Editorial by Luke Jones on Thursday July 17, 2014.
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Samsung's Galaxy S5 LTE-A is one of the more intriguing yet oddly frustrating smartphones of the year. On one hand it is the best handset the Korean company has ever made, but to the annoyance of some it arrived just two months after the normal Galaxy S5. Sure, the LTE-A is a Korea exclusive (for the time being at least), but are its increased specs enough for Samsung to even justify this device existing?In terms of performance (we'll get to the details shortly) the Galaxy S5 LTE-A is marginally faster, but not enough that anyone would notice. Interestingly though, the new screen is noticeably better according to AnandTech, but not by enough that you would actually care. The original Galaxy S5 came with a Full HD 1920x1080 Super AMOLED panel that we found was utterly fantastic when we reviewed the handset. The S5 LTE-A bumps the screen quality with a 2K 2560x144 QHD display that is on a par with the LG G3, but probably would not look too different to a host of flagships in real world use. Nevertheless the news is good and Samsung has crafted one of the best panels ever pasted onto a mobile device. So, what about performance? Well, the Galaxy S5 LTE-A gets a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (the first smartphone to do so) instead of the Snapdragon 801 in the S5 proper. Elsewhere Samsung has upped RAM from 2GB in the original handset to 3GB in the LTE version, while software and the camera have remained the same. The Snapdragon 805 shows improvement over the 801, but we think it is too early in the life of the chipset for it to be noticeably faster by large degrees. We suspect smartphones landing towards the end of the year with the 805 will fare better against the 801 packing devices. The real standout improvement here is LTE Advanced, which gives the Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A a real boost in connectivity speeds. Of course, there are only some places where this can be taken advantage of at the moment (which is partly why this handset is a Korea exclusive) but the difference between normal LTE and the advanced kind is clear. source: AnandTech