back to article This is why we CAN have nice things: Samsung Galaxy Alpha

It must sting Samsung that the criticism most often levelled at the manufacturer is that its flagship Galaxy S devices feel cheap and plasticky. And for once the criticism is not just coming from Apple fans. Samsung Galaxy Alpha Samsung's Galaxy Alpha: looks like all the others in the range at first glance The Galaxy S3, …

  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The Xperia Z3 / Z3 Compact seem to be the more relevant devices to compare this to than the iPhone.

    So, do you want waterproofing, an SDCard slot and a very good battery, or do you want a fingerprint scanner and a removable - but only so-so - battery? Samsung's and Sony's varying degrees of Android skinning and bloatware might also be a consideration for some.

    To be honest though, none of current flagship Android phones are bad...even the ones from a year ago, such as the LG G2, can still hold their own in the speed, battery life and camera stakes (and be found for a helluva lot less money)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So, do you want waterproofing, an SDCard slot and a very good battery, or do you want a fingerprint scanner and a removable - but only so-so - battery?

      Unfortunately I want waterproofing, SDCard slot, very good removable battery and a fingerprint scanner on my next phone...Oh and I want it to be thinner and lighter than my current phone with around a 5 inch screen.. Probably asking for too much there. Samsung are probably my only real hope of getting it, but even then after the S5 I won't hold my breath.

      I like the look of the Alpha, but the spec and the features just aren't there to convince me to switch

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        If you're willing to forego a fingerprint sensor AC, the Samsung S5 Active will fit your requirements:

        http://m.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s5_active-review-1093.php

        Waterproof, removable battery, sdcard slot, other crazy Samsung stuff such as a heart rate monitor, barometer, ir sensor, eyeball tracking, kitchen sink etc

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'd hurry up Samsung may not be making phones in a few years the way competition is going from cheaper suppliers at the low end and Apple at the high end - their profits have already plummeted.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Sony: Just say no

      "The Xperia Z3 / Z3 Compact seem to be the more relevant devices to compare this to than the iPhone."

      Except that should you decide to "root" your phone to remove the bloatware (or be audacious enough to install a 3rd party rom), you will find your camera resolution and sensitivity has been utterly trashed and the reason given is "DRM"

      DRM was supposed to prevent unauthorised copying, not interfere with making original works!

      Having said that, the Exynos CPUs need to either die horribly or be properly documented. It's because of lack of documentation that that all the custom rom makers are dropping support for older Samsung devices.

      (A lot of Samsung stuff can only be handled via proprietary binary blobs. I found hooks in Samsung's GPS modules for Carrier IQ. Who knows what else is in there)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sony: Just say no

        "DRM was supposed to prevent unauthorised copying"

        That's what it's still doing. It's stopping users rooting their phones and attempting to use the camera software modules for Sony's superior low light algorithms in other phones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sony: Just say no

          Are you high.....

    3. Paul 135

      Z3 Compact is also cheaper at £350.

      (not so sure that Samsung's Fingerprint scanners work well enough to be considered a plus point either).

    4. N13L5

      don't know how the review arrives at Apple's and HTC's design being better than this :p

      both their mobes have metal framed in plastic, which looks cheap, gimmicky and in the iPhone 6's case downright stupid. Like it was made for the trailer park crowd.

      This Samsung's metal bezel excels with simplicity, functionality and a beautifully machined camfer.

      Its shape strengthens the corners and prevents the phone from slipping out of your hand. The corners also give your hand an immediate indication where you're holding the phone, so you know if the button is gonna be a little higher or a little lower, depending on how you grabbed it.

      People lacking the slightest design background mistaking industrial design for poor personal taste and then writing about it. :p

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've currently got a Galaxy Note 2, contract is up next month.

    I've been thinking about the note 4, but when I actually think aobut it, i'm happy with the note 2, Yes battery life could be better, but as it's replaceable that one is easy enough to sort.

    Camera could be better, but mine is certainly not bad.

    Currently running the latest KitKat, I doubt it'll get official Lollipop treatment, but that's the perfect excuse to try a ROM.

    Maybe i'll wait for the note 5.

    The z3 looks very tempting, but I don't want to go to a smaller screen.

    1. joeW

      If you don't mind extra bulk, check out a ZeroLemon battery for your Note 2. It's essentially three Note 2 batteries stuck together giving ~9000mAh of power - easily enough for three days use, and I've been able to stretch that out to five with light usage.

