We have a good one for you today – the new HTC Desire 820 versus the new Samsung Galaxy Alpha. This is like the ultimate smartphone for teenagers versus a possible smartphone for the adult’s boardroom. Both devices look nice in their own way, as the Desire 820 is a plastic, colorful fun phone and the Galaxy Alpha is more premium looking with its metal frame and faux leather backing, yet both devices feel like a solid device.
Even though different manufacturers make these devices for different audiences, they do share some characteristics – both devices are using the HD display technology with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. They both use a Qualcomm Snapdragon brand processor and both have 2GB of RAM. The main cameras are also nearly identical with the Desire 820 sporting a 13MP sensor, auto-focus and an LED flash versus the 12MP sensor, auto-focus and LED flash on the Galaxy Alpha.
They both have Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a microUSB connector for charging and data transfer. They are both running Android 4.4 with their own skins or overlays. The HTC Desire 820 can be purchased online or via Amazon while the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is an AT&T exclusive.
Please take a look at the detailed specification and feature sheet below and there you will be able to see how they truly compare. Next, we will take a closer look at the two devices and decide which one of these smartphones will win this comparison.
HTC Desire 820
When the HTC Desire 820 was announced as HTC’s first 64-bit octa-core smartphone, we were surprised that it was going into the Desire line, generally thought of as a low-mid range device. However, we can definitely call the Desire 820 an upper-midrange device as long as you are okay with the 5.5-inch 720p display and can get it for a good price, you may have a winner on your hands.
The Desire 820 sports a larger, 5.5-inch HD LCD display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels with 267 pixels-per-inch (PPI). It comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, 64-bit octa-core processor (four 1.5GHz cores and four 1GHz cores). This is compared to the Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz found in the Galaxy Alpha…64-bit octa-core versus the 32-bit quad-core…one more sophisticated and the other faster. Both devices come with 2GB of RAM, and even though the Desire 820 only comes with 16GB of internal memory, it has something the Galaxy Alpha does not – room to expand up to an additional 128GB via a microSD card.
The Desire 820 is all about the front-facing camera (FFC) of 8MP for selfies or video chatting. The main camera is 13MP (versus 12MP on the Galaxy Alpha) with auto-focus and LED flash. It has a much larger 2600mAh battery than the 1860mAh battery found in the Galaxy Alpha. As far as extra features it has over the Galaxy Alpha, it is Dual-SIM so it can work on two different networks – this is very popular on phones designed for the Asian market for travel. It also has the dual stereo front-facing BoomSound speakers, a built-in FM Radio and it comes in multiple fun colors. It is running Android 4.4.2 KitKat with HTC Sense 6.0 overlay and can be purchased online or via Amazon at about $360-$400.
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
Samsung may finally be getting things right, but when they came out with the Galaxy Alpha, I think they were still a little upset over the slow sales of the Galaxy S5 when they put together the Alpha. They slapped a beautiful all metal frame with metal edges, sculptured corners, and faux leather back – all good so far. But then they yanked out the FHD display, reduced the size to 4.7-inches, gave it only an HD display, took out the microSD card slot, charged a premium price and made it an AT&T exclusive…what were they thinking. Does that sound like a winner combination for selling a lot of smartphones?
In making the Galaxy Alpha, Samsung started with a Galaxy S5, shrunk the display to 4.7-inches and gave it only an HD resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels with 312 PPI – it is their Super AMOLED display and is still very nice on that small of a display. Samsung (in the U.S. Model) kept in the 32-bit Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz – a faster processor than the 64-bit Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor used in the Desire 820. Both devices use 2GB of RAM and the Galaxy Alpha uses 32GB of internal storage, but no way to expand that, which is very unusual for Samsung.
As I mentioned earlier in the Introduction, the main cameras are very similar with the Galaxy Alpha using a 12MP, auto-focus and LED flash, versus the 13MP version for the HTC Desire 820. The Galaxy Alpha uses the more traditional 2.1MP FFC for selfies and video chatting, but the Desire 820 is sporting a full 8MP FFC – definitely designed for young people and selfie shooters. Samsung only included an 1860mAh battery to power the Galaxy Alpha compared to the 2600mAh found on the Desire 820.
Besides the usual connections, the Galaxy Alpha does offer NFC capability, VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling, and a single speaker is mounted on the bottom. It also comes with a fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, LTE Cat 6 capable and can use Samsung’s UPSM. It is running Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay, an AT&T exclusive and with $200 two-year contract price.
…And The Winner Is…
This was a real tough choice for me, but I picked the HTC Desire 820 for its value – not its availability. Yes, the Galaxy Alpha is the more classy looking device, but you can get those looks in other devices that offer higher specs for the same price. It was almost since Samsung used metal, they felt they had the right to charge a premium price.
The Desire 820 has the same HD resolution, a slower, but 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon processor so it is all ready for Android 5.0 Lollipop. It has the same 2GB of RAM and a microSD Card slot to add an additional 128GB of storage, the main cameras are similar and the 8MP FFC on the Desire 820 is a far cry from the 2.1MP FFC on the Galaxy Alpha. It has a much larger battery and Dual-SIM card, dual stereo front-facing speakers with BoomSound and an FM Radio all for only $360 – $400 off-contract.
The Galaxy Alpha is a nice looking smartphone and certainly more mainstream, and it comes with a fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, etc. but some would say those are unnecessary or gimmicks and with a $613 off-contract and even $200 on a two-year contract is too expensive for what you are getting.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which one of these devices you would pick as the winner of this comparison and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.