When Samsung was behind closed doors, prepping the Galaxy S5, expectations began to grow as the company built up to what it believed would be the smartphone of the year. Once it got around to MWC 2014 and the company announced the smartphone to the world, there was a bit of a collective sigh around the planet.
The plastic design was still there and it all left a little bit to be desired, with the biggest new feature being the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner. So when whispers of Samsung creating a “Galaxy Alpha” handset began to filter through, everyone began to get a little excited again. Alpha implies "best" and we now know the specs for the handset, so we decided to find out how the two compare to see which handset really is the Alpha dog.
As per usual, nothing you read here to do with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is set in stone. All the details, although quite likely to be correct, as per Mobilefun's recent listing, are entirely based on rumours, internet gossip, leaks and observed manufacturer habits - it is not gospel! Things may change before release or be inaccurate and we are doing this to get a working impression of how things could stack up. This is not intended to be conclusive. It's just a bit of speculative fun.
Build & Design
Compared to the HTC One M8 and LG G3 the Galaxy S5 left quite a bit to be desired in the design department. The handset's overall design wasn't a huge departure from last year's Galaxy S4, despite Samsung's pre-launch claims it would be, and the resulting backlash has lead to worse-than-expected sales and a potential reboot later on in Q4 in the form of the Samsung Galaxy F.
The word Alpha does suggest top dog though, so maybe the design of the product is going to beat the S5. We have some leaked photos now that will show you how the handset is likely to look. The bobbled back of the plastic casing is gone, it looks like it’s the faux leather backing from here but there’s no way of knowing that for sure. It’s all looking a little Apple-esque with the rounded corners and more premium looking edges. Hardware buttons are still around on the front and the sides but overall the design looks like a step in the right direction for Samsung; but no where near fantastic.
Now onto the display, here we have actual figures. On the Samsung Galaxy S5 the screen was 5.1in with a screen resolution of 1080 x 1920. That makes up 432ppi and no one could deny the Super AMOLED touchscreen is a bit of a beauty.
If the leaked specs are to be believed the Samsung Galaxy Alpha will have a smaller display at 4.7in. It’s a Super AMOLED display with a 1280 x 720 screen resolution. That comes in at 320ppi – quite a downgrade.
Obviously we haven’t managed to clap our eyes on the display just yet but with those kinds of figures we know it’ll only be a 720p display unlike the Full HD one we saw on the Galaxy S5.
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 came with a powerful quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset inside that has been clocked at 2.5Ghz. There’s also a Krait 400 CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU, exactly what you’d expect from 2014’s line of flagship devices.
We know the processor inside the Galaxy Alpha will be made by Samsung itself, leaks have suggested it will be an octa-core Exynos 5 chipset. Samsung announced the Exynos 5422 earlier this year, which is an octa-core processor, which combines four ARM Crotex A15 cores. Samsung has said the chipset has been clocked at 2.1GHz, a 34% increase for octa-core Exynos chipset.
So overall if you compare the kind of speeds we are looking at here, the chipset in the Samsung Galaxy S5 is stronger.
We were quite impressed with the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S5, you can get some beautiful shots with it. It’s got a 16MP sensor on the back and a 2MP front facing camera.
According to the specs leaked for the Samsung Galaxy Alpha it’ll have a 12MP rear facing camera with superfast autofocus, LED flash and video. These are all features the camera on the S5 has though mind. But the 2.1MP front facing camera is a bit of an upgrade on the S5’s version.
Battery & Storage
In our review of the Samsung Galaxy S5 we noted that the 2800mAh battery was quite impressive. So far we haven’t seen any details of the battery on the Galaxy Alpha but we think it’d be hard pressed to improve upon the one inside the Galaxy S5.
Storage wise there’s two versions of the Galaxy S5, 16GB or 32GB, as well as microSD support up to 128GB. So far specs for the Galaxy Alpha have suggested we will only see a 32GB version of the Galaxy Alpha. Rumours have also suggested it wont come with microSD card support either, which isn't exactly good.
If you want a new phone today you can go out and get yourself a brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 in any store you wish. Waiting around for the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is going to take a little bit longer though, as it hasn't been officially announced by Samsung yet. That said, the device is up for pre-order over at Mobilefun, implying a launch is just around the corner.
And if neither take your fancy, well you can always wait a little bit longer and see how the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 turns out. That handset, which is likely very impressive, is poised to launch at IFA 2014 on September 3.