Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Alpha: in-depth specs comparison


When Samsung announced the Galaxy Alpha, few had any doubt that the electronics giant is not just strengthening its portfolio -- it was also preparing to face off the iPhone 6. Looking at the Galaxy Alpha, that makes a lot of sense -- the phone has 4.7-inch screen like the iPhone 6, and it is one of the manufacturer's  most premium handsets to date with its metal frame and leather-like, soft touch rear. The hardware specs also rightfully position the Alpha at the higher end of the spectrum.

But is that enough to handle what the just-announced iPhone 6 has in store? Let's take a preliminary look.

Design


Starting off with design, it's hard not to appreciate what both devices have in store for us. The iPhone 6 has undergone moderate design changes, and can now be likened to the 5th generation iPod Touch, with a rounded, comfortable-to-grip frame. In comparison, the Galaxy Alpha's sides are rectangular in shape, but that doesn't actually detract from the handling experience from what we've observed in our time with it. And though both devices measure the same when looking at their displays, the Galaxy Alpha is actually more efficient when it comes to its physical footprint -- 5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 inches (132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm ) versus 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches (138.2 x 67.1 x 6.9 mm) for the iPhone 6. This makes the Alpha shorter, narrower, and thinner, not to mention that it's also lighter (4.06 oz / 115 g versus 4.55 oz / 129 g).

As already mentioned, the Galaxy Alpha is one of Samsung's most premium devices, but when it comes to the materials used with both phones, the iPhone 6 still has an edge over it, thanks to its all-aluminum unibody.

Display


In the past, whenever we've had to put an iPhone next to a Samsung Galaxy flagship phone, the display section has traditionally been one of contrasts. And not just in terms of screen size, but also pixel density. Interestingly enough, when the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy Alpha are concerned, the above status quo of old no longer holds.

Indeed, we now have two devices that are tied in terms of screen real estate, as both flaunt 4.7-inch displays, though the specific make is different -- Apple is sticking with IPS LCD tech, while Samsung is making use of one of its Super AMOLED units. As for the resolution, the iPhone 6's resolution of 750 x 1334 actually has a hand over the 720 x 1280 resolution of the Galaxy Alpha, at least in terms of pixel density (326 vs 312 ppi). Of course, a gap of this size is essentially negligible, and both screens will look sharp enough to you when viewed from a normal distance.

Interface


As per Apple tradition, the latest iteration of its iOS platform first becomes available with a new iPhone's release. As expected, this is also the case with the iPhone 6, which comes pre-loaded with iOS 8. As some of you may already be aware, the latest version of Apple's mobile platform is focused pretty much exclusively on new features and tweaks to older ones. 

To name a few examples, the keyboard in iOS 8, dubbed QuickType, will offer predictive word suggestions and learn from your chats with people in order to better anticipate what you want to type next. The notification bar in iOS 8 is also improved, and now allows you to action notifications right from the bar itself, and also even offers widget support. Last, but not least, the Touch ID fingerprint scanner is now available to third-party developers for use in their apps, and, on a related but different note, you can now use it in concert with the new Apple Pay service, which allows you to pay with your iPhone 6, without ever having to whip out your credit card again.

Looking at the Galaxy Alpha, we've got the very latest update of Android -- 4.4.4 KitKat -- with Samsung's custom TouchWiz UI slapped on top. We'll admit right away that aesthetics aren't the strongest suit of the Alpha's software, but it has to be pointed out that TouchWiz has nevertheless undergone very positive changes in the last half a year, and is now far more pleasing to look at. In any case, it's fair to say that Samsung allocates significantly more resources to functionality, and there's simply no denying that TouchWiz is still the most feature-filled custom interface in Android world. Most of it is pretty useful -- Smart Stay, for example, will not allow your Galaxy phone to go to sleep if you're looking at it -- but a fair amount of features are also rather gimmicky.

Processor and memory


Like iPhones past, the iPhone 6 also comes with a new processor that is even faster than the one before it. Dubbed the A8, the 20 nm, custom-designed 64-bit chipset (based on ARMv8 architecture) has two cores and makes use of still-unknown graphics processor. According to Apple, the new configuration is 25% and 50% faster (CPU/GPU, respectively) than what you had with the iPhone 5s, and that's obviously welcome news, especially since the jump in resolution may have had some people concerned that the iPhone 6 may run slower. Unfortunately, Apple hasn't yet shared the exact amount of RAM available with the iPhone 6, though the consensus seems to be 1GB.

