Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5: What's the difference?

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Alpha premium metal smartphone and we've had time to use it.

It marks the first smartphone the South Korean giant has launched featuring a metal build, but how do the rest of its specs compare? We have put it up against the Samsung Galaxy S5, which we've also used since that was released, to see what the differences are and which one comes out on top.

The Galaxy Alpha is smaller, slimmer and lighter

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha measures 132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7mm and weighs 114g compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5 that comes in at 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm and hits the scales at 145g. 

It's amazing how different the Alpha feels, it's one of the lightest and slimmest phones we've handled. Despite this is still feels strong and has a real premium look to it.

The Galaxy Alpha will be available in Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver and Scuba Blue, adding a silver option compared to the Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy S5 has a bigger, sharper display

The Galaxy Alpha has a 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display that delivers a 1280 x 720 resolution with a pixel density of 312ppi. The Galaxy S5 on the other hand, has a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution offering a pixel density of 431ppi.

This means the Galaxy S5 not only offers a bigger display but it will also be sharper and clearer than the Galaxy Alpha as more pixels are packed in per inch. Despite that the Alpha is still clear with a fast refresh rate and brilliant colours. It's a genuine struggle to see the difference in videos - although on text when looking close you can spot the variation.

The Galaxy S5 has a better camera

When it comes to the camera, the Galaxy S5 pips the Galaxy Alpha to the post here too with its 16-megapixel rear snapper, compared to the 12-megapixel camera on the Galaxy Alpha.

You shouldn't see much difference when it comes to selfies or video calling though as the Galaxy Alpha offers a 2.1-megapixel front camera and the Galaxy S5 has a 2-megapixel offering.

You'll also find the same camera features on the Galaxy Alpha as you would on the Galaxy S5 including Beauty Face, Dual Camera, HDR, Panorama and Selective Focus. Additionally, both devices can shoot video in UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 30fps and they both offer auto focus and flash.

Despite the lower resolution the Alpha camera is still excellent - and it's noticeably faster too. 

Same processor but the Galaxy Alpha has no microSD support

Moving under the hood, the Galaxy Alpha comes with either an octa-core processor made up of a 1.8GHz quad-core chip and a 1.3Ghz quad-core chip, or a 2.5Ghz quad-core chip, which is the same as the Galaxy S5. There is also 2GB of RAM supporting both devices so you shouldn't see a difference in performance.

There will be a difference in battery life though, and while the Galaxy Alpha sports the same Ultra Power Saving Mode as the Galaxy S5, it only comes with a 1860mAh battery compared to the 2800mAh battery on board the Galaxy S5. But balance that out with the screen size and resolution and the Alpha seems to perform better, with the octa-core version at least.

The Galaxy S5 gives you more storage options for videos, photos and music as it supports microSD expansion up to 128GB, while the Galaxy Alpha comes with 32GB of internal storage and that's all you get.

Both come with the latest version of Android

The Galaxy Alpha will ship with the latest version of Android KitKat 4.4.4 as expected, matching the Galaxy S5. It also supports LTE Cat.6 meaning 300Mbps internet connectivity, which tops the Galaxy S5 plus the Galaxy Alpha brings the Download Booster and Quick Connect features with it too.

Additionally, the Galaxy Alpha offers all the usual connectivity features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC, but it also includes the fingerprint reader and heart rate sensor offered on the Galaxy S5.

Price

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha price has not been announced yet.

The Galaxy S5 is currently available for £549 and a previous UK retailer accidentally set a pre-order page for the Galaxy Alpha live before it was announced with the same £549 price tag, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Conclusion

The Galaxy Alpha gives those looking for a more premium device an option, but it's specs lack slightly compared to the Galaxy S5.

While the Galaxy Alpha offers the same processor, RAM and internal storage all in a smaller, slimmer and lighter build, the Galaxy S5 tops it in the other areas, on paper at least.

You'll find more megapixels on the rear camera with the Galaxy S5, along with microSD support, a bigger battery capacity and a bigger and sharper display.

There is a silver colour option with the Galaxy Alpha though and if the price turns out to be the same, it will probably come down to whether you want metal or plastic.

Despite lower specs the Alpha looks and feels so much nicer and genuinely performs as well as the S5 it will come down to personal choice which is chosen by most.