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Samsung Galaxy S5
Initial Checkout

Jim Carter, 2012-10-22

When the new pocket computer was received, I checked out these features. Initially I used Samsung's unlocked image of Android 4.4 KitKat. Later I installed CyanogenMod-12 based on Android-5.0 Lollipop. This is beta level. The first column, labelled Stock, gives the out of the box experience with very little hacking; the next one is for CyanogenMod-12.

In summary, most of the features that the pocket computer is supposed to have, performed with no hassle out of the box. (You need to install a player app to play streaming audio from outside sources.) These items had issues:

Details of some of the checkout tests and other miscellaneous items may be found on the Checkout Details page.


Box Worked out of the box, or after a clean installation of CyanogenMod.
Conf It needed editing a configuration file or running a setup GUI.
Add-On Needed additional or patched software: download it; follow instructions to compile and/or install it; it works.
Fiddle As with Add-On, but it required some workarounds in the procedure, which might seem minor to an experienced user but which might prevent a newbie from making it work.
Hack So you call yourself a guru? This one will challenge your skills. But this guru eventually got it working.
Fail I wasn't able to get this one to work, at least so far.
N.T. Not tested.
* A prerequisite did not qualify for the Box or Conf rating, but once that was set up, the listed component worked with no further hassle.

Checklist of Features

Item Stock CM-12
Check dimensions and mass Box Box
 Mass (measured, with battery): 142 grams. Battery: 45 grams. Bounding box: 142 x 73 x 8 mm (9mm counting camera). Vendor quotes it as 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm, 145 grams. Density (based on bounding box): 1.73 g/cc. It will sink like a stone, but the IP67 rating promises survival in 1 meter depth of fresh water for 30 minutes. (Not tested.)
Does it charge OK? Box Box
  Using the 2 amp USB charger that comes with the phone, it took 80 minutes for 0% to 86%; 40 minutes more to 100%, total 2 hours.
  Battery life under excessive load: With all 4 cores maxed out doing SHA512 sums, it ran for 2.5 hours, 100% to 4%.
  Link to details of the battery test.
Does it boot at all? Hack Hack
 Yes. On first booting the stock image it got stuck in the welcome screen and could not be powered off. I pulled the battery, then booted into recovery and did a factory reset; that took care of it. Then I was able to go through the usual setup procedure. The procedure to install CyanogenMod is of course rather more extensive and fraught with peril. But after careful research, I was able to get it right on the first try, so the pocket computer booted into CyanogenMod-12.
Startup times Box Box
  • Times to boot up:
    • 60 secs (stock, initial boot)
    • 25 secs (stock, subsequently)
    • About 2 mins (CM-12, initial boot after wipe)
    • 26 secs (CM-12, subsequently). Takes 15 secs before the CyanogenMod boot animation begins.
    • You have to hold down the power button for 3 secs to make it boot.
  • Wake up: 1 sec (or less)
  • Go to sleep: 1 sec (or less)
  • Power off: 5 secs (stock), 18 secs (CM-12)
Display Box Box
  • Dimensions: 113 x 63 mm, 129.5 mm diagonal. Aspect ratio: 16x9. 1920x1080px.
  • Readability in sunlight: Adequate even to 140000 lux. Good in outdoor shade (4900 lux).
  • Color rendition in artificial light: Excellent in all directions even to 80 degrees.
  • How many dead pixels? None that I can see, using the AnTuTu test program.
Memory Box Box
  • RAM: /proc/meminfo reports 1748792 kB (1.75e9 bytes). Likely this means 2Gb with 400Mb or so reserved for video RAM and the multimedia coprocessor.
  • Internal flash: Works; total 16Gb, /data (app storage) 12Gb. The same filesystem is mounted on /storage/sdcard0. The device can be purchased with 16Gb or 32Gb internal flash. See here for detailed partitioning, sizes, mount points and encryption.
  • SD card slot: Works; the card is provided by the user. Addressing limit is 128Gb (see below about EXFAT). See here for the various mount points.
  • Filesystem formats per /proc/filesystems on CM-12:
    • Real formats: ext2 ext3 ext4 vfat exfat
    • Virtual formats: fuseblk
    • Formats in older versions but not CM-12: iso9660 nfs nfs4 cifs fuse ecryptfs
  • EXFAT is a proprietary Microsoft format that extends VFAT beyond 32Gb. In CM-10 there was no driver for it, but there is in CM-12.
Processor (details tested on CM-12) Box Box
  • Detection of multiple cores: /proc/cpuinfo shows four processors. 38.40 bogomips.
  • Speed test: 20.6 secs to do a SHA-512 sum on 5e8 bytes. This would be a respectable speed for a low-end desktop machine.
  • Are multiple cores used? Yes, 4 copies of the speed test finish in the same time as one, while more than 4 take longer, following approximately a linear model.
  • AnTuTu Benchmark (by AnTuTu, free): Results are reported as stock (KitKat 4.4) / CM-12 (Lollipop 5.1). Overall score 41173 / 46866, -5% / +10% vs. the listed score for Galaxy S5. Their comparisons: HTC One M8: 44000, Meizu MX4: 49000. Lack of metrics (i.e. units) on the scores doesn't help here. Subscores:
    • Multitask: 6413 / 7654
    • Java Runtime: 2193 / 4046
    • CPU integer: 3407 / 3544 (4 cores)
    • CPU floating: 3513 / 3725 (4 cores)
    • CPU integer: 2808 / 2821 (1 core)
    • CPU floating: 2470 / 2554 (1 core)
    • RAM operation: 1787 / 1865
    • RAM speed: 1428 / 2013
    • GPU 2D: 1650 / 1656
    • GPU 3D: 13641 / 14631 (1920x1080)
    • I/O storage: 1203 / 1677
    • I/O database: 660 / 680
Voice chat (T-Mobile, GSM or LTE) Box Box
  • Available modulations (look in Settings - More Network - Network Mode): LTE / WCDMA / GSM; I assume WCDMA extends to HSPA (confirmed).
  • Dial a call -- Works, both Customer Service (611) and ordinary user.
  • Incoming call -- Works.
  • Voice quality on partner -- Decent.
  • Voice quality on local host -- Decent.
  • Speakerphone audibility -- Need to test
  • SMS -- Works, sending and receiving.
  • What size of UICC (SIM) does it expect? 15x12mm, referred to as a micro-SIM. Ancient dumb phones used two larger sizes; recent Apple products and the HTC One M8 need a nano-SIM, 12.3x8.8mm.
Cellular Data (T-Mobile, GSM or LTE) Box Box
  • Speed on both HSPA+ and LTE is around 2e6 bit/sec, vs. the theoretical maximum of 1.68e8 bit/sec (HSPA+) or 3.0e8 bit/sec (LTE). See discussion with the speed test details.
  • On 4G LTE (stock image), IPv6 is used. My outgoing IPv6 address: 2600:1013:b015:449c:2a1f:6cdf:1713:61e1. This is not a RFC 2462 address, it is a privacy enhanced random address.
Wi-fi Box Box
  • How to find the MAC address: Settings - System - About Device - Status - 5th item from bottom.
  • What modulation revision? 802.11 a-b-g-n according to the spec page. N is tested and works (but not at the expected speed); others like A are not confirmed (I don't have an AP that does this band).
  • Does it connect to our access point? Yes.
  • Data rate: 1.64e7 bit/sec (expected 5e7 bit/sec at least).
  • On IPv6 the phone sends packets using a privacy enhanced random address, but it also responds to incoming packets to the RFC 2462 address.
Wi-fi in Master Mode N.T. Setup

