Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S4

24 March 2014

The Galaxy S5 is set to hit shelves on April 11. At the same time the Galaxy S4 is bound to take a dive in price, so it's important to know which phone is the best option. Is it worth forking out the extra cash for the newer of the two, or are they similar enough that the S4 will handle your needs at a lower price?

The short summary is: the Galaxy S5 is worth the extra cash if you're after the best experience available. The all-important “BUT” is that it’s probably not worth it if you already have the S4, or if you're not too fussed on having the best phone on the market.

Galaxy S5

Galaxy S4
Display 5.1 inch 1080p (432ppi)
5 inch 1080p (441ppi)
Display tech
Android version
4.4 KitKat
4.2.2, 4.3, 4.4.2 (depending on region)
Camera 16MP 13MP
CPU Quad-core 2.5GHz
Quad-core 1.9GHz
Storage 16GB/32GB 16GB/32GB
MicroSD Yes Yes
USB 3.0 2.0
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
802.11 b/g/n/ac
Battery 2800mAh 2600mAh
4G LTE Cat4 Cat3
GPU Adreno 330
Adreno 320
Dimensions 142mm x 72.5mm x 8.1mm 136.6mm x 69.8mm x 7.9mm
Weight 145g 130g
Water resistant?
Yes, IP67 certified

The important differences

There aren’t too many huge differences between the Galaxy S5 and the S4. This year seems to be a very straight-forward upgrade with minor improvements to CPU speed, graphics processing, camera, and battery size. The Galaxy S4, surprisingly, is the lighter and thinner of the two.

The biggest reason we’re excited about the S5 is its water-resistance. With a rating of IP67 it’s as water-resistant as last year’s durable Galaxy S4 Active. IP67 means that it can be submerged in 1m (3 feet) of water for up to half an hour. You can’t go swimming with it, but it’s not going to see much damage from an encounter with the kitchen sink.

The S5 also ships with Cat4 4G support. Cat4 (Category 4) 4G is a faster form of 4G than the current standard, called Cat3. Most carriers still don’t have Cat4 support or, if they do, it’s not available across their entire 4G network. Eventually this is bound to change over the next 2 years, but it’s not going to be a big factor at launch.

The Galaxy S5 is sure to be a great phone, just like the S4 was before it. The changes introduced with the S5 are an acceptable step forwards between the two generations, but not really enough to warrant an upgrade from last year’s model. Unless you really, really want a water-resistant phone.

If you have neither, then it's up to you which one you go for. The S5 will give you the best, latest Android phone on the market. The Galaxy S4 will provide you with a great smartphone, but with less future-proofed set of hardware for a lower price. Just make sure you wait till the price goes down before buying one.



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