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Samsung Galaxy S5 - Hands On

Exploring the features of the new Samsung Galaxy S5

Back in February O2 Guru David McClelland got hands on with the Samsung Galaxy S5 at MWC in Barcelona. He bravely fought off the prying tech journalists for as long as possible but his time with the new flagship was understandably cut short. Since then we got to spend some quality time with the device away from the hustle and bustle of a launch event and really get to grips with everything the S5 has to offer.

The S5 has refreshed its wardrobe and added a stylish, perforated back cover to its familiar polycarbonate build. It's a subtle change, but it looks great and feels comfortable to hold. We got to meet the S5 in electric blue, but it also comes in charcoal black, shimmery white and copper gold if you're feeling fancy.

The camera has had a noteworthy update and now offers a 16 megapixel camera with 4K video recording. Your photos will reap the benefits of selectable advanced High Dynamic Range (HDR) which will perfect the lighting, clarity and colour of your snaps. Furthermore, the new Super Fast Auto Focus removes the stress of mobile photography and locks on to your subject in a fraction of a second – more of that below.

Samsung have treated fitness fanatics to a world first: a heart rate monitor in a smartphone. It's surprisingly simple to use and your heart rate data is logged in Samsung's S-Health app which also tracks your condition, walking distance, calories burned, speed and pretty much anything else you'd want a health hub to manage. We're exhausted just writing about it.

'Kids Mode'; will come in handy if your little ones are as excited about your new mobile as you are. This sandbox area of your phone allows you to safely and securely control what your children have access to. It's been well considered and the user experience is fun, bright and easy to customise. We had a fantastic time putting hats and shoes on the crocodile avatar who rules this area.

Finally, the Ultra Power Saving Mode is worth a mention. It promises to squeeze 24 hours of standby time out of your last 10% of juice and it does this by switching your screen to black and white whilst shutting down many background tasks.

Close up on the Samsung Galaxy S5 camera

The standout feature of the Samsung Galaxy S5 has to be its new and updated 16 megapixel camera with Super Fast Auto Focus.

The Super Fast Autofocus lives up to its name and locks on to a subject in just 0.3 seconds. Unlike previous smartphone cameras, which often leave us handling our phones like a magnifying glass as we play with angles and distances to get the focus, we didn't have this problem with the S5 at all.

Next up, the camera offers selectable advanced High Dynamic Range (HDR). We always liked the finished result of our photos with HDR effect on the S4. However, not only has the HDR seen a massive improvement on the S5, but it now features Live Preview, so you can see how your photos will look in this mode before you snap the shot. The improvement in our photography was huge. Figures, even in poor lighting were artfully highlighted, crisp and the colours really popped. These photos were further enhanced thanks to the camera's post shot focusing, named "Selective Focus". This allows you to manually sharpen what's important and blur the background of your images so you can achieve your chosen depth of field and perfect them with a professional finish.

Perhaps our most entertaining moment with the S5 was filming a quick video in 4K resolution and watching the footage back on the phone whilst it was submerged in a jug of water. The quality of video really is outstanding and was made all the more enjoyable by reviewing it in a way that still feels naughty and daring. We don't advise dropping your phone in water to watch video playback, but the fact you can is awesome.

If you're a keen photographer and want a quality camera in your back pocket so you never miss an "instagrammable" moment, then the Samsung Galaxy S5 is well worth your consideration.

You can find the Samsung S5 in our online Shop, or pop into your local O2 Store for a closer look.

Like the features of the S5? Let us know on Twitter @O2 using the hashtag #O2Guru or chat to other O2 customers in the O2 Community.

Find us on O2 Guru TV or visit an O2 Guru in store.

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