Upgrade to Samsung Galaxy S5? No thanks

For those who don't read my blog here regularly, I am not a big fan of the Samsung Galaxy phones. In fact, I think my Samsung Galaxy S4 is the worst phone I have ever owned and have written so several times (here, here and here). So when given the option to upgrade to the Galaxy S5, is it a small wonder that I said "thanks, but no thanks"? Actually it wasn't as cut and dried as that.

My S5 upgrade choice came about when I had to stop into the AT&T store to pick up something for one of my son's phones. I was talking to the AT&T store rep (let's call them what they are, salesperson) when my phone rang. I answered and told the caller I would call them back when I left the store. At this point the rep noticed my phone and asked if I was happy with the S4.

That was the wrong question to ask me. I told him how dissatisfied I was with the phone. Being a good salesperson, he tried to turn lemons into lemonade by telling me that my problems with the S4 may be solved with the S5's more powerful processor, better battery, etc.

As any geek would do, how could I resist not checking out a new, sleek tech gadget? I said "OK, let's see it." The S5 is as pretty as the S4. There is no denying that Samsung makes a nice big, bright screen using the AMOLED technology. It is a smidge bigger than the S4 and can suck you right in. Despite being bigger, it has the same display resolution.

Instead of the cheap plastic back of the S4, the S5 has a less cheap-feeling plastic back with a hole pattern in it. The camera did seem to focus better, which was one of my gripes about the S4. It also has more megapixels, if that is important to you.

The phone did seem snappier in switching and running applications than my S4, but the store model did not have anywhere near the amount of contacts and accounts that I run on my own phone. My suspicion is that in spite of the more powerful processor, I would still be choking my phone with the multiple accounts and contact lists.

The fingerprint sensor was nice, but just as in the Apple phone I don't see myself really using it. In fact, very much like the Apple 5C, I thought the Galaxy S5 was a refinement of the previous model rather than setting a bold new mark.

While I would welcome some refinement and even some abatement from the problems that plague my S4, overall it did not seem worth the cost and aggravation to upgrade and have to set up a whole new phone.

In fact, let me explain more about the cost. Had it not been so prohibitively expensive in spite of my bad experience with the S4, I might have given the S5 a whirl. But AT&T's offer was like trying to sell ice in a northern winter. 

I bought my S4 when it first came out. As such, I am not eligible for one of the traditional upgrade offers (the new phone is a onetime fee of $199) until something like March of 2015. I could do an AT&T Next upgrade. With this I would pay like $25 dollars a month for the next 20 months or so ($500) but I could trade my phone in for a new one in 12 or 18 months and start the 20-month cycle over again.

This means that I would pay $300 dollars a year for the new phone in addition to my regular bill. Keeping in mind that we are a four-phone family, this would mean $100 dollars a month over and above our regular bill. If I kept the phone for 20 months (unlikely) it would cost me $500. That seems like a lot.

Sorry, I don't care how shiny the S5 looks. It is just not compelling enough to justify the cost for me. Before I cough up that kind of money, I would like to make sure it really is going to solve the issues I have with the S4. Otherwise I could be paying the money and still wind up unhappy. Sometimes better the devil you know, rather than the devil you don't.

At the end of the day, the S5 just wasn't different enough to justify the added expense. So I am stuck a while longer with the worst phone I have ever owned. I do have high hopes for the iPhone 6, and will have a look at that when it comes out.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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