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Samsung Galaxy Alpha review

8/10 AVG.
RATING



8/10
Informr score
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha currently has an Informr score of 8 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 37 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

What's good

  • Thin and lightweight build despite aluminum frame
  • Smooth performance
  • Deep blacks and vivid colors

What's bad

  • Noticeable blue tinge on whites
  • Mediocre battery life

With the Galaxy Alpha, Samsung has finally moved away from an all-plastic design to one that incorporates a real metal frame. Despite the use of real brushed aluminum, the phone is surprisingly light at 115 grams, making it 14 grams lighter than the iPhone 6, and quite slim at 0.3 inches. Reviewers describe it as "sleek" and "svelte" noting how comfortable it felt in their hand. The back panel still offers the same textured plastic back and at first glance critics had a hard time distinguishing the Alpha from the S5. CNET adds, "It's unquestionably a phone you need to physically hold to fully appreciate." The only downside to the new metal frame is the loss of the S5's water resistance.

The design of the Alpha might seem premium, but the display left critics unimpressed. At 4.7-inches, the 720p resolution provides a good pixel density of 312ppi. But it isn't the sharpness of the display that turned off experts. Like Samsung's other phones, the Alpha uses Super AMOLED technology in its display and like the others provides exceptionally rich blacks and vivid colors. Unfortunately as many critics noticed, this came at the cost of the white color balance. Ars Technica states, "The bluish tint seen on whitespace in messaging apps and white webpages made surrounding text and images look weird…" In other areas, however, the display performed well. Reviewers were able to easily read it in both indoor and outdoor lighting situations.

The screen might be a downgrade in resolution, but the specs are on par with the S5. US users will see the same 2.5GHz quad-core processor while the UK version has a 1.8GHZ octo-core processor. Both versions come with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Regardless of which version reviewers tried, they experienced speedy and smooth performance from more basic tasks to processor-intensive ones. The small 1,860mAh battery was able to make it through about 11 hours of moderate usage before reviewers needed to charge, but when watching video or play games, it dropped to around 9 hours.

Around the back of the Alpha is the 12MP main camera. It comes with the core Samsung settings which gives access to various mode and manual features. As well, it utilizes detection autofocus instead of contrast detection. Samsung boasts that this technology allows the camera to focus faster than others. When put to the test, experts did notice it was a bit faster than previous generation Samsung devices. Unfortunately, they also found that images tended to come out blurry more often than not.

Despite the sleek, new design and excellent performance, reviewers have mixed feelings about the Alpha. Trusted Reviews states, "The Samsung Galaxy Alpha conjures some mixed feelings. This is undeniably the best-looking phone Samsung has come up with…The big problem is that despite costing more than the Galaxy S5, it doesn't supersede the larger Samsung in any way." Engadget adds, "The only reason you'd want to pick this over the Galaxy S5…is that you prefer a smaller size or more solid build…Furthermore, it's not the best sub-5-inch Android device on the market…"


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.8 GHz
Screen Size
4.7"
Camera
12+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Softpedia

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha looks good and feels good. However Samsung has already shown us it can do better than this. The Korean tech giant has introduced the A series (with A3 and A5 models) which are two extremely tight handsets coming with all-metal bods.However, even if the Alpha has a lot of pos...

- Alexandra Arici, Softpedia
Coolsmartphone

The Galaxy Alpha should be the phone most Samsung fans have been asking for. That metal frame adds a definite “something” to the mix and it’s a welcome departure for the company.However, with a 720p resolution screen, 12 megapixel camera and a lack of external storage, the Alpha is...

- Dan, Coolsmartphone
Brighthand

The Galaxy Alpha is a positive development for Samsung, but it’s not the evolution in quality that its upgrades would suggest. Its acceptance of higher-quality materials is welcome, but too much of its design is rooted in the blander Galaxy phones of the past. It is one of the few 4.7-inch pho...

- Jeff Dunn, Brighthand
iTechTriad

So out of a score of 10, I would give the Galaxy Alpha a 6/10. Hardware is great but it does lack some of the things that could have made it a contender such as a 1080p display, better battery life, and availability on more networks, and this is what I would personally like for Samsung to focus in o...

- Alex Garcia, iTechTriad
Notebookcheck

Samsung launches a strong piece of hardware in the competitive high-end market with its Galaxy Alpha. Though it adheres to Samsung's own Galaxy S5, clear concessions have to be made in comparison. The refined manufacturing process of the new casing and the larger, 32 GB flash memory is likely the re...

- Michael Moser, Notebookcheck


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Quick view

Screen Size
4.7"

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha's screen size is 4.7 inches with 720 x 1280 pixels resolution.

Processor
1.8 GHz

There is a Samsung Exynos 5 5430 Octa core 1.8 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 4.4.4 KitKat (Update Available: 5.0.2 KitKat) operating system (OS).

Camera
12+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 12+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 2+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
32 GB

Internal memory is 32 GB. No external card slot is available for expansion.

Battery
1860mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 1860 mAh battery. Samsung's performance ratings are 800 minutes, 660 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Galaxy Alpha Specs

Overview
Release date September 8, 2014
Regions available USA, Canada, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100 MHz
LTE:
1900/2100/800/850 /900/1800/2600 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 4.4.4 KitKat (Update Available: 5.0.2 KitKat)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Samsung Exynos 5 5430 Octa core 1.8 GHz
Internal Storage 32 GB
RAM 2 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD Yes
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 0.57 W/kg
Body: 0.61 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 1860 mAh
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 600 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 660 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 540 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 800 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 13.4 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Magnesium alloy
Colors Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, Scuba Blue
Dimensions [H x W x D] 13.2 x 6.5 x 0.7 cm (5.2 x 2.6 x 0.3 in)
Weight 115 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology Super AMOLED
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 720 x 1280 pixels
Pixel density 312 pixels
Size 4.7 inches
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Digital Compass
Graphics Yes
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot No
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
12+ megapixels
Multi-camera
No
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, ISO, Panorama, Self-timer, HDR, Burst shot, Exposure value
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, ASF, FLV, AVI
Video Recording Parameters
Front Camera
Resolution
2+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, AMR, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, M4A, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, ASF, AVI, FLV, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): Samsung SM-G850F

Additional Sensors
- Heart rate sensor

Additional Features
- Ultra Power Saving Mode
- Download Booster
- S Health 3.0
- Quick Connect
- Private Mode
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Samsung Galaxy Alpha Reviews
Where to buy Samsung Galaxy Alpha
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