It might be called “Galaxy” but it’s not likely to be Samsung’s next flagship device. Nevertheless, the Korean electronics giant is experimenting with a new design on its Galaxy Alpha.
Samsung is using words like “sophisticated design” and “carefully constructed compact body” to describe the metal-framed smartphone that it promises offers the flagship Galaxy experience. It’s too soon to tell if consumers agree that the device is, as Samsung brags, both elegant and practical. The hyperbole is in full force with the launch announcement:
“The Galaxy Alpha was built and designed based on the specific desires of the consumer market,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communication at Samsung Electronics. “With an entirely new appearance, the Galaxy Alpha focuses on both beauty and functionality combining a stunning metal frame and slim, light weight design with the same powerful hardware and features users expect from a flagship Galaxy mobile device.”
A Smaller Galaxy
The hype about the design goes on and on through Samsung’s announcement, but the specs are worth noting. The Galaxy Alpha is 7 mm thick, making it one of the thinnest Galaxy devices on the market.
The device sports a 4.7-inch HD Super AMOLED display, an advanced camera and real-time high definition recording. The Galaxy Alpha is also equipped with features like Ultra-Power Saving Mode, S Health, fingerprint scanner, private mode and connectivity with the latest Samsung Gear Fit, Gear Live and Gear 2 wearables.
The Galaxy Alpha is set to roll out in September, but Samsung did not offer details about whether it would debut in the U.S., or on which carriers, or at what price. All we know is that it will come in multiple colors.
This Is No Galaxy S5
We caught up with Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, to get his thoughts on the new Galaxy Alpha. He told us it’s important to note that this is not a Galaxy S and that the Galaxy S5 has features that the Galaxy Alpha does not. For example, the camera is not as robust and the display -- and display technology -- is different. The Galaxy Alpha is also a smaller device at 4.7 inches than the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5.
“The design is interesting because it’s both very thin and has a metal ring around the sides -- but it still has a plastic back panel,” Greengart said. “There are good things about that back panel. It’s removable so you can take off the back and add storage. The bad thing about it, is that it’s plastic.”
Because he hasn’t had his hands on the smartphone, Greengart said it’s not clear to him if the Galaxy Alpha feels like a significantly more premium device than a Galaxy S5. He did note it is a slightly different design and in some ways it looks very similar to the Galaxy S5.
I’m still trying to figure out how this fits within Samsung’s lineup. It’s clearly not intended to take the place of the Galaxy S5 as the Samsung flagship and does not have the same feature counts,” Greengart said. “I would want to know how good the battery life is. The battery size is somewhat smaller than what Samsung phones have often had recently.”