Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – A Glimpse Into Samsung’s Future

For a long time people have wanted Samsung to use metal on their devices and thats exactly what Samsung did. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is Samsung’s first attempt at adding a little bit of metal to their smartphones. If you’ve been a subscriber of our YouTube channel for a while you know how much I appreciate a well designed product. The look and feel of a smartphone really does a lot for me on the overall user experience.

I used the Galaxy Alpha as my daily driver for two weeks, which included the normal checking of social networks, emails, listening to music, sending text messages, and making phone calls. Here are my thoughts on the device.

Specs



  • 4.7″ Inch 1280×720 SuperAMOLED Display
  • 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 Processor
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB Internal Storage (not expandable)
  • 12MP Rear Camera
  • 2.1MP Front Camera
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat
  • 1,860 mAh Removable Battery

Video Review

Hardware

The Galaxy Alpha delivers quite the punch in the quality of hardware. With the beautiful chamfered edges throughout and weighing only 4.06 ounces makes this phone feel like it has no battery installed. On the back we find the nice grippy removable battery door which looks nearly identical to the back of the Galaxy S5. All together though this phone certainly a pleasure to hold in the hands. As a matter of fact it might surprise you when I say that It is one of the best designed Android phones I’ve reviewed in a while.

What’s great to see as well is Samsung adopting this metal band into other devices such as the Galaxy Note 4. I really think Samsung can do a real good job in developing premium devices. Don’t get me wrong plastic is not the worst, but it gets old quick. Samsung been doing plastic for a long time and I’m hoping we will see some change. The Galaxy Alpha was the first step in doing that. That is what I think Samsung intended with the Galaxy Alpha, because it honestly doesn’t seem that Samsung released this phone to compete in any market. With the Nexus 6, iPhone 6, Note 4, and Moto X hitting the market there wasn’t much the Alpha was going to do in sales for Samsung. I think the released this device to make a statement that they can and will make premium feeling smartphones.

Software

When it comes to the software on the Galaxy Alpha we’re looking at Android 4.4.4 with Samsung’s infamous TouchWiz skin on top. The skin is virtually identical to what is seen on the Galaxy S5. Nothing has been added and nothing major has been taken away. Things are noticeably easier to use on this phone however due to it’s size. TouchWiz itself has definitely had huge improvements making it a bit easier to use, but I’m still not a big fan.

Camera

Now putting hardware to the side the Galaxy Alpha really isn’t very different from its brothers and sisters in the Samsung Galaxy line. On the back we have a 12mp camera which takes pretty solid pictures. Though the camera took pretty good pictures, they lacked a certain sharpness in them and colors at time seemed over exaggerated. We are also able to record videos in 1080P and 4K which surprised me.

There is something I did not like about the camera on the Galaxy Alpha and that is the camera app. Thought the Alpha took pretty decent pictures I was annoyed how Samsung over kills the the entire pleasurable experience of taking a picture with a smartphone. They do this by adding way too many features to the camera app.

Yes features are good but when you have to many it takes away from the overall experience and all those features are not nessesary to take a good picture. I hope that soon in the feature we will se Samsung at least simplify the app and give users a cleaner and simpler camera app.  We are also able to record videos in 1080P and 4K. Also included with camera is many of Samsungs added features for the camera itself. Below are a couple shots taken with the Alpha.

Fingerprint Scanner

Since this is the first time in a while that I’ve used a Galaxy device I decided to take the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy Alpha for a spin. Wow did I regret it. Personally I am not a fan. I found myself having to attempt 2 to 3 times, sometimes even more, just to access the device. After a while the security of the fingerprint sensor ended up being a huge pain for me and I stopped using it. Samsung definitely needs to work on improving the fingerprint sensor especially to the point where users don’t need 2-3 attempts each time to access their device.

Battery

The battery on Alpha is a decent 1860 mAh battery. Certainly this device isn’t primed for people like me who are heavy users. If I tried very hard I could get about 8 hours of battery on a good day. But in most cases I would have to carry a charger with me just to keep my Alpha going.

Call Quality

Call quality was great on the Galaxy Alpha with very few to none dropped calls. Everything sounded great on my end and callers said I sounded great as well. Using the Alpha on AT&Ts network made the experience even better.

Pros Cons
A premium design with a form factor that fits great in the hand Small 1860 mAh battery
A 12 MP camera W/ 4K video recording Fingerprint sensor doesn’t work well
Touchwiz has been improved Only on AT&T (in the US)
2GB of RAM No expandable storage
Very lightweight body

Photo Gallery

Final Score

Hardware is great but it does lack some of the things that could have made it a contender such as a 1080p display, better battery life, and availability on more networks, and this is what I would personally like for Samsung to focus in on if they do decide to go with a 2nd gen of the Alpha. At the end of the day this phone as a lot of potential. Its just up to Samsung to make the Alpha a phone to be reckoned with.

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