13
Aug
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After months of speculations regarding their upcoming high-quality metallic smartphone, Samsung has finally outed the Galaxy Alpha. In many regards, the Alpha is an underwhelming device that fails to stand next to this year's (and even some of last year's) Android flagships, but it does have one redeeming quality: it is the best industrially-designed phone to come out of the South Korean company in years.

While Samsung claims the Galaxy Alpha offers an "entirely new appearance," you would be hard-pressed not to recognize the Galaxy S5's sibling in the Alpha, an illegitimate brother from a one-night stand with a member of the iPhone family. That metal frame is eerily familiar, isn't it? Luckily, the Alpha got the rest of its looks from the Samsung side of the family, with the dotted pattern on the "tactile soft back cover," Samsung's signature home button, and the little camera bump on the rear.

thumb-galaxy-alpha-1 thumb-galaxy-alpha-2

Specs-wise, the Galaxy Alpha is akin to last year's flagships with a few improvements. It has a 4.7" HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1280 x 720, an Octa Core processor (4 cores at 1.8GHz and 4 cores at 1.3GHz), a 12MP rear camera capable of shooting 4K videos, a 2.1MP front camera, 32GB of on-board storage without a microSD slot (a rarity for Samsung), and the usual smorgasbord of antennas—WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, and LTE Cat.6. Samsung also included their Fingerprint Sensor in the home button and a Heart Rate sensor next to the rear camera.

thumb-galaxy-alpha-5

The Alpha is a "small" smartphone by today's standards. It measures 132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7mm and weighs 115g, compared to the Galaxy S5's 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm with a weight of 145g. If you do the math, it is almost 70% the volume of the S5. The side effect of that size (and thickness) reduction is a terrifyingly small 1,860 mAh battery. Even the Galaxy S3, with a 4.8" 720 display had a 2,100 mAh battery.

thumb-galaxy-alpha-4 thumb-galaxy-alpha-3

The Galaxy Alpha will ship at the beginning of September with Android 4.4.4 KitKat on board. It will be available in 5 colors: Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, and Scuba Blue. There's no word on pricing or US operator availability yet, but if you're interested in reading more about it, you'll be glad to know that it was officially outed in Russia a few days ago and, as a result, is already reviewed on Hi-Tech.mail.ru—that back cover is so pliable!

thumb-galaxy-alpha-galaxy-s5 thumb-galaxy-alpha-iphone-5s

Galaxy Alpha next to the Galaxy S5 (left) and the iPhone 5S (right)

Samsung's intentions with the Alpha might have been to anticipate the upcoming larger iPhone 6 and provide a competing premium product before its launch, but it may have also just granted the wish of a few Android fans who want good specs in a more pocketable device. Two birds, one stone?

Seoul, Korea – Aug 13, 2014 9AM GMT – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today unveiled its new design approach with the Galaxy Alpha. The latest addition to Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone line, the Galaxy Alpha features a sophisticated design in a carefully constructed compact body with a metal frame and a solid finish, while still maintaining the flagship Galaxy experience. Elegant and practical, the Galaxy Alpha is the optimal convergence of style and cutting-edge technology.

“The Galaxy Alpha was built and designed based on the specific desires of the consumer market,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communication at Samsung Electronics. “With an entirely new appearance, the Galaxy Alpha focuses on both beauty and functionality combining a stunning metal frame and slim, light weight design with the same powerful hardware and features users expect from a flagship Galaxy mobile device.”

Setting a New Standard for Samsung Galaxy Design
Concentrating on elegant aesthetics and compact construction, Samsung has taken a fresh approach to design with the Galaxy Alpha. Created to help consumers express their unique style without sacrificing functionality, the refined Galaxy Alpha features a sophisticated design with a metal frame, elegantly curved corners and a tactile soft back cover. In addition, it is visually balanced, with the perfect contrast of both a calming, soft matte finish and an eye-catching reflection from the metal frame. At less than 7 mm thick, the Galaxy Alpha is also one of the slimmest Galaxy devices ever, and its uniquely compact construction and light weight provides consumers with maximum in-hand grip and control.

