Samsung is the king of variant phones, meaning they release a phone and proceed to release different versions of the same phone. The Galaxy S 5 is already available on Sprint, but they are offering a different version called the Galaxy S 5 Sport (Galaxy S 5 Active on AT&T). It’s basically a Galaxy S 5 geared towards the fitness crowd. The design is by far the biggest difference, but it also includes Sprint’s new Fit Live app. The Galaxy S 5 Sport also comes with a $100 premium ($199 vs $99 on contract). Are these differences a good enough reason to spend the extra dough? Hit the break to find out.
Note: Since the specs and the majority of the software are identical to the Galaxy S 5, we are only going to touch on the main differences. You can check out our Galaxy S 5 review to find out our thoughts on the performance, display, battery, camera, etc.
The design of this phone is by far the biggest differentiating aspect. If you’re not a fan of the dimpled look, you will be disappointed because it’s still present on this phone. However, the overall look and feel is a little more sportier. The silver edge that wraps the basic Galaxy S 5 is still there, but only at the top and bottom corners. It’s also the same color as the phone instead of silver. Speaking of colors, the phone comes in either blue or red, and they are bright and shiny. I have the blue version, and trust me, it stands out big time.
As I mentioned, the back of the phone sports the dimpled design, but it’s framed with a smooth and dimple-free surface. They also opted to place the lip for removing the back panel at the top back of the device vs the the top left side of the basic GS5. You will also find two dimpled horizontal lines at the back. Finally the camera lens has a more visible frame around it, and again, it sports the same color as the phone rather than silver. You also won’t find a silver accent around the heart rate monitor and flash.
Moving to the front of the device, the button layout is the same as the GS5, but you get three hard buttons as opposed to one hard home button and 2 capacitive buttons on the basic GS5.
The big question is if this design is better or worse than the basic GS5? That really comes down to individual preference. I personally like the Sport better. It’s has a really nice grip and the color is shiny but bold. It’s also different in that not too many phones look like it. I don’t like sporting the same thing everyone else is sporting (no pun intended).
Most of the software is identical to the basic GS5, but to further enhance the “sport” feel of the phone, Sprint has added Sprint Fit Live.
It can be accessed from the pre-installed default wallpaper or from the app icon. Fit Live is nothing more than a collection of apps. Basically a gimmick, but there are some benefits. It includes S Health, MapMyFitness MVP, and Spotify. S Health is already included on the basic GS5 and Spotify is a music streaming app that is available on any Android or iOS phone. The one plus is MapMyFitness MVP. Again, this app is available to anyone with an Android or iOS phone, but you get 12 months free, which includes audio coaching, training plans, live tracking, and more. It normally costs $5.99 per month or $29.99 per year. That is a pretty good value, that is, if you’re going to use it.
The other app that is included on the Sport is Activity Zone. Activity Zone gives you a barometer, compass, flashlight, and stopwatch on a single screen. Nothing earth shattering here, but you don’t have to download separate apps since they are already pre-installed.
The only other noticeable thing, but minor, is a different lock screen image. Instead of a colored wallpaper, you get an image of a forest.
Other than these features, everything else about the software is identical to the basic GS5.
The Galaxy S 5 Sport has the same beautiful display, beefy processor, battery life, and camera as the basic Galaxy S 5. However, it does have a different design and some software enhancements. So is it worth an extra $100? I think this one is totally subjective. The design on the Sport is more bolder than the basic GS5 so I prefer it. However, you might not. If you take into the account that you get $30 worth of MapMyFitness MVP, it brings the difference down to $70. I would say that if you like the design and you think you will definitely use MapMyFitness MVP, then it’s probably worth the extra money. Spread out over two years, it’s not all that bad. However, you will still get the same not so awesome Sprint network either way.