back to article Gaze upon the desirable Son of Alpha: Samsung Galaxy A5

The most important Samsung phone of the last 12 months was the Galaxy S6, right? Nah. It was the Galaxy Alpha. The Alpha heralded a momentous change in Samsung design, from tired and mundane to rather stylish, and in material quality, from cheap plastic to high quality metal. Samsung Galaxy A5 Samsung Galaxy A5 In one leap …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the competition from the more obscure Chinese OEMs is irrelevant

    That will only be a short term issue.

    More people are slow catching onto the fact that quality of the Chinese products has massively improved and even got a little innovative. So its only a matter of time before this accelerates and they start actually biting at Samsung's heals.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: the competition from the more obscure Chinese OEMs is irrelevant

      Quote:

      With the majority of British buyers looking for monthly contract deals from a high street name they can pronounce, the competition from the more obscure Chinese OEMs is irrelevant.

      how about this...

      With the majority of British 'lemmintgs/muppets' sadly still looking for monthly contract deals from a high street name they can pronounce (what is Dixons etc called this week), the competition from the more obscure Chinese OEMs is irrelevant.

      The reason for not being able to buy the chinese kit at your local emporium is down to cash. There is simply more money to be made from fleecing the illinformed and selling them something that might be crap but makes the retailer more money.

      1. Al Taylor

        Re: the competition from the more obscure Chinese OEMs is irrelevant

        You are more than likely quite right about muppets and lemmings, but it doesn't alter the fact that the average punter British seems to think in terms of Apple, Samsung and Other Stuff.

  2. Phuq Witt
    Trollface

    I'm Calling 'Fake' on Those Screenshots on P3

    18ºC and Sunny in Salford, indeed!

    it's like The Smiths never happened.

  3. cs94njw

    Wow, that's a tiny battery. 36 hrs? Really?

    I think I'll wait for the Huwaiei (sic)

    1. big_D Silver badge

      It depends on how much you use it... I get between 4 hours and 72 hours out of my Galaxy S3.

  4. Teiwaz Silver badge
    Coat

    Sure it's a Samsung?

    Didn't read the article title. Looked at the first picture.

    It does kinda look like an iphone...

    1. phil dude
      Pint

      Re: Sure it's a Samsung?

      I just made the reverse mistake (is that a Samsung?)

      Beer, well guess where I was...;-)

      P.

  5. Thomas 6
    Flame

    How important are the looks of a mobile phone? People pay a lot of money for a phone made out of expensive materials (that are often easier to damage, don't wear as well) and then put it straight into a case.

    If you're going to hide the phone anyway what does it matter what it looks like?

  6. Bassey

    Any chance of an A3 review

    Any chance of a review of the A3 too? 4.5" is as large as I'm prepared to go (and, frankly, I'd prefer a bit smaller but can't find anything with a half-way decent spec).

    There's no mention of any form of wireless charging though, which is a real shame.

  7. David Neil

    Had it for a couple of months

    Got mine mid March, been very happy with it as a step up from a battered S3.

    nice battery life and looks nice with a blue/grey back.

    Pricewise got it on the same tarrif I've always been on, 600 mins (free to same network), unlimited texts, 2Gb data for £20 a month. Suits me down to the ground.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Had it for a couple of months

      "nice battery life"

      For a year or so, at any rate.

  8. Bullseyed

    Catch up to HTC? Aren't they nearly out of business?

    Samsung has at least 3x the marketshare of HTC. There is nothing to catch up to. Samsung has been the market leader for quite some time.

    The only people who care about 'high quality materials' for device build are people who review phones. Everyone else uses a case and knows that the build of the device is irrelevant.

    1. Al Taylor

      "There is nothing to catch up to"

      In terms of build quality and design there most certainly was.

    2. Irongut

      What is this case you speak of? Is it that tatty thing I see on iPhones?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't knock cases and screen shields. I recently replaced the shield on mine, and the clerk was amazed that my two-year-old S4 was still in near-pristine condition (trust me, I've seen more cracked screens and chipped frames than I would like to recall). This in spite of the fact it travels every day and has been on its share of flights, trips out of its natural element, even the odd fall. That's why one of the first things I look for after getting a phone is a case. I consider a naked phone to be one that's not treated with care.

        1. cambsukguy

          Yes, I see cracked and broken iPhones and S3/4/5s all the time too.

          I never look for a case for a phone I buy though, I just buy one that is built well.

          And it may be true that my case-less phone is treated with less care but it is two years old and almost unmarked, despite many drops and scrapes.

          But then it is made from materials like machined monoblock plastic that doesn't tend to show wear and marks as well as being radio transparent, along with thick Gorilla glass that is borderline unbreakable. Screen shield, horrible, ugly.

          Every time I see someone walking and talking (or driving) with a giant phone against their head plus dangly case flapping about all over the place I just wonder why they bother paying for the thinner, sexier phone with the less-good battery life in the first place.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "But then it is made from materials like machined monoblock plastic that doesn't tend to show wear and marks as well as being radio transparent, along with thick Gorilla glass that is borderline unbreakable. Screen shield, horrible, ugly."

