The Galaxy Alpha is terrifically thin and light, though that’s not the first thing you’ll notice about it. It happens to be damn good looking too. The sheen from those polished edges makes all the difference, combining with the lustrous Super AMOLED display to make a great first impression. Some devices look better in press photos than reality – the LG G Watch R is a recent example – but the Galaxy Alpha is exactly the opposite. You have to see it in person to appreciate its slick and refined look. Everything is appropriately proportioned, the 4.7-inch screen size feels just right, and ease of one-handed use is as good as you’ll get from any device in that size class. Those who might have felt let down by the new Moto X moving to a larger 5.2-inch screen may find solace in Samsung’s more compact Alpha. Ergonomically, this phone is a delight. I don’t want to call it perfect, but it kind of is.
The Galaxy Alpha is a very interesting device, because it’s essentially Samsung’s answer to Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6, while the upcoming iPhone 6 is Apple’s answer to Samsung’s devices with larger screens. The same applies to Samsung’s Note 4, which now also sports a metal construction. Over the coming months, we’re going to see which of these two answers will have the biggest impact.
I don’t like making predictions – people, and thus the market, are fickle – but I’m fairly convinced that once the dust of the new iPhones settles down (they will sell very well, of course), nothing much will have changed, market share-wise, compared to now. People aren’t going to switch away from iOS because Samsung now offers metal phones, and similarly, Android users aren’t going to switch to iOS because they’re going to get an extra row of icons on their homescreen.
Still, all this shows competition in action: companies producing better products. We, the people, win.