Samsung Galaxy Alpha release date, price, specs and 5 things you need to know [updated]
Putting down roots in Berlin after six years of traveling is a major step for Kris Carlon, who has spent more time living out of a tent lately than sitting at a desk. Kris comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent writing on art and culture in Australia and other places he has lived. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since.
Samsung has just presented the Galaxy Alpha - their sexy new razor sharp and stylish metallic smartphone. We've already covered the major specs and all that jazz, but here's the most important things you need to know about the Galaxy Alpha. Update: We know have the confirmed release date of the Galaxy Alpha. See below for more details.
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha will be available at the beginning of September in five colors: Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, and Scuba Blue. Samsung has said market availability will be sequentially released in more than 150 countries.
Update: The Galaxy Alpha has now been officially confirmed to be made publicly available on September 12th. This is just days after the iPhone 6 is expected to be announced. Pre-ordering of the Galaxy Alpha will be available from August 28th.
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha will only be available in one storage capacity: 32 GB (with no micro SD expansion). This is going to cost 599 EUR in Europe, which may well translate to a 599 USD price tag. We'll update this article as soon as we have a confirmed US price, but for now you can rest assured that Samsung has attached a premium price tag to a relatively mid-range device simply for the ''premium'' build material. The result will be interesting to see: do Samsung fans want to pay for better specs or ''better'' build material?
Samsung Galaxy Alpha specs
The Galaxy Alpha has already been benchmarked as being faster than the Galaxy S5, despite a slightly slower clock speed in its octa-core SoC. Of course, with a smaller screen and lower resolution, all that pixel pushing is less processor intensive, but despite the premium price tag, you won't be getting too much else in the same league as the Galaxy S5. Here's the specs table:
Android 4.4.4 (KitKat), Optimus UI
4.7” HD Super AMOLED (1,280 x 720 pixels)
Octa Core (Quad-core 1.8GHz + Quad-core 1.3GHz)
32 GB. No microSD Slot
1,860 mAh (removable)
12MP (rear) + 2.1MP (front)
WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac HT80, MIMO(2x2)
Bluetooth®: 4.0 BLE / ANT+
USB: USB 2.0
We'll soon be bringing you a full review of the Galaxy Alpha, but in the meantime, we've spotted this Samsung Galaxy Alpha review. Hi-tech.Mail.Ru, which posted the review, noted that while the hardware was well optimized to get the best from the smaller battery, it may not go a full day without needing a recharge. Hmm. And while the design was praised, the reviewer did conclude that you can get better phones for the money.
Samsung Galaxy Alpha: five things you need to know
1. New build material for better or worse
Samsung has always been associated with plastic housing, from the shiny plastic of the Galaxy S3 to the Band-Aid dimples of the Galaxy S5 to the fake stitching on the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung has stuck with plastic for good reasons: it is light, cheap, flexible, replaceable and shock absorbent. But it would seem that the endless repetition of a metal material with premium build quality has finally been heard at Camp Sammy. Despite all the critics: we applaud this new choice of material if for no other reason than it is a style change we've been waiting a long time to see. Samsung are clearly using the metallic angle to push the stylish and classy angle, as you can see in the official product video:
The Alpha looks from the front a little bit like a refreshed Galaxy S2. Samsung has made the profile more rectangular and taken away a lot of the familiar curved edges we've become accustomed to. This trend was already observable in the S5 and the Note 3 shares the same kinds of tighter curves as what we've seen so far of the Galaxy Alpha. In combination with the aluminum frame, the Alpha definitely seems to make a nod towards the iPhone as well. Apple's smartphones have always known for their hard edges and tight corners and the Alpha is clearly a shot over the bow of Apple's traditional styling.
2. Nothing else has changed much
Samsung may have taken a slight deviation from the material path with their choice of a metallic frame, but everything else is exactly what we've come to expect from Samsung, meaning not much of a change from what has come before. Other than a camera lens and dual flash array that has been rotated 90 degrees from the Galaxy S5, there's nothing that's going to jump out at you design wise other than the little ''ears'' at the corners. If you're a fan of Samsung's design then you're in luck, but if you were hoping for a more radical design departure you might be disappointed.
