Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Introduction


Climbing to the top of the leader boards for most of the year, the Galaxy S5 continues to be a darling of a gem in the mobile space – where its reign of dominance is rarely tested. Not surprisingly, it received much acclaim for its unprecedented set of features and impressive overall performance, but its design still came off undesiring for something so high-end. That’s where Samsung does justice with the Galaxy Alpha, a profoundly better designed phone. But is looks alone enough to catapult it over the renowned Galaxy S5, especially when they’re priced identically with a 2-year contract?

Design

The Galaxy Alpha is the best designed _phone_ out of Samsung’s camp, making the Galaxy S5’s design obsolete.

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. The Galaxy Alpha is the best designed smartphone to come out of Samsung’s camp, thanks to its solid construction, attractive metal-trimmed bezel, and compact feel in the hand. Indeed, it’s a stark contrast to the design of the language of the S5. Despite the S5’s less-than-desirable looks and its all plastic construction, it features a water-resistant element – something that the Alpha doesn’t offer.

Seeing that they’re closely related, it doesn’t shock us that they offer pretty much the same set of features, ports, and button. In fact, they share common things like their finger print sensors, removable batteries, and heart rate sensors. However, the Galaxy S5 packs on some additional amenities that clearly indicates it’s Sammy’s pride and joy – like its microSD card slot and IR blaster.

 

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 inches
132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm
4.06 oz (115 g)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5



Display

The Galaxy S5 sports larger display with higher pixel density, but the Alpha is more color accurate.

Size and resolution, those are what’s most apparently different with these two displays from a first look. The Galaxy S5 stuffs a larger 5.1-inch 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED panel into its body, while the Galaxy Alpha has a more hand-friendly 4.7-inch 720 x 1080 Super AMOLED display. While the two appear on par to one another from a details standpoint from a normal viewing distance, the Galaxy Alpha’s decision to rely on a PenTile pixel arrangement makes it less sharp – and it doesn’t help either that its resolution chimes in at 720p.

Well, a comforting quality about the Galaxy Alpha’s display is that it offers a more well-balanced color reproduction than the Galaxy S5. It’s stark contrast to the Galaxy S5’s over-saturated color reproduction, which definitely gives it that showroom wow factor, but it’s not accurate at all. Aside from that, they pretty much offer the same qualities with their displays – such as their wide viewing angles, deep black color, and similar brightness outputs.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 442
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8183
(Poor)
2.25
5.08
(Average)
7.38
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 422
(Good)
1.7
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6840
(Excellent)
1.96
2.19
(Good)
2.38
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 49.5%
41.2%
unmeasurable
12.9%
2%
154.3%
253.4%
Samsung Galaxy S5 62.7%
50%
unmeasurable
4.7%
1.8%
23.2%
9.9%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Introduction


Climbing to the top of the leader boards for most of the year, the Galaxy S5 continues to be a darling of a gem in the mobile space – where its reign of dominance is rarely tested. Not surprisingly, it received much acclaim for its unprecedented set of features and impressive overall performance, but its design still came off undesiring for something so high-end. That’s where Samsung does justice with the Galaxy Alpha, a profoundly better designed phone. But is looks alone enough to catapult it over the renowned Galaxy S5, especially when they’re priced identically with a 2-year contract?

Design

The Galaxy Alpha is the best designed _phone_ out of Samsung’s camp, making the Galaxy S5’s design obsolete.

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. The Galaxy Alpha is the best designed smartphone to come out of Samsung’s camp, thanks to its solid construction, attractive metal-trimmed bezel, and compact feel in the hand. Indeed, it’s a stark contrast to the design of the language of the S5. Despite the S5’s less-than-desirable looks and its all plastic construction, it features a water-resistant element – something that the Alpha doesn’t offer.

Seeing that they’re closely related, it doesn’t shock us that they offer pretty much the same set of features, ports, and button. In fact, they share common things like their finger print sensors, removable batteries, and heart rate sensors. However, the Galaxy S5 packs on some additional amenities that clearly indicates it’s Sammy’s pride and joy – like its microSD card slot and IR blaster.


Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
5.21 x 2.58 x 0.26 inches
132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7 mm
4.06 oz (115 g)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5



Display

The Galaxy S5 sports larger display with higher pixel density, but the Alpha is more color accurate.

Size and resolution, those are what’s most apparently different with these two displays from a first look. The Galaxy S5 stuffs a larger 5.1-inch 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED panel into its body, while the Galaxy Alpha has a more hand-friendly 4.7-inch 720 x 1080 Super AMOLED display. While the two appear on par to one another from a details standpoint from a normal viewing distance, the Galaxy Alpha’s decision to rely on a PenTile pixel arrangement makes it less sharp – and it doesn’t help either that its resolution chimes in at 720p.

Well, a comforting quality about the Galaxy Alpha’s display is that it offers a more well-balanced color reproduction than the Galaxy S5. It’s stark contrast to the Galaxy S5’s over-saturated color reproduction, which definitely gives it that showroom wow factor, but it’s not accurate at all. Aside from that, they pretty much offer the same qualities with their displays – such as their wide viewing angles, deep black color, and similar brightness outputs.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 442
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8183
(Poor)
2.25
5.08
(Average)
7.38
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 422
(Good)
1.7
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6840
(Excellent)
1.96
2.19
(Good)
2.38
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 49.5%
41.2%
unmeasurable
12.9%
2%
154.3%
253.4%
Samsung Galaxy S5 62.7%
50%
unmeasurable
4.7%
1.8%
23.2%
9.9%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Even though the Galaxy Alpha is running a new build of TouchWiz, the Galaxy S5 has a couple of software goodies that deepen its experience.

Being in the same group in Samsung’s portfolio, they’re running the company’s much vaunted TouchWiz interface on top of Android – albeit, the Alpha has a newer build. Due to that, it benefits from having a slightly tweaked visual upgrade with its interface, but it’s not profoundly too different.

UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5

UI of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha


UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5

UI of the Samsung Galaxy S5


Of course, they also share many common software features that give them a modest productivity element. For example, we have true multi-tasking thanks to Multi-Window, previewing content using various Air View gestures with our finger, and all of Sammy’s typical services, which include S Health and S Voice. Despite their similarities, the Galaxy S5 receives a couple more features due to its flagship status – they include the ability to use Air Gestures to scroll through the gallery or web browser by waving out hand over the display, and a Smart Remote app that transforms it into a universal remote.

In due time, the Galaxy S5 will be treated to a newer build of the platform – so it’ll sport the same updated TouchWiz interface that’s running in the Alpha. Ultimately, there’s no denying that their platform experiences are similar to one another, but there are a few extra goodies in tow with the Galaxy S5.

Processor and Memory

Same processor, same performance.

Using the AT&T variants of the two smartphones, they’re actually powered by the same chipset – a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC coupled with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU. Looking into their performances, they’re pretty much identical with real-world tasks, so there’s not one that’s necessarily snappier.

Bearing the same on-contract pricing, $200, we’re given a spacious 32GB of internal storage with the Galaxy Alpha – while the Galaxy S5 has half that at 16GB. We’re not too bummed by that revelation because we can supplement the Galaxy S5’s capacity with its microSD card slot, which isn’t something offered by the Galaxy Alpha.

Performance benchmarks

Quadrant
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 25041
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 24343
AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 42869
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1186
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 1517
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 3479
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 2412
Sunspider
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 445
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 27.8
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 39.2
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 11.7
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 22.7
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1054
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 1132
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 944
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 949
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 2900
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 2960
View all

Internet and Connectivity


The basic task of surfing the web is intact here, since they offer responsive navigational controls and speedy 4G LTE connectivity. Due to its larger and higher resolution display, in addition to its secondary feature of being able to scroll vertically via its Air Gestures, we prefer the experience of the Galaxy S5 more.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Web browsers - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Web browsers - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5 - Web browsers - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Web browsers - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

 

Samsung Galaxy S5

 

Web browsers


Being world phones, you’ll be able to bring both of them abroad with no issues in compatibility – plus, they offer the same LTE band support (7 to be exact). In addition, they’re packaged with the same set of modern connectivity goodies. Specifically, they consist of aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and NFC.

