Samsung Galaxy Alpha ReviewSamsung Galaxy Alpha 8.8
Yes, they’ve been able to improve upon the design of their phones with each iteration, but as a whole, they pale in comparison to the modern and industrial designs we see from companies like HTC, Apple, and Sony. However, that’s all changing with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha – a device that not only bears several rich qualities, but it has a design to die for. With this on tap, will it finally erase Samsung’s reputation of making top performing handsets that have no substance with their designs?
The package contains:
- microUSB cable
- Wall charger
- Quick start guide
Utterly gorgeous from head-to-toe, the Galaxy Alpha is the best looking phone we’ve seen from Sammy – ever!
Whoa! This folks is arguably the best looking smartphone Samsung has produced. That’s quite a remark to hear from us, since Sammy’s phones have never been too profound or polarizing with their designs. Indeed, the Galaxy Alpha’s chassis is mostly comprised out of plastic, but the overall construction of the phone is strengthened and elevated thanks to the premium aluminum trim that’s outlining the edges of the phone. It’s a pleasant contrast to the plastic, but it very much looks similar to the chamfered bevel edge of the iPhone 5/5s.
Another pleasant design characteristic of the Alpha that we relish a whole lot, is quite simply how compact, thin (0.26-inches), and lightweight (115 gr) it is. For a smartphone packing along a 4.7-inch display, we’re astounded by how compact it is to hold in the hand – more so when our thumb can comfortably extend to all corners of the screen without excessive stretching. Better yet, it’s unbelievably lightweight too, to the point that we barely notice its presence. Sure, the design shares some similarities to the Note 4, but we prefer the soft touch matte finish of its rear casing more than the Note 4’s leather-like pattern.
Before this, Samsung’s phones were pretty much using cookie cutter designs that lacked substance behind them. However, we give them credit for being daring for a change! If this is what we’re seeing now, we’re undoubtedly excited to see what they have in store with future flagships.
The placement of its buttons and ports are similar to other Samsung phone, like how the power button is placed on the right edge – while the volume control is on the left. Other familiar items found around its trim include its microUSB 2.0 port, various microphones, speaker grill, and 3.5mm headset jack.
Interestingly enough, it packs some features we first saw in the Galaxy S5 – like its finger print and heart rate sensors. With the former, it’s again incorporated into the home button and relies on the same implementation, which is a hit-or-miss process at times. As for its heart rate sensor, which his placed in the rear of the phone, it’s one of those things that simply add to the phone’s geek credit.
Even though it share some of the Galaxy S5’s new features, there are others missing. For example, the Alpha doesn’t offer a water-resistant constriction, nor does it pack an IR blaster. You can say that the tradeoffs were necessary in order to give the phone its more compact and more appealing design.
132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm
4.06 oz (115 g)
138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
4.55 oz (129 g)
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)
140.8 x 72.4 x 9.9 mm
5.08 oz (144 g)
The size and resolution of the display are decent, but Sammy’s decision to going back to a PenTile matrix arrangement softens its overall glow.
Appearance alone, the design of the Alpha suggests that it’s a beast of a phone. Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite extend to its display – a modestly sized 4.7-inch 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED display. We can certainly agree that its resolution doesn’t scream something that we regard as top notch, but even though its pixel density of 312 ppi reads decently on paper, the fact that it reverts back to using a PenTile matrix arrangement lessens its sharpness. In fact, it lacks the crisp details we’ve been exposed to on recent Galaxy devices.
Despite that reality, there are several other attributes that make it very attractive. In the past, AMOLEDs in general have the reputation of producing overly saturated, inaccurate colors. However, they’ve been able to tone it down – to the point that it’s more accurate. Yeah, it’s still not quite perfect, but it’s a lot closer to achieving that than the Galaxy S5’s display. At the same time, its color temperature of ~6800 K gives the display a very realistic tone – so it’s not too cold. Outdoor visibility isn’t too much of a problem either, seeing that the phone automatically increases the brightness to a potent 422 nits. And finally, it’s able to maintain its clarity at even the widest of viewing angles.
