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Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo review

 Review: December 2015  

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo is a 2015 reboot of Samsung's S5 flagship smartphone from 2014. The Neo is almost identical to the original S5, but has an octa-core processor, an adaptive screen and an improved selfie camera. It's available in a choice of Black, Silver or Gold, and is cheaper to buy than the S5!

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Samsung S5 Neo review

Physically, the Samsung S5 Neo and the original Galaxy S5 are identical twins. They're the same size and weight, and have the same design. The Neo comes in a new choice of colours - Black, Silver or Gold - but is otherwise the same. Check out our Samsung S5 review for more info on the original 2014 model.

It's a slim and lightweight handset, with a large 5.1 inch screen. The phone is well balanced and easy to handle, despite its size, and the buttons are well spaced and pose no problems to reach. You can even use it single-handedly, if your hands aren't too tiny.

It doesn't have the premium metal-and-glass looks of the new Samsung S6, but retains the perforated plastic casing of the original S5. It's still a smart look for a mid-range phone, and the Neo has the advantage of being water- and dust-resistant, certified to the IP67 standard. On the back of the phone you'll find the heart rate monitor that originally appeared on the Galaxy S5 and that integrates with the Galaxy Gear Fit smart watch.

The 5.1 inch screen is quite possibly the best in this price range. It has full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, and uses Samsung's AMOLED technology to deliver vivid colours and deep blacks. One feature that's new for the Neo is automatic screen optimisation, which adjusts screen brightness and contrast for ambient conditions.

Octacore vs quadcore CPU

Instead of the quadcore processor in the Samsung S5, the S5Neo has an 8-core processor. You might think this is an upgrade, but in fact the new processor runs at a peak speed of 1.6GHz, whereas the quadcore processor in the S5 runs at 2.5GHz. The result, not surprisingly, is that the S5 Neo feels less responsive than the S5. It's still a fast phone however, and has no problems with UHD video, games, and so on. You'll just wait a moment longer for apps to load, and you don't get that same instant response you get from a flagship phone.

The memory of the phone is unchanged, with 2GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, and space for a memory card of up to 128GB.

The S5 Neo runs Android 5.1 plus Samsung's TouchWiz user interface modifications.

Improved selfies

The Galaxy S5 Neo retains the same 16 megapixel rear camera as the S5. This is a star performer, with superb low-light performance, automatic real-time HDR, fast autofocus and 4K video.

The front camera has been upgraded to 5 megapixels, giving a very welcome boost to everyone who enjoys taking photos of themselves. Like everyone in the S21 office, for instance.

Battery life

The battery life of the Neo is slightly longer than the S5. The 2800mAh battery is the same, but the new processor sips less power, and the adaptive screen can reduce power consumption in brightly lit conditions. You should get a solid day's use out of a full charge.


There's a definite advantage in buying an ex-flagship device instead of a brand-new mid-range model. You can see that here with the S5 Neo. The display is distinctively high-end, and the camera is one of the best on any smartphone. The 8-core processor isn't as strong a performer as the number of cores might suggest, but it's no tortoise either. The Galaxy S5 Neo is a really strong contender to be the best buy in the £20/month price range, with perhaps just the Huawei P8 or Motorola X Play as potential rivals.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo features include:

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User questions

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Please don't ask a question that has already been asked. Duplicates will be removed.

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Give additional information so that other people can understand and answer your question:

I can't seem to customise my ringtone from my Amazon music app as I did with so model??

Asked by Val from Scotland on 27th Mar 2016

Will the S5 Neo be upgraded to Marshmallow?

Asked by Jeff from Uk on 25th Mar 2016
I hope that the S 5 Neo will be updated to marshmallow but when?

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo user reviews

Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it, and please ask questions in our User Questions section above. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!

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Average rating from 12 reviews:

Reviewed by Loz from UK on 4th Dec 2016
By far the worst phone i have ever owned. I had a second hand S2 that was fantastic so I thought the brand new S5 Neo would be a good idea, so wrong was I. It is so bad that if I came into money I would make a video for you tube of me mashing it with a hammer. I have even charged up an old Nokia non-smart phone. Nothing smart with this phone. The processor is so slow it gets you stressed every time you use it. It switches it's self and some of it's basic functions on and off randomly. It can discharge rapidly. I can't even text a short message without stress. The other things that the designers messed up on are how many times do you have to press buttons before you can actually call someone so frustrating. Am stuck with this phone on contract for another year and a bit. whether it's still in one piece by the end will remain to be seen. It has taught me something. Never by on contract, never by new. Buy your sim only deal and trade secondhand to find something your happy with. Just to reiterate, I hate it and it's the worst I've ever had !!!! Just in case there were any doubts.

Reviewed by Konrad from United Kingdom on 17th Oct 2016
I have been posting updates below so here is the latest on the S5 Neo. Just got the Android Marshmallow update. It "seems" a lot smoother than Lollipop that it came with when I bought it. The icon design has changed, the menus are now white background. Also more apps can be added to the SD card.