    2. Cliff

      @AC Note 2

      Sounds like you're in more or less the exact position I'm in. In fact I just umm-ed and ahh-ed long enough on the Note 4 to stay put with the Note 2, and downgraded my contract to month by month rolling SIM deal so I'm not repaying a network handset subsidy that's already repaid :-)

      The other handset I'm umm-ing and ahh-ing about is the Nexus 6 so I can have stock Android - fewer toys than the Note 4 and I think I'd actually miss the pen even though I use it occasionally, but I have a feeling it'll be a good handset.

  3. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

    Whats the point of even having External SD anymore? Its not like you can use it to boost up your crappy, cramped, and limited Storage Space to install even more Apps...

    'Cause... You can't! THANKS GOOGLE!!

    Whats's that Movies and Music? Isn't this what the Cloud was made for? I for One love XBMC (Movies), and Google Music... For umm Music streaming.

    The only thing Internal... Or by that Proxim the External SD is good for is to waste a lot of dead Storage Space in the Device that can, and will likely never be used. Such Apps that managed to make use of the SD Storage. Either Internal or External pre-KitKat, no longer work. Unless One takes the drastic measure of rooting Ones Device. And forgoing any and, all Warranties.

    Makes me kinda sit back, and wonder if the likes of Sandisk and Co. are really just gonna let this happen?

    1. Tapeador
      Stop

      Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

      Your complaint seems to be about not being able to install apps on the internal storage. How many apps do you want? I would have thought your phone's RAM and battery will give up from these extra demands brought about by the hundreds of apps you're talking about many of which will run continuously, long before you've filled the internal app storage capacity.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

      "Whats the point of even having External SD anymore? Its not like you can use it to boost up your crappy, cramped, and limited Storage Space to install even more Apps..."

      You can, if you know what you're doing.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

        You can, if you know what you're doing.

        Only by voiding the warranty when you decide to root your Device...

    3. Pristine Audio

      Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

      Whats's that Movies and Music? Isn't this what the Cloud was made for? I for One love XBMC (Movies), and Google Music... For umm Music streaming.

      You're assuming the cloud is everywhere and permanently available. It may be to you but it certainly isn't out here in the sticks where I live in rural France. Or when I'm on a plane. Or if I visit another country and don't want horrendous roaming costs. That's why I stuck a 128GB SD RAM card into my Note 3 and filled it with good music. Google Music is fine for what it is, but it's not comprehensive WRT my musical tastes and sometimes you can find yourself wrestling with it to get it to play what you want. Movies on a phone screen? Not at my age with my eyesight, even on a Note 3! But music, absolutely, yes.

      No way would I buy a phone without a memory slot. The more the merrier.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

      'Whats the point of even having External SD anymore? Its not like you can use it to boost up your crappy, cramped, and limited Storage Space to install even more Apps...

      'Cause... You can't! THANKS GOOGLE!!'

      Root and SD fix will take care of that.

      Rooting should not invalidate your warranty in the EU. Directive 1999/44/CE implies that it is up to the seller to prove that rooting was the cause of a fault within the statutory warranty period.

      Use TowelRoot to avoid tripping the Knox flag on many Samsung's

      Triangle Away is your friend when returning a device to stock in the event of a warranty claim.

    5. John Tserkezis

      Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

      "Whats the point of even having External SD anymore?"

      I have a 64Gb card nearly full up with maps, PDFs and other data that is either not suitbable for cloud storage, or I do not want it on cloud storage for security reasons anyway. Soon, I'll be considering one of those newfangled 128G cards too.

      64G phones are rare, or so stupidly expensive it's not worth it, but even if I had one *right now*, I'd be about full up to the brim anyway - so it's not good for me anyway.

      My only option is to use an external card you you say there is no point of.

      Without that slot, I will not be buying that phone, and from the looks of things, I'm not alone with those thoughts.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

        I have a 64Gb card nearly full up with maps, PDFs and other data that is either not suitbable for cloud storage, or I do not want it on cloud storage for security reasons anyway. Soon, I'll be considering one of those newfangled 128G cards too.

        64G phones are rare, or so stupidly expensive it's not worth it, but even if I had one *right now*, I'd be about full up to the brim anyway - so it's not good for me anyway.

