Appearance matters and it is the first thing that attracts the eye. Here in this case of mobile phones and smartphones, we are hinting at the design factor. Some have such attractive looks that the customer first selects it to be examined for purchase. It is like a beautiful face that remains in mind for quite sometime while ordinary ones are forgotten soon. Galaxy smartphones are good examples of technology and best of hardware including some good features yet they lack in attractive designs.
Samsung devices are no doubt the examples of state of the art technology, yet they lack the attraction in appearance. In this regard HTC, Apple, and Sony have done better by presenting their products in more attractive shapes. This time Samsung has done better by improving the appearance and bringing the change with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. They have put in their best in this device; not only several rich qualities, but also the design to look at it again and again and die for it. With this change Samsung has proved they can present things much better. They never really bothered about apparent looks and rather concentrated on inner qualities. With Galaxy Alpha they have changes their approach and improved it a lot. It comes out of the box with microUSB cable, Wall charger and Quick start guide or the user’s manual.
In make and appearance the general opinion is that the Galaxy Alpha is the best designed and the best looking device so far.
It has a nice make. The Galaxy Alpha’s chassis is mostly made of plastic and is not left unsecured with only plastic chassis. It has for protection and strength of the body the premium aluminum trim outlining the edges of the phone. It’s a beautiful combination, metal with plastic and it very much bears resemblance to the chamfered bevel edge as in case of iPhone 5/5s.
With all its beauty and strong body and good shape, it is just 0.26-inches thin and really lightweight bearing only 115 grams. A smartphone having a 4.7-inch display, it is really surprising how compact it feels while holding in your hand. It is so well arrayed with controls that you thumb can comfortably reach to all corners of the screen without feeling any stress of stretching. It is hard to believe how lightweight it is and we hardly feel any burden while holding it in our hand. Though it share some design features with the Note 4 but it has a better soft touch matte finish of its rear and not like the Note 4’s leather-like pattern.
Samsung has really done well in designing this particular handset and we can imagine that Samsung is really capable of producing nice looking things. If this be their first serious effort, we can think of a huge store of good ideas for the future. Surely they are going to surprise us while launching their new flagships in future.
The buttons and ports are placed in the similar fashion as in other Samsung phones. The power button is located on the right while the volume control is on the left side. Some familiar items fixed on its trim include microUSB 2.0 port, speaker grill, 3.5mm headset jack and various microphones.
The Galaxy Alpha has the same features we saw in the Galaxy S5; it also has the finger print and heart rate sensors. The finger print is incorporated into the home button and has the same way of working. The heart rate sensor, which his placed in the rear of the phone just adding something to the device, otherwise a smartphone can function perfectly well even without a heart sensor.
While it shares some features of the Galaxy S, 5there are other things that are missing in it. Galaxy Alpha doesn’t have a water-resistant constriction, nor does it have an IR blaster. Well to give it more compact shape and appealing design something had to be compromised.
The display size and resolution are decent, but Samsung’s decision of adopting a PenTile matrix arrangement dims the display on the screen.
Appearance alone and the design of the Alpha give it a grand look. However, it is equipped with a modestly sized 4.7-inch with 720 x 1280 resolutions screen that is Super AMOLED display. The resolution feature is not very appreciable yet, its pixel density of 312 ppi gives a pretty sharp look. However reverting back to a PenTile matrix arrangement reduces its sharpness. It lacks the crisp details as we’ve experienced in case of recent Galaxy devices.
AMOLED in general has the characteristic of producing colors in saturated condition which are not real looking and are inaccurate colors. However in this case Samsung has been successful to tone it down to more accuracy. Though it is not as good as Galaxy S5’s display but its color temperature of ~6800 K gives a very realistic tone. The screen is effective and efficient while out in open sunlight, the phone automatically increases the brightness to a potent 422 nits. It has good clarity at the widest of viewing angles.
Samsung has surely has produced a premium device but has gone back to a PenTile matrix arrangement sounds rather strange and makes us think about the company’s decision in this regard.
Interface and Functionality
Samsung Galaxy Alpha has TouchWiz in it but does not have all the software features like the Galaxy S5.