3. Removable back: changeable battery still on board
A favorite argument for all Samsung fans is the ability to replace the battery. There is no doubt that this is one of the strong points of any Samsung device, especially in these days of high power demands and underwhelming batteries. The Galaxy Alpha is no different - the back (made of a flexible plastic with yet another variation on the leatherette theme) is removable, with a replaceable battery underneath. The bad part of the story is that it is only a 1,860 mAh cell. This is in aprt to keep the thickness down to just 6.7 mm, but we also presume that the Lucid Logix battery tech present in the Galaxy S5 has been included to squeeze a lot of extra life out of a relatively small battery.
4. No microSD card expansion
Sadly there is no microSD card slot on the Alpha, another of Samsung's best defenses against other OEMs. Why Samsung would choose to hobble themselves by limiting storage to on board only is anyone's guess, but we already know that Google is putting pressure on OEMs to ditch SD cards in favor of cloud storage due to the security issues involved with removable storage. The Alpha will simply come in a 32 GB version, so this could be Samsung testing the waters (or customer backlash) for denying expandable storage to future devices as well.
5. Fingerprint sensor and heart rate monitor
In some ways the Galaxy Alpha seems to be a crippled S5, with lower resolution screen, weaker battery, possibly no microSD and a lower resolution camera. But then Samsung has decided to add in a few of the additions debuted on the S5: the heart rate monitor and finger scanner. While we can understand Samsung wanting to maintain its fitness focus with the Galaxy Alpha, it seems slightly strange that it would invest on the finger scanner which wasn't very well received at all and then cut the resolution on the camera.
If you like your rumor history, here's our previous coverage of the Galaxy Alpha lead-up, so you can check to see how accurate we were!
Samsung Galaxy Alpha - history
Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy F, Galaxy S5 F Alpha Centauri - whatever you want to call it, it's all over the internet right now. We've been talking about the Galaxy Alpha as a successor to the rather dated Galaxy S line since September 2013, which, as you may recall, supposed to arrive with super-premium specs, full metal build and more high-end everything that you could possibly imagine. After a long, long wait, it appears that the mystery device is finally right around the corner. This article will be continually updated as more information comes to light so be sure to check in regularly. Update: A leaked image of a Samsung Galaxy Alpha promotional poster as appeared online with the device specifications. Head to the Specs section to find out more. Also, an announcement on Wednesday 13th August for the Galaxy Alpha is seeming increasingly likely, so watch this space.
What is the Galaxy Alpha?
This is actually a really good question because there are several angles on just what the Galaxy Alpha is: a whole new line to take over as Samsung's top-end range or just another variation on Samsung's philosophy of popping out smartphones like wet Mogwai. Now there's also the Galaxy F name floating around which was trademarked by Samsung earlier in the year (although this may well be the Korea-only name). The fact that Samsung is working on a new premium smartphone, that is most likely of a metal build, we have heard from multiple sources for a long time, but whether these names all point to the same thing we'll just have to wait and see. The specs floating around for the Galaxy Alpha are decidedly non-premium though.
Samsung Galaxy Alpha release date and price
First it was said that this new device might be presented in May 2014. It's safe to say that didn't happen. Currently, we're hearing that it is likely to appear on August 13th, but as with the May rumor you could pretty much just throw a dart at a wall calendar and pick your own date. We'll believe it when we see it, but we'll be paying close attention come mid-August. As always, press invites tend to give the game away in advance so we'll let you know when things change.