Samsung has surely been tweaking its AMOLED panels, so they no longer have that reputation of simply being over-saturated. For all of the improvements Samsung has done of late, we’re just still a little disappointed that they opted to go back to using a PenTile matrix arrangement for something so premium in nature.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Apple iPhone 6||606
|Samsung Galaxy S5||442
|Samsung Galaxy Alpha||422
|Motorola Moto X (2014)||385
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy Alpha||49.5%
|Motorola Moto X (2014)||54%
|Samsung Galaxy S5||62.7%
|Apple iPhone 6||82.3%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
1. pwnarena (Posts: 1129; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)
best looking from samsung? i think note 4 looks better.
2. NotAGeek (Posts: 279; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)
Yep,the combination of metal trim and faux leather looks stunning IMO. The dimple cover just ruin the design
3. deacz (Posts: 162; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)
same design more or less just in a smaller neater package.
11. maherk (Posts: 3350; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Although I am getting the Note 4 and I like the way it looks, I still prefer the Alpha's design a bit more. The hump on the camera is smaller, the back looks like the leather you find in the premium package of an S-Class, and I like the placement of the led and heart rate monitor on the Alpha.
26. Industriality (Posts: 131; Member since: 08 Sep 2014)
Tried both : N4 -> awesome screen
Alpha : Awesome build, even better than N4 !
69. BypassiCloudLock (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 Oct 2014)
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71. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
The Alpha is the best looking phone out right now IMO. The Note 4 looks nice but the 8.9 mm ruins the look a bit.
Complain that phones are too thin all you want but the 6.7mm on the Alpha and the 6.9mm on the iPhone 6 make a huge difference in terms of sexiness.
78. pulkit1 (Posts: 354; Member since: 03 Jul 2014)
best looking samsung phone for sure but it is not the best looking phone by a long shot . looks are subjective anyways .
81. tech2 (Posts: 3324; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
Did you read the part where he wrote 'IMO' ?
92. Siapaya (Posts: 17; Member since: 24 Jul 2014)
this is note 4 wanna be #lol
i think samsung keep their design with additonal metal frame #lol
99. lamnpt (Posts: 12; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)
But, the back and rear speaker of Alpha nicer than the Note4.
4. Vinayakn73 (Posts: 191; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
give me same phone with 5.2 inch screen without touchwiz or with two launchers and I'm sold
23. tech2 (Posts: 3324; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
that pentile display shows better white balance then iPhone.
It has better outdoor visibility then iPhone.
Better blacks because for obvious reasons.
Better viewing angles.
Better contrast and minium brightness.
Its also much more power efficient and it comes very handy in UPSM which LCDs can't.
Just don't simply jump on the hate pentile bandwagon. Understand that it is not the same display as S3 just because it has the same resolution. Read some reviews before making such ignorant statements.
30. nohatenofanboy (banned) (Posts: 515; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
you forget 720p pentile looks like 360p thats inportant
31. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
If you've used the phone in person you'd know how inaccurate your comment is.
42. roldefol (Posts: 4097; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
It's not that simple. PenTile RGBG (a la Galaxy S, Galaxy S3, GNex) is not nearly as clean as RGB stripe, but it's definitely better than a lower resolution RGB. The best I could come up with is that PenTile ppi is around 5/6 of the equivalent RGB ppi.
So that 312 ppi is roughly equal to 260 ppi, or 600p. Not good by 2014 standards, but not terrible.
What I don't get is why Sammy didn't use an S-stripe 4.7" screen like the old Moto X.
34. nohatenofanboy (banned) (Posts: 515; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
also there is no big difference in any department you listed above.
I didnt get why you compare it with iphone as if iphone only device with rgb ? you know z3 has 700 nits brightness
better blacks ? can you distinguish the difference with your eye in real life ?
viewing angles , there is no big difference too
so you say 4 nits hurt your eyes ?
doesnt matter if its power efficient it doesnt effect much on battery
40. maherk (Posts: 3350; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
"better blacks ? can you distinguish the difference with your eye in real life ?"
