Samsung isn’t nicknamed “Spamsung” for nothing. No other manufacturer in the consumer electronics space pumps out hardware at such a rate. And this week, Samsung, true to its nickname, released two new handsets in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini.
Here we’re going to try and figure out which handset offers the best specs, hardware and value for money.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini vs. Samsung Galaxy Alpha: Design
Samsung is marketing the Galaxy Alpha as a flagship handset; despite the fact its Galaxy S5 possesses better hardware and specs. The key USP with the Galaxy Alpha, or, where it trumps the Galaxy S5, is to do with design – it’s the first Samsung handset to feature a metal frame. And it looks rather snazzy too, albeit in a very iPhone 5s-like way.
The Galaxy S5 Mini has been on the cards since the Galaxy S5 debuted at MWC 2014, but with the launch of the Alpha it’s difficult to see the appeal – aside from its slightly lower price – now that the Galaxy Alpha is widely available.
As the name suggests, the Galaxy 5 Mini is a shrunken-down reimagining of the Galaxy S5, complete with a smaller, lower-resolution display, less power and downgraded chipsets and RAM. Exact measurements for the Galaxy S5 Mini are 131.1 x 64.8 x 9.1mm and it weights in at 120g. The Alpha, meanwhile, comes in at 132.4 x 66.5 x 6.7mm and weighs just 114g.
The Galaxy Alpha is Samsung’s first ever handset to embrace premium build materials, and it really does look awesome as a result. This section, therefore, is a no brainer… the Galaxy Alpha is A LOT nicer looking than its Mini counterpart.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini vs. Samsung Galaxy Alpha: Display
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha, unlike its larger, Galaxy S5 brother, doesn’t use a Full HD resolution screen. Instead, Samsung has opted for a 4.7in 72op Super AMOLED setup, which delivers a pixel density of 312ppi.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini’s display is set at the same 720p resolution but, at 4.5in, it is slightly smaller and this results in a slightly higher pixel density of 326ppi – the same as Apple’s iPhone 5s.
To be fair though you’re not really going to notice, so if you’re torn between these two handsets, the question you need to ask yourself isn’t about display quality, it’s about size: would you prefer a 4.7in display or a 4.5in one? Personally, we’d go with the former – it’s our ideal size for a smartphone display.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini vs. Samsung Galaxy Alpha: Processor
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini ships with a 1.4GHz quad-core CPU with 1.5GB of RAM, while the Samsung Galaxy Alpha will ship with 2GB of RAM and, depending on your region, either Samsung’s Octa-core Exynos processor (1.8GHz and 1.3GHz) or a quad-core Snapdragon setup from Qualcomm (2.5GHz).
Both handsets will offer great performance across the board, whether you’re looking at gaming, video or image processing. In this respect, both are fully kitted out for the modern user. For those after the best, however, you’re obviously best off with the Galaxy Alpha, which packs in more RAM and higher-specced CPU.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini vs. Samsung Galaxy Alpha: Camera
Again, the Galaxy Alpha gets the jump on the Galaxy S5 Mini in this context, with its 12MP main camera and 2.1MP front-facing setup. This isn’t as good as what you’ll find aboard the Galaxy S5, but it’s pretty damn close.
The Galaxy S5 Mini’s 8MP rear shooter should deliver decent results, however, and both benefit from Samsung’s excellent imaging app, which features a raft of useful features, filters and effects.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini vs. Samsung Galaxy Alpha: Battery
Ready for a curveball? The Samsung Galaxy Alpha, despite having a larger display, uses a smaller battery than the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini (1860mAh vs. 2300mAh, to be exact).
Why? Unclear. But this design choice, given the Alpha’s higher-powered CPU, could cause some issues in practice and will almost certainly result in the Galaxy S5 Mini lasting longer from a single charge.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini vs. Samsung Galaxy Alpha: Price
Samsung Galaxy Alpha: £499 @ Mobilefun.co.uk – more prices to follow soon.
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini: £349.
Now we come to most divisive aspect of the comparison – price. As we noted in the opening paragraph, Samsung is marketing the Galaxy Alpha as a flagship handset, and this is very much reflected in the handset’s pricing – at nearly £500 it’s more costly than an iPhone 5s.
The Galaxy S5 Mini, on the other hand, is a more mid-range affair and is priced much cheaper at just under £350. In terms of value for money, we’d argue the Galaxy S5 Mini pound for pound delivers more for its asking price. The Galaxy Alpha, meanwhile, packs something of a punch in the spec department and looks utterly sublime –– we’re just not sure it looks £150-better, is all.