The much-rumoured Samsung Galaxy Alpha has finally been officially announced by Samsung, showing off high-to-mid-range specs and a puzzlingly-expensive early price of €599 for the European market. Global pricing TBA. That price, which was reported by the folks over at Ausdroid, if true, would put the Galaxy Alpha above the flagship Samsung Galaxy S5 in many European countries.
So what’s the deal?
Firstly we’ll give you the Alpha’s specs. It comes running an octa-core 1.8GHz/1.3GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage (no microSD slot), a 12MP rear camera, 2.1MP front camera, fingerprint scanner, 1860mAh battery and a 4.7 inch 720p display.
All of this is wrapped up in Samsung’s first attempt at a metal-framed smartphone. Only the frame is metal, mind you. The back of the device is the same plastic dimpled affair we’ve already seen on the Galaxy S5.
At 7mm and 115g the Galaxy Alpha is both very thin and impressively light, especially considering its new metal design.
Why would it be more expensive?
To be fair we’re not even sure it will be the aforementioned price, but so far it’s looking plausible. If it’s true, the Galaxy Alpha could try to justify it in a few ways.
Samsung’s first Galaxy Alpha ad is already billing this as a fashion accessory phone. Rather than going for high specs and a great screen, the Galaxy Alpha is being marketed on its looks and material construction. It's no secret that people are willing to pay a lot for the sake of fashion (just look at the price of analogue wrist-watches). The same may be true for a phone marketed in the same way, although it’s unlikely or the beautiful HTC One (M8) would be flying off of shelves.
Despite having an unimpressive 720p resolution, smaller screen and lower MP camera, the Galaxy Alpha does have some specs superior to the S5. The Octa-core CPU could be one, although it’s difficult to compare a quad-core 2.5GHz chipset with an octa-core mix of 1.8GHz and 1.3GHz without running actual tests. At the very least, the Galaxy Alpha has a chance of providing a smoother user experience than its flagship cousin.
On-board memory is higher than on the default Galaxy S5, which has just 16GB compared to the Alpha’s 32GB. However, there is no microSD slot on the Alpha for expanding its memory further. That's a bummer if 32GB would cramp your style.
One last curiosity is the 1860mAh battery. That’s a very small battery compared to other modern phones. We’re used to seeing upwards of 2600mAh on this kind of device. It’s possible that Samsung has figured out some kind of new, amazing battery management system. Unfortunately it’s more likely that battery size was sacrificed to provide that sexy 7mm profile and light-weight 115g. Hopefully it doesn’t affect battery life too considerably.