While Samsung hasn’t said as much it seems as though the Galaxy Alpha is designed as a direct competitor to the iPhone 6. Not only is it launching during a similar part of the year but it has the same screen size as the iPhone 6 is expected to have and a similarly premium build.
The iPhone 6 isn’t out yet, so we can’t compare it to that, but we can see how it stacks up to the iPhone 5S to get some idea of how well Samsung is likely to do at appealing to Apple buyers.
Samsung really stepped its game up with the Galaxy Alpha. Gone is the plastic of old, or at least partially, with a new metal frame drawing the eye away from the still plastic back and a slim 6.7mm build ensuring that it fits snugly in a pocket or purse.
The iPhone 5S is still a step above though, as it too has a metal frame, while its back is a mixture of glass and aluminium, so there’s no plastic here at all. At 7.6mm it’s not quite as slim as the Samsung Galaxy Alpha but it’s far from fat and looks unmistakeably high end.
Despite the metal frame the Galaxy Alpha also looks a lot like other phones and even other Samsung phones, which tend to have a faux metal finish along the edge, while the iPhone 5S looks distinctive and with a two tone back it has a flair which the Galaxy Alpha can’t quite match.
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is small by Samsung standards, with a 4.7 inch 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED display leading to a pixel density of 312 pixels per inch. It’s crisp, clear and delivers rich yet natural colours. It’s a shame it’s not full HD as the screen is large enough to benefit from it, but you’re not likely to miss the extra pixels unless you put it side by side with something sharper.
The Apple iPhone 5S has a 4.0 inch 640 x 1136 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. So it’s smaller and despite being lower resolution it’s also therefore sharper, but not by much. The quality of the screen is similarly impressive too, with great contrast and minimal reflections. Overall the main difference between the two is the size.
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is a powerful phone with 2GB of RAM and an octa-core Exynos 5 processor, where four cores are clocked at 1.8GHz and the other four are clocked at 1.3GHz. So it should have plenty of power to deal with whatever you want it for.
The Apple iPhone 6 has a 1.3GHz dual-core A7 processor and 1GB of RAM, so by all rights it should be a lot less powerful, yet in real terms it performs fine, with slick operation and even speedy boot up and shutdown times.
There’s a 12 megapixel camera on the back of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and it has an LED flash and can shoot video in 2160p at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps or 720p at 120fps. There’s also a 2.1 megapixel camera on the front.
The iPhone 5S has just an 8 megapixel main camera, but it has a dual-LED True Tone flash, which can ensure that colours and skin tones are reproduced far more faithfully than the single LED on the Galaxy Alpha will be capable of. It can shoot 1080p video at 30fps or 720p video at 120fps and has a 1.2 megapixel snapper on the front. We haven’t put the Galaxy Alpha through its paces yet but on paper its camera should be better, other than the inferior flash, though the iPhone 5S is certainly capable of taking some good photos.
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has an 1860 mAh battery, while the iPhone 5S has a 1560 mAh battery. Samsung is normally pretty good with battery life, though 1860 mAh is on the small side for a device of this size and power and Samsung is yet to give any stats on its lifespan. The iPhone 5S on the other hand lasts for around a day of moderate use, so it’s fairly average.
There’s 32GB of storage built in to the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and a choice of 16, 32 or 64GB in the iPhone 5S and neither phone has a microSD card slot. The Galaxy Alpha does slightly better for connectivity options, with support for Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, while the iPhone 5S supports all the same connectivity forms other than NFC.
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha and the iPhone 5S are well matched. They have similarly high quality screens, albeit in different sizes, both have a premium build, though the iPhone 5S slightly more so and both are powerful, though the Samsung Galaxy Alpha slightly more so.
When it comes to extra features the phones are fairly well matched too. Both have fingerprint scanners, though the iPhone 5S’s Touch ID works better than Samsung’s take on the idea. The Galaxy Alpha also has a heart rate monitor while the iPhone 5S has an M7 motion co-processor, which allows it to function as a pedometer and fitness tracker without draining much battery, so both are good for anyone who takes health and fitness seriously.
However the Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a slightly bigger battery and is likely to have a marginally better camera and it supports NFC, which the iPhone 5S doesn’t, so that gives it a slight edge. As such it could well be that the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is a slightly better phone overall, but it runs Android, so it’s still no use to iOS fans and in a month or two it will have the iPhone 6 to compete with.
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