If you have the experience of a recent Galaxy device, you’ll be quite familiar with the Galaxy Alpha soon. It runs Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI on top of Android 4.4.4 KitKat operating system. For some it will be appreciated for the rich combination of software features present here; enhanced multi-tasking experience with its Multi-Window feature and for some it may be very attractive and they may think it just redundant and making the list long.
Though in comparison, it is inferior to the Galaxy S5 or Note 4, still it carries more than what we should expect in a basic smartphones.
Processor and Memory
The standard version of Galaxy Alpha comes with Snapdragon 801 chip with 2GB of RAM which is definitely quite powerful.
Like Note 4 and S5, the Galaxy Alpha also has two versions; the international version that has Qualcomm Snapdragon processor while the Asian markets will get Samsung’s own Exynos processor. The unit for the US, is equipped with the Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.5 GHz chip with 2GB RAM. The overall performance of the phone is very efficient can handle some heavy 3D gaming without really slowing down.
Samsung has done two things; it has omitted the microSD card slot and has left no choice for extension of memory, and the other good thing is it is preinstalled in the Galaxy Alpha with big memory of 32GB as capacity for internal storage.
It runs on AT&T’s 4G LTE networks and the Galaxy Alpha is pretty fast in internet connectivity. Other lovable elements are its quick page rendering and very smooth navigational controls.
To get good shooting results you need to be steady yourself because only then the Galaxy Alpha will give you the real good results. If you are shaking yourself the pictures will tell that you were not steady while taking the pictures. They will be blurred. Its low-lighting shooting performance is also not very good.
The Galaxy Alpha sports a powerful 12-megapixel auto-focus rear camera. It is featured with all the good qualities that make a good camera. It also has the features of f/2.2 aperture lens LED flash, and up to 4K video recording. One camera is not enough now, you need now two cameras; one as the main camera and the secondary for the selfies as they call it and also for the video calling. Therefore to meet this requirement we have in the front, a 2.1-megapixel camera. The users feel happy often with their own pictures. This front camera generally keeps the users busy in looking at themselves. It gives a lot of chance and kills lot of spare time in posing for the self portraits.
However, it’s just not comparable to Galaxy S5 in picture quality and is also weak in low-lighting performance. The pictures do have digital noise which is clearly visible in the snapshots taken by this camera, though of 12 mega pixels.
However for some reason, audio recording of this camera is much better at 4K videos instead of 1080p ones. The voices can be recorded more vividly while recording with 4K video. The overall quality of recording at 4K is much better.
Considering the physical size of the handset, battery also get less space and to fit in available space, it smaller in size. Despite being small in size it still has excellent battery life. Don’t mind if the battery is removable and has 1860 mAh capacity only. Once charged full, it delivers excellent life for normal usage. It should satisfy us if it keeps the handset alive and functional for a solid 1.5 days of operation. It is surprising this small little thing performs all apps in the phone for more than 24 hours.
In the battery benchmark test, the Galaxy Alpha remained active and achieved a time of 7 hours, 50 minutes. It is really a good result and the result puts it in good company.
Comparing with batteries of other devices, the results have been somewhat like this; Samsung Galaxy Alpha worked for 7 hours 50 min which is excellent, Samsung Galaxy S5 showed the capacity of 7 hours 38 min which is again excellent. The Motorola Moto X 2014 battery could go only for 5 hours 45 min and got the remark of “Good” and Apple Iphone 6 had the energy for 5 hours 22 min and was rated as average. This way the battery of Galaxy Alpha with 7 hours 50 mins is excellent.
As an overall opinion, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is something excellent, all-around phone. Its camera to its battery life it proved pretty good. The most striking feature is its refreshing design change that the most impressive.
However this is a costly handset and would need over $200 for a 2-year contract with AT&T, just the same as Samsung’s own flagship in the Galaxy S5. In case of Galaxy S5, it’s a bigger phone with higher resolution screen and has other amenities like a water-resistant construction, an IR blaster, and many software features with TouchWiz experience. Here it is your own choice either to choose the compact size and premium Alpha, or the better specs and features of Galaxy S5. For smaller size, here is another choice and that is the iPhone 6, a good alternative with premium design.