Powerful Samsung Galaxy Experience
Despite its slim and light design, the Galaxy Alpha provides users with the same powerful hardware and features users expect from a flagship Galaxy mobile device. The device is equipped with a brilliant 4.7-inch HD Super AMOLED display as well as an advanced camera and real time HDR for an unrivaled viewing and photo experience. The Galaxy Alpha also includes innovative and popular features such as Ultra-Power Saving Mode, S Health, Finger Print Scanner, Private Mode and connectivity with the latest Samsung Gear Fit, Gear Live and Gear 2 wearables.

The Galaxy Alpha will be available at the beginning of September. At launch, it will be available in Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, and Scuba Blue, with available colors to be determined by market.

Source: Samsung Mobile Press, Samsung Tomorrow

Rita El Khoury
Rita is a pharmacist by profession, a geek by passion. Her love story with Android started in 2009 and has been going stronger with every update, device, tip, app, and game. She lives in Lebanon, speaks three languages, and watches a lot of TV series.

  • Samuel

    32MB of on-board storage? That's a bit too paltry, don't you think? :D

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      Thanks! Corrected. That would have been fun to deal with though, wouldn't it?

      • pseudo

        that's how much my phone has, well 40mb, not much difference. :)

  • ChrisM40

    The best design in years? Hmm, looks like every other Samsung, less shiny metal sides and a slightly different back texture dont make that much difference.

    • http://bit.ly/khouryrt Rita El Khoury

      It does have one of the best designs Samsung has made in years, but that isn't saying much, is it?

      • chirantanf

        Hey Rita, nice to see you in android world...Have been reading your articles since Symbian-guru days with Ricky! :)

  • Nabil L

    Still can't get it right, Sammy!

    • noel kait

      They're experimenting with certain designs before they make the shift into flagship. This is alot like how they started with the note line-up. Give them a break.

      • Sergii Pylypenko

        First Note definitely was a flagship, it was costing more than S2/S3 as I remember.

        • noel kait

          Well that's on the account of the note being really big on the screens and spec size. Alpha is mearly a design change. Not every experiment is the same.

    • http://www.theveboy.com/ Mehdi

      Moto's X got it right. What's wrong about Sammy's Alpha ?

      • mgamerz

        It's gonna have the full bloaty touchwiz.

    • X-47B

      Maybe you should show them how it's done. I am sure they have enough money to pay you handsomely if it's good.

    • Doakie

      "A Mid-Ranger With The Pretentions Of A Flagship" Apple is going to sue Samsung again for stealing their recipe...

    • Chris

      Still hating and won't stop, Nabil!!
      Don't worry so much you might end up with high blood pressure.
      If you don't like it then don't buy it! Not everything is going to be to your liking.
      Let's move move on fellas.

    • Cory Crew

      Not right but so much closer, I would get this because I'm tired of phones trying to replace my tablet. My nexus 7 is my go to guy when I'm relaxing, perfect size weight shape for relaxing deeds. but I realized a lot of theses newer phones are almost bigger than my smaller than average hands. This isn't good for when I'm on the go ...and they keep getting bigger. I want something "smaller" but great, and they are just about there, but Sony's compact line seems to get it done right (now if they could do quicker or simultaneous releases).

  • lanoormohamed

    kinda looks like a metal version of the s2

  • Alberto Blasi

    Still awful.

  • anmolm97

    Even though this isn't perfect... They're learning, right...?? 😯

    • A_Noid

      Learning how to lose market share.

  • brararsh

    2010 Nokia, 2014 Samsung.
    Sammy don't be so arrogant, people will forget you soon.

    • saf1927

      Nokia was only in the mobile industry. Samsung is a vast company, even if their mobile division were to fail, the rest of the company would be still around. Forgetting Samsung is not possible at this point.

      • brararsh

        Agreed! But am talking about phone division as it's a phone site. I own a Galaxy S5 after using HTC M8 for 4 months and I can say I feel like using a S3 with improved Camera and Battery, no other changes for good in the UI.

        Hopefully S6 would bring them back on tracks.

