Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5 full review
Although not comparable by name, the new Galaxy Alpha is a sort of metal version of the flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone. Find out how what the differences are in price and specs in our Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha comparison. Also see: Samsung Galaxy Alpha review.
It's full steam ahead with Samsung's tactic of launching smartphones in almost every size, shape, spec, price and colour imaginable. The latest to enter the fray is the Galaxy Alpha which by the sound of it, is a new range from Samsung.
The firm says it uses a new 'design approach' but if you ask us, it's simple a version of the Galaxy S5 with different specifications and a metal frame. It's a slightly odd one but nevertheless, here's how the Galaxy Alpha compares to the Galaxy S5.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha: Price UK
As you'll discover by reading this article the Galaxy Alpha is better than the Galaxy S5 is some ways and worse in others. This makes it a difficult one to place on the price tag scale, but luckily that's not our job.
Now the Galaxy S5 has been around for a while you can pick it up for £460 on a SIM-free basis. Although freshly announced, the Galaxy Alpha is available to pre-order for £499 meaning you'll have to pay more for it. Read on to see if it's worth the extra.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha: Design and build
One of the reasons you'll want to get the Galaxy Alpha over the Galaxy S5 is that it has a metal frame around the edge (like the iPhone 5S and Lumia 930), although the rear cover is still plastic. The cheap feel of the Galaxy S5 is something we and every other review criticised so at least Samsung has taken some action.
The Galaxy Alpha is also thinner and lighter than its bigger brother at just 6.7 mm and 115 g. The Galaxy S5 is 8.1 mm and 145 g. Also see: Samsung Galaxy S5 mini review.
Aside from the metal frame and slightly different rear cover, the two smartphones look very similar despite Samsung claiming the Alpha uses a new design. It's worth pointing out that the Galaxy Alpha doesn't carry the same IP67 dust and waterproof rating which the Galaxy S5 has.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha: Screen
Part of the reason why the Galaxy Alpha is lighter than the Galaxy S5 is the fact it has a smaller screen. It is 4.7in compared to 5.1in and that's why the new phone is being pegged as an iPhone 6 rival - that and the metal frame and the launch period.
Both use Samsung's trademark Super AMOLED displays and while it's up to you which screen size you prefer, it's worth noting that the is a reasonably big difference in terms of resolution. The Galaxy S5 uses Full HD 1080p while the Alpha has a less impressive 720p HD resolution. This means a drop in pixel density from 432 ppi to 320 ppi.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha: Processor and memory
There are different models of the Galaxy S5 but in the UK we have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 edition which is 2.5 GHz quad-core with 2GB of RAM. The Galaxy Alpha also has 2GB of RAM but a more powerful (on paper) Exynos 5 octa-core processor. It's got four 1.8 GHz Cortex-A15 cores and four 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 cores.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha: Storage
Things are a little different on the storage front, too. Where the Galaxy S5 is available in either 16- or 32GB, the Galaxy Alpha comes in just the higher capacity. Although Samsung consistently offers expandable storage on its smartphones (including the Galaxy S5) the Galaxy Alpha does not have a microSD card slot.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha: Other hardware
Samsung introduced features which we hadn't seen on previous smartphones with the Galaxy S5: The fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor. Well the Galaxy Alpha retains these features but doesn't have an IR blaster for taking control of your TV (and other devices).
Elsewhere, both phones have 11ac Wi-Fi (2x2 MIMO), Bluetooth 4.0 LE and NFC. The Alpha does support Cat 6 4G LTE where the Galaxy S5 is limited to Cat 4, though.
The battery on the Galaxy Alpha is lower in capacity at 1860 mAh compared to 2800 mAh – partly due to its smaller size and the lower resolution screen we expect. It's unclear whether the battery inside the Galaxy Alpha is removable or not but we suspect it isn't even though Samsung normally goes down this route.
Another small but noteworthy point is that the Galaxy Alpha uses a nano-SIM slot rather than micro-SIM.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha: Cameras
The Galaxy S5 has a 16Mp rear camera and although the Galaxy Alpha's main shooter is lower res at 12Mp, it retains some features. It still has Dual camera, HDR and the ability to record video in 4K quality. However, you do lose the phase detection autofocus and there is a single LED flash instead of dual-tone.
If you're into your selfies then the Galaxy Alpha has a slightly higher resolution front camera at 2.1Mp instead of 2Mp. That's really not a difference you should take any notice of, though.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha: Software
As you might expect, things are pretty even on the software side of things. These are two high-end smartphones from the same company running Android. The Galaxy Alpha will ship with Android 4.4.4 KitKat and while the Galaxy S5 isn’t on this version yet, it could well be by the time the Alpha goes on sale. The pair naturally come with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface pre-installed.