Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S comparison review

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S

With the announcement of the new metal design Samsung Galaxy Alpha, we've put it up against the Apple iPhone 5S. Find out what the difference is in our Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S comparison. Also see: Samsung Galaxy Alpha review.

See also: Best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S: Price

The Galaxy Alpha comes it at around £500 (which is more than the Galaxy S5 despite mostly downgraded specs). Nevertheless, that means it's cheaper than the iPhone 5S which hasn't got any cheaper since launching. It will set you back at least £549 for the most affordable model but goes up to £709.

See also: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Alpha comparison review: Alpha adds metal but suffers elsewhere.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S: Design

One of the key reasons why we're comparing the Galaxy Alpha with the flagship iPhone is that Samsung has finally used some, and we quote, “real metal” in a smartphone design. Of course, any Galaxy S device will be an iPhone rival but the Galaxy Alpha is even more so because of this.

The Galaxy Alpha actually looks quote similar to the iPhone 5S in terms of its metal frame which runs around the edge. It has a similarly flat surface with a shiny bevelled edge. However, the rear cover of the Alpha remains plastic. That might not look or feel as premium but it may be an advantage to some as the iPhone really requires a case as it is delicate.

Samsung Galaxy Alpa

In terms of measurements, the Galaxy Alpha is marginally thinner at 6.7 mm compared to 7.6 mm. Although it's larger, the device is only 3 g heavier than Apple's at 115 g. The bottom line is that both  are extremely thin and light.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S: Screen

Despite having a smaller screen than the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Alpha has a significantly larger screen than the iPhone 5S. It's 4.7in compared to 4in and coincidentally one of the sizes rumoured for the up coming iPhone 6.

They may be more real estate on the Samsung side of the fence but since the firm has opted for a fairly mid-range 720p resolution, the display has a lower pixel density than the iPhone 5S. Apple still uses its 'Retina' quality of 326ppi while the Galaxy Alpha offers 312ppi. These may be premiumly priced smartphones but those figures are quite low in today's standards with Full HD or even Quad HD screens available.

The main difference, then, is the size and while both use an IPS panel for good viewing angles, it's worth noting that the screens do look different since Samsung uses eye popping AMOLED technology but Apple doesn't. AMOLED is necessarily better as it comes down to taste.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S: Processor and memory

These pair are well equipped in the engine room so if you are trying to decide between them then it's best to do it elsewhere. The iPhone 5S has Apple's own A7 processor with the M7 co-processor. It's a dual-core ARM processor clocked at 1.3GHz with 1GB of RAM and while that might not sound like much, iOS is optimised for the chip.

Samsung has also got its own processor in the form of the Exynos 5 5430 which is an Octa-core chip with four 1.8GHz Cortex-A15 cores and four 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 cores. The Galaxy Alpha runs on 2GB of RAM.

iPhone 5S gold

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S: Storage

there's just one model of the Galaxy Alpha so you'll have to be happy with 32GB or look elsewhere. You might assume that being a Samsung phone it has a microSD card slot but it strangely doesn't.

As usual, the iPhone 5S is available in three different storage capacities: 16-, 32- and 64GB so there is plenty of choice depending on how you plan to use it. Apple still doesn't offer expandable storage but could well do with the iPhone 6.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S: Other hardware

Both Apple and Samsung have smartphones with fingerprint scanners but here, the iPhone 5S is the only one to offer the feature.

Despite being more expensive than the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Alpha doesn't retain its sibling's IR blaster or heart rate monitor. However, it does have NFC and 11ac Wi-Fi which are two connectivity items which you won't find on the iPhone 5S.

Samsung Galaxy Alpa smartphone

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S: Cameras

Although the iPhone 5S' camera is lower resolution at 8Mp compared to 12Mp, that doesn't automatically make it worse. Apple's smartphones have produces better results than rivals in the past. We've not seen the Galaxy Alpha in the flesh yet so can't give you a full lowdown but there are some differences to point out.

The iPhone 5S uses 1.5 µm pixels and has a dual-tone LED flash but the Galaxy Alpha can record video in 4K quality (2160p) compared to Full HD (1080p).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S: Software

Of course, software is a big difference because you're choosing between iOS and Android. The iPhone 5S comes with iOS 7 and will soon be updated to iOS 8 while the Galaxy Alpha comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat and Samsung's TouchWiz user interface. We assume that it will be upgrade to Android L at some stage.

We won't go into all the differences now but if you are unfamiliar with either, we suggest trying them out before you make a purchase.

OUR VERDICT

With it's metal frame, the Galaxy Alpha is a little bit like an Android version of the iPhone 5S. The two look similar and have a similar hardware line-up. The Samsung is cheaper but the biggest difference here is Android and iOS. Also bear in mind that the iPhone 5S is about to be replaced by the iPhone 6.

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