A few weeks ago the phone started slowing down and become unresponsive. The problem is that some apps and data from those apps were loading to the internal memory, even though there is a 32gb memery card installed at the time! I had to use the phone manager to move everything that could be moved. This brought back most of the speed. Some programs could not be moved and some still placed data and photos to the internal memory. I had to manually move data to the SD card. I increased the SD card to 64gb, so the space is there. Marshmallow seems to allow apps to be moved now, that could not be moved to SD before. Don't forget Samsung comes with bloatware which takes a lot of the internal memory. This will help users who are not tech savvy, to keep their phone performing as fast as when it was new. It is not perfect and still needs work.

My phone came unlocked from Carphone Warehouse so did not have network software.

My sister-in-law also has an S5 Neo which is a "3" brand and she has a 16gb SD in the phone. Her phone had the Marshmallow update 2 months ago. I had to wait that long for mine! Her phone is very responsive too.

I will explore more and see if Marshmallow fixes any of the problems.

Reviewed by Lesley from United Kingdom on 15th Oct 2016
No rating given I got the neo5 on my 2016 contract. This fone spent more time in the workshop than in my pocket. The last time I went back to shop to complain the man told me they've taken the neo5 of the shelves because of to many faults. My fone that will be exchanged for a new neo5?????? Did I miss hear the man???????????? Get it together carphone warehouse.

Reviewed by Chris from England on 22nd Jun 2016
My wife has the S5 and loves it so I bought the S5 Neo. I hate it! It is frustratingly unresponsive. I have to 'partition wipe' almost daily. I've been a lover of Samsung phones for many years but I'm seriously looking at buying another brand. I've put up with it for 3 months now. If I could go back in time I would definitely give it a miss and would advise anyone else to do the same.

Reviewed by Beezty from Scotland on 2nd May 2016
Got a neo as an "upgrade" from my work. Currently typing this on my original s5 which runs like a dream.
The neo is a frustrating piece of work. I'm Samsung born and bread but that mofo almost turned me to the darks side. Having spanned a plethora of phones over the years it gives me no pleasure in saying the neo has to be the worst. Which is bizarre as the s5 is good. Whether or not they fannied about with the ram or whatever it is so unresponsive. To the point you'll launch it. Now back in the warm bosom of the s5 which is working like a dream. Do yourself a favour and give the neo a miss.

Reviewed by Paula from Switzerland on 20th Apr 2016
I hate this phone! There is no option in the camera settings for tapping anywhere on the screen to take the picture. I travel by train all over Switzerland with my dog. I am always taking pictures with one hand while managing the dog's leash with the other hand. This missing feature is a deal breakers for me.

Reviewed by Chris from UK on 14th Apr 2016
I got the Neo as a replacement for my S4 mini that had died. Because it is an 'S5', I thought it was going to be an improvement. It's a nice phone but things that I expected are missing. There's no Infa Red blaster, so I can't use it as a remote for my TV (S4 mini had this). The only 'cast to TV' app is YouTube, so I can't watch films from Showbox on a big screen like I could with my S4mini (I hope someone will correct me). For me I can't see the point of the Neo. I wish I'd brought another S4 mini outright instead of this. The battery life is very good and the screen size is good. It will do its job as an Android device but it's.... BORING.... nothing special for the price.

Reviewed by no from no on 3rd Apr 2016
This phone is the worst phone I've ever owned. And I ordinarily love Samsung. the thing freezes all the time even when doing simple tasks like sending a message. no answer as to why but the consensus is the touch wizz interface is too memory intensive despite the phone having an octo core! it's slow and un responsive especially with apps like Facebook where it just cannot catch up and load my feed quick enough and the wifi symbol just goes round and round until I get so angry I have to force stop it. it also cannot differentiate between media volume and phone volume. for instance I could be watching a film on it and I turn the volume down but it decides to turn ringtone down instead. this phone is full of annoying little things like this. it's the 21st century and yet at times I feel like my old 1998 Nokia did a better job!!

Reply by MJ baxter from Uk on 23rd Apr 2016
Dear no,
Im having exactly the same problems and keep having to remove and replace the battery, which helps for about 5 minutes. Its so frustrating because i bought the phone outright thinking it would be the answer to all my Nexus 4 problems, its not.
The bottom line is im not quite sure what to do.
Im not in anyway a techno but wonder if adding memory would help. It's a 16 and I've got about 5.5 left. What do you think?
Thanks for taking the time.
Mike Baxter...

Reviewed by Konrad from UK on 29th Jan 2016
Update to my review a month earlier, most of the remarks made still stand. The battery life is very good, phone calls are very clear and responsive performance. The touchscreen is very responsive, even though there is a glass screen protector in place.

There are lots of accessories for this phone, so it was a matter of choosing what I wanted.
Neo Hybrid case plus tempered glass protection gives the phone added protection. The case has made the phone slightly larger, but it is smaller than some of the rivals, which are a bit too large. The Neo case has changed the phones looks too, but I care more how it functions.

Android 5.1 works well with some changes from 4.3 of the S3, and I have adjusted to it well. Every app I need, plus some like Microsoft Office came preloaded or ported over when I signed into the phone.