        My only option is to use an external card you you say there is no point of.

        Without that slot, I will not be buying that phone, and from the looks of things, I'm not alone with those thoughts.

        Yes, but or you:

        a) Rooted?

        b) On a stock KitKat (e.g. 4.4 or higher ROM)?

        1. kend1

          Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

          @MichaelHaber

          Sorry you're having problems. I currently own a Samsung S5 Mini (on Verizon) KitKat 4.4.2 not rooted. Have moved apps, downloaded from PlayStore, onto my 8GB microSD. Also loaded 6GB of music from my PC onto the SD card. You can pull the end off the power charging cable to reveal a USB 2 connector. Plug that into the PC(Windows 7) and transfer files directly to the SD card. Cheers!

    6. mike_ul

      Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

      Try streaming movies on the beach. It's not so easy .....

      1. madmalc

        Movies on the beach?

        Why would anyone want to watch a movie at the beach?????

    7. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

      @ Michael Habel: "Whats's that Movies and Music? Isn't this what the Cloud was made for? I for One love XBMC (Movies), and Google Music... For umm Music streaming."

      Streaming will probably be fine in 10 or 20 years time, but not yet; data is too expensive, service too unreliable, and coverage too patchy at present.

      And that's if you never leave your home country of course - if you do, you try streaming all your music and movies for 2 or 3 weeks while on holiday or away for work - bill "shock" will be an understatement for what you feel when you get home, and that's only if your provider lets you use more than xxMB while you're off network.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really in the post KitKat World.... (Or the shape of things to come?)

      Kit Kat and changing to a 16GB phone with SD card killed the Android for me. All of a sudden apps I liked didn't work. I tried multiple times but could no longer get Droidsound to work.

      That and the fact Android's interface is a bag 'o wank.

  4. Nigel 11

    Battery life-weight trade-off

    Why do the manufacturers feel compelled to make the choice for us? Couldn't they sell the phone with the option of a lighter battery of a heavier one for more hours? Or with two or even three battery pods, so you could change configuration whenever you wanted to? (Like swapping between a CD drive and an extra battery in IBM ThinkPads, some years ago).

    Of course that's only possible if the battery is user-installable.

    1. stucs201

      Re: Battery life-weight trade-off

      Once upon a time some manufacturers did do this, e.g. the ancient Samsung A300 flip phone:

      http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_a300-260.php

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Battery life-weight trade-off

      Samsung ironically used to be one of the best at this. I had one or 2 Samsung Win Mobile smartphones that came with a fat and thin battery and respective cases.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battery life-weight trade-off

      Someone needs to be brave at the phone companies. Sell a thicker phone but have like much longer battery life.

      That fact that the Galaxy S5 has 1000mAh more battery capacity than the iPhone 6 says a lot about Apple's stupid obsession with thinness.

  5. dogged

    > the most aesthetically pleasing phone ever to leave a Samsung assembly plant in the back of a truck

    Do Samsung usually keep assembly plants in the back of trucks?

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Headmaster

      How else would you construct that sentence:

      ". . . ever to leave in the back of a truck a Samsung assembly plant"? Awkward.

      ". . . ever to leave, in the back of a truck, a Samsung assembly plant"? Even more awkward.

      ". . . ever to leave a Samsung assembly plant, in the back of a truck"? Incorrect use of a dependent clause.

      For anyone with even the minutest grasp of context, the sentence is perfectly clear. You could, I suppose, write "ever to depart a Samsung assembly plant in the back of a truck," but the assiduous pedant will still find a way to misconstrue it.

      1. dogged

        That's no reason not to tease the author about it.

      2. Robin

        "... ever to leave a Samsung assembly plant" ?

  6. Jim84

    Metal/Glass phones

    It is kind of irrelevant what the sides and back of the phone are made of as the first thing anyone does with their iPhone/Glaxay/HTC/Sony is buy a plastic/leather case to protect it from falls and scratches. Sods law says that if you don't you'll inevitably drop it in the first week and will have to spend the next 24 months looking at the chips and scratches.

    I think Nokia had the right idea way back in the day when they were making (plastic) dumbphones, but with the key feature that you could buy another plastic case if the first one got scratched/samaged. They often came in loads of crazy colours and designs.

    I don't think it is beyond Samsung to come up with a version of the galaxy alpha with a somehow removable metal rim, and perhaps a dimpled metal back that is less slippery. When these became chipped and scratched you could then just buy replacements (if it is possible to sell these for not too much).

