Mobile Technology

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. Galaxy S5 mini

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy S5 mini may be a similar size, but they're very different devices
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy S5 mini may be a similar size, but they're very different devices
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The S5 mini's battery is a little larger than the Apha's
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The S5 mini's battery is a little larger than the Apha's
The Galaxy Alpha features a part-metal construction
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The Galaxy Alpha features a part-metal construction
Both smartphone pack 2.1 MP front cameras
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Both smartphone pack 2.1 MP front cameras
There's a choice of colors with both handsets
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There's a choice of colors with both handsets
Both handsets feature 720p displays, but over slightly different size panels
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Both handsets feature 720p displays, but over slightly different size panels
The Galaxy Alpha provides a touch more screen real estate than the S5 mini
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The Galaxy Alpha provides a touch more screen real estate than the S5 mini
Both smartphones feature a fingerprint scanner
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Both smartphones feature a fingerprint scanner
Both devices feature a heart rate sensor
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Both devices feature a heart rate sensor
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy S5 mini may be a similar size, but they're very different devices
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The Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy S5 mini may be a similar size, but they're very different devices
Both handsets offer a power sipping mode
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Both handsets offer a power sipping mode
Samsung is yet to announce pricing for the Galaxy Alpha
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Samsung is yet to announce pricing for the Galaxy Alpha
The processor in the Galaxy Alpha packs eight cores to the S5 mini's four
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The processor in the Galaxy Alpha packs eight cores to the S5 mini's four
The Galaxy Alpha packs more memory than its rival
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The Galaxy Alpha packs more memory than its rival
Both devices are recent announcements from Samsung
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Both devices are recent announcements from Samsung
The Galaxy Alpha is thinner than the Galaxy S5 mini
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The Galaxy Alpha is thinner than the Galaxy S5 mini
Both smartphones run Android 4.4 KitKat
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Both smartphones run Android 4.4 KitKat
Only the S5 mini offers a microSD card slot
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Only the S5 mini offers a microSD card slot
The S5 mini features IP67 dust and water resistance
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The S5 mini features IP67 dust and water resistance
The Galaxy S5 mini is the heavier of the two smartphones
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The Galaxy S5 mini is the heavier of the two smartphones

Samsung’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy Alpha, marks Samsung's first major foray into the world of metal (well, sort of). The Samsung Galaxy S5 mini, meanwhile, is more in line with previous (plastic) Samsung releases. Join Gizmag, as we compare the features and specs of the Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy S5 mini.

Size

The Galaxy Alpha is thinner than the Galaxy S5 mini
The Galaxy Alpha is thinner than the Galaxy S5 mini

The two devices are practically identical when it comes to length and width, but the Galaxy S5 mini is 36 percent thicker than the Galaxy Alpha.

Weight

The Galaxy S5 mini is the heavier of the two smartphones
The Galaxy S5 mini is the heavier of the two smartphones

The S5 mini is also 4 percent heavier than the Alpha.

Build

The Galaxy Alpha features a part-metal construction
The Galaxy Alpha features a part-metal construction

Samsung hasn’t quite gone full metal with the Alpha, but it has taken a step in that direction. There's a metal band wrapping around the device, similar to an iPhone 5s. Unlike the iPhone, though, its back is made of plastic. Like most of Samsung's previous hardware, the Galaxy S5 mini features an all-plastic exterior.

Colors

There's a choice of colors with both handsets
There's a choice of colors with both handsets

Both devices are available in a range of colors.

Display (size)

The Galaxy Alpha provides a touch more screen real estate than the S5 mini
The Galaxy Alpha provides a touch more screen real estate than the S5 mini

Despite having similar dimensions, the Alpha’s screen is a little bigger than the S5 mini’s, providing 9 percent more screen real estate.

Display (resolution)

Both handsets feature 720p displays, but over slightly different size panels
Both handsets feature 720p displays, but over slightly different size panels

The Galaxy Alpha’s display is a little sharper than the S5 mini's. But with only 4 percent more pixels per inch (PPI) in the Alpha, you’re unlikely to notice a huge difference in display sharpness.