You are such a hypocrite buddy. Your supernatural eyes can tell what pixel arrangement a screen uses, but question if someone notices the better and deeper blacks amoled screens offer?
44. tech2 (Posts: 3324; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
Oops.....you got'em by the balls on that one, sire ! haha :D
51. maherk (Posts: 3350; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Nahhh. I am a Samsung fan and maybe I am a bit of an Android fanboy.
But the sure thing, is that you are a Samsung hater, kiddo.
53. nohatenofanboy (banned) (Posts: 515; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
kiddo ? ok I knew you r fanboy. no Im not hater check my other comments from other articles. but I hate pentile thats sure.
80. tech2 (Posts: 3324; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
See that's a typical reply when the cat is cornered. Call someone a fanboy just because you yourself don't have an answer to his question.
If you aren't really a Samsung hater, I am sure you'll have a valid reason.
45. tech2 (Posts: 3324; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
Look and re-read my comment. My points are FACTUAL and not what I think about the display.
Replies like 'hurt your eyes', 'no big difference', etc. are just biased points of what you think. They are very subjective. If you have an objective point feel free to counter me.
Simply putting Pentile display are bad without doing any credible research just goes to show how weak argument is. Don't be a stereotype and criticize Pentile without studying the underlying advancements the tech has gone through.
49. nohatenofanboy (banned) (Posts: 515; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
because I care about real life experince. I dont care what samsung says about display . If its looks bad to me it means its bad.
whats the point having good viewng angles while you cant identify difference ?
Im just a normal customer do i have to do research when I comment about screen ? we arent a engineer or something
pentile looks horrible compared to rgb in same resolution . it doesnt take to be display expert
52. maherk (Posts: 3350; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Well if the display experts gave their final judgment that the Alpha's 720 screen is crisp, then you fanboyish remarks means nothing. At the end of the day, people will believe what them experts say not what an ignorant cat has to say about screens.
55. nohatenofanboy (banned) (Posts: 515; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
what if they say pentile sucks ? I guarante you wont accept the truth bcause you r blind fanboy.
I believe my eyes not experts bcuze I will use device not them.
and last thing try to respect others' decisions and opinions dont go mad when somebody thinks different than you.
Im not a samsung hater but you apple hater ... grow up
61. maherk (Posts: 3350; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
"what if they say pentile sucks ? I guarante you wont accept the truth bcause you r blind fanboy."
IF, that's the keyword in here. 1st they won't, because everyone is complementing Samsung for their latest generation of Amoled screens.
"I believe my eyes not experts bcuze I will use device not them."
Again, your claims mean nothing when experts give their words. ANDDD you will never use the device, because it is a Samsung.
"and last thing try to respect others' decisions and opinions dont go mad when somebody thinks different than you."
Their is a big difference between giving your opinion and twisting facts. Claiming something when experts gave their words about it, especially when you have never used the product.
"Im not a samsung hater but you apple hater ... grow up"
Says the boy that spends his life on Samsung articles, every single one of them, hating on its products and hailing Apple and their "innovations".
62. nohatenofanboy (banned) (Posts: 515; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
''Says the boy that spends his life on Samsung articles, every single one of them, hating on its products and hailing Apple and their "innovations". ''
what ??? prove it or just stfu lol this is the stupidest thing I've ever read
I hailed apple lol ok maherk its time to sleep for you
63. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Just give up. You already lost the battle.
77. tech2 (Posts: 3324; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
and who said factual information isn't related to real life experience ?!
Infact, aren't you the one who is passing judgement just because its called pentile ? Did you physically test out the display ? or is just because you just love to hate pentile.
5. TheNeighbor (Posts: 179; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Yup, Samsung covers all the bases. Elegant smartphone.