    The other benefit of this is that it cuts about 1.5mm of plastic case thickness off your device. But the real benefit would be being able to feel the premium material your phone is made out of without living in fear of perma damage.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Metal/Glass phones

      There's no reason anybody should have noticed but Nokia phones still do that. The whole back comes off as a single piece and various after-market options are available, including ordinary replacements, more interesting colours, ones with built-in flip covers and probably more.

      1. Shovel

        Re: Metal/Glass phones

        My Galaxy S2 allowed for different back (thicker battery). Are you saying that 3rd party developers no longer make these accessories for the S4 and up?

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Metal/Glass phones

      "The other benefit of this is that it cuts about 1.5mm of plastic case thickness off your device."

      Metal cases and case bands transmit shocks directly to the internals (and screen), instead of deforming as plastic does.

      End result: all those whizzy metal-cased phones have a far higher rate of screen breakage than plastic cased ones.

    3. Pristine Audio

      Re: Metal/Glass phones

      Get a Samsung S-View cover. Replaces the back with a leather-type cover that opens like a book (turning the screen on as it does), looks smart, and protects the phone. I don't particularly care for the plastic backs on Samsung phones, but I've not used one since I got mine. Brilliant idea!

      1. Down not across

        Re: Metal/Glass phones

        Get a Samsung S-View cover. Replaces the back with a leather-type cover that opens like a book (turning the screen on as it does), looks smart, and protects the phone. I don't particularly care for the plastic backs on Samsung phones, but I've not used one since I got mine. Brilliant idea!

        Indeed. An unfortunate fall killed screen on my S2. When I replaced it with S4 I thought might as well offer it bit of extra protection. Almost got the S-View cover, but stumbled across SlimArmor View at fairly equivalent price and it is brilliant. Yes bit bulkier but offers superb protection.

        Some of the bulkier (ie. dirt cheap) USB cables don't quite fit with the phone in the case.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why does Samsung struggle to make a premium-looking device? Why always the cheap plastic? If they really have to use something plastic-like, see what Nokia has managed. It doesn't have to be horrible.

    I know not everyone wants to buy into the world of Apple - that's fine, understood - but the iPhone is just far more of an upscale device for very similar money. Samsung really needs to do better here.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Why does Samsung struggle to make a premium-looking device? "

      Why do people equate "metal" with "premium" ?

      Apart from my other point about metal cases (increased fragility), they also have major antenna issues resulting in lower sensitivity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Why does Samsung struggle to make a premium-looking device? "

        Why do people equate "metal" with "premium" ?

        Think of anything you can buy in a metal version or a plastic version. And which is more expensive? Which is the premium product? The metal one of course. Every time.

        I can't believe I had to write that...

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          "Think of anything you can buy in a metal version or a plastic version. And which is more expensive? Which is the premium product? The metal one of course. Every time.

          I can't believe I had to write that..."

          You mean like cars? Metal cars versus carbon-fibre ones?

          1. Duffy Moon

            Exactly. I would like a carbon fibre case and a sapphire screen on my next phone.

            Also, if they could work out a way of getting it to turn like a cat while falling so as to never land on the screen, then that would be cool.

          2. Monty Cantsin

            "You mean like cars? Metal cars versus carbon-fibre ones?"

            Carbon-fibre isn't plastic.

            I can't believe I had to write that...

            1. tony2heads
              Boffin

              @Monty Cantsin

              You mean Carbon fibre–reinforced polymer? As in a carbonized Polyacrylonitrile in an epoxy resin?

              Sounds like plastic to me.

        2. Tim Bates

          >Think of anything you can buy in a metal version or a plastic version.

          Like a garden shed?

          >And which is more expensive?

          The plastic one. Near double the price ($AU460 vs $979)...

          In this case, the "premium" priced product is the plastic one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gold is worth more than plastic. Would you want a plastic watch or a nice gold or silver one?

    2. robin thakur 1

      I tend to think that Samsung's phone sales have given them an inflated impression of themselves over the last couple of years and a tendency to rest on their laurels while piling endless bloat onto their devices and seeming to spend almost nothing on designers (or they just don't hire the right people) Samsung have simply remained the same, while everybody else has caught up or passed them.

