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Samsung Galaxy Alpha [review]


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#1 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 04:25 PM

Recently I acquired a Samsung Galaxy Alpha. If you're looking for a direct replacement for a LG Optimus G, or Nexus 4 as I was, this is the phone to go with.

Samsung-Galaxy-Alpha-hands-on-images.jpg

 

Size

It's 132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm (5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 in) compared to the Optimus G at 131.9 x 68.9 x 8.5 mm (5.19 x 2.71 x 0.33 in). 

It's thinner, a lot thinner. It's also lighter, 115 grams, compared to the Optimus' 145 grams. In fact, it's thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6, which happens to be a similar size. This is why I originally set my eyes on the phone. I believe the 4.7 inch screen and dimensions of the Nexus4/Optimus G are the perfect size for a modern cell phone. Sadly, the range of phones in this size are currently very limited, most being significantly larger. If you're like me, you don't want to carry a big phone in your pocket. 

 

Performance

Powered by a Quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A15 and a quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7, the alpha is fast. On Antutu benchmark it scored just over 44,000, placing it in the top tier of smart phones, above it's larger brethren, the S5. It also bested the now "outdated" Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait found in the Optimus G/Nexus 4. I use outdated loosely, because it still scored close to 22,000 on antutu, and though it's less than half of what the Alpha can score, it's competitive compared to many phones. 

8N3IroR.png

 

It uses a 4.7" SuperAMOLED screen with a resolution of 720x1280, which is small by most current standards, but the 312ppi pixel density still makes for a crisp, sharp image. Thought it generally offers deeper blacks and richer colors than the Nexus 4/Optimus G's IPS screen I'm used to, there are some issues. Everything has a slight blue tint to it. On it's own, it's not terribly noticeable, but side by side it's undoubtedly there. It's also not quite as visible in the sunlight, LG certainly did right there. I handle a lot of phones, and I can't think of one off the top of my head that was more visible on a sunny Texas day. 

 

Battery life is less than stellar. with an 1860mAh battery, it's rated at 11 hours talk time. The Nexus 4/Optimus G that I'm used to has a 2100mAh battery and is rated at 15 hours talk time. I do absolutely notice it going dead faster in the few days I've had it. Luckily it charges faster, so it's something I can live with. I would have gladly given up some of that thinness for a larger battery though. 

 

Storage wise, it has 32GB with no SD card slot, something that I honestly hate, though it's still enough space for me. If you're coming from the Nexus 4, you also have the lack of card slot, and less memory. If you're like me and got the AT&T version of the Optimus G, you sacrificed a tiny bit of camera quality for a SD card slot. It's fair to note however that it does come with 50GB of Dropbox storage.

 

Camera

The 12mp camera is better, it's just that simple. It can record 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, and 720p@120fps. It's also got a nice 2.1mp front facing camera, for all your selfie needs.

I took a few pictures to show quality, all in different settings.

 

First up, we have Spiderbro at night. The flash washes him out, and without it you can't capture a picture in the dark. Phones have a long way to go here. 

3OKK7UWl.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/3OKK7UW.jpg

 

Next we have a nice outside field. Here the camera quality shines.

Yr9jRL6l.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Yr9jRL6.jpg

 

It was easy to capture detail on something small, very close. The autofocus worked properly and didn't leave the image blurred, as some cameras do. Certainly not the best quailty, but more than acceptable.

PyRsOBjl.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/PyRsOBj.jpg

 

Finally we have a selfie, using the front facing camera. It's honestly not that good, though a feature I will rarely use.

MYZW5aPl.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/MYZW5aP.jpg

 

Conclusion

 

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Well built
  • Great size
  • Super light

Cons

  • Sub par battery life
  • No MicroSD slot
  • Less than stellar front facing camera

The only real, true issue I have with the phone is the battery life. I'm not sure just how much it will effect me in the time I own it, but I'll certainly become more familiar with my charger than I ever had to be. Overall the phone is great, well built and of quality insides. There's not much competition in this size range, and if you're looking for a direct replacement to your Nexus 4, as it's about that time, the Galaxy Alpha and the iPhone 6 are the main competitive choices. 


