Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo review: The best deals on the S5 Neo are here

£300
Price when reviewed

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo might look relatively up to date, but it’s not a new smartphone at all. In fact, it’s based on a two-year-old recipe: the Samsung Galaxy S5. At first glance, in fact, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a standard Galaxy S5.

However, because it’s now two years old, there’s a growing number of great deals available for the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo – and at these great prices, it is hard to find on Amazon US (but you can buy a used version outright for $139 on Amazon US), on Amazon UK it’s £159.99. It’d make a great budget smartphone – or even a first handset for the kids. Keep reading to see the best deals for the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo, and our full review after that.

Best Samsung Galazy S5 Neo deals

  • 02: £14,50 per month, 100 minutes, unlimited texts, 100mb data, £180 upfront – Get it here
  • Vodafone: £16 per month, 250 minutes, unlimited texts, 250mb of data, £75 up front – Get it here
  • EE: £16.99 per month, 300 minutes, unlimited texts, 300mb data, £35 up front – Get it here

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo review

The S5 Neo looks like a lot like the normal S5. It’s the same shape, size and weight, and the plasticky design is all-but identical – only the edges have changed, from a ribbed chrome-effect plastic to a smoother, glossy, coloured plastic strip. Even the specifications and features are largely the same. The Galaxy S5 Neo’s screen, camera, battery, connectivity, RAM, storage and water-proofing have all seemingly been lifted directly from the original.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo

Samsung Galaxy S5

Screen size and tech

5.1in Super AMOLED

5.1in Super AMOLED

Screen resolution

1,920 x 1,080 (432ppi)

1,920 x 1,080 (432ppi)

Size (WHD)

72.5 x 8.1 x 142mm

72.5 x 8.1 x 142mm

Weight

145g

145g

Processor and graphics

Octa-core, 1.6GHz Samsung Exynos 7580, Mali-T729MP2

Quad-core, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330

RAM

2GB

2GB

Storage

16GB

16GB

Rear camera

16MP, f/2.2, phase detect autofocus, 1/2.6in sensor size

16MP, f/2.2, phase detect autofocus, 1/2.6in sensor size

Dust and water-proofing

IP67

IP67

Fingerprint reader

No

Yes

Infrared port

No

Yes

It’s only when you look closely that you begin to notice the differences. The main departure is the CPU, which instead of the 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801, is now a Samsung Exynos 7580 Octa running at a clock speed of 1.6GHz. The Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo also lacks the S5’s fingerprint reader, its infrared transceiver and its USB 3 port, but it keeps the S5’s heart rate monitor.

Why would Samsung do such a thing? More importantly, why would you want to buy one? Well, it’s been an uncomfortable truth for smartphone manufacturers that, for the most part, people simply don’t need the extra power offered by their most expensive, modern models.

We’d all love to own a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ or an iPhone 6s Plus but, practically speaking, the advances these phones offer over a good phone that may have been built two years ago are pretty small.

So, we have the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo, which not only offers most of the features and a near-identical design of a 2014 flagship, but that also – at £300 SIM-free and around £22/mth on contract – is far cheaper than current flagship smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo review: Performance

Looking at the all-round performance of the S5 Neo, you might argue that it’s all the smartphone you need. In the benchmarks we run on smartphones, its performance is surprisingly good.

We reviewed the S5 so long ago now that we’ve changed the benchmarks, so I don’t have the usual array of gaming benchmark figures to compare here, but in the test figures I do have, you can see that the Exynos processor in the S5 Neo is significantly quicker than the original, and it isn’t all that far behind its nominally more modern competition:

It’s impressive stuff, and in real world terms all these numbers translate to smooth performance in most apps. My only gripe is that the phone seems to pause for a moment, seemingly catching its breath before launching certain apps. This is not huge issue, but it is nonetheless irritating.

More notable than this, however, is the battery life. In our video rundown test, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo’s 2,800mAh power pack helped it last 16hrs 27mins before running out of juice, which is longer than the superb Galaxy S6 Edge and Motorola Moto X Force. With light use, I found I was able to get it to last well into a third day of use. That’s far, far better than average.

What’s likely to get fans of Samsung smartphones of old foaming at the mouth, though, is the fact that the battery can be replaced. This means you can fix an old, tired battery yourself when it begins to lose capacity, or even replace it with one of the myriad expanded battery pack options such as this 7,500mAh Anker model for multi-day battery life.

You can’t even point the finger of doom at the S5 Neo’s screen. Just like the S5, it’s a Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, and just like that screen, it’s crisp, super colourful and everything just pops right out at you. No complaints here at all. Maximum brightness tops out at 388cd/m2, which isn’t as on, say, an iPhone 6s or the latest Samsung phones, which means it won’t be as readable in searing sunlight, but it’s readable in most situations.

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