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5 problems with Samsung’s Galaxy S5, and how to solve them

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An employee shows Samsung's Galaxy S5 smartphone at a mobile phone shop in Seoul, South Korea. (AP)

You pay hundreds of dollars for the latest smartphone tech only to find that it’s not working as expected. We feel your pain. Life’s not fair, but don’t give up on your Samsung Galaxy S5 just yet. With a little tinkering you can probably find a decent workaround or a solution, in fact, that’s why we’re here. Behold our roundup of common Galaxy S5 problems and the fixes you need to get past them.

Problem: No download booster
In our Galaxy S5 tips article we highlighted the Download Booster feature which allows you to download files really fast by using Wi-Fi and LTE together. A number of new S5 owners are reporting the feature missing in action and that’s because AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have removed it.

Workarounds:
- Switch to T-Mobile or U.S. Cellular and you’ll find that Download Booster is present and correct.
- Keep an eye on XDA Developers for a rooting solution that gets it working again.

MORE: 10 essential accessories for a new Galaxy S5

Annoyance: Lag or stutter
A casual scan of forums and article comments reveals that lag is the subject of much debate when it comes to the Galaxy S5. A significant number of owners feel that the Galaxy S5 lags when compared to the competition and the blame is generally leveled at Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface and bloatware. What we’re talking about here is perceived delays when you load up or exit an app, when you unlock the phone, when you tap the Home button, or perhaps when you’re typing.

Workarounds:

- Use a different launcher. There are lots of options out there, Nova Launcher is good, or you could sideload the Google Now launcher.
- It may be the animations that are giving you the feeling of lag, so why not turn them off? Tap and hold on a blank space on your home screen and select Home screen settings > Transition effect > None. Go to Settings > Lock screen > Unlock effect and set it to None.
- You can go further in Settings > About device by tapping the Build number seven times to turn Developer mode on. Now go to Settings > Developer options > Windows animation scale and set it to Animation is off. You can do the same thing in Settings > Developer options > Transition animation scale and Animator duration scale.
- If the delay on the Home button is annoying you, then double tap it to fire up S Voice and choose Settings from the menu at the top right then make sure that Open via the home key is not ticked.
- You may want to turn off some background data syncing. You can do this via Settings > Accounts or within the settings menus of individual apps.
- To reduce the impact of bloatware go to Settings > Application manager and look at the All tab. Any app you don’t want to use, you can tap on it and choose Disable. All disabled apps will be listed in a separate tab, so you can always turn them back on again in the future.

MORE: Protect the next big thing: Our 10 favorite Galaxy S5 Cases

Problem: Water damage
Unfortunately a lot of people read water resistant as waterproof and there’s definitely a difference. We’ve seen lots or reports cropping up about people with water damaged Galaxy S5 handsets. That IP67 rating means that it can be submerged in water up to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. It isn’t designed to deal with high pressure water jets, and that could mean the water coming out of your faucet.

Workaround:
- Don’t deliberately dunk your Galaxy S5; the feature is a safeguard against the dreaded toilet drop, or a sudden downpour.

Potential solutions:
-
Don’t try to turn it on. Open it up and dry it off with a towel as best you can, then place it in a bowl of rice. You can also find dry bag kits online, using silica crystals or isopropyl alcohol, but if you don’t already have one, you won’t want to wait for delivery, so rice is a good solution. Resist the temptation to turn the phone on for as long as possible (at least 24 hours) to give it a good chance to dry out.
- If you’re not keen on self-repair you’ll find a lot of services and repair shops out there that will get your Galaxy S5 ticking again for a fee. Make sure you choose one that offers a money-back guarantee if they can’t fix it.

Annoyance: Slow camera
Are you finding that the camera takes a long time to focus and capture your photo? The Galaxy S5 should have a snappy shooter, so this may be down to your camera settings.

Potential solution:
-
Fire up the camera and tap on the gear icon at the bottom left then turn Picture stabilization off. It’s designed to improve the quality of low light pictures by extending the shutter speed. If your lighting is good then you don’t need it turned on, as it’s only going to slow the camera down.

Bug: Camera failed
Some people are reporting that they get a pop-up when they try to start the camera which says “Warning: Camera failed” and the camera won’t load up at all.

MORE: Samsung Gear Fit review

Potential solutions:
-
You might find that a simple restart does the trick. Hold down the Power button and select the Restart option. The problem may return.
- Try going to Settings > Application manager and select the camera app. Tap on Force stop, Clear cache, and Clear data
-
Try clearing the cache partition. Hold the power button and choose Power off then press and hold the Volume up key, the Home button, and the Power button. When the phone vibrates, release the Power button, but keep holding the other two. When you see the Android System Recovery screen you can let go. Use Volume down to choose wipe cache partition and press Power to select it then, when it’s done, press Power again to Reboot System Now.
- There’s a chance that an app is causing the problem. Any app that uses camera functions, including flashlight apps, could be the culprit. The fast way to check this is to reboot in safe mode. Hold down the power button and select Power off then hold down the power button to turn it on again and when you see the Samsung screen come up, release the power button and press and hold the Volume down key. You’ll know it worked if it says Safe mode in the bottom left corner. If the camera works then it’s definitely a problem with an app you installed. Hold down the power button and choose Restart to get back out of Safe mode.
- If you’re using a microSD card to save photos try removing it, save them elsewhere, and see if that makes a difference.
- Back up anything important and try a factory reset via Settings > Backup and reset > Factory data reset.
- If nothing works then you may have a faulty camera and you’ll need to contact your carrier, retailer, or Samsung about a replacement.