6. steodoreben (Posts: 227; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)
Samsung GALAXY Alpha is the best looking mid-range smartphone today. I will just wait for GALAXY Alpha 2 next year for the battery improvement and polished, smooth TouchWiz. I love the color black and silver. HEHEHE. #PEACE
18. Genza (Posts: 537; Member since: 12 Mar 2014)
I don't know why you and some people keep saying that the Alpha is a mid-range phone, although the Alpha has the same price range with samsung flagship phone GS5.
As far as I know the price is the biggest factor that determines the class of a product.
But if you still think that Alpha is a mid-range phone, it means that Alpha is one of the worst mid-range phone because the price is too expensive for a mid-range phone.
32. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
"Mid range" specs that offer a flagship experience. Same thing Moto did with the Moto X 2013.
54. Genza (Posts: 537; Member since: 12 Mar 2014)
"Mid range" You must be kidding right? The Alpha is pretty much has the same specifications as the S5.
I don't think so because Moto X is Motorola's flagship for 2013.
As I said before the price is the biggest factor that determines the class of a product.
Try to see the iPhone as an example mid-range specs (At least for Android fans standard) but premium price point = high end device for everyone.
64. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Notice how I put quotation marks around mid range.
With that in mind, re-read my comment and we'll come down to the same conclusion. :)
35. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 474; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)
I haven't understood that either, people see 720p and all of the sudden everything else is canceled out and it's "mid-ranged?" It just sounds so silly. I personally would choose this OVER the Galaxy S5, the compact chassis and premium build are more important to me than the higher res screen and waterproof certification.
Not to mention this thing should perform BETTER than the other S801 devices from this year because it's pushing less pixels.
56. roldefol (Posts: 4097; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
It's all relative. I was annoyed at the reviews dismissing the Moto X as middling, midrange, mediocre, etc. If you actually used the device and compared it to other flagships, you could see why they made those hardware choices. The combination of the Adreno 320 and 720p made the phone run very smoothly, and that resolution is perfect for 4.7". Moto was aiming for the perfect marriage of software and hardware that Apple nailed years ago.
Our own Michael H. wrote a great piece on High End Specs vs High End Experience. But the market has spoken, and it responds to Android devices with high-end specs and crazy marketing.
68. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 474; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)
I suppose it's similar in a way. I could understand both sides of the argument for the Moto X but in this case I'm lost.
79. roldefol (Posts: 4097; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
I think it's because this is Samsung, who typically has state of the art specs on their flagships. If the Alpha had the same specs as the S5, there would be no debate. Instead it appears they've traded screen quality for more expensive casing. Why shouldn't we demand both?
83. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Probably because people don't demand both from Sony or Apple witht heir downgraded screens. There will be concessions when scaling down, they are inevitable but it seems there are some major double standards here in what is an acceptable downgrade and what is it not for each company.
87. roldefol (Posts: 4097; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
I'm disappointed that Apple didn't upgrade the screen on the iPhone 6, because they easily could have. I guess they defined "retina display" as 326 ppi, and they'll resort to weird resolutions like 750p to keep it there. I thought for sure they would at least bump it to 1366x768, which is at least a computer screen standard. But we all know Apple works by its own rules, because they know they can get away with it.
I can't speak for Sony, because they don't sell much in the US. I see Samsung's Android competition as LG, HTC, and Motorola, in that order. And the competition this year smokes the design and hardware of the Alpha.
88. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
"I'm disappointed that Apple didn't ipgrade the screen on the iPhone 6, because they easily could have."
What? The display on the iPhone 6 easily surpasses many in the business today, and almost everyone can agree. The only competition Apple has Samsung.
90. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 474; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)
And then he goes on to discuss sharpness, where it's far behind much of the competition.
Did you even read the rest? It's a legitimate concern.
93. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Naw I disagree. I actually had no intention of getting the Alpha but the design and the sexy 20nm octa core just gave me no choice.
I couldnt say the same about the competition.
95. Venkatramanan (Posts: 308; Member since: 15 Aug 2014)
Now Sony gives the 720p Display for their compact models which is not sold at flagship price. if Alpha is priced equivalent to the Compact model of Sony, your argument is valid.
100. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Well, it is valid actually. one Apple can charge $749 Canadian for the 16gb 750p screen. The Z3 Compact is $599 Canadian and the Alpha is $699 Canadian. I say they are pretty comparable or close enough.
Especially considering the Alpha has 32gb of storage and a 20nm octa core in Europe. Same cutting edge chipset almost as the Note 4 at 6.7mm while the Xperia Z3 compact uses a 7 month old chipset at 8.6 mm fat.
I know the North American alpha uses the same 7 month old chipset and that one should be closer to compacts price but the Alpha isn't really priced aggregiously at all. It's just slightly pricy while the iPhone 6 is ridiculously pricy and the Z3 compact is priced about right.
Either way, they are all fine at their screen resolutions. No point calling out Samsung and Samsung only. Like I said, severe double stadards.
The haters wanted Samsung to cut out certain features in favor of looks and performance, which they did. And now they use that to discredit Samsung by saying it doesn't have enough bloat. Ridiculous actually.
103. Venkatramanan (Posts: 308; Member since: 15 Aug 2014)
I agree with you regarding the chipset. We cannot compare Apple, since their prices are not acceptable for any intelligent person, They are monopoly in their OS. Here i compared only Z3C and Alpha. Alpha is the first Samsung phone i admire in terms of Design. But they could have done something better by using a Same camera of S5, Bigger battery and Micro SD at the expense of some thickness gain.
105. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
I am sure they could have made it 8.9mm and added more but you know how the rich are like. 6.9mm? 6.7 mm Biach!
That's just how the Apple and Samsung feud works.
The GS5 LTE A doesn't give up anything to any phone, including the note 4 though. It's just missing the metal frame of the Note 4.
106. Venkatramanan (Posts: 308; Member since: 15 Aug 2014)
My point is even if Samsung puts world's all the best features in a single phone, the iBoys will buy only iphones. So instead of competing with apple, Samsung should try to retain the No.1 position in Android space. No need to compete with Apple since the iBoys are addicted to iOS and cannot switch to other OS. (That is applicable to anybody who stays in a single OS for years.)
97. JC557 (Posts: 1316; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)
Not just the screen quality but the call quality has me concerned as well. The GS5 and the Note 3 had some really good voice quality in both earpiece and speakerphone. Hopefully the voice quality is just the model they reviewed.
101. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Other reviews say the call quality us actually quite good. Gsmarena has it as the best in the iphobe 6, z3 comoact, and iphobe 6 comparison.
I tend to agree with GSM. Yes it sounds amplified but it's loud and crisp.
7. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
8. ezMoney (Posts: 14; Member since: 13 Dec 2013)
Why is the Z3 Compact not mentioned as an alternative? Same size, better specs, better price!
14. sar44 (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)
cuz it have worst display ever, also bad sound and camera (camera in alpha also bad)
display in alpha much much much much much better than display in z3 compact
15. boosook (Posts: 1413; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
Dream on, Samsung fanboy! ;)
The only reason why they didn't include the z3c is that they knew it would have destroyed the alpha on nearly every aspect, and it is the only real competitor since the other two are much bigger.
19. Vinayakn73 (Posts: 191; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
We guys have to admit that Except the Design and IP certufucatuib Sony is so bad in all other areas. Camera, Screen, Sound. Have you ever heard songs on HTC, Samsung phones through headphones, The sound quality that can't match.
89. bur60 (Posts: 821; Member since: 07 Jul 2014)
Have you even seen a picture that was made with the Z3c ( NOT superior auto)? Have you heard the speakers in person?
Yeah I guess not. Everybody is bashing eachother because of sites like PA, while they would never notice a difference when they would have the phones in their hands except interface and design.
The weird thing is also that PA mentions the screen as bad and bluish while gsmarena said that it was more vibrant than Z2 while Z2 had one of the best screens ever.
|Display||4.7 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (312 ppi) Super AMOLED|
Exynos 5 Octa 5430, Octa-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A15 and ARM Cortex-A7 processor
2048 MB RAM
|Size||5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 inches|
(132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm )
4.06 oz (115 g)