Samsung Galaxy Alpha: Part Metal
I’m not going to try and dance around it, Samsung has notoriously skimped when its come to build quality. No matter how good their phones getting inside, the outside is still not so great. It’s always in the cons list of every single one of their reviews. It wasn’t much of a problem until other Android manufacturers like HTC started stepping up it’s game with the One (M7) in 2013 and the M8 in 2014. The Galaxy S5 hasn’t been doing so hot in reviews with other flagships stepping up, so Samsung has finally decided to make a change for the better in the form of the Galaxy Alpha. After a lot of pressure and a lot of criticism!
Galaxy Alpha Thin
Samsung’s first foray into solid and premium design isn’t as big and great as we expected. It’s not an all metal Galaxy S6 or Note 4 but a mid-range phone called the ‘Galaxy Alpha’. The Alpha is by no means the flagship phone in the Samsung stable. It’s the only way for Samsung to show its “evolution of Galaxy Design”, whatever that means. It’s pretty much a certainty that we’re going to be seeing this partial metal construction on all Samsung phones from now on as it seems to be the only way to squash the criticism surrounding Galaxy handsets and their plasticky-ness. We’re not hearing much about the new design style other than that it’s a new design approach. The Alpha is a lot like the Galaxy S5 with its slightly odd looking dimpled back, but that faux-metal band around the phone is now real metal which seriously elevates the feel of the phone in the hand from being cheap to solid. It’s an excellent move by Samsung because I am a fan. The metal band also has those premium looking chamfers similar to the iPhone 5/5s and the HTC One. That’s pretty much all there is with the metal, very anticlimactic. The plastic back means that its still removable, a signature of Samsung’s these days, and that the Alpha will come in a few colors which are black, white, gold, and blue.
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The phone itself comes in at a super sleek 6.7mm, thinnest for Samsung and a near iPhone-like weight at 115g. The physical changes are appreciated because who doesn’t want a thinner and lighter phone? The screen is an acceptable 720p Super AMOLED display which should be pretty decent if it’s anything like the Galaxy S5 but still a step back from the S5’s 1080p (and 1440p, in the LTE-A model) panel. The processor is pretty beefy actually with a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 and an octa-core Exynos 5 chip (quad 1.3GHz+quad 1.8GHz) for western and eastern territories respectively. There’s a healthy 2GB of RAM too. There’s 12MP rear camera that can shoot 4K video along with a 2.1MP front camera to record 1080p video. After that there’s the usual NFC, S Health, Gear compatibility and finger print scanner (not so usual actually). There’s 32GB of inbuilt storage with no MicroSD card support and a 1860mAh battery, which is worryingly a 1000mAh lower than the S5 but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem while pushing a million fewer pixels. The device can be described as a solid top of the line midrange phone with a good design. There’s now word on pricing but expect it sometime in September.
Galaxy Alpha Colors
The new design move wasn’t completely unforeseen since Samsung has been feeling some serious pressure from competitors in the design and build area. Samsung Mobile VP Kim Hyun-joon also told us to expect phones with higher end materials. The design isn’t radical change but it’s enough to show that Samsung is making a change for the better. This is pretty much what we have as of now but we’ll probably see a lot more in the much anticipated Galaxy Note 4 at IFA 2014.
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