      People only really bought Galaxy phones because they were a viable cheaper alternative to the iPhone early on, they were the only real Phablet game in town and because Samsung spend more than anybody else on marketing. Now there are better AND cheaper alternatives, like the Nexus and the cheaper chinese Apple clones like Xiaomi which actually do realise that the look and feel of devices is actually far more important than the specs to the vast majority of people. Instead of admitting that they got something wrong, Samsung instead say that the market is weak. This is the same market that is buying iPhone 6 Pluses faster than they can be made. The problem is not the market. Samsung's audience for phones either don't have a lot of money or don't want to spend it on Samsung's devices.

      Nobody wants to feel ripped off or mocked and the Galaxy S5 does not look, feel or perform like a flagship product and especially not a premium answer to any iPhone. Out of the box, without any tweaking, the phone is slow and the camera is, I would almost say broken, by its implementation of IS. This Alpha is even less impressive, simply because this is Samsung very vocally going 'all-out' to quell it's critics and ending up with a plastic-backed lemon. Despite being available for many weeks I have yet to see anybody walking around with one of these.

      Samsung mobile will decline until they drop their prices or innovate something which people find genuinely useful or that just plain work reliably. Everybody with > a galaxy S4 uses 'Air-Scrolling' every day don't they?

  8. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    How many

    Broken iPhone screens do you see compared with Galaxy screens?

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: How many

      Where I work, 50% of Nexus screens have a crack, 100% of Galaxy screens have a crack, 100% of HTC screens are cracked and 10% of iPhone screens are damaged.

      Please note that the iPhone metric is very flawed because most of my iPhone toting colleagues have upgraded to iPhone 6 and are still taking especial care of their devices. Before iPhone 6, I'd have put the figure at 90% broken. There are only 2 Galaxys and 2 HTCs - so it's very far from a representative sample.

      My take? All smart-phones are vulnerable. Most will bend, all will crack, and if you want a bullet-proof phone get a dumb phone with a screen smaller than 2". That, or handle your phone with the very greatest care.

      1. dogged

        Re: How many

        Tell it to my old Lumia 920.

        You could beat a bear to death with that thing.

      2. wdmot

        Re: How many

        Wow, where do you work? I know few people whose phone screens are damaged, although my daughter has cracked 3 phone screens. My own Samsung Moment is 5 years old and no damage on the screen (it only has scratches on 2 corners from dropping it on concrete from ~1m).

      3. Adam 1 Silver badge

        @45rpm

        So how are you enjoying your new job in the soap factory?

    2. madmalc

      Re: How many

      iphone screens - almost all I see are broken

      Galaxy screens - never seen a broken one

  9. 45RPM Silver badge

    But does it bend?

    Seriously, this looks like a very nice phone - and especially if 'Stock' Android can be installed on it, sans crapware. Better than a Nexus? That'd be a tall order - but I'd like to see one in the flesh.

    I'd also be interested to see benchmarking against other OS phones - iPhone and Windows mainly, but against a Linux phone would be interesting too. I'd also like to see comparative photos taken with this phone against its competitors. And yes, lets see some metrics on durability since (apparently) phone origami is de rigueur these days.

    The trouble is that this review tells us that the phone is Good - but there's no way of telling whether or not it's the Best.

    Taking @Alan Brown's point - I agree, what's wrong with plastic? But if plastic is to be used, celebrate it as plastic - the tackiness only creeps in if the plastic is cheap or if it pretends to be something that it isn't - like metal, wood or leather.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: But does it bend?

      The Note 4 bends where the Note 3 didn't, and the main difference is the metal band. So this may bend as well. It would be equally as irrelevant as it is with the iPhone 6 though, unless you deliberately try to bend it or are in the habit of keeping it in your back pocket and then sitting on it.

      http://mashable.com/2014/10/09/bendgate-samsung-galaxy-note-4/

  10. Brenda McViking

    I'll go over the basics of any phone costing over £500 upfront, as even Samsung keep missing the mark.

    Things which MUST be included or they're not even considered:

    Full HD screen, with MHL OR a micro HDMI slot.

    A microSD card slot. 128GB support absolute minimum.

    A removable battery. 2000mAh minimum. Actually, 2500mAh as it's 2014. (~10Wh in lithium)

    NFC, Bluetooth,IR,2x cameras, 1 with full HD recording, a 3.5mm socket, LED for torch use, a light level sensor that works, wifi + tethering, and GPS.

