Samsung has announced its latest smartphone offering in the form of the Galaxy Alpha. The handset’s focus on a solid, stylish build at the expense of top-tier internals is something of a paradox – and represents a slight shift in focus for the company.
While Samsung’s current flagship handset, the Galaxy S5, focuses on providing top shelf specs including a large 1080p display and powerful Snapdragon processor, the Galaxy Alpha takes a step back, offering a smaller, attractive build with a iPhone 5S-like metal band running around its edges.
The Alpha’s 4.7-in screen is 15 percent smaller than its big brother's 5.1-incher. The new handset's 720p display also looks a little less impressive on the spec sheet, coming in at 312 pixels per inch (PPI). That’s a significant drop from the Galaxy S5’s 432 PPI, but only just short of the iPhone 5s’ 326 PPI.
Samsung has opted for an octa-core processor (quad 1.8 GHz + quad 1.3 GHz) in the new handset. The company hasn’t provided specifics on the chip, but it’s fair to say that, while it’s likely a capable choice, it won’t pack quite the same punch as the Snapdragon 801 we’ve seen in handsets like the HTC One (M8), LG G3 and the Galaxy S5.
The new smartphone’s camera offerings are also a step down, with a 12 MP shooter on the back and 2.1 MP lens on the front. The rear camera is capable of shooting 4K video.
One area where the Alpha shines is its portability. At 6.7 mm (0.26 in) thick and weighing in at 115 g (0.25 lbs), the device is 17 percent thinner and 21 percent lighter than the flagship Galaxy S5, making it significantly more pocket-friendly.
Samsung is making a point of emphasising the new direction it’s taking with the Galaxy Alpha, stating that the device’s compact, stylish focus is a direct response to consumer feedback.
While this may well be true, the slight change in direction is also likely influenced by the recent decline in Samsung smartphone sales. It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy Alpha is not a flagship offering. That said, the new stylistic approach may well hint at what we can expect from the upcoming Galaxy Note 4.
There’s no word on pricing for the Galaxy Alpha, but it’s set to hit shelves this September in a choice of black, white, gold, silver and blue. Available colors vary by market. You can find out more in the promo video below.