The Wi-fi driver for the Galaxy S5 can be put into master mode, allowing your pocket computer to act as a Wi-fi access point. In documentation this is referred to as Wi-fi Tethering. Check your cell plan's terms of service carefully to determine if you need to pay extra to do this.

You need to configure it: Settings - Wireless & Networks (More) - Tethering - Set up WiFi Hotspot. Tell it the SSID, access control type (open, WPA PSK, WPA2 PSK), and the pre-shared key (password). It does not broadcast its SSID so the client doesn't show it when scanning. Configure these parameters in the client, and it will be able to connect. Nowhere do you specify the channel or the IP range; for me it used 192.168.43.x (RFC 1918). Nor does it ask for the DNS server; presumably it's using the carrier's server, though I have my own recursive DNS server.

Bluetooth Box Box

Hardwarewise, Bluetooth worked out of the box on both the stock image and CyanogenMod. Pairing worked the first time, following standard procedures for the devices. Partners tested: 66 BT Sport headphones, ThinkOutside keyboard. Follow the link for details of what was tested and for how to pair with these devices.

Audio digital signal processor (DSP) N.T. N.T.

It's hard to prove that the principal audio codecs (Vorbis, MP3) are running on the DSP.

Play streaming audio Box Box
  • Internal speaker: Works. Sound quality playing music is better than the Galaxy S3 but is still far from audiophile quality. There is a speaker on the south rear, plus the phone speaker at north front, for a stereo effect.
  • 3.5mm phone jack: Works.
  • Bluetooth A2DP: Works. See the Bluetooth test report for complaints about sound quality.
  • Volume switches: Working.
  • Switching during playback between sound sinks is successful. It is not instantaneous but is fairly prompt.

Music by Google and ES Media Player were the players tested, and the formats used were Ogg Vorbis, MP3 and M3U (list of URLs or files). Both players play all three formats if they are local files on the pocket computer itself. But streaming from a remote site (pure HTTP, or an Icecast or Shoutcast transport stream), both players do MP3 and neither plays Vorbis or M3U. The Firefox builtin player can perform a Vorbis track or stream, but MP3 is handed off to your choice of app, and similarly for M3U but the app can't play it. See here details of the multimedia checkout.

