Samsung has generated its most desirable and balanced phone yet, though you will find a price to pay.
4.7-inch display well-sized and bright
Fiddly finger sensor
720p display nearly as sharp since it could be
TouchWiz UI still inferior compared to stock Android
Battery life underwhelming
While Apple has been praised and mocked in unequal measure for launching the “bigger than bigger” iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display and the a great deal larger iPhone 6 Plus – is a reversing beep I could hear? – Samsung has performed an about-turn of its with the launch of the Galaxy Alpha.
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It is the first Samsung smartphone I could remember using that values attractive design before spec list box-ticking. Whilst it isn’t the finished article, it marks a welcome departure within an exciting new direction for the business.
It is also arguably the most balanced and comfortable-to-use premium phone Samsung has made because the Samsung Galaxy S2.
Make no mistake though – that is unknown, risky territory for Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is priced such as a flagship phone, but it’s technically out-specced by the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Since its launch there were numerous price drops, and you will now get the Samsung Galaxy Alpha at under £350 in the event that you check around. That’s quite a major drop from the £549.99 price tag it launched with.
Really, though, this simply reframes the age-old iOS vs Android argument with none of the platform bias – why is reduced phone premium?
Let’s get the evident comment taken care of early doors. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha looks nearly the same as an iPhone.
While it’s plainly been released to pre-empt the launch of the iPhone 6, though, the Alpha’s design is pure apple iphone 4 4. It’s got an extremely familiar flat-edged aluminium rim with that same nick-inviting chamfered edge. Even the machined speaker grid on underneath edge is similar to Apple’s seminal phone.
To look at, the Alpha plainly follows the apple iphone 4 4 – nonetheless it has subtle distinctions
Of course, the actual fact that Samsung has borrowed ideas from Apple is much less noteworthy compared to the fact that it has finally adopted metal into its design process. Given how well the business has done using its first attempt, I must ask: what took you such a long time, Samsung?
This is a pleasant phone to carry. It sits in a single hand delightfully. As someone with larger-than-average hands, I could nearly stretch my thumb to each corner of the 4.7-inch display without having to shuffle the handset around in my own hands.
Decidely middle sized, the Alpha sits nicely in the hand
That’s facilitated by a good thin bezel and the Galaxy Alpha’s super-thin body. At 6.7mm, it isn’t the thinnest phone on earth, but it’s up there. It is also 0.2mm thinner compared to the similarly proportioned iPhone 6.
Not the thinnest available to buy, but the Alpha continues to be strikingly slim
Like Apple’s new iPhone, Samsung has positioned the Galaxy Alpha’s power button at the top right-hand edge of the telephone, so that you can reach it easily with thumb or finger. The quantity rocker is on the contrary edge, if just a little higher up. Both have a satisfying click to them.
The energy and volume controls are often accessible
It’s when you look closely at these side buttons that you understand the Galaxy Alpha’s metal rim isn’t quite as unoriginal since it first seems. There’s a subtle outward curve right before you reach the most notable and bottom edges, which is both nice to check out and offers a good niche to tuck your little finger into.
You understand you’re definitely working with a Samsung phone when you transform it over – and we’re not merely discussing the Samsung logo or the centrally-mounted, square-rimmed, slightly protruding camera unit.
The trunk of the Alpha is soft-touch polycarbonate, and it looks remarkably good
The Galaxy Alpha’s dalliance with metal extends and then its outer rim. The trunk of the device may be the same sort of soft-touch polycarbonate as we’ve seen before.
It’s among the least objectionable uses for the material yet, though. Perhaps it is the fact that Samsung did away with that awful faux-stitching effect, or the actual fact that it is framed by elegant metal instead of ugly shiny plastic. I have no idea, however in this case Samsung’s usage of plastic is really as notable and restrained as its make use of metal.
The decision never to choose an all-metal body has resulted in several other benefits. It creates the Alpha simple to grip and handle, it permits a removable battery, and it creates the telephone remarkably light.
Samsung is evidently happy with the look of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha since it is basing the appearance of its new group of handsets onto it. The Samsung Galaxy A5, together with the Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A7 have all taken design cues from the Galaxy Alpha, including the elegant metal body.
Following the disappointing design of the Samsung Galaxy S5, we’re also hoping that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will need cues from the Galaxy Alpha’s stylish design.
Quick access to the battery is a benefit for the detachable back
At 115 grams, it’s 14 grams lighter compared to the iPhone 6. Actually, it’s only 3 grams heavier compared to the 4-inch iPhone 5S. No, it generally does not quite feel as premium as either, but it’s nowhere near as remote as Samsung’s earlier efforts.
And this introduces the most contentious specs of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha – its display. As I’ve mentioned previously, that is a 4.7-inch screen, which sort of bucks the trend for recent high-end Android devices. The HTC One M8, the Google Nexus 5, the Sony Xperia Z3, and yes, the Samsung Galaxy S5, have all busted through the 5-inch barrier.
Indeed, the Alpha feels as though a blast from days gone by, going back to enough time of the Nexus 4, the HTC One X, and the Samsung Galaxy S3. More pertinently, and as already discussed, here is the size adopted by Apple because of its iPhone 6.