        Looking forward to Motorola Shamu as well as it has killer specs

        5.2" QHD screen, Snapdragon 805 and Android L

        • MJ

          Source on the Snapdragon 805? Everything I have read is it will be a 801. The screen size I keep reading lists it as a 5.9" which is a no go for me. I have big hands but don't want a Micky Mouse phone. A 5.2" display would be perfect.

        • X-47B

          That's not killer spec, that's just standard spec for almost every flagship phone in coming months.

          • brararsh

            But it would be one of the first ones with QHD in under 5.5" and S805, launched globally.(Not just in Korea)

          • X-47B

            Don't count your chickens prematurely. It's just still a rumour. Wait till we have final release date.
            And Nexus and global launch, you must be joking. At max 20 countries will get Nexus 1 month within launch.

          • MJ

            Nexus phones have always been released a little under powered compared to other manufacturer's flagship phones in the past. If Google releases a Nexus 6 (that will have stock Android L) that matches up coming flagship phones spec wise and at a good price. It will be killer...

  • guest

    Well at least the music is kinda catchy.... :-/

  • Kung Po Chicken

    It's a start I suppose.

    The only way I'd ever consider a Samsung phone again is if it came with stock android.

    • dude

      Which is never, unless you get the Google Edition or unlock bootloader, which can get harder now with Knox and rom devs moving away form Samsung.

  • Wilberth Barrantes

    Is rare a phone with 720 now a days
    But is nice

    • Godspoken

      It's not bad given the screen size tbh.

  • nick

    Hey it's the galaxy nexus display!

  • DevliegereM

    Dutch site says it will cost 600 € without contract while it should be available from september.

    http://tweakers.net/nieuws/97813/samsung-presenteert-metalen-smartphone-galaxy-alpha.html

  • Akshay Mehta

    I think its something between galaxy s2 , galaxy s3 and metal. It does look good but are onscreen buttons that hard to implement !? I would actually buy this if it had on screen buttons. That's how I feel about this phone.

    • hairyback

      I was about to say the same thing. That hardware button is damn fugly, I have no idea why they persist with it.

      • Gagan Deep Singh

        Switch off the hardware button with Xposed amd you are good to go with the onscreen buttons. Also onscreen buttons take up screen space and the are not transparent in all the apps. So a hardware button is a better choice.

  • Steve Jobs

    So basicly it's an S3 with a smaller battery

    • OSagnostic

      It also has a more powerfull SoC (faster CPU & GPU), double the RAM, faster WiFi, Cat6 LTE, higher res front and rear camera & smaller form factor.

      • Andrew

        Except my t999 s3 definitely had 2 gigs ram.

  • Charles Spanky

    No micro SD? That's a deal breaker.

    • Woe of [S]unjΔy

      Tsuna and Lambo <3

      • Charles Spanky

        Fellow Reborn lover! <3

  • Eduardo Mateos

    Boring and disappointing.

    I'm getting use to this with Samsung.

  • robertkoa

    OK - I am one who wants a pocket sized powerful Android.

    This may be my first Samsung.

    PLEASE understand all manufacturers- that there is NO difference to me and most others between 7 mm thick and 12 mm thick and I would prefer a larger Battery.

    A great technical achievement.

    Samsung-how about a Galaxy S5 Neo with SAME SIZE in a plastic body, same thickness as S 5 (or more, if needed) with a 2500 Mah Battery ?

    Same specs plastic thicker body S5 Neo larger Battery.

    • dude

      I would wait for the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. At least the interface isn't as horrific.

  • Godspoken

    I recently got an iPhone and while the metal is cool at first, it loses all that appeal the moment you snap a case on it. Still, the white one is a sure knocker for an iPhone! We all know why this phone exists.

  • Shark Bait

    Just adding a metal edge doesn't change the fundamental that is Samsung design language is tired. But a step in the right direction, IMO sammy needs to be making leaps, not steps

    Also that battery! pffft

    http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/shaking_head_breaking_bad.gif

    Im not completely anti Samsung, I just think a company with those resources could do better. It seems they are like my dog, he chases rabbits, but when he get them he doesn't know what to do with it. Now replace the dog with Samsung, and the rabbit with apple and you get a galaxy alpha!

