Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha smartphone has finally launched, revealing the expected metal edging and soft-touch rear, and no more water resistance. Here’s the full skinny on UK specs, release date and price.
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 was a great smartphone, but for the price it really disappointed when it came to design, sporting a plasticky frame that was put to shame by the likes of HTC’s One M8. Samsung has responded to its critics by chucking out a new premium smartphone called the Galaxy Alpha, which rocks metal edging in place of that plastic finish, although the same soft-touch rear lingers on and the phone is no longer water resistant.
The Galaxy Alpha had already leaked several times, so the sleek new design isn’t much of a shock. However, now we know that the Alpha is a slender beast at just 7mm (the Galaxy S5 was 8.1mm thick) and has sized down the screen to a 4.7-incher (which is positively compact by today’s standards).
You still get the fingerprint scanner and heart rate sensor, but some of the Galaxy Alpha’s other specs have been slashed from the original Galaxy S5, not least the water resistance. For instance, the 16-megapixel camera has been downgraded to a 12-megapixel snapper, although you can still shoot full 4K Ultra HD video and it looks like Samsung’s full range of camera features (including selective focus and virtual tour) remain intact.
A quad-core 2.5GHz processor runs the show, seemingly the same Qualcomm SnapDragon 801 stuffed inside the Galaxy S5, and the Galaxy Alpha comes with full Android 4.4.4. KitKat. We were pleased to see 32GB of storage space listed in the specs, until we noticed that there’s no microSD memory card slot to expand. Bums.
The 4.7-inch screen has also lost the 1080p resolution found on the S5’s big 5.1-inch display, but it’s still a Super AMOLED panel for eye-popping colour reproduction and wide viewing angles, and the 720p HD resolution should still prove strong enough for fully enjoying high-def movies.
As you’d expect, you get all the usual features bolted on such as 4G support and NFC.
Samsung Galaxy Alpha UK price and release date
There were horrible rumours that the Galaxy Alpha might never reach British shores, but we’ve had it confirmed that the metallic mobile will indeed be on sale in the UK. Three, EE and Carphone Warehouse will stock the Alpha, hopefully from the beginning of September 2014, which is the global release. You can nab the handset in all colours (amusingly named Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, and Scuba Blue), plus the blue model will be exclusive to Carphone Warehouse at launch.
As for price, there’s no word from Samsung or Carphone just yet. We’d expect the Galaxy Alpha to come in at less than a fully charged flagship smartphone despite that new metal framework, since the specs have taken a beating – hopefully no more than £299 to £349, like most compact phones. Only time will tell, of course.
Are you tempted by the Samsung Galaxy Alpha’s new metallic design, or would you rather put up with the plasticky frame of the Galaxy S5 for its premium specs? Let us know in the comments below.