  The device can send HDMI via its USB port, to be converted by an adapter sold separately, that I didn't get.
GPS Box Box
  • Does it work? Yes.
  • Claimed position accuracy: 12 meters, with 18 satellites and the phone not moving.
  • Stock: the first time it was used, it took about 3 minutes to find the satellites. CM-12 took 2 mins, probably luck, not a difference in the software.
  • Stock: 1/2 hours later, it had 12 satellites and a good position in 6 seconds flat. CM-12: 12 secs. Stock: 12 hours later it took 15 secs to get a position. On any phone, the reconnect delay varies a lot.
NFC (Near Field Communication)
  Connecting to Galaxy S3 which has NFC (CM-12 used NFC to import my Google account.) Fail Box
  Payment (Google Wallet): Talks to terminal, but transaction is refused. Details here. N.T. Not Really
IRDA (Infrared remote control) N.T. Box
  Tested with ...
Fingerprint Reader
  Use Settings - Personalization - Finger Scanner to register fingerprints. Box Fail
  Use fingerprints to unlock the lock screen.
It takes a fair amount of practice to get the finger to be recognized reliably. CM-12 does not have any API for this.
Fiddle Fail
Magnetometer (compass) Box Box
 It's hard to get calibration data for the magnetometer, but all three axes do function. +X is east, +Y is north, +Z is to the front, and the indicated side of the device has to be facing terrestrial magnetic north for the axis to read a positive value. The magnitude of the magnetic field is about 45 uT and is fairly consistent on the three axes. Remember that magnetic north is underground in the northern hemisphere, quite a lot even in Los Angeles (32 degrees north).

The magnetometer is at the northeast corner about 1cm from each edge. Iron objects, like a screwdriver or masonry reinforcement of course will affect the readings.

Accelerometer Box Box
 On the Terran surface the reported magnitude of acceleration is between 9.75 and 10.05 m/s2; correct value is 9.8. When I turn the device 180 degrees, the magnitude typically shows a zero offset of 0.04 m/s2; e.g. north up shows 9.75, south up shows 9.83, half the sum is 0.04 m/s2. This is pretty good performance for a consumer-grade accelerometer. Values are similarly consistent among the three axes.

The axis sensors are reasonably aligned with the chassis. As seen by the Phone Tester app, +Y is south, i.e. in portrait orientation with the speaker (north) up, Y will be about plus 9.8 m/s2. Remember that gravity is downward on Terra. +X is east (east edge down gives plus), and +Z is rear (display up gives plus).

Proximity (face) sensor Box Box
 When you're making a voice call and the phone is close to your face, the display and touch screen are deactivated. When you take it away, they return. This seems to work reasonably, and can be useful since you don't want your fat jowls to activate the dialpad. It's controlled by one of the optical sensors above the 'G' in SAMSUNG, probably the left (west) one.
Notification LED Box Box
  The indicator LED is in the northwest corner. Some of these need to be turned on in the settings. In CyanogenMod-12 you can adjust the color and brightness of the battery notifications.
  Battery charging Red Yellow
  Battery full (when charging; starts at 90%) Green Green
  Battery very low (15% or below) Red flash Red flash
  Boot and Shutdown Blue pulse Off
  SMS or similar message waiting Blue flash Blue flash
Ambient Light Sensor Box Box

It works, and influences the display brightness if turned on. Above the 'G' in SAMSUNG there are two holes, and the right (east) one is the light sensor. See here for ambient light sensor details. The largest value seen was 140000 lux in direct sunlight. Low light is in steps of 1 lux, but anything under 3 lux is reported as zero. Sensor is advertised as being in color; does this do anything?

Rear camera with flash Box Box
Rear camera works? Box Box
Subjective image quality: looks good even at 3 lux and no flash.
Auto focus: Works effectively. Box Box
Resolution: Text 12 arcmin high is clearly readable.
Flash: Testing in a dark closet. Default is no flash; you need to turn it on; auto-flash didn't flash in the dark closet. Once this was done, it turned on the lamp in flashlight mode, auto-focused, and then fired the flash. Picture came out good. Same behavior for CyanogenMod's camera app. Box Box
Color rendition: Depends on the software; CyanogenMod camera does a good job.
Low light performance: Good enough for barcode scanning at 16 lux.
Photo Gallery, taken with the camera.
Video capture (not tested yet)
Front camera (needs more testing) Box Box
 Tested with ipwebcam, which obtained and transmitted the image normally.
Front camera works? Box Box
Color rendition: decent.
Video capture or video chat: Testing with IP Webcam. Box Box
Battery life N.T. Good
  Subjective impressions are that the Galaxy S5 is frugal with energy. At work with games or book reading during breaks and evening, I use 30% in a day. On a day of intense development (preparing this web page) I used 70%. See the battery detail section for more objective data, and here are some suggestions for power saving.