    • X-47B

      That battery is good enough to run movies for 11 hrs. You should read reviews. Much more than N5 or N4 ever did.

      • Shark Bait

        Source?

        • X-47B
          • Shark Bait

            Unfortunately I can't read Russian.....
            If it is true, they could have still put a real sized battery in there and 17 hours playback

          • X-47B

            Numbers are in english, you could easily read the numbers.
            Yes, a bigger battery would definitely be better. Someone needs to be stop this slimness contest.
            But considering the capacity, the efficiency seems to be pretty good.

          • Mike Reid

            And there's that Google Translate thingy; worked good enough for me to skim through.

          • Tyler

            "Numbers are in english" Really?? Those are arabic numerals, come on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numerals

          • X-47B

            We are not talking about the origin of numbers. Do you write in '11' in some other way/method in English?
            If you lack common sense, no doctor can treat you.

          • Iz3man

            Lol numbers are their own language..

          • Markus

            Except for Chinese numbers

          • X-47B

            You don't see numbers like '11', '17', '24' here?? Seriously? Get your eyes checked.

          • Iz3man

            Now I'll admit to being wrong, but last time I checked a 5 looks the same in English marketing as it does in Chinese. .. The only way they stay the same is if they are their own language. To assume that the numbers we use are English is just stupid, in reality they are Arabic.

          • robertkoa

            Stop the slimness contest !

            Absolutely!

            I finally have a powerful phone that will easily fit in my pocket with a Case and they make it so slim that I get no SD Card , and a
            Tiny Battery.

            Yes this 20nm SOC is more efficient but would anyone care if this was same thickness as S5 or even thicker like HTC One M8 ?

            We could then have 2400-2600 Mah Battery, SD Card, Larger Camera Sensor that is flush with backplate, USB 3.0, HDMI out, and few other features.

            Too late for Alpha but I am hoping
            for Alpha Pro with above features for Note 4 type Specs (and price) in a Compact Package.

            Alpha Pro will definitely compete with Iphone6 (I don't care about that) and Samsung ; don't raise screen resolution and kill the Battery.

            Better yet have normal resolution and HD or 2K switch for Games and Movies- Patentable.

            I should get paid for this, lol.

    • dude

      I have held iPhones and metal bumper cases, really they aren't very comfortable to hold.

    • John

      > Just adding a metal edge doesn't change the fundamental that is Samsung design language

      True, but not as tired as apples. Both companies know that many people prefer familiarity over change. Boring!

    • crackinthewall

      The design is a brilliant compromise IMO. You have the Moto X with their customizable backs but that's if you order it with the one you like from the beginning. Elsewhere, manufacturers are experimenting with removable back covers with some even offering various textures and materials such as wood (see Xiaomi's Mi 4, Find 7, etc.) By keeping the back plastic, it opens up the possibility of replacing the battery with a bigger aftermarket solution OR changing the back cover to something that is more to your liking, whether they come from Samsung or not.

  • robertkoa

    As I said, thicker Body , bigger Battery, SD card- Perfect.

    Metal, or Plastic .

    8mm 9mm 10mm -Thickness and 2500 Mah Battery.

  • Octopus

    Xiaomi did it better. Just saying..

  • black

    I hate these stupid ads where 'cool' people do stuff with phone.

  • insanezz

    For the people who are interested in the price, it's supposed to cost €599 here in the Netherlands.

    Well done Samsung, another overpriced phone which doesn't make any sense.

  • Colin Richardson

    Metal Case? No thanks. Samsung Signature home button? No thanks. 1,860 mAh battery? No thanks... Three Strikes.. YOUR OUTTA HERE!! (Insult to injury) TouchWiz? Forfeit the game! You're never playing again!

    • Robabobbob

      I really like the metal frame. This is the first Samsung I've like the design of for ages. However you are spot on with everything else especially TouchWiz! Google Play Edition might sway me though but I'll probably just stick with the Nexus line for now.