The speaker has a good sound quality. Sad it is only mono. I have 4 Samsung headsets, and the audio quality is good. Samsung's music player includes Sound Alive, which I also have on my Samsung laptop. It has a 7 band Equalizer to tailor sound if needed. The camera works fine, but I prefer use my Lumix TZ, or SLR for photos. I have a USB OTG cable, if I want to edit and/or post any pictures from my camera.

I ported over Samsungs familiar whistle alert tone.
The WiFi still does not work with Sky hubs!

The Samsung S5 Neo is a good phone that is serving me well so far, and has been very stable with no crashes or lock ups. Maybe because I don't load dodgy apps!

Reply by Konrad from UK on 28th Mar 2016
Update - After 3 months this phone has performed very well so far. It still does not work with my Sky hub, but it does work with my brother's slightly older hub! Every other WiFi hub works fine and as I mentioned before, I do have a TP-Link also running as an extender. The Neo works fine with that.
The 4G reception on O2 is mostly fine, but there are a few areas where it falls back to 3G. The speed is still fast in spite of this.
What I learnt from my older Galaxy S3, plus my Nokia Lumia 625, is to keep the software count to a minimum and only use trusted and useful ones. Microsoft apps are very reliable and cover most bases. I also use some Google apps, but hardly any Samsung apps. This helps keep the phones performance up.

So the marking would rise to 4.5 stars, with the minor WiFi issue the only problem stopping the full marks.

Reviewed by Brad from GB on 1st Jan 2016
Just upgraded my Sony xperia z1 to s5 neo
Before reading this review already after one days use feel slightly cheated in terms of responsive performance reading through integral information I am to expect casing swelling, excessive vibration and processor noise ...some upgrade!! The phone feels cheap and looks slightly boring.
On the verge of returning this product

Slightly disappointed with upgrade to say the least.

Reviewed by Konrad from UK on 26th Dec 2015
After nearly 2 and half years with my Galaxy S3, I decided to treat myself to a newer phone. I was torn between the S5 NEO, Motorola Moto X Play which are close in price, I went for the Samsung. Yes the Motorola has much more pure Android, bigger screen, higher resolution camera (too much pixels for size of sensor), and most important, a bigger battery. I went for the Samsung as it is smaller, but I could gone for the Moto X.
I also discovered, I would have had to get a nano sim for the Motorola, whilst I just swapped the sim from my old S3, saving the hassle of porting the number over.
The Samsung battery charging is very quick, and the battery life is great! This phone seems efficient. Next the performance is great compared to my old S3, which suffered from lack of ram and was stuck on Android 4.3, unless rooted.
Only problem with the S5 NEO is the WiFi not connecting with Sky hubs, and I really mean Sky hubs both white (at my brothers) and my later black hub. This phone connects to any other WiFi without any issues, but it cannot connect to any Sky hubs I have tried!
Lucky I also have a Tp-Link WiFi router and the S5 Neo locks on without any problems. Maybe in the future a firmware upgrade or fix will sort this issue.
Whilst at my brothers house we were setting up his wifes Samsung Galaxy J5 and that had no problems connecting with the Sky hub! Every other phone I had, connects without issue.
Samsung bloat-ware is not as bad I thought. There were a couple of programs that I have disabled, and they are not taking much storage space. I will be getting the gel cover and glass screen protector, which should be easy as everything for the S5 should fit the NEO.
Overall phone calls are clear and the camera seems to be as good as the S3 which is good.
The S5 Neo is recommended to people used to Samsung, but the WiFi issue with Sky hubs is a major problem, which spoils a good phone.
If I could try the Motorola Moto X Play and ignore the size, I may have got that instead.
The 8 core processor is very strong and everything is fast.
I give 4 stars due to the WiFi issue and there are a rivals.

Reply by Konrad from United Kingdom on 25th Sep 2016
Update to my reviews and experience with the S5 Neo. Recently, for some reason it started running slow, unresponsive and lag to input. This was due to a faulty app. not sure which apps this is because I deleted a few.
At first I thought it was the micro SD card (32gb) that was nearly full. I also moved saved data from the internal memory to the micro SD, cleared the cache of any apps, and backed of to an external drive. None of above made any difference. I change the micro SD to 64gb but still no difference.
Then I went through the apps and moved those that can to the SD, and deleted others I no longer used. The phone is back to normal, with near instant response. One of the programmes must have been buggy or take up to much resources.
I do not know which apps was at fault so will have to keep an eye on those that are still on the phone.

Reviewed by Mart from UK on 9th Dec 2015
Great phone! It handles very well with it non slippery back cover and its balanced and slim. The screen is brilliant, amoled doing the job and the phone is fast and responsive! First of all i was sceptical about it and wanted to buy htc m9 or sony xperia 3 but i dont regret and im happy with the monthly price as its cheaper and doing great job like high end phone. S5 neos battery is big enough and camera is superb! Well done Samsung! Plus i don't have any problems with the newest games neither as 2gb memory is enough for 95% of top games!

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