Earlier this week, Samsung unveiled the mythical Galaxy Alpha, a device that we all thought was going to be a Galaxy S5 dressed up and built from metal to take on the HTC One (M8) and the iPhone. What Samsung ended up announcing in the end however, was a device meant to be more fashion accessory than high-end smartphone. There’s no denying that Samsung is at the top of the smartphone food chain these days, flying the flag for Android and offering consumers a great choice, but there’s also no denying that their devices have often lacked a certain premium feel to them. Does that matter much? Clearly not, as Samsung continues to sell millions upon millions of Galaxy smartphones. As it’s difficult to complain about the plastic and uninspiring build of devices like the Galaxy S5 without a Knight in shining armor defending Samsung’s honor, I should say now that there’s nothing wrong with devices like the Galaxy S5. It’s an excellent device, packed full of features and it’s one of the few smartphones that waterproof without making compromises.
Still, no matter how good the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3 are, it’s hard to argue that the HTC One and iPhone don’t feel better in the hand. The same could be said of Sony’s Xperia Z2, and Samsung isn’t alone in producing devices of uninspiring plastic. These days, our smartphones are massive parts of our lives and considering how much they cost, it’s about time that Samsung started to create devices like the Galaxy Alpha. Sadly, the Alpha doesn’t go far enough as there’s still a flimsy back cover and the specs are pretty lackluster – a 720p display and 1,870 mAh battery don’t scream premium to me – but it looks the part and it’s a good start.
I’ve never been a fan of Samsung’s build quality and I’m not afraid to say so, but I have to hand to Samsung; I see far fewer cracked displays with a Samsung logo attached to them than I do a certain fruit. With the Galaxy Alpha, Samsung have made it clear that they’re not afraid to use different materials in their smartphones and I can imagine a Galaxy Note 4 built like this would sell perhaps better than any other previous entry in the line. If the Galaxy Note 4 is built with a similar level of quality as the Galaxy Alpha then Samsung will not only keep their die-hard fans happy, but give iPhone users a much easier time jumping ship. The iPhone has always been a well-made device (except that whole 3G and 3GS business) and a lot of users still stick with the iPhone because of that. People are jumping ship though, and if they’re not interested in features and more form over function than I dare say the HTC One is the de facto destination for these users.
With a metal Galaxy Note 4 however, iPhone users – who continue to be a big target for Samsung – will be able to swap to a device with a larger display, much more capable hardware and far more features. As well, Samsung would easily be able to give other Android users a more appealing choice to upgrade to. Coming from say an HTC One (M7) to a Galaxy S5 is obviously a jump in specs and features, but almost a step down in feel and build quality. Samsung have the specs, they have the features, now all they need are appealing devices that match the software and performance with excellent build.