android OS, KitKat, upgradeable to Lollipop, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Android OS, KitKat, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
Memory Expandable microSD up to 128GB/Internal 16/32 GB, 2GB RAM Expandable microSD up to 128GB/Internal 16/32 GB, 2GB RAM

Camera

16MP primary/2MP front camera

16MP primary/2MP front camera

Battery 2800 mAh/Stand-by 390h, talk time 21h

2800 mAh/Stand-by 390h, talk time 21h

 

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