- Richard Goodwin , Know Your Mobile
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is one of the best handsets Samsung has EVER produced. I love this phone.
- Andrew Hoyle , Cnet
If you love the high-end tech Samsung crams into its phones but hate the plastic bodies, the Galaxy Alpha may well be the phone for you.
- Thin and lightweight build despite aluminum frame
- Smooth performance
- Deep blacks and vivid colors
- 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…"
Reviews (8/10 Avg. rating)
Very impressive if you count some things out
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 positive aspects to it, the fact that its pricing revolves around the €599 ($745) margin won’t appeal to a lot of consumers. Yes, it’s cheaper than the Galaxy S5, but even so we’re still well into high-end territory.
But if you have some money to spend a... Full review
Nice to have metal but with a battery that impacts enjoyment
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 not a spec heavy device that will blow you away. On the other hand, it does provide great build quality and a set of extremely decent mid-range specs at a mid-range price whilst looking like a premium handset.
The camera was actually very good quality, especially if all yo... Full review
Good mix of sturdiness, comfort and compactness
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 phones with flagship-level performance, but its display is marred by inferior tech. Its software is a mess, relatively speaking, and many of the things it does do well are immediately countered by the fact that it’s overpriced by at least $100.
The Alpha deserves praise for being a... Full review
A glimpse into Samsung's future
An overall interesting option in the flagship race
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 reason that Samsung demands 50 Euros more with a price of 649 Euros for its Galaxy Alpha. The exterior excites with a stable metal bezel and elegant design in return. The innards are also very respectable. A very economic and yet sufficiently powerful eight-core SoC developed by Samsung does a very... Full review
A Samsung for the fashion-conscious
The stylish flagship that you can afford
A great and a much needed addition to the Galaxy line up
A handful of great specs
The Alpha could have been a real contender, however, its exclusiveness on AT&T, coupled with poor performance and average battery life should keep most buyers away from it.
If Samsung wants to make a real “iPhone Killer” device, all they need to do is remake this same exact hardware, but throw in a bigger battery and improve upon TouchWiz’s jank. Seriously, it might be perfect then. In our eyes, they could even get away with overcharging for it if the performance was not so held back by the huge amount of TouchWiz featured on the phone.
In conclus... Full review
Strong, lightweight design and good performance
Whilst there are certainly problems with the Alpha it’s a sort of sidestep in the right direction for Samsung - a well-balanced performance smartphone that serves as another fantastic Android alternative to Apple’s iPhone 6 alongside the likes of the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.
On paper it may not have the best camera, offer the best feature set or even boast the best build quality of the current smartphone crop, but there’s no denying that this is one of the most considered smartphones Samsung has ever made. Some might balk at the £539 SIM free price tag, and... Full review
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