• SPECIFICATIONS
  • Operating System: Android 4.4.4 KitKat
  • Processor: Octa-Core (1.3GHz quad-core + 1.8GHz quad-core) CPU
  • Frequency: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, HSPA 850/900/1900/2100MHz, 4G LTE
  • Screen: 4.7-inch HD (1,280 x 720) Super AMOLED
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n (2.4 & 5GHz) VHT80, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, USB 2.0
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 32GB (internal)
  • Others: 12-megapixel rear camera, 2.1-megapixel front camera. IP67 certified
  • Dimensions: 132.4 x 65.6 x 6.7mm
  • Weight: 115g
  • Pros:
  • Elegant and compact design
  • Snappy performance
  • Great camera
  • Cons:
  • No microSD support
  • Only HD display
  • Battery life
  • Benchmark Results
  • 3DMark Ice Storm: Maxed out!
  • 3DMark Ice Storm (Extreme): 9,600 points
  • 3DMark Ice Storm (Unlimited): 9,010 points
  • AnTuTu: 50,358 points

A Beautiful Beginning

When it comes to their smartphones, Samsung have always given their customers the best in terms of features and hardware. However, the smartphone game took a little turn in terms of design as many smartphone manufacturers started using more premium materials for the body of their devices and while Samsung’s devices were still stylish and sleek, they were getting a little stale. Until now that is, as the GALAXY Alpha marks a dawn of something new for Samsung.

With the use of aluminium, the GALAXY Alpha reaches a new level of elegance

With the use of aluminium, the GALAXY Alpha reaches a new level of elegance

The GALAXY Alpha bears many of the same design elements that make it a Samsung device and but the metal design really makes the phone feel more sturdy and its slimness and lightweight makes it very comfortable to hold and use. The device isn’t entirely metal though as Samsung have opted for a removable plastic back panel, which has a nice rubberised texture to it, giving users a little extra grip. However, it is quite a shame that Samsung didn’t include a microSD slot to the device.

In terms of display, the GALAXY Alpha boasts a 4.7-inch 720p Super AMOLED display, which is also our second gripe with the device as there are devices with that same screen size and yet boasts Full HD resolution. With that being said though, images and texts are still crisp and clear and the display is very bright and produces vivid colours.

The camera may only be 12-megapixel but it takes really beautiful photos thanks to the always-on HDR

The camera may only be 12-megapixel but it takes really beautiful photos thanks to the always-on HDR

The GALAXY Alpha comes with high-end hardware and was able to blast through our standard suite of benchmarks and produce respectable scores. Day-to-day use was also a breeze as the phone was constantly snappy and multi-tasking proved to be no problem for the phone. We could even play games such as Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8 with no lags whatsoever.

With the GALAXY Alpha, Samsung proves that you can have a metal body and removable back

With the GALAXY Alpha, Samsung proves that you can have a metal body and removable back

One final downside we found with the GALAXY Alpha is its battery life. Equipped with only a 1,860mAh battery, the device was able to last us a whole day before needing to charge but this was with light to medium usage. When we were testing it with benchmarks and games though, the battery drained extremely quickly and this is where the removable back panel and spare battery come in handy for heavy users.

CHIP CONCLUDE: All in all, the Samsung GALAXY Alpha is a stunning looking smartphone with plenty of things done right and a few niggles here and there but at the end of the day it also marks a new and exciting direction for the company as the recently launched GALAXY Note 4 also bears the same metal design, which is stunning.

(previously published in issue November 2014)

Samsung GALAXY Alpha