            Depends on the shield. A good shield tends to look natural on the phone and provides an extra line of defense, and yes I have seen even Gorilla Glass scratched, etched, and even cracked, so I take any claims of "uncrackable, unscratchable" glass with a dash of salt and get the shield anyway as a precaution. It's a lot easier to replace a scratched shield than a scratched screen; that's my justification. Same with the cases. Since I've seen metal phones all dented and banged up, and since even my careful handling occasionally results in a dropped phone, I won't place all my trust in the bare phone. Again, easier to replace a case than a phone component. Plus the case is better-made to take some abuse.

            "Every time I see someone walking and talking (or driving) with a giant phone against their head plus dangly case flapping about all over the place I just wonder why they bother paying for the thinner, sexier phone with the less-good battery life in the first place."

            I'm not a fan of the "thin and sexy" type. But since that's the trend with phones these days, I'm kind of stuck with it. Function over form is my motto, so if I have to carry a giant phone to get good battery life, so be it. I once had an oversized battery and back but switched back when the usual beef about aftermarket batteries reared its ugly head (heat and bulging). So I'm back to stock mostly out of necessity.

  9. DougS Silver badge

    USB port does not support hosting?

    They are even copying Apple in the limitations! The non removable back is understandable though dropping the SD card support in the S6 is more questionable. But why would they drop USB hosting support? That's software, and doesn't make it any cheaper. It is almost as if Apple is secretly running their engineering department, trying to eliminate anything Apple haters see as a reason to criticize the iPhone when comparisons are made.

    1. Deltics

      Re: USB port does not support hosting?

      > That's software, and doesn't make it any cheaper.

      Really ? You might have heard about these little things called software patents ? You might even have heard about all sorts of law suits involving "infringements". If you were really paying attention you might even have heard that often the settlement in these cases involves paying sums in lieu of licensing fees.

      Incorporating a software feature can absolutely add to the cost of a device if the feature that software implements belongs to someone else and you have to pay them for the privilege.

      Which isn't to say that I think this is A Good Idea. It's just the way it is.

      This also isn't to say that this is the reason for the omission in this case. But it could be.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: USB port does not support hosting?

        But if that were true, they'd have never implemented it in the first place, rather than implement it one time then drop it the next.

        Anyway, a non-replaceable battery is a deal-breaker for me. I actually take care of my phones so they stand a passing fair chance of outlasting the battery, plus I've had incidences of batteries wearing out prematurely.

  10. damian fell

    The non-replaceable battery is why I've just upgraded my 3.5 year old S2 to an Alpha, specifically because it may be the last Samsung phone with a replaceable battery - which to me is indispensable for those multi day camping trips and the annual Glastonbury pilgrimage!

    Now I just need to find the best deal between ebay and amazon on spare batteries before the end of June.

    1. b166er

      Interested in your experience with the Alpha, as I have 3 S2's. Do you love the Alpha too? :)

  11. Terry Maguire

    Call for better design

    In the UK alone we throw away over 1 million tonnes of electrical & electronic equipment each year, a lot of it containing materials hazardous to the environment and human health. I am not a member of the beard and sandals brigade but surely by now designers can produce products that allow for easy battery swaps. Maybe I'm just naive in thinking built-in obsolescence can't be one of the ways that manufacturers use to sell us more - surely not.

  12. Tom Graham

    Unimpressive

    I hate to sound like an advertisement.

    But having just bought a new phone from an "obscure, irrelevant" Chinese OEM -

    Specifically a ZTE Blade S6

    I have to say it pisses over this Samsung.

    £170 from Amazon.

    A 615 processor instead of 410

    2GB RAM instead of 1 (makes a huge difference to multitasking & performance compared to my old Moto G)

    Android 5.0.2 instead of KitKat.

    A non-pentile 720 screen.

    Sure, it's plastic, but I have come to the conclusion that plastic is actually a better material for making phones from than metal and glass.

    1. Hyper72

      Re: Unimpressive

      Actually it it not about plastic vs. metal, it's about the whole construction as well as quality of materials (many types of plastic and metal). For example while some plastic phones are creaky, have gaps and have bits peeling off, even the back panel, others like the iPhone 5c have a well made polycarbonate body on a steel frame, making it very sturdy.

      So you really have to judge each device on its own. Disregarding non issue click bait like bend-gate.

      I just got a Samsung Galaxy S6 with a glass back, replacing an iPhone 4. I never drop my phones but if I was prone to that I'd probably not get the S6.

  13. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Sir

    To be honest I would be more impressed if they came up with a way of re-programming the headset button(s) to be able to mute a fucking call instead of disconnecting it like I'm used to on my BB.

    I've tried loads of different apps supposedly capable of changing the operation, but none of them work. So in order to mute/unmute I have to have the phone in my hand/on the desk in front of me and open in order to quickly go on mute (should my dog start barking insanely at a bee or something for example).

    Can't be too hard can it? Apparently it is. Official support response is to use the 'mute' button on the screen. (This is on an S5)

    Life, don't talk to me about life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sir

      It's because the Handset button has a standard established of Answer/Hang Up. I believe it's been that way since before Android (I'm sure my Nokia N95 did this). Blackberry bucked the trend, unfortunately. There just hasn't been that much of a demand for a mute. If people need to break off to hear the outside, it's easy enough to just pull off the earpiece.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019