SAMSUNG Galaxy Alpha (Discontinued)

SamsungSKU: 1MMSMG850F



4.7 inch Super AMOLED touchscreen

12 Megapixel camera

32GB memory + card slot

Android Kit Kat v4.4.4.

Aluminium chassis

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is the long-awaited metalclad smartphone that Galaxy fans have been waiting for. We think it's good, but it's not quite there. Find out why.

Introduced September 2014

by Mike Leader

Finally we have the Samsung phone that we've all been waiting for. Or do we?

Samsung have long been criticised for their approach to premium handsets, with most of us generally being unhappy that a top-end phone should be clad in a cheap looking and feeling plastic shell.

The HTC One M8 is as stunning to look at as it is to use. The Sony Xperia Z2 and Z3 are metal framed marvels, while the fabulous Nokia Lumia 930 is framed in aluminium. And now there is serious competition as Apple have caught up with the screen sizes people want with the luxurious iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

New Metal Band

Introducing the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. Like Nokia, they too have introduced a metal band around the phone, a feat also repeated on the new Galaxy Note 4 and both look and feel fantastic. The 6.7mm depth is also comparable to the iPhone's 6.9mm, and it is quite light for a high end smartphone at 115 grams.

Useable NFC

NFC is included too and it's actually usable, enabling you to transfer files and photos by touching another NFC-enabled device.
While Apple are vaunting their Apple Pay electronic wallet, which stores your credit cards and allows you to pay by touch at compatible terminals using NFC - seen on an iPhone for the first time - it is not yet available in the UK or anywhere else outside the USA for that matter. You can't use Apple's version of NFC for any other purpose.


Fingerprint scanner

Both phones use their fingerprint scanners for verification, but Samsung have the advantage, for now anyway, of linking their system to the popular PayPal payment portal, which is owned by and used on eBay. If this is a feature you are likely to use then it makes sense for you UK buyers to choose the Alpha over the iPhone 6 then. However this is where we're wondering if Samsung haven't missed a trick or two. iPhone fans love the iPhone, so you're unlikely to win by producing something on a like for like basis. It has to be premium to stand any chance. And this is where the Galaxy Alpha falls down

...and the bad news is?

This metal clad phone still has a plastic back cover. And it only has a 720p HD screen instead of the Full 1080p HD screens found on every other flagship handset. With those two major points in mind it is difficult to see where this phone fits in. It is unlikely to win any market share from those who want an iPhone, because it had to be better, it had to be full metal jacket

Quality camera with Quad HD video recording

Sure, it has an excellent 12 megapixel camera against the iPhone 6's 8 megapixel snapper, and it comes with all the bells and whistles including auto-focus, touch to focus, smile detection, panorama, HDR, geo-tagging, in fact everything you would expect.
You get super quality 2160p Quad HD video recording, also known as Ultra High Definition (UHD), recorded at 30 frames per second (fps), and full HD 1080p recording at super smooth 60 fps, as well as movie studio rate of 120 fps in 720p. Of course you can't view anything at higher than 720p because of the screen resolution. There is no getting away from the fact that the 317 pixels per inch is a big drop back from the 441 ppi of the Galaxy S5, although it is comparable with the iPhone 6 and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.

Powerful Dual Processing features

There are some exciting features brought over from the S5, including of course the fingerprint scanner built into the Home button and the heart rate monitor on the back panel next to the camera, which accompanies Samsung's S Health app for all you fitness freaks, but it is genuinely useful if you just want to keep a check on your general fitness levels. Power comes in the form of what is generally perceived to be an octa-core processor, but it's actually really two quad-cores bundled together. The 1.8Ghz core handles heavier tasks while the phone drops back to the smaller 1.3 core for lighter use, which effectively helps battery life.
It is perhaps just as well as the 1860mAh power pack isn't overly generous for a 2014 smartphone but it is at least replaceable. We also like the Ultra Power Save mode which shuts down anything that isn't essential and switches the screen to monochrome. It looks quite novel, but really does a good trick of extending your battery life

Generous memory, but no card slot

The Galaxy Alpha comes with one memory size of 32GB but unusually for a Samsung handset it doesn't have a memory card slot. Everything else is here though with Dual Band Wi-Fi for faster downloads, Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Hotspot, DLNA for pushing your content to another device - handy for playing your Quad HD videos on your new UHD Smart TV.
As mentioned at the top, NFC is here too for those contactless payments and GPS for sat nav and geo-tagging, not forgetting of course stereo Bluetooth. All this is helped along with 2GB if RAM behind a 720 x 1280 4.7 inch display

Our summary

 Samsung have produced another excellent smartphone, of that there is no doubt. The metal framed casing looks fantastic and you genuinely feel that this is the step up we have been waiting for from Samsung for these past few years, to bring them into true premium territory. The problem is they then go and blow it by adding a less than Full HD screen and plastic back. Some will say that a Full HD 1080p screen isn't absolutely necessary. As the screen is a slight drop in size to the 5-inch plus screens we have become used to on flagship handsets it still looks superb and that argument does carry a little weight. But it's still not quite there for us, especially when you consider that some rumours suggested we might get a Quad HD screen as seen on the LG G3. Add in the plastic rear cover, much maligned on many of Samsung's previous handsets, and it really does feel like a missed opportunity. It's an even stranger decision given that the iPhone 6 has a full aluminium casing, and this alone could be enough to keep thousands of iPhone customers who just might have crept back to Android decide not to bother but to wait for the next one to come along. Sorry Samsung, it's an excellent phone overall but we do think you have missed the opportunity to make it the truly premium phone we have all been waiting for you to produce. That's a shame because otherwise it's brilliant


  • Screen: 5.7 inch IPS 18:9 touchscreen

  • Resolution: 1980 x 1080 Full HD, 424 pixels per inch

  • OS: Android: 8 Oreo, upgradeable to Android 9

  • Multifunction Fingerprint sensor

  • Fast Charging

  • RAM Memory: 3GB

  • ROM Memory: 32GB

  • Memory Card slot: MicroSD, up to 256GB

  • Sim Slot: Nano sim card

  • Processor: 1.8 GHz QUALCOMM Snapdragon 450 Octa-core

  • Main Camera: 12+5MP dual lens with Dual LED flash

  • Predictive Autofocus, Auto HDR, Panorama, Depth Sensor

  • Secondary camera: 8MP Wide Angle

  • Bluetooth 4 A2DP Stereo, Low Energy

  • GPS Sat Nav with Assisted GPS, GLONASS, BDS

  • FM Radio

  • Wavebands: 2G GSM, 3G WCDMA, 4G LTE

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n Dual Band, Wi-Fi Direct, Hotspot

  • Google Play

  • USB Type C

  • Screen Gestures

  • Battery: 3000mAh Lithium Polymer, built-in

  • Size: 153 x 72 x 8.3mm

  • Weight: 167g


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