      • Ian Santopietro

        They really need to ditch the home button. Switch to virtual buttons and make the home icon an oval. It would be so much better.

        • F youtube

          ditch the home button ?
          wtf are you insane ? or you have brain damage

        • namesib

          No. Buy a phone from every other major Android manufacturer if you don't like the button.

        • robertkoa

          Oh yeah ! The Alpha may be my first Samsung but Hardware HOME button is really old fashioned, wacky looking to me .

          Also trying to make Phones as thin as Potato Chips seems a little
          wacky to me...

          "We have finally perfected a full function Android Phone as thin as a Credit Card- with current battery
          Technology you can make one 9 second call per wireless charge."
          "But its really thin, a revolution."

    • darkNiGHTS

      Yeah, keep pretending like you were in the target market.

    • robertkoa

      Lol. Good points.

      But so far this and Z3 Compact are only players......

  • Fernando Rigon Vicentini

    The phone have an awesome design. Remembers a lot the Galaxy S2, that IMO had the better S model's design..
    It's a pitty that they put the Galaxy S3 Hardware on it, and not from Galaxy S4.

  • noel kait

    PSA: Bad Quarter results and A few phones that aren't worth while doesn't mean a company is going under. Samsung still is the majority in the Android market.

  • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

    I find it funny that everyone keeps knocking sammy for this device. I don't get it. No, I wouldn't buy it but I'm not the target audience. One of the things that people keep saying is that samsung needs to make their phones out of better materials. That doesn't keep people from buying the galaxy S line BTW it's just something hardcore Android fans want. So here is a phone that applies to that. However it's a step outside samsung's norm. The hardcore fan won't go for this that's what the S and the Note lines are for. This is for the everyday X-iPhone user that wants something that looks good and capable under the hood.

    Capable is the key word here. These specs aren't BAD they're just not special. But again, that's not the point of the phone. And keep in mind Samsung still has a design language here, like it or not they can't deviate to much from it. History teaches us that humans clamor for change but when it happens the companies involved for often than not flop. So while we all say we want change how many people would buy a samsung phone that didn't look like a samsung phone.

    • Markus

      I would buy a Samsung if it didn't look like a Samsung. I used to be a die hard fan for HTC. Had the TP2, Evo, Evo 3D, Evo LTE and HTC One (for a few days) and IMO none of those phones looked the same or even had a design language.

  • ash

    I only wish they remove the extra features. Out of 2GB user get only 600mb after rest eaten by other scraps. And even if I close those apps they start again on their own. While on nexus 4 I used to have approx 1.4 GB free. This steps me from buying samsung.

    • ash

      Or play edition version might be nice but I never used them

      • Jan Matz

        I think those are dead.

  • Jan Matz

    IMHO it does not look that bad for a Samsung device AND it has a perfectly sized screen with some good specs. I'm currently looking for a new phone, I want one with good specs, a decent price and it shouldn't be too big (like <5'').
    THIS phone unfortunately is not for me. It has nearly everything I want.
    HOWEVER, the battery is just a bad joke. Why can't they make it 1, just 1 mm thicker and use a battery that would make a full day? Oh, and if the prices that are currently making the round are correct, I think I would rather forget my <5'' rule and go for something else.

  • Jan Matz

    Is this the same camera as on the S5?

  • mgamerz

    Mistook it for an iPhone seriously. Seems Samsung hasn't learned.

    • John

      There is nothing about this phone that looks like the iphone, except for the rounded rectangle shape. Oh, and the white color. Now theres a unique innovation! White!

      Besides, these days apple is busy copying samsung.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

    To be honest, I'd be surprised if this phone even makes it to America.

    • Simon Belmont

      To be honest, I'd be surprised if Apple's lawyers haven't already been set on high alert at the design. Haha.

      Swarm! Swarm!

  • Simon Belmont

    Wow, dat battery capacity. My EVO 3D from 2011 had a battery of similar capacity. Other than that, the specs might be middling, but they aren't terrible by any means. Definitely mid-range, though.

