Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review : Samsung Galaxy Alpha

We got our hand the Samsung Galaxy Alpha display unit in our hand for a brief review. Since we only get to hold the phone for less than an hour, thus we came out with a brief and simple review for this one.

You can find the specification highlights below for your references:
  • 4.7" Super AMOLED Display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Octa-core Processor (Cortex A15 quad-Core 1.8Ghz +  Cortex A7 quad-core 1.3Ghz)
  • Android 4.4(Kitkat)
  • 12MP Rear camera and 2MP Front Facing Camera
  • 2GB RAM, 32GB Internal storage expandable to 128GB with microSD
  • Nano Sim
  • Connectivity: 4G(LTE), 3G, WiFi-802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Heart Rate
  • A-GPS Support with GLONASS
  • 1860mAh Battery Capacity

Design & Handling
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is the first Samsung Smartphones that was held by a piece of metal and with a metal frame at the edge, Samsung even enhance the toughness of the phone with a bold corner to withstand drops better as the corner usually have a higher chance to land on the ground first. The phone feels solid in your palm and its quite compact in size without compromising the specs like what Samsung did with its S5 mini, the size feels just right for single handed and reaching the corners is much easier as compared to those 5" device. We do find the edges of the metal frame is a little sharp but that is not a big deal since it is not sharp enough to put a cut on our hand.

However, the back of the phone comes with a piece of plastic cover with the dotted pattern that is similar to the Galaxy S5, but the dots appear to be finer as compared to the one in S5.
On top of the device, it holds a 3.5mm audio jack, volume rocker is located on the left while the power button is placed at the right and the bottom stays the microUSB port, the external speaker is also placed at the bottom just right next to the microUSB port. 

The speaker grill may seem small, but don't get fooled by this, it actually produces loud output and the sound quality is at the top notch.

At the back, the cover is removable and that is where you can slot in your nano SIM card or replacing the battery.
The phone is quite slim at just 6.7mm and weighted around 115grams which is very light despite its having a piece of metal in it.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is powered by 
Exynos 5 Octa 5430 chipset that consist of Quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A15 and Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 processor, we have tested the phone with the famous AnTuTu benchmark tools 5.1 and scored 49k mark which is remarkably high, according to the chart, the benchmark score of the Galaxy Alpha shown here is even a leap forward to the Galaxy S5 and Note 3.

Mated with the 2GB RAM, the Galaxy Alpha is capable of multitasking and high end gaming shouldn't be an issue as well. We are also surprised by the ability of heat dispersion for this phone, it is quite impressive as you won't feel the heat is concentrated in one spot, instead it gets warm with the entire phone which might be contributed by the metal frame which helps spreading the heats to the whole device. 

Battery wise, it came with a rather small removable 1860mAH battery which is quite small for today's Smartphone, we don't get to perform a full test on the battery life, but in our short test with running the AnTuTu once, Camera and with WiFi and screen awake all the time, the battery drains from 60% to 45% in just 1 hour, even though this measurement is not accurate but at least this helps to indicate how far the phone can go in a single charge if we actively using the phone. (Provided if the battery indicator is stable without sudden drain).

User Interface & Functionality
The device runs Android 4.4.4 Kitkat out of the box with latest TouchWiz UI, it also came with Easy Mode for easier handling for the elders by having simple user interface, bigger fonts and Icons for easy reading. 

Sliding between the home screen is silky smooth with no sign of lags at all. The home button also has a fingerprint scanner and the fingerprint scanner is able to support PayPal payment, and in other words you can also unlock your phone and with some data privacy setting with utilizing the fingerprint scanner as well. 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha came with a rather rare 12MP camera sensor at the back supported by a bright LED Flash and 2.1MP camera at the front. The camera performance was great for both of them, we tried this by taking some Macro Shots, low light shots and some outdoor shot. Due to time constraints we do not get to try more about the functions of the camera and all photos taken with Auto setting to reflect our daily point and shoot behavior.

Indoor Low light without flash

Extreme Low Light Without Flash

Extreme Low Light with Flash
The photos taken is pretty impressive and it is also capable of taking indoor shots under low light condition and shots taken with LED Flash does not wash off the original color of the picture as well. The Outdoor shot taken also show enough amount of detail without much visible noise on it, the color produced is also quite accurate which is close to reality. 

This time, Samsung finally start enhancing their devices with much better built quality due to the Smartphones market is getting more competitive, the overall handling and functions is good as it is, special thanks to the metal frame that helps to make the Galaxy Alpha feels more premium in hand but sadly the Samsung Galaxy Alpha does not come with water and dust protection this time or else this will make the phone become much more competitive in the arena of compact size Smartphone with touchscreen below 5 inch mark.


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