Samsung's higher end handset sports a new aluminium frame, with a more premium look than the company has gone for in the past.
It is a big design shift away from its more plasticy looking devices, showing the likes of Apple what it can do, when pushed.
So, is the Alpha dog, with its 4.7-inch HD screen, backed by a 12-megapixel camera enough to capture limelight away from the new iPhone? Watch the video to find out.
Ru Bhikha - Morning Rob. So, I see a few handsets here. Which one are we actually reviewing today?
Rob Kerr: Today we’re looking at the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. It’s the new higher end phone from Samsung.
RB – So, is this the one that they’re calling the direct iPhone competitor?
RK – It could be seen as that. You can see that it’s quite thin – 6.7mm thin - where the iPhone 6 is 6.9mm. And with the similar look and design, that’s a design shift away from Samsung’s normal phones. As you can see it’s got a premium metal alloy chassis to the phone, where traditional Samsung Galaxy phones are made from plastic and polycarbonate. That’s definitely a premium material, and it looks nice to hold.
RB – Yeah I know. At first glance it does really feel premium and high end, and I could imagine it being very comfortable in a back pocket or a handbag.
RK – Well, that’s thanks to the smaller screen. Traditional phones these days, the larger phones, are 5 inches plus. That’s got a 4.7 inch screen. So if you’re put off by the larger screen, the 4.7 there, which is super AMOLED, so the colours are sharper, they pop out at you. And it’s an HD 720. It’s not full HD like you see in other phones, but it’s good enough for a phone that size.
RB – And how about the colours? What colours does it come in?
RK – It’s available in black, white, gold and blue. And there’s 32GB inbuilt on-board storage. There’s no expansion, but it’s enough for most of your apps, your videos, and whatever pictures you take throughout the day.
RB – Actually, talking about pictures, I use my camera quite a lot.
RK – It’s got a 12 megapixel camera. It’s quite a sharp picture. It’s got an always on HDR feature, which combines a number of shots to always give you the best quality shot.
RB – In high definition as well?
RK – In high definition. There are some other aspects to it. There’s an effect filter where you can alter the effect of the picture even before it’s taken.
RB – Excellent. So, people using Instagram would really benefit from it?
RK – Yes, it’s great for that. And there’s a 4K ultra HD video recording feature. 4K is is four times the quality of 1080p video.
It’s a fast phone. It’s got an Octa Core processor on-board. Traditional high end phones have only got four cores, whereas this has eight cores. It’s really quick, really snappy, and it’s running Android with a TouchWiz user interface on board.
RB – On that point, with it being so powerful and small, is this going to have an effect on the battery life?
RK – It’s a smaller battery than you find in other phones. But it’s capable of 23 days standby and 11 hours talk time. But there’s a new feature on-board called the Ultra Power Saving Mode, which comes across from the Samsun Galaxy S5. And, with that, it turns the screen to black and white, and it limits the amount of apps you can access. So on 37%, you can extend the phone to 4.1 days on standby. Even with 10% battery life, you can still use the phone for the entire day for making calls and sending texts. All inside the Ultra Power Saving Mode.
RB – Perfect. So, if I’ve forgotten my charger somewhere, or I was at a festival or on holiday, it’s perfect for that sort of situation.
RK – That mode is ideal for this.
And also on the rear is a heart rate monitor. This is used in conjunction with the S Health app for monitoring your fitness, the steps you’re taking, calories burned. So, with the heart rate monitor, you press a sensor on the rear, and it takes your heart rate.
Another feature brought across from the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a fingerprint scanner. It’s built into the home button, and with this, you can securely unlock the phone, securely sign into websites, your Samsung account, and verify payments on PayPal.
RB – And how about the price point? What’s it coming in at, at the moment?
RK – Currently it’s available below £35 per month with 1 Gig of data. And, that’s cheaper than you can pick up the iPhone 6 at the moment.
So, that’s the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, with a 4.7” HD screen, with an Octa Core eight core processor, Ultra Power Saving Mode, heart rate scanner, 12 megapixel camera, and a fingerprint sensor, and it’s available now for under £35 a month with 1GB of data.
RB – Seems like a whole other phone in such a small package. Thanks for your time Rob, and I look forward to doing another review.
RK – See you next time.