    Finally, this is just another blatant crib off of the iPhone (and I say that as a HUGE Android fan that's dismayed that this still happens). Sorry, Samsung, but you really need to stop looking over others' shoulders for the answers to your pop quiz.

  • Daniel Marcus

    It's like a clunkier Moto X with a faster processor and smaller battery. The added hardware is interesting (fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor), but for most people less useful than Motorola's additions (especially active display). With TouchWiz, it'll need all that processing power to match the smooth performance of the Moto X. Over all, I'm not impressed.

  • Ashish

    I dig the design. It has all the best qualities of plastic plus eliminates the most scratched up component of Samsung phones, the chrome trim.

  • Zak Taccardi

    Honestly, from a purely physical standpoint, I think the Blue Alpha is the best looking phone on the market right now, at least imo.

    Internals and software are another story, though.

    • John

      No no no, see, you need to have a *trendy* company tell you what is considered attractive and what isn't. You aren't allowed to have your own opinions, and certainly aren't allowed to like the work of a non-American company. That's just... so not cool.

    • pseudo

      I like the blue one too, if they had one that was the size of the s4 mini that looked like that I would save my pennies for it. Load up cyanogen and I'd be good to go.

  • Pootis Man

    Looks like any other type of Galaxy phone, but this time it's in metal. Lame!

  • Gary Hicks

    I love all the complaints. If you don't like it then move on, no one cares. Save all your hatred for when Moto releases their horrible followup to the horrible Moto X. Don't even get me started on the grotesque Moto360.

  • blairh

    I find this a million times more appealing than the S5. Metal inclosure and very light and thin.

    The big question here of course is battery life. And ergonomically I'm betting my Moto X is still better than this thing. Plus TouchWiz is still a con in my book.

  • Brayden Reesor

    Uh. What? What are they trying to accomplish here? Premium materials + mid range specs? Or you can get plastic + high end specs with an S5? Logic?

  • Daniel Antón García
  • robert

    Why couldn't they produce this as the design for the s5? Even the screen size is just right. Some refinements to TouchWiz added and we got a TRUE iPhone competitor

  • Dutchy

    they just wanted to release a metal device before Apple lol.

  • Stanley C.

    this is how its was done. The Note 4 was made with an 9" display, so they cut a litle and the minor Note 4 twin brother was born.

    this is an introduction for the big brother Note 4 :-D

  • Dan Albert

    Eh, as long as it greats great battery life this is fine. 720p? Awesome I dont need 1080p on my phone, if 720p mean more battery than great. The camera looks awesome. The processor is good enough, you guys just like to complain

  • MeCampbell30

    Needs more GPE.

  • crackinthewall

    It looks to be about as midrange as a Z1 compact is to a high-end Z1, not like how the Moto X stacked up against its competitors at the time. Judging from the specs, it has about the same power as an S5 but it ended up with a smaller, lower resolution display and a smaller battery. This is about as high-end a smaller phone as we're going to get from Samsung.

  • Noob

    I actually like the look of the phone, but only in photos. I'll probably hate it in person. :p

    Also, I hate the way people in advertising videos like this for phone flick to get to the next photo or something. It looks so stupid.

  • The Calm Critic

    "a terrifyingly small 1,860 mAh battery"

    And with that, they can take all of Alpha's metal bit and shove it up theirs for all I care. This is why humanity's going down the toilet. Way too much emphasis on so called "premium" material + design while sacrificing functions that really matter.

  • MistiXF

    Setting a New Standard for Samsung Galaxy Design
    Concentrating on elegant aesthetics and compact construction, Samsung has taken a fresh approach to design with the Galaxy Alpha. Created to help consumers express their unique style without sacrificing functionality, the refined Galaxy Alpha features a sophisticated design with a metal frame, elegantly curved corners and a tactile soft back cover. In addition, it is visually balanced, with the perfect contrast of both a calming, soft matte finish and an eye-catching reflection from the metal frame. At less than 7 mm thick, the Galaxy Alpha is also one of the slimmest Galaxy devices ever, and its uniquely compact construction and light weight provides consumers with maximum in-hand grip and control.

    vs.

    "We have added a metal frame, that's all, sorry."