Review: The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Gear 2 Neo

I have to preface this review with one thing: I am an iPhone user primarily.

I’ve tried various Android phones over the years (the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4 and the Moto X), but I could never make the switch full time.

I love certain aspects of Android, such as swiping to type, and the size of the screen on newer Androids. I also like the fact that I can still do a battery pull on most Android devices, as opposed to my iPhone that I can’t. Finally, I love that Android phones use Micro-USB to charge. It would be so much easier to have one cord for all my devices, rather than two.

So when Rogers sent me a gift pack of three devices to give a try, I was excited to put my iPhone aside for a week to give it all a try. Here are some of my thoughts of the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the Gear 2 Neo.

Things I liked

Devices

The loot package I got in the mail. Thanks, Rogers!

I loved the way the Samsung Galaxy S5 fit in my hand. It felt lighter than my iPhone 5s, and just had amazing picture quality.

I hooked up Rogers One Number, so that any calls that went to my iPhone would be forwarded to the S5 while I had it. Rogers One Number is definitely a great way to make sure you can be reached no matter where you are.

I wanted to play around with S Health, but just found it a little confusing to get going with. I also found that S Health gave me a different step count than the Gear 2 Neo, so I wasn’t sure which device I should be counting on there.

The S5 fingerprint scanner was also an interesting thing to me. I have a fingerprint scanner on my iPhone, and love to validate my identity with my iPhone this way. With my iPhone, I find it often reads my thumbprint even when I don’t want it to. For example, when I’m just checking the time, I often end up accidentally unlocking my phone. This was not the case with the S5.

The fingerprint scanner was harder to “crack.” This was good in the sense that the device wasn’t unlocking when I didn’t want it to, but frustrating when I had to swipe my finger two or three times to get it to unlock. The other difference I found between the two devices: with the iPhone, I just have to place my thumb on the button, with the S5, I literally had to swipe down. That made it harder to do with one hand.

The S5 is an LTE Category 4 device, however, I don’t have LTE in my area yet (one of the few downsides of moving to the country), so I was unable to test the speed.

Things I didn’t like
I wanted to like the Samsung Gear 2 Neo, I really did.

After all, I was obsessed with my FitBit Flex until it just decided to stop charging. I love counting my steps and competing with friends. It makes me move a little bit more than I normally would. Unfortunately, I did not have the same love affair with the Gear 2 Neo.

Firstly, it’s big. And I mean really big. Especially if, like me, you have really small wrists. The thing just dwarfs it.

Gear Neo See what I mean? I feel like my wrist is lost. As a person who doesn’t normally wear a watch, I was really self-conscious about this giant thing on my wrist.

As well, I found the Gear 2 Neo a little too sensitive. Any flip of my wrist, or gesture with my hand, and I brought it to life. Not the kind of thing you want to do in a darkened movie theatre or during a presentation at work.

I also found the step count hard was not consistent with my FitBit. I started the day with 60 steps on my FitBit before I put on the Gear 2 Neo. I expected things to stay this way. By the end of the day, the Gear was reporting close to 1,000 more steps than my FitBit. Something wasn’t right there.

The Gear 2 Neo is also not waterproof or water resistant. (As per Tyler’s comment below, it is water resistant. It just doesn’t look like it to me!) And no matter how I adjusted the band, I still didn’t trust it would stay on my wrist if I tried to run with it, so I never did take it for a 5K stroll around town.

That said, I liked getting call notifications and text message alerts on it. It was neat to have something on my wrist vibrate when my phone rang (especially since my phone is always on vibrate, so if it’s not right with me, I might miss a call).

I think I’ll stick with my FitBit.

Have you tried either the Samsung Galaxy S5 or Gear 2 Neo? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Disclaimer: While Rogers provided me with the devices mentioned in this review so I could try them, I received no payment for this post. My views are my own. I wrote this post as part of the Rogers Social Insider program. To learn more about the program, and find out how you can apply, click here.

  • http://www.youtube.com/tyguyone Tyler R

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these devices. I definitely agree that the step counter and fingerprint reader seem like an afterthought on the S5.

    I also want to point out that the Gear 2 Neo is actually water resistant, to the same degree as the S5 (which means it is virtually completely waterproof as long as you don’t leave it underwater for too long. http://www.samsung.com/ca/consumer/mobile/galaxy-gear/galaxy-gear/SM-R3810ZKAXAC

    • http://www.sarahmillar.com Sarah Foster

      Ah, thanks for the clarification, Tyler! The Gear looks so fancy, I just assumed that it wouldn’t be OK to wear in the shower or swimming. Perhaps they should make one that’s less fancy! ;-)