    Things they should have:

    waterproofing, dedicated camera button, thin case options, quality finish, Qi wireless charging built in, stereo speakers, xenon flash, pay-by-bonk

    Is it really so difficult?

    1. fargonaz

      Why not a nice shovel and some toilet paper too?

      Because you'll never be able to please AR types.

  11. John 110

    Comparing to Fisher-Price

    Can I take it that that means my Fisher-Price-like phone it still going to be usable in 30 years time. I've passed my kids' Fisher-Price toys on to my grandkids (yes I am a cheapskate).

    Personally, I think that when the aliens come to see why the Earth went dark, all they'll find is cockroaches playing with Fisher-Price...

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Comparing to Fisher-Price

      My thoughts exactly. If the only side effect of throwing it into the tiles is that it starts playing the ABC song until you reboot it then I'm sold.

  12. stringyfloppy

    Is this the same as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which just came out in the US?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aesthetics me arse

    Am I the only one who really doesn't give two fiddlers about subjective 'aesthetics' ? I'd far rather have a phone made from tough plastic with an sd card and removeable battery etc, than one without that's made from common aluminum that needs to be put in a bloody case anyway. Sick of hearing this endless crap.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Aesthetics me arse

      No, you're not. But I do think the absence of support SD cards is a bit unusual.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Megapixel myth

    "The 2.1Mp webcam has the iPhone 6’s 1.2Mp affair well beaten if you are all about the selfie."

    Can't believe we're still subjected to comments like this in 2014.

    Can we please have some objective (or even just subjective) tests of camera quality?

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: Megapixel myth

      No space for a multi-paragraph analysis of the respective qualities of the webcams in the iP6 and the Alpha but a quick comparison demonstrated to my personal satisfaction that the Alpha's camera has the iP6's beaten in terms of both colour accuracy and image brightness. The extra pixels are the least of it.

  15. gerdesj Silver badge

    Cor: check out the number of ACs here

    "But once you get the thing in your hand, the coin soon drops. Gone is the creaky, plastic case to be replaced by a much more solid, stylish and expensive-feeling affair, complete with an exposed, chamfered metal band running along the circumference of the handset. "

    Well I've got something in my hand, err it's OK - just a SGS4. It's a fucking phone and does stuff. God I feel so inadequate that it's not whatever the bollocks above says. It has lost some of the chrome plating on the edges but apart from that it looks identical to when I took it out of the box with the addtion of a few smudges from my fingers on the screen. I've dropped it loads of times on various surfaces and it is still happy.

    I'm happy with 2 gens ago: it's still bloody fast - Google Earth for example is fluid and smooth.

    Cheers

    Jon

    PS Wonder who'll downvote me: Sshills for being happy with an old device or iShills for daring to like something else?

  16. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    But how long will the Galaxy last?

    Given the big black holes in Samsung's Q3 results {yeah I know this is The Register} and their announcement that their Mobile Division is in for a big overhaul to compete with the low/mid price range phones coming out of China, how long will Samsung have anything in the top end price bracket?

    Will they leave the top end all to Apple in their race to the bottom?

    IMHO, Samsung can't compete with the likes of Xaomi, lenovo etc on price or functionality so they may just have to give up alltogether.

    Frankly, they have far too many different models to make sense. Many models are made for specific markets. All this specificty costs money.

  17. Da Weezil

    Wont buy another thing with the Samsung name on it. I have found them to be less than durable.looks like it will be a Nexus, Fire or 6+ next.

  18. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Alert

    It makes you wonder...

    ..if the designers/project managers ever used the phones prior to release. Otherwise there would surely be MHD and SD card slots. To say that the iPhone 6 is a more capable, powerful, or higher quality device than the S5 is to put it gently, hogwash. The S5 has a much better camera, and features that Apple is just getting around to. And so far I haven't heard of anyone bending one or having one explode in their pocket. (2 stories about exploding iPhones since the 6 was released)

    My only complaints with the S5 would be the bloatware, and the way it feels in your hand, though this is no worse than the way the iPhone 6 feels. Oh, and the way the crappy grooved chrome bezel around the phone apparently was inspired by a 1950s-era kitchen table. At least the groove makes it a bit more grippy though.