As for the Galaxy Alpha, we again have something special -- Samsung's own Exynos 5430 octa-core chipset. This also is the first 20nm chip in Samsung's portfolio, and it's packing two clusters of four cores, arranged in a big.LITTLE configuration. What that means is that the chipset can make use of just the four 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 cores unless performance is needed and it detects a need for more power and turns on the four 1.8GHz Cortex-A15 CPUs. That's right, like the Exynos 5422 before it, the 5430 is also HPM-enabled, so all eight cores can be switched on at the same time for maximum performance. As for the amount of RAM available, the Alpha has a 2GB unit on-board.

Camera



Apple simultaneously surprised everybody and nobody with its announcement that it will, once again, stick to an 8-megapixel sensor. In case you are not aware, the company has been very conservative in this regard, and continues to refuse to chase megapixels, opting instead for improvements in the the optics and software algorithms behind its cameras. That's precisely what the company claims to have done with the iSight camera on the iPhone 6. The technical spec sheet lists a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture and a two-tone LED flash. The camera on the iPhone 6 can't shoot 4K UHD video, but it can capture slow-moes at the record-setting 240 framers per second at 720p resolution.

With the camera unit on the Galaxy Alpha, we're looking at a 12-megapixel ISOCELL sensor of Samsung's own make, with an f/2.2 aperture lens and a single LED flash. The unit can shoot 4K UHD resolution clips, along with 1080p clips at 30 and 60 frames per second (FPS), and even slow-moes at 720p resolution and 120 FPS. 

As for the cameras at the front of the iPhone 6 and Galaxy Alpha, we're looking at a "new" FaceTime HD (720p) camera with an "all-new" sensor with f/2.2 lens with the former, and a 2.1-megapixel snapper with unknown aperture with the latter.

Expectations


The line between an Apple and Samsung phone has never been as blurred out, and that can mostly be attributed to the similarities in design and screen size between the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy Alpha. Overall, the Alpha has the upper hand when looking purely at specs, but that's a deceptively simplistic approach that is usually just not representative enough of the real world experience of a phone -- any phone.

Of course, it's too early to produce a clear winner, as we've only had the chance to play around with the Galaxy Alpha at this point, but it's certainly looking like the two will be tied on a number of fronts, and trade non-conclusive blows on others. This, more than likely, means that for many it'll come down to deciding whether they're an iOS or Android person, or, alternatively, an Apple or a Samsung fan.

Related phones

iPhone 6
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1810 mAh(14h 3G talk time)
Galaxy Alpha
  • Display 4.7" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 5 Octa, Octa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1860 mAh(11h 3G talk time)

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42 Comments

1. Python212

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 13, 2014

Alpha FTW, period.

3. AnTuTu

Posts: 1603; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

This will be a fair comparison and I know Alpha will win :)

34. camera531

Posts: 346; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

Unless your in the US. It'll never be available here.

40. Kmdglee

Posts: 25; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

It will be available eventually but it will take some time

16. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

better if alpha have half power saving mode or remove touch wich mode something, because it seems apple beat it at battery departement.

31. Maryewww

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 16, 2013

i know a device that will bash them both unconscious, Z3 compact...

33. milosuchiha

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

But somehow, more people will probably buy iPhone and that's sad. I hope some things will change...

2. ProblemSolver15

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 14, 2010

Guys, help me out here. I've never owned an iPhone, only Android devices. The only Apple devices I own are a 15 inch MacBook Pro Retina and an iPad Mini. (Check my devices page in my profile). I'm am not impartial towards one brand or the other. But, I love Android phones and my phone portfolio is vast. I had a Note 2 and have a Note 3 right now, however I am thinking of keeping my 3 and grabbing the 128gb 6 Plus and just picking up the Note 5 next year. I figure it'd be a decent "break" from Android for a year until the Note 5 is released next year. Thoughts? Don't be shy.

5. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I suggest you give it a try, since nothing teaches better than experience. Once you get a feel for iOS you will realize that even if the hardware was top notch the OS is what is really holding the platform back. On top of that, the hardware is literally the worst of all the flagship phones, so that compounds the problem. If you really want to try an iPhone, go ahead, it resells pretty well usually and you can possibly recoup your losses before it is too late. On a different note (no pun intended lol), I also suggest you try playing around with skinning and customizing your droid phones first as well. It literally makes a night and day change when you get everything into a new style. Much more rewarding experience than just switching platforms for kicks.

7. ProblemSolver15

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 14, 2010

Makes sense. Like I said, I'm not impartial. I have an iPad Mini and the 6 Plus is essentially that except it makes calls. The Note 4 looks like a great device, however my Note 3 is a beast and I figure, why not rock with both platforms for a year and pick up the Note 5.