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#2 (V) (`m`) (V) ︵ ┻━┻

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 11:48 AM

I like the last two pics.


Get a dummy phone off eBay so you can keep a second battery going.

Samsung also makes battery chargers on their own as well which is something I looked in to, but my battery life is pretty good and just went with a wireless charging pack.

Grats on the phone.


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#3 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 01:28 PM

But then I'd have to keep it around and charged and such, it's just kind of a pain. I'm normally around a pone charger anyways, I just have to remember to plug it in when I'm in my car and such.

 

Thanks. :)


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Posted 01 February 2015 - 09:23 PM

There's this as an option too.
http://www.amazon.co...d_AYUZub0MP9AGS

Says it adds up to 125% of battery life to the phone and works as a full case as well. Comes with a screen protector too.

Only downside is the quarter inch or so of length it adds.


If you Amazon samsung alpha battery there's a ton of options including longer lasting batteries and chargers I spoke of before.

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#5 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 06:40 AM

The case might be an option. They make back covers that are larger batteries, but I can't do that because then a normal case won't fit on it. Something like this could be good. 


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Posted 02 February 2015 - 12:51 PM

Yep.

Seems to be thin enough.

And according to the reviews, the face covering isn't the one you have to fight bubbles out of either.

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#7 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 01:10 PM

I'll have you know that I put a screen protector on this phone and it doesn't have a single bubble or spec of dust under it.


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Posted 02 February 2015 - 01:57 PM

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#9 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 02:26 PM

Pft, I did just fine.

 

Also, Mr. Shield makes awesome screen protectors that come with a little kit of sticky things to take off all the dust and a lint free cloth. Made it super easy, got it right the first try. 


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Posted 02 February 2015 - 02:33 PM

Putting on screen protectors is like cleaning guns for me, that shit is just relaxing.

Only one that gave me trouble was the Kindle protector.. Which is why I'm still dragging ass on their laptop one.. >_>


God I miss sorting and storing bullets.

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#11 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 02:43 PM

Laptops don't need screen protectors, you don't put them in your pocket with keys and shit. 

 

I've got a bag of like 5k .22 rounds I can send you. >.>


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Posted 02 February 2015 - 02:56 PM

Touch screen.

Remember the Cailee peanut butter nexus issue of '13?


Yeah,post office will love that.
Like I'm not on enough lists.

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#13 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:46 PM

Pft, it'll be fine. 


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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:49 PM

Like you're not on enough lists.

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#15 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:51 PM

You can never be on too many lists. 


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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:54 PM

Welcome to Cat Facts! Did you know that the first cat show was held in 1871 at the Crystal Palace in London? Mee-wow!

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#17 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 05:24 PM

Proof!

GNxYW62l.jpg

 

Also, literally got an update notification as I type this, hopefully bringing me to 5.1


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Posted 02 February 2015 - 05:38 PM

Well color me impressed.

Also, I love that my tree has weathered the abuse of that desk.

Also I noticed you're working on that diabeetus.

Ooh update.

I hope I get one soon.
Also, if the default bugs you as it did me, SwiftKey is free now. I was a happy sponge when I found that out.

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#19 SpleenBeGone

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 06:03 PM

I've retraced it a few times, but you can still just barely read "happy tree" in the middle, which I haven't touched. 

The boob glasses however are drawn with super ink or something.

 

Update didn't move me from 4.4.4, no idea what it was for. Cyanogenmod isn't out for the phone yet either, which sucks. 

The default keyboard isn't bad so far. I've written quite a few emails on it without a problem. 


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Posted 02 February 2015 - 06:11 PM

That is just awesome.

Also, those book glasses are going to be found in some kind of archaeological dig in the future and make it to the Smithsonian.


Weird..

Maybe it's your subscription to Cat Facts kicking in.

I didn't care for it.

Do you use the Samsung emotes?

Nothing says professionalism like a doo doo with googly eyes on it.

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