Detailed Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Alpha SmartPhone Review

The South Korean Giant – Samsung, always comes out with similar kind of phones every time with same plasticky design. This time planned to surprise all with a metallic design that it has implanted on its premium Galaxy Alpha Smart phone. The device was released early last month and had similar features as the company’s flagship device Galaxy S5, except for the smaller size and metallic design.

Galaxy Alpha front

Design

The design of the device is the main source for all the attention that it received in the market. The Galaxy Alpha feels very soft on the hand and has premium feel to it. With this device, Samsung has finally proved that they are capable of making a premium looking smartphone. Compared to all plastic design that we have been so used to from Samsung for so long. Galaxy Alpha feels so solid in the hands because of its build quality and also due to the compact factor. It is extremely easy to hold on to and operate with one hand. Especially, these days’ people are into large display phones including me. While the Alpha sport a 4.7-inch display, which is small size for an Android smartphone these days. The device isn’t all metal as it has a thin plastic back. But it is hardly noticeable, except for the fact you actually take it off. We prefer the design of the Galaxy Alpha over the Galaxy S5, as it is lot more subtle and has a nice grippy texture to it.

Display

Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a 4.7-inch display and comes in a 720p resolution. While the PPI is pretty respectable considering the AMOLED display, so you are not going to notice pixels easily, unless you look hard for them. Color saturation on the device is vibrant and punchy, as Samsung has always been pretty good with displays. Therefore, the Galaxy Alpha is not an exception here also.

Also Read – Samsung Galaxy Alpha Camera Review

Hardware/Performance

The internal specs depend on where you get it. We have the Indian version which is available for approximately INR 40K. It packs Exynos processor while the US version comes with the Snapdragon 801 processor. The device comes with pretty high-end specs for 2014 smartphone. It’s been powered by a 2GB of RAM with an internal storage of 32GB. That is all you get for storage space as the device doesn’t support expansion slot.

With high-end specs, you can expect smooth and pretty snappy performance, which Galaxy Alpha delivers. From multi-tasking with apps, games and web browsing, simultaneously opening and closing the games, it pretty much handled everything with ease. Yes, there is occasional frame drops in games, but they are not going to bother you unless you are extremely sensitive to it.

Software

Coming to the software parts on the Galaxy Alpha. It comes with the latest version of the Kitkat, Android 4.4.4 with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface on top of it. The UI has been enhanced from what we saw on the Galaxy S5. All the software features that were present on the S5 are there on the Alpha too. Samsung didn’t exclude any feature on its full metal phone. Like Smart Pause, Air Gesture, as well as multi-widow for true multi-tasking. There is also a floating toolbox that creates quick access to your favorite apps. Samsung has tried to decently organize the sections in the settings area. But they are still convoluted and difficult to navigate as it has always been the case.

Camera

On the back of the Galaxy Alpha, there is a 12MP shooter with LED flash, of course. It might not be a high-end camera module that Samsung has ever used, when it comes to the megapixel count. But 12MP is still pretty respectable number you see on a premium looking smartphone. And as far as the camera software goes, it sports the usual interface from Samsung that you might have used. Still there are tons of features like exposure shots, beauty face, and all the other different shooting modes. Probably more features than you will ever use on the camera app. Since, the camera is 12MP the 4K video recording has been made possible on the Galaxy Alpha. As well as it has Slo-mo recording options too.

The picture quality is pretty good, as the colors are vibrant and sharp. Dynamic range isn’t the greatest, but HDR certainly helps in bringing out the details. While the daylight photos were good, the low-light photos were not that great, as they look grainy and noisy. And there’s just whole lot of details not clearly visible in the low-light photos. The front camera on the device is of 2.1MP and offers pretty decent clicks for a selfie. Though, it is not that good of a selfie cam. As there are almost dozen of smartphones in the market that have dedicated front camera for selfies.

Cons

It is kind of surprising that Samsung has used an 1860mAh battery on their premium handset. It is a big letdown for Android users, because it is hard to expect a full day charge out of battery less than 2000mAh. Even for the basic usage, you won’t get a full day’s battery life out of it. It is certainly not recommended to play high-end games as the battery won’t last even half a day. Since, the device is priced in the range of flagship models for around INR 40K. We wished it would have come with at least 1080p display.

Verdict

The overall experience of this device was premium, as it has all the looks and heavy set of specs. The Galaxy Alpha has a key advantage of design. It might be the best-designed handset from Samsung, and if it has launched before the Galaxy S5, we would have loved that. Though, I’m happy that Samsung has finally introduced a metal smartphone, which feels compact and premium at once.

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