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

Price when reviewed

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo review: Camera

Even the camera technology from the S5 has stood the test of time, and that’s probably because it was well sorted back when the original launched. To recap, the Neo has precisely the same specifications here as its forebear, which means it has a resolution of 16 megapixels, fast and accurate phase detect autofocus, a sensor size of 1/2.6in, an aperture of f/2.2 and a single-LED flash to illuminate dim scenes.

And it’s pretty darned good. On a grey winter’s day, capturing images of London’s skyline, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo compares pretty well with the iPhone 6s. Its shots are bursting with detail and colour. It’s not quite as reliably good as the iPhone – you can see that the shot here is a touch softer than the iPhone 6s’ and has a white balance that’s ever so slightly warmer – but it’s good enough.

It’s a similar story when comparing with the excellent Nexus 6P (I didn’t have a Nexus 5X to hand, but it has the same camera). The shots aren’t as sharp and the colours aren’t quite as realistic, but these differences aren’t huge, and considering the S5 Neo is employing a camera module that’s now nearly two years old, it’s hugely impressive.

Moreover, it isn’t just the hardware that impresses here. Samsung’s camera software is excellent. In recent times, as with its Touchwiz Android skin, Samsung has pared back its complexities and it’s now slick, easy to use and powerful. The Pro camera mode is exceptionally good, placing adjustments such as ISO sensitivity, white balance and exposure compensation at your fingertips.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo vs OnePlus 2 vs Nexus 5x

So, should you buy a Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo? To answer that question properly, you have to compare it against the best modern rivals, available at roughly the same price. So, let’s draw up a shortlist and consider the headline pros and cons.

My favourite phone at the moment at around that price is the OnePlus 2. It’s £279, features a larger, 5.5in screen, a faster and more modern processor, plus it has 64GB storage – four times the storage of the S5 Neo – and a more palatable Android skin than Samsung’s Touchwiz. The downsides are that the OnePlus is more bulky than the S5 Neo, you can’t buy it on contract, and it lacks both the S5’s removeable battery and its remarkable stamina.

Then there’s the Nexus 5X, which at £299 is the benchmark mid-range smartphone. At the time of writing, the phone was available from Carphone Warehouse for roughly the same amount of cash as the S5 Neo, both on contract and SIM-free. That phone can’t match the S5 Neo’s flexibility, nor its battery life, but it has a fingerprint reader, a better camera and it runs stock Android, which again offers a cleaner, more responsive experience than Samsung Touchwiz.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo review: Verdict

In the final analysis, it’s impossible not to be impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo. If you can get on with the design, which isn’t the most attractive in the world, its combination of performance, battery life, camera quality and a reasonable price make it nearly unbeatable.

I say nearly unbeatable because, if I had £300 to spend on a new smartphone, I’d still opt for either the OnePlus 2 or the Nexus 5X for the reasons detailed above. But, if you value battery life above all else, the S5 Neo is hard to top.

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