Samsung Galaxy Alpha debuts with premium metal design

Aug 13, 2014
Samsung Galaxy Alpha debuts with premium metal design

Samsung has finally taken the wraps off of the Galaxy Alpha, its latest Android smartphone and a distinct departure from the all-plastic design language the South Korean company has resolutely insisted on for the past several generations of handset. Just 6.7mm thick, the 4.7-inch Galaxy Alpha has a metal frame with a bevelled edge that runs around its periphery, fronted by a 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED display.

Other specs include an Exynos 5433 octacore processor - with quad 1.8GHz paired with quad 1.3GHz - and 2GB of memory, along with 32GB of storage. Curiously for a Samsung, there's no microSD card slot for expanding that.


On the back there's a 12-megapixel camera with support for 4K Ultra HD video recording at 30fps, while on the front is a 2.1-megapixel camera. Connectivity includes LTE Cat.6, WiFi a/b/g/n/ac (MIMO 2x2), Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC.

There's also a fingerprint sensor built into the home button, just as on the Galaxy S5, and a heart rate sensor on the back. It runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat.

Worrying, though, is the size of the battery. The 132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7mm design and 115g weight has seemingly forced Samsung into choosing a smaller battery than we'd expect to see in a phone of this nature, just 1,860 mAh. In contrast, the Galaxy S5 has a 2,800 mAh pack.

Estimates for battery life aren't known yet, but it's hard to imagine the Galaxy Alpha going for even a full day of heavy use.


Some will forgive the phone that for its looks, which certainly are a step up from the Samsung handsets of before (and which may well herald the aesthetic of the Galaxy Note 4 we're all but certain to see at Samsung's upcoming "Unpacked" event in Berlin, Germany). There are inevitably going to be some comparisons drawn to other devices; the Galaxy Alpha's metal frame bears some resemblance to that of the iPhone 5s, after all, while the combination of metal and a plastic back has been done before by Nokia on the Lumia Icon among other phones.

Still, we've been asking for a more premium design, and Samsung has finally delivered. To be seen is whether it can turn around the company's recent struggles in the space; we won't know that until sales kick off in September, with Samsung offering the phone in a choice of five colors.

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