Fingerprint scanner

Both smartphones feature a fingerprint scanner
Both smartphones feature a fingerprint scanner

Both smartphones have a fingerprint scanner built into their physical home buttons. These allow you to swipe a finger across the button to unlock the device. Anyone else will need a passcode to get in.

Heart rate sensor

Both devices feature a heart rate sensor
Both devices feature a heart rate sensor

Both handsets have a heart rate sensor, living on their backs (below their cameras).

Water resistance

The S5 mini features IP67 dust and water resistance
The S5 mini features IP67 dust and water resistance

This is one area where the S5 mini clearly wins out, offering IP67 dust and water resistance.

Processor

The processor in the Galaxy Alpha packs eight cores to the S5 mini's four
The processor in the Galaxy Alpha packs eight cores to the S5 mini's four

The Galaxy S5 mini packs a quad core processor running at 1.4 GHz, while the Alpha opts for an eight core chip, with four cores running at a higher speed of 1.8 GHz, and four running at 1.3 GHz.

Storage

Only the S5 mini offers a microSD card slot
Only the S5 mini offers a microSD card slot

If you’re looking for more internal storage, then the 32 GB Alpha is the better bet. While the S5 mini only packs 16 GB of internal storage, it offers a microSD card slot.

RAM

The Galaxy Alpha packs more memory than its rival
The Galaxy Alpha packs more memory than its rival

The Alpha packs 2 GB RAM to the S5 mini’s 1.5 GB.

Battery

The S5 mini's battery is a little larger than the Apha's
The S5 mini's battery is a little larger than the Apha's

The S5 mini's battery holds 13 percent more juice than the Alpha's does. Without testing, though, it’s impossible to say for certain which handset will have the better battery life.

Ultra Power Saving Mode

Both handsets offer a power sipping mode
Both handsets offer a power sipping mode

Both devices include what Samsung calls Ultra Power Saving Mode. The setting cuts off access to all but the most essential apps, significantly extending battery life in the process.

Cameras

Both smartphone pack 2.1 MP front cameras
Both smartphone pack 2.1 MP front cameras

While both smartphones feature 2.1 MP front-facing shooters, things are a little different on the back, with the Alpha’s main camera packing in more megapixels than the S5 mini’s. Of course, megapixels aren’t everything when it comes to picture quality, and it’s worth checking out some sample shots before making a judgement.

Software

Both smartphones run Android 4.4 KitKat
Both smartphones run Android 4.4 KitKat

Both handsets run Android 4.4, augmented with Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI. With bright visuals and a wide range of extra features, the company’s treatment of Android tends to be quite polarizing.

Thanks to the customizable nature of the platform, this doesn’t have to be such as issue. If you’d rather have Android look more as Google intended, then you can simply install the Google Now Launcher, or opt for one of a range of other great looking launchers.

Release

Both devices are recent announcements from Samsung
Both devices are recent announcements from Samsung

Both devices are fairly hot off the press, with the S5 mini beating the Alpha to market by a couple of months

Starting price (off contract)

Samsung is yet to announce pricing for the Galaxy Alpha
Samsung is yet to announce pricing for the Galaxy Alpha

Off-contract pricing can vary, but US$530 keeps popping up for the Galaxy S5 mini. We have yet to hear word on pricing for the Galaxy Alpha.

These smartphones represent two different strategies for Samsung. The Galaxy S5 mini is closer to what we've come to expect from Samsung's mid-ranged strategy through the years, with a plastic build and less than top-of-the-line specs. The Alpha is wrapped in more of a premium package, with a thinner, partially metal construction and slightly higher-end internals – but it too falls short of being a high-end flagship.

For more on the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, check out our comparisons of it to the iPhone 5s, HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5. And if you want to size up Samsung's flagship, you can hit up our full review of the Galaxy S5.

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