Track Tech: Samsung S5 Dual Device Challenge – Sprint vs. Verizon

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a great phone – from the vibrant HD Super AMOLED display that gives you crisp imagery no matter which social media site you are perusing, the photo gallery you have filled up yourself or even when reading articles on your personalized Flipboard magazine app. The fact that it is water-resistant, as shown in the feature image above, in addition to it’s instantaneous response means that the S5 can give you confidence that you are holding one of the best devices on the market.

Stepping back for a second – I do want to share more details about two of the items I mentioned above. The photo gallery is divided into separate albums so you can easily find whatever you are looking for: your saved Snapchat photos, the images you captured with the S5 on a fun weekend trip or even the downloads you may have saved that a friend shared on Facebook. The 16-megapixel camera was impressive and even “got the shot” in lower lighting conditions, which was awesome to discover when we went to an upscale restaurant for my Nana’s birthday dinner. The restaurant was a dimly lit atmosphere but rather than that taking away from a candid photo of her, it actually enhanced it. The whole family was asking for copies of it! They couldn’t believe how great it came out on a phone camera!

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The Flipboard app came pre-installed on the Samsung S5 and it was easily accessible with a single right swipe from the home page. You can customize the app by choosing topics that you are most interested in and Flipbook creates a daily magazine for you, full of all the things you love! It’s awesome. Flat out. I liked it so much, that I went to their website and opted-in to receiving a “Ten for Today” daily email. That email, as you might guess, sends me ten relevant articles on my favorite topics of choice. I have never been a fan of companies sending daily emails and actually spend a lot of time hitting that “Unsubscribe” button within my inbox… so I think that tells you how much I truly appreciate this app and why it gets my personal recommendation. I wouldn’t have known it existed if it wasn’t for the Samsung S5!

At this point you may be wondering where the “Dual Device Challenge” of this review comes into play. Well, first I wanted to give you an idea of how great this phone was in general – and now I will tell you that I didn’t review just one Samsung S5… I reviewed two.

One of the Samsung S5’s was on the Verizon Wireless network, as all my reviews have been. The second S5 was powered by the Sprint network. I compared how the same device worked on different networks. I used them both for a period of two weeks, and I did so simultaneously. Below, I have a listing of the differences I found between the networks while testing multiple features of the device. Let’s take a look at the data I collected and see which Wireless Network won!

Amount of time it took the Samsung S5 to complete task on the Verizon network Amount of time it took the Samsung S5 to complete task on the Sprint network
Outgoing Phone Calls Connected & ringing on both ends in 1 second Connected & ringing on both ends in 6 seconds
Outgoing Text Messages Received in 8 seconds Received in 17 seconds
Incoming Gmail Messages Received in 10 seconds Received in 10 seconds
Refreshing Twitter Feed 2 seconds 12 seconds
Refreshing Facebook Feed 2 seconds 2 seconds

*Comparisons were made with all apps updated to latest versions and from the same location at the  same time. Unless otherwise noted, all tests were completed in Cleveland, Ohio.

Instagram
Verizon started playing videos in my feed instantaneously and had the caption “tap video for sound”
Sprint kept the videos in my feed as a still image and only showed a small video camera icon in the upper right corner – I wouldn’t have known it was a video if I were just scrolling through my feed

 

YouTube – #Rolex24 Live Blog: Interview with Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan
Verizon started the video immediately & did not buffer or skip at all throughout the 4 min interview
Sprint loaded the video, buffered for 4 seconds, played for a 3 seconds, buffered for another 7 seconds, and then played the remainder of the video all the way through.

 

Google Play Store
Verizon took 14 seconds to download & install Pandora
Sprint took 23 seconds to download & install Pandora
Verizon took 17 seconds to download & install iHeartRadio app
Sprint took 44 seconds to download & install iHeartRadio app
Verizon took 15 seconds to download & install NBC Sports Live Extra appSprint took 50 seconds to download & install NBC Sports Live Extra App
Verizon took 42 seconds to download & install Google Earth, Beats Music & Tetris sequentially and semi-simultaneously.Sprint took 2 min & 4 seconds to download & install Google Earth (complete at 43 sec), Beats Music (complete at 59 sec), and Tetris (complete at 124 sec) sequentially and semi-simultaneously.

*I clicked install, back, selected next app, clicked install, back, selected next app, clicked install. Timing was measure from the first time I clicked install on the first of 3 apps until the 3rd app was installed and ready to open.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I also wanted to provide a visual for this challenge. I though the best way to do that would be to show you the actual screenshots of both phones. These screencaps show that on the same day and time in the same location, the network coverage was stronger on the Verizon Wireless network than on the Sprint network – sometimes by one bar, sometimes by double the amount of bars. Please refer to the top right corners of each screenshot to see the bars that represent the signal strength. I have included screenshot comparisons from multiple cities in Ohio since I live & work in different areas and I travel as well. Sprint screenshots are across the top row while the matching location & time screenshot from the Verizon Wireless device are beneath.

 Screenshot_2015-01-31-01-06-16  Screenshot_2015-02-04-16-52-25  Screenshot_2015-02-08-13-46-53
 Screenshot_2015-01-31-01-06-27  Screenshot_2015-02-04-16-53-11  Screenshot_2015-02-08-13-47-02

As you can see, some features had similar or exact results while on most tests I performed, Verizon Wireless came out on top. I had no idea what to expect when I did this comparison challenge but as a loyal Verizon customer for more than half my life, I was excited to find that even when going head-to-head, the network I’m always so apt to recommend to friends, family, and heck… even strangers… because of its reliability and power, truly IS the best.

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