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Five flaws in Samsung Galaxy S5's TouchWiz

Nermin Bajric | April 21, 2014
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is an evolutionary device; the vendor's new flagship is better than its predecessor across the board, without quite being revolutionary. But while it houses impressive hardware, it is let down by the infamous TouchWiz, Samsung's own interface overlay which skins Google's Android 4.4 Kit Kat operating system with heavy-duty software (and in some cases, gimmicks).

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is an evolutionary device; the vendor's new flagship is better than its predecessor across the board, without quite being revolutionary. But while it houses impressive hardware, it is let down by the infamous TouchWiz, Samsung's own interface overlay which skins Google's Android 4.4 Kit Kat operating system with heavy-duty software (and in some cases, gimmicks). Here are five things we don't like about the Galaxy S5's iteration of TouchWiz.

It slows down the phone

The Samsung Galaxy S5 houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset with a 2.5GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Theoretically, this should keep a smartphone running smoothly even when playing high-demand mobile games, such as Real Racing 3 and FIFA 14, and running a bunch of processes in the background. But TouchWiz hinders this performance, impacting the overall speed of the device due to the abundance of features included in the software.

When we switched on the phone (in the sense of a restart, not a first-time boot), the Galaxy S5 was still using a whopping 900MB of RAM, leaving about 925MB free. After we opened a few social networking apps (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Glassboard, and Google+), 1GB of RAM was being consumed. Once we opened a few more apps (and left them to run in the background), like AccuWeather, FIFA 14, Google Drive, and the MOG digital music streaming service, the figure edged 1.3GB.

Sure, the everyday consumer who uses their smartphone for calls, text messages, social networking, web browsing and some Angry Birds won't notice the implications of this. But those of you who need the full grunt of the hardware -- particularly professionals and developers -- will no doubt feel the impact of TouchWiz on performance.

It takes up a lot of storage

The Samsung Galaxy S5's operating system (Google's Android 4.4 Kit Kat plus the dense TouchWiz), in addition to the amount of storage required to run the device, consumes 4.4GB of space. If you're looking to buy the 16GB variant of the smartphone, that's more than a quarter of your available storage.

The total amount of storage being used on our device. Note that this particular unit did not have any large apps (such as games) installed when this screenshot was taken.

As expected, Samsung has included a microSD card slot in the Galaxy S5 (which sits on top of the SIM card slot). Although this alleviates the storage woes of the everyday consumer, those of you who rely on the device's internal memory will be disappointed. For example, those of you who need to keep private, business-related data on your smartphone's internal memory in order to keep it locked down. After all, the SD card can be easily taken out even before you have the chance to wipe your phone remotely should you lose it or have it stolen.

 

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