Monday, July 14th, 2014
- Bright and beautiful AMOLED screen
- Less plastic, more premium than previous Galaxy devices
- Gimmicky hardware additions
- TouchWiz modifications may not be to everyone’s taste
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the latest in Samsung’s line of flagship Android phones, refining rather than redefining the series.
Running Android Kitkat (4.4.2) out of the box and with the requisite TouchWiz additions (now loved and hated by Samsung fans in equal measure), alongside a 2.5ghz Quad Core Processor, interaction with the S5 feels silky smooth.
Its 5.1” 1080P AMOLED Screen gives a striking first impression and the relatively thin bezels prevent it from edging too close to ‘phablet’ territory also keeping it fractionally smaller than the Sony Xperia Z and HTC One (M8), its two closest competitors. The fantastic screen also perfectly showcases the new 16MP Camera which is capable of filming at 4K.
The review model is ‘Pearl White’ but the S5 is also available in Black, Blue and Gold (not quite the champagne gold which seems to be ‘in’ now, but close) and has a ‘dimpled’ finish making it feel much less plasticy than previous Galaxy models.
One of the more interesting additions to this year’s model is a heart-rate monitor located on the back of the device, just below the camera lens. It’s closely integrated with Samsung’s S Health App but its necessity is questionable.
Further, and in a clear attempt to ape the iPhone 5 and HTC One Max whilst adding another USP, the S5 includes a fingerprint scanner – ideal for upping security on the device although its reliability is something that requires a longer term test. So far the consensus is that this is not as accurate and useful as the one featured on the iPhone 5S.
Following the trend set by the Sony Xperia Z, The S5 is both water and dust resistant. Although not to quite the same extent, it will easily survive a drop in the sink or on the beach.
In conclusion, the Galaxy S5 is a worthy successor to the S4, improving significantly enough to make the upgrade worthwhile whilst also performing favourably when compared to close competitors (the Sony Xperia Z2 and HTC One (M8)). Price-wise it does tend to be the cheaper of the 3 flagships so certainly a strong contender for your hard-earned cash.
Monday, June 28th, 2010
Like a lot of you, I’ve been waiting quite a while to get my hands on a set of the Nokia BH-505 Bluetooth Headphones, Nokia’s latest Stereo Bluetooth Headset. Stock has been extremely limited and any that did arrive went straight out to customers.
Now that we’ve finally managed secure stock, I grabbed hold of a pair to put them through their paces. Are the Nokia BH-505′s any good? Read on to find out.
In the Box
One of the first things you notice after you’ve struggled to remove them from the packaging, is that they’re actually quite small and extremely thin. The way they’re packaged makes it look like you don’t get much with them, but to be fair you only need a charger and spare ear gels, so that’s exactly what you get.
Nokia have never really done much with stereo bluetooth accessories. They’ve released a few bluetooth headphones and bluetooth speakers over the years, but they’ve never been anything special compared to those offered by Motorola, Jabra and Sony Ericsson. The Nokia BH-505 look as though that’s set to change. They look fantastic and they’re easy to use. Feature-wise, the BH-505′s have limited multipoint support, track controls, volume controls and NFC (Near Field Communication) for easy pairing.
Multipoint is becoming more and more of a standard feature on bluetooth headphones, so it’s a little surprising to see that Nokia haven’t fully supported it on the BH-505. You can use them with two devices at the same time, but only one device can connect for calls and one for music. Your phone is the obvious choice for calls, but for music, you can connect it to your iPod touch, PC or Mac, PS3 or another phone – although the second phone will be for music only, you won’t be able to answer calls from it
I don’t think this will be too much of an issue though. Nokia are clearly aiming this headset at social/sports users rather than business users that are likely to carry two phones around with them.
The Nokia BH-505 looks to me like a slimmer, cleaner looking version of the Motorola S9 HD. They use a similar headband style that wraps around the back of your head.
The Motorola S9 HD’s are fairly bulky and the controls are quite fiddly to use as they are small and touch sensitive. The Nokia BH-505 has 2 simple buttons that add to the visual appeal of the headset and make using it a pleasure.
The headset is designed to be water/sweatproof so all sensitive parts of the headset are hidden away. The power button, LED lights and charging port are all discretely positioned and unless you know where to look for them you won’t find them.
The only thing that I found annoying was the plastic cover over the charging socket. It only peels back a few millimetres which makes it a little fiddly to get the standard 2.5mm charging pin into. The BH-505 has an IP rating of IP54 for splash and sweat resistance and is the only stereo bluetooth headset that I’ve seen to have an IP rating.
Controls & Set Up
Some people get scared away from Bluetooth Headphones, thinking that they’re difficult to use or set up. While this may have been true for early models, it certainly isn’t the case for the Nokia BH-505. Pairing is painless, the first time the headset is turned on it puts itself into pairing mode, all you do is search for bluetooth devices and enter the passkey 0000, if asked.
When tested with iPhone 4, the phone provided the passkey without asking me for it, completing the whole process in around 20 seconds. If your phone supports NFC (highly unlikely at the moment, but all Nokia smartphones will by next year) pairing is as simple as activating NFC on your phone and tapping the phone against the headband on the headset.
As mentioned, the controls are kept to a minimum on the BH-505. The on/off button is located on the inside of the headband, answer/end is on the right earpiece and play/pause is on the left earpiece. If you forget which way round they are, each button has a raised symbol on them so you can feel which is which. The answer/end button activates voice dialling and last number redial and if you’re an iPhone user you’ll be pleased to know that pressing and holding the answer key will also activate voice control on iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.
The only other controls on the headset are 2 small sliders – one on each ear. These sliders push up to increase the volume or fast forward, and push down to decrease the volume or skip back a track. They do the job they’re supposed to, but are a little on the small side and it’s easy for your fingers to slip off them.
Nokia accessories have always been pretty good when it comes to audio quality. The BH-505′s won’t blow you away with crystal clear sound, but for listening to MP3′s off your phone and taking phone calls they are more than adequate. Avid music fans are probably better off sticking with wired headphones, but for casual users that enjoy listening to their music on the bus on the way to work or while you’re down working out at the gym, you’ll find the audio quality is excellent.
Unlike some bluetooth headphones, the BH-505′s have volume control built in. This means that when you turn the volume up, it’s the headphones doing the work and not the phone. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s the only way to change the volume level if you’re listening to your music from an iPhone or iPod touch as the bluetooth restrictions on these devices prevents volume control from working.
The Nokia BH-505 is a great headset for anyone who takes part in physical activities or that just enjoys listening to music without the hassle of wires. It’s not overly expensive and the sound quality is impressive for something so slim. It’s easy to use and set up and will work brilliantly with just about every bluetooth enabled phone out there – even the iPhone.
If the Nokia BH-505 aren’t quite what you’re looking for you might want to take a look at these other Bluetooth Headphones.