  19. Sebastian Brosig
    Coat

    up the creek without a rowing implement?

    nonsense. you can paddle just fine with any of those over-large smartphones, be they waterproof or not.

  20. Yugguy

    500 quid?

    fck me.

  21. Dabooka Silver badge
    Meh

    Well that helped no-one....

    So we have another £500 with no discernable (as I read it) must have USP. In fact I couldn't see anything on there that I wouldn't expect on most smart phones ot be honest.

    I want a screen to see things and swipe at. Check

    Must have a battery, even one that needs charging every day or two. Check

    Camera for taking pics of stuff and things. Check

    GPS for nav. Check

    WiFi for browsing at home / pals / work. Check

    As for waterproofing? Not an idiot, never droppped a phone in water yet (although the missus has, read into that what you will...). Dust proofing? Don't live in the Gobi. etc etc...

    These are the things that matter to me on my phone, meaning the reason I won't look at this again is cost. Pure and simple, which is a pity as I too am at conract end and haven't a clue what to replace my aging but slightly tetchy Motorola Razr i. M8? Moto G? Any advice appreciated!

  22. N000dles
    Happy

    Why would you not just buy a One Plus One?

    Okay, it doesn't have a fingerprint scanner.....

    The external design looks and feels great. It is 64gb, 3gb of RAM and as I sit here typing at 4pm I've only gone through 23% of my battery since 7am. Current uptime is 486 hours and it has never looked like needing a reboot. Sure it doesn't have an internal SD slot but a micro sized USB OnTheGo adapter means I can slave whatever storage I want to the thing. That part is awesome and works so damn well. I keep a card reader in my camera bag and with the USB OnTheGo I was able to swap photos at a recent wedding with half a dozen people using just my phone and our cameras while holding our glasses of Champagne standing in the sunny courtyard. Want to run better software? It is already Cyanogenmod..... Forget 720p and record your video in 4K too.

    And the best feature is the unlocked £269 price tag.

  23. JustNiz

    Nice thing? Really?

    From the description it looks like someone took an old cheap phone and added a metal ring around the edge, believing thats enough to fool people into thinking its as classy as an Iphone.

    You'd think that someone somewhere in Samsung would "get" what classy design means, but apparently still not.

    The lack of an SD slot alone would keep me from buying this, let alone that the rest of the tech specs (battery, screen res, USB interface version etc) are all compromises, and look scarily like the spec a 3-4 year old phone.

  24. intrigid

    "no memory card slot"

    Stopped reading at that point.

  25. Huckleberry Muckelroy

    Not with Knox

    No, the biggest thing missing from this phone is the ability to mod the software. Samsung's Knox security app firmly puts the kibosh on installing firmware not meeting Samsung's approval. This includes simply rooting your phone. So open-source be damned. Samsung wants to be able to do BYOD to government and military, and so imposed security that screwed the rest of us.

  26. ecofeco Silver badge
    Pint

    That's nice and all

    ...but I'm still sticking with my sub $100 new phone that has year old hardware specs and the previous version of Android and I'm still happy.

  27. Rafikibob

    Storage

    Always makes me laugh when people say "you don't need storage, that's what the cloud's for".

    Yeah...i'll be right on that, just as soon as I can have 20Mbps+, EVERYWHERE.

    We're a million miles away from cloud storage being reliable ubiquitous primary storage. And by a million miles I mean 5-10. The networks are still favouring headline speeds over real world coverage. And no, I don't live in the sticks.

  28. Yorkeie

    screen

    Just bought an Alpha a week ago.

    The screen has a crack already!

    Been using an s2 for four plus years and it's taken a hell of a abuse with no screen cover but with the same type gel case I've got on the new alpha.

    very sad and disappointed with this phone's strength.

    been waiting for something that wasn't too much bigger than the s2. wish I hadn't bothered now.

  29. rav

    Samsung = Value

    With Apple reporting so much profit this past quarter one has to wonder what is the consumer actually buying with an iPhone?

    Clearly he margins are very high on iPhone 6, so high as to make the slab overpriced and completely lacking in value.

  30. rav

    Apple iPhone 6 is cheap and bendy

    "Review It must sting Samsung that the criticism most often levelled at the manufacturer is that its flagship Galaxy S devices feel cheap and plasticky. And for once the criticism is not just coming from Apple fans."

    SO now that Apply 6 is cheap and bendy where is the criticism?

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