9. ProblemSolver15

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 14, 2010

My Droid phones have been skinned, launchered, rooted, icon packed, over clocked, colorwared, EVERYTHING. I just love tech and experiencing new things more than frequently.

23. BlankSpaceNai

Posts: 127; Member since: Apr 23, 2014

IF you like experiencing new things, I would suggest moving towards the Note Edge instead. NOT just because its android, but because the way you USE it as new possibilities for you as a smart phone, and you'd be pushing the innovation of these edge screens, giving you NEWER opportunities to play with newer tech as it evolves. Apple is fine and and, but if your about experiencing new things, go for something that has the potential to create a brand new way to use your phone. Invest for the future sir!

12. synot

Posts: 277; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

Its very simple, Apple is yesterdays phone and Samsung and android is today and tomorrows phone and buying Apples phone is a step backward.

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 30977; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Then I'm taking 2 steps backwards.

24. Dumbledora

Posts: 15; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

You're buying blackberry??

26. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Nope. He's going WP8.13 on iP6+ iLoL!

30. darkkjedii

Posts: 30977; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Sure am

4. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

alpha is a very beautiful phone iand its overall better than the iphone 6 in every aspect

6. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3 would be a better comparison. Alpha is 'Galaxies' ahead. iToy6 more like a 2012 flagship

8. NextGenTech

Posts: 59; Member since: Jul 24, 2014

This comparison is awkward for PA... They bashed the Alpha, but it is better than the IP6 in every way. Oh dear PA, Oh dear Changing your tune PA "The hardware specs also rightfully position the Alpha at the higher end of the spectrum" Interesting

10. D.Lamore

Posts: 198; Member since: Aug 15, 2014

Alpha is better than iphone 6 in all angles, both in design and functionality.

11. The_Innovation

Posts: 648; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

Most of these articles never actually do what their titles say. They always conclude with the same thing. "It comes down to whether you're an iOS or Android fan." Yes, we know this. So, what's the point of the article, really? Why not show actual head to head comparisons using actual data? Dig into each phone and show us why they perform the way they perform. For instance, and this is in no way picking a side but, I have always been interested on how the iPhone has managed to have a dual core processor with 1 GB of ram for such a long time, and still manage to work smoothly? Is it due to the fact that the iPhone uses a custom chip? Would it make a difference if the chip was from Qualcomm? Etc. You get the idea.

17. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

well it's interesting read right?

13. reyenrique

Posts: 99; Member since: Oct 07, 2012

samsung alpha will kick their a$$ with this icrap 6

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 30977; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

9-19 take my moneyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!

18. lowell

Posts: 13; Member since: Sep 09, 2014

Its not about the number of specs, its about the performance and how you use it. If you do an actual comparison of the 2 devices in terms of its performance for me iPhone is better. What's the point of having those high specs if your device still runs crappy. iPhone has managed to have a dual core processor with 1 GB of RAM and still runs smoothly, that means they have better engineering. They're not into specs, its just number. They're into the performance on how you use it in your everyday life.

20. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

that just how they defend them self, spec is on the second list.apple is about being different, if just to make the user feel unique and different, that's what the craze is all about. android is bland they though.

36. BlankSpaceNai

Posts: 127; Member since: Apr 23, 2014

Lately Ive been seeing a LOT of people speak for apple with the description people use for android. Unique and Different yet you lack customization? Performance is craft-able. You can create performance by knowing how to use your phone. Iphone takes that responsibility away from the user, which is great for some people, but you also lose out on other possibilities by going this route. Seeing the advancements in android due to giving responsibility to its consumers will allow bigger and better things MUCH more quickly as your market tells you what they do and do not like and how to improve it through mass testing. With an Iphone, you wont get to know WHAT its doing, because it doesn't believe you are responsible enough to take care of it. Thats one of the main reason Apple is so behind on 'tech' because its based on THEIR views and ideas of whats good and bad, and not your own. They tell you what you need, what works, and whats acceptable. However, that cant last forever, as we all grow up. Its sad to say, but most Iphone consumers are very identical. Its not a myth. Take 100 android people and 100 Iphone people, look how quickly it will take them to figure out whos phone is whos if you put them all on the table. Turn on all the phones, show the screens side by side, look how many iphones will look IDENTICAL to each other. Thats not unique or different.

19. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

some apple buyer would forced to make a comparison. and some on netral ground would decide which is better.

21. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

IMO... I like the rounded frame, simple design of this iP6. But gonna buy Z3C or SG-Alpha instead of Apple!!! (like new Moto X but not 5.2", w-72.4mm!)

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