Based on the specs we have right now, the Galaxy Alpha looks to be an interesting mix: kind of a Galaxy S4 inside a Galaxy S3 display, but wrapped in metal. Based on this interesting mix of premium and budget the expected price of the Galaxy Alpha is hard to pin down. The upcoming Galaxy Note 4 (which will arrive in September) will be Samsung's top-of-the-line device for components and will come with a standard price tag for the Note line. We're still wondering if a super-premium smartphone line (what we were previously calling the Galaxy F series) will apear with top-shelf specs and a metal chassis or if this recipe would just prove to be too expensive. Samsung are obviously making a play to steal the thunder from Apple's iPhone 6 launch, which will be swarmed by Samsung releases at the same time.
SamMobile ''confirmed'' an announcement date of August 4th for the Galaxy Alpha. According to their source, this was to allow sufficient time for attention to then be refocused on the Galaxy Note 4 in September. SamMobile offered no proof of the unveiling date and no tech sites have received invitations to a launch event, so it was a ''take our word for it'' scenario. Samsung dodged our queries with a standard response. AllAboutSamsung are claiming a new date - or rather, an old one - for the announcement of the Galaxy Alpha, the one we had previously reported: August 13th.
Full metal jacket
One of the biggest criticisms of the S-series flagships was that many users were not so big on the cheap-looking plastic casing that Samsung employed. Even with improvements over time and the continual cry about metal not equaling premium and the additional benefits of plastic being lighter, cheaper, more shock absorbent and removable to boot, it still seems that deep down fans still want to see a metal Samsung smartphone. We've already seen some pics that look like the Galaxy Alpha will be that device and more recent leaked images show a Samsung Galaxy Alpha with peculiar looking ridges at the top. Whether this is a new product design, a case or merely a hoax, remains to be seen.
Ultra slim design
According to the latest rumors, the Galaxy Alpha is said to have a thickness of just 6 millimeters. That would mean that it would be 2.1 millimeters thinner than the current Galaxy S5. How you make a metal phone 25% thinner than its plastic predecessor is something straight out of the realm of magic, but we'd simply lurve to see Samsung make it happen. Don't hold your breath on this one though.
The latest report out of the Korean Herald newspaper states the new Sammy device will house a Super AMOLED screen with a respectable 4.7-inch diagonal, however, user agent profiles (placeholders for web content) show a HD 720p display. Considering the constant expansion of everything Android lately, a shift to a smaller screen size is an interesting one, especially against the backdrop of Apple reportedly bringing larger-screened iPhones to the market. Shrinking the screen, switching to metal housing and pushing the super thin angle seems to be a clear shot across the bow of what has always been Apple's traditional domain. Launching at the same time may just be an attempt to lure away Apple customers to something less radically different from what they already know.
Samsung Galaxy Alpha specs
For a long time it has been reported that the device known as the Galaxy F will be getting the new 64-bit octa-core Exynos 5 processor. The Exynos 5433 SoC, comprised of a quad-core Cortex A15 and quad-core Cortex A7, has now made an appearance in the Galaxy Alpha rumor mill, alongside 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage and a 12 MP and 2.1 MP camera setup. These decidedly mid-range specs clearly shift the focus on the Galaxy Alpha from another name for the rumored super-premium Galaxy F line to a totally different mid-range device with an iPhone-like build. That now leaves us with more room to see what might appear in the Galaxy F or Galaxy S5 Prime, if both or either of these devices appear.
A leaked image from a Brazilian website may have confirmed the Galaxy Alpha specs. It looks like it will come with a 4.7 inch AMOLED screen (1080 x 720), 12 MP rear camera and 2.1 MP front-facing shooter, octo-core 1.3 GHz processor (quad-core @1.8 GHz), 2 GB of RAM and the expected fingerprint sensor and heart-rate monitor. Here is the original article for the leaked Galaxy Alpha specs.
A handful of new pictures have shown up showing what is believed to be the Galaxy Alpha, coupled with rumors that the mysterious Samsung device will now arrive in 4.7 inch and, wait for it, 6.7 inch versions. Recent iPhone leaks have shown Apple's iPhone 6 will arrive in two size variations also, so perhaps there is some truth in this latest rumor. Here are the pictures, including a look at the Galaxy Alpha alongside the iPhone 5s.