Camera

The Galaxy Alpha snaps some sharp looking photos, but the Galaxy S5’s quality is simply better.

The megapixels war is ongoing, one that’s not going to end anytime soon – especially when phones are constantly receiving higher resolution cameras. Totting along some juicy gear for the occasion, a 12-megapixel camera for the Galaxy Alpha and an even beefier 16-megapixel one on the Galaxy S5, they’re complemented by their identical camera apps, which are filled with a handful of manual controls and shooting modes to please all sorts of shutterbugs.

Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha


The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5 - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5

The camera app of the Samsung Galaxy S5



Comparing the samples, the results look mighty similar to each other, but as we inspect them closer, we undoubtedly realize that photos are better with the Galaxy S5’s camera. Well, it’s certainly tough to gauge that with outdoor shots, where they deliver wonderful looking compositions, but the Galaxy S5 packs more detail in its shots. Color reproduction is almost identical, but there’s a subtle subdued tone to the Galaxy Alpha’s set of shots. However, the most distinguishable difference is the Galaxy S5’s more favorable results under low light.



Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 2.5
3
300
243
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 2.68
3.2
340
248
View all

Although it’s a win for the Galaxy S5 when it comes to snapping still images, we don’t particularly find one better at shooting video, since they record some sharp looking videos. In fact, they boast similar qualities – like smooth continuous auto-focus, decent exposure adjustment, and mostly clear audio. Heck, they both also offer 4K video recording.


Multimedia

Having the larger screen and more potent speaker, the Galaxy S5 is the ideal choice for multimedia consumption.

Since we’re dealing with TouchWiz, their music players are identical to one another. Listening to their audio quality, the Galaxy S5’s speaker has a stronger output and deeper tone – whereas the Galaxy Alpha exhibits strain at the loudest volume.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Music players - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Music players - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5 - Music players - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Music players - Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

 

Samsung Galaxy S5

 

Music players


Watching videos on the Galaxy S5 is more ideal, mainly because it offers the larger screen, better resolution, and the iridescence to keep our attention. Still, we do appreciate that they offer a multi-tasking element that allows us to continue watching a video on top of whatever else we’re doing.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 0.623
Samsung Galaxy S5 0.43
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 72.2
Samsung Galaxy S5 81
View all


Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Samsung Galaxy S5
Call Quality

Phone calls can be problematic, just because of their unfavorable qualities.

Honestly, call quality is rather tough with both phones, seeing that they have some unsavory qualities. For example, the Galaxy S5 performance is muffled sounding through the earpiece – while the Galaxy Alpha is bogged down on both ends of the line with robotic toned voices.

Battery

Don’t let its compact size fool you, that’s because the Galaxy Alpha slightly edges out the Galaxy S5 when it comes to battery life.

Impressively, the smaller 1860 mAh battery capacity of the Galaxy Alpha is more long lasting than the larger 2800 mAh battery in the Galaxy S5, but it’s not a whole lot more. In our battery benchmark test, the Alpha achieves a mark of 7 hours and 50 minutes – while the Galaxy S5 isn’t too far behind at 7 hours and 38 minutes.

Battery life

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.

name
Time
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
7h 50 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy S5
7h 38 min (Excellent)
View all

Charging time

name
minutes
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
108
Samsung Galaxy S5
122
View all

Conclusion


Here in the US, consumers can pick up both smartphones through AT&T for the 2-year contract price of $200. Somewhat of a strange decision to say quite frankly, it’s tough to recommend handing over the cash to pick up the Galaxy Alpha. Yes, it’s certainly gorgeous looking, but the same amount will land you the more features rich Galaxy S5 – not to mention it’s also better spec’d, offers a water resistant property with its construction, and performs better in a variety of areas over its sibling.

At the end of the day, we seriously feel that it’s a matter of size preference. If you feel that the Galaxy S5 is simply too large for your liking, then it’s a logical decision to pick up the Galaxy S5. If not, stick with the Galaxy S5 for its totality and richness.