Is the Samsung Galaxy Alpha backlash fair?

Is the Samsung Galaxy Alpha backlash fair?

The tallest trees catch the most wind: never is this saying more true than when applied to Samsung. Having gained such huge popularity amongst consumers, it has reached a point where no matter what product the Korean manufacturer now releases it is near impossible to please fans (or haters for that matter).  

The streamlined Galaxy Alpha. ©

On Wednesday, Samsung revealed the Galaxy Alpha, the latest device in its fabled Galaxy series, a series known for producing classics like the much loved Galaxy S3, and more recently, the Galaxy S5. Yet, as is something of an expectation now, the internet has cried foul at the latest Samsung product.

So lets take a look at what Samsung has produced with the Galaxy Alpha and why there has been such a backlash.

The Galaxy Alpha is an attractive, mostly plastic, housing for some, lets say, modest specifications. It is not "revolutionary" by any standard, but is this enough for to brand it “a soulless attempt at a slightly prettier phone?” I don’t think so. Truthfully, I can’t really argue with Time criticism that the Galaxy Alpha is, at least from a hardware point of view, overpriced and underpowered. But that applies to many smartphones that we know and love.

When Samsung released the Galaxy S5, a device with high-end features in an awful package, people complained about the price and the design. Fair enough: it is expensive and it looks terrible. Samsung has tried to address this with the Galaxy Alpha, a cheaper, better looking, premium-feel handset, and at this it seems to have succeeded. 

The Alpha is only 7mm thick, but in creating such a slim model Samsung has been forced to use a relatively small battery. Upon learning of its 1,860 mAh size, people have been quick to complain about the battery life (battery life which, according to reports, has been optimized to be more efficient).

Samsung has tried to thoughtfully deliver results, an attractive design without compromising to a great extent on components. It also has an HD Super AMOLED screen, a 12 MP camera, and an octa-core processor. What is so bad about this feature set?

  • Read the first Galaxy Alpha review
samsung galaxy alpha 3
The Galaxy Alpha will be arriving in a number of attractive colors. / © Samsung

Incremental smartphone updates are, sadly, the norm. But delivering a device that is far beyond expectations is a trend that is unsustainable, and then when a modest upgrade finally arrives it's greeted with scorn and dismay. I remember a time when I was taken by surprise and impressed by a Samsung product. Samsung is building some of the most intuitive, user-friendly, impressive, efficient, and useful pieces of technology in the world, and we have to accept that it just can't "wow" us every time. 

Time clutches at Samsung’s emphatic use of adjectives in its press release as an example of what is wrong with the Galaxy Alpha. Welcome to marketing. Show me any smartphone promotional material that gives an honest representation of a product, or which doesn’t try to sell it to you. That’s the whole purpose. I don’t want to buy a Galaxy Alpha but I would never complain that Samsung has been overzealous in its description of it.

galaxys4 galaxys5 front
Evolution of design: the Galaxy S4 (left) alongside the Galaxy S5 (right). / © Samsung, AndroidPIT

In the end, it's a simple choice: if you don’t like the Galaxy Alpha, don’t buy it. Some people are saying it's overpriced but unless people refuse to buy it at that price, it's not going to change. Look at the iPhone. Its technology that can be found in devices for almost half the price, but people continue to buy them, and prices remain high, while stunning devices like the Huawei Ascend P7 struggle to find a market.

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At 7mm thick, the Galaxy Alpha is the slimmest smartphone in Samung's Galaxy range. / © Samsung

I’m glad people are seemingly unphased by marketing waffle and are actually contemplating what the Galaxy Alpha is and what it is really worth. I just want to ask: given what was asked of Samsung, and given what has been delivered, is the backlash really warranted?

What do you think? Share your Galaxy Alpha thoughts and complaints in the comments.

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  • The galaxy alpha is officially the first iphone from Samsung .. I mean, come on, high price and premium design with midrange specs .. Does it ring any bells ? The Alpha is specifically designed to appeal to people who’d normally buy an iPhone ..
    So if you buy it, you're an iSheep by proxy

  • last 1 year? my s3 has 2 years and I'm hoping it will last 3 full years if not 4. with good mainteneance is possible. I want to get the next one at a cheaper price coz the s3 was expensive when I got it

  • What bothers me most about this industry is how much everything costs. I mean $600-$800 for a phone is ridiculous. Yes, I know we use them for much more than "just" a phone. But can we really justify a house payment or a month's rent to have the latest greatest that will be obsolete in a year?

    • I think when you consider that you're more likely have the phone for two years on contract, and that a smartphone is a full-blown computer in your pocket, the price is very reasonable. It's less than a dollar a day. Compare that with a cup of coffee from Starbucks.

  • For about half of the money you get phones with undoubtedly better specifications and features, including the Nexus 5.

  • Samsung hasn't wowed me since the s3. That is why I went LG g3 my new wow phone.

    • Yes but things like the Galaxy S3 and the LG G3 tried to do very different things than this Galaxy Alpha. The Galaxy Alpha is not being described as Samsung's flagship phone, we already know it can't compete with what the S3 did and what the G3 does. It can't really be compared to those, in my opinion.

  • Sam Aug 18, 2014 Link to comment

    Is it a phone I am interested in? No.
    Would I buy one? No.
    People wanted new build materials. For Samsung this is new.
    Is it enough to please a lot of people? Maybe not.

    • Yeah this is the thing, most enthusiasts probably aren't interested in this at all, but I think it will still sell well. It's a nice looking Samsung branded phone that is cheaper than most flagships. Some people want that.

  • So how much did your article cost Samsung?

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