AT&T Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review - Reviewboard Magazine




2015 Father's Day Gift Guide

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – Preamble

You are probably wondering why our review is so much different than the reviews that have basically been regurgitated around the Internet. Once “Engadget” says something is good it seems like all the review sheeple get in line to baaahhh. Ok, I’m not being fair to Engadget. It is clear after reading their review back in October that they spent a very limited time with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. This is precisely why we don’t do this. It’s inaccurate. We have to use a phone for at least a month or two before we write about it. I’m one of those guys that likes to eat the brussels sprouts on his plate first to get the bad stuff out of the way.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – The Brussels Sprouts (Yes they are Brussels)

The performance on the Alpha is really solid when you first get it. That’s because you haven’t really started loading it with the apps you need or use everyday. For instance it is CLEAR to me they never loaded it with Clash of Clans LOL. If they had they would have noted the poor performance. It runs the game fine, the problem is if you home screen out instead of exit (which you might want to do to give yourself a little time before it times out preventing people from attacking your base) the phone is basically useless. This is especially so if you have anything else running on it. Without getting into the nerdy reasons why the phone does this – it is unacceptable.

AT&T and their locked bootloaders – one word: Boo. Those of you not in the nerd world an unlocked bootloader means you can’t (most of the time) put a custom rom on your phone. It also means you can’t use another service if you are travelling abroad and will likely either pay through the nose or have to buy another phone for that type of thing. This sucks and it not high on my list of things I like about AT&T. That said, AT&T has the best service in the United States, I to date my organization has recorded the fastest 4G LTE speeds we ever saw on AT&T devices. Yes, this includes Verizon.

galaxy-alpha-official-2The last line item for me (and the reason I can’t/won’t use this phone in my personal life) is the lack of an IR Blaster.  The IR Blaster lets you turn your phone into a universal remote control. I know I’ve become spoiled and it doesn’t effect most people… but think about that the next time you are stuck in a waiting room at the Doctor’s office or Dentists and there is a soap opera playing. I fire up my phone and change the channel or shut it off.  LOL Hey I’m not going to get pre-tortured before being actually tortured by a dentist with a drill.  It’s also a lot of fun to go to a sports bar on Superbowl day hahaha… that critical “Will he go all the waaayyyyy the Patriots are about to score the winning Touch Down… the 40… the 30… the 20….” CLICK.  muahahaha. (Yes it’s always the Patriots, being from New England I can safely click it off. I know they are going to win.)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – The Good Stuff

Ok so by now you are thinking wow this phone sucks.  Wrong, you just ate the brussels sprouts first so now you can enjoy the rest of your meal.  This phone is perfect for people that are interested in having a pretty average smart phone that has a solid build and Android Lollipop running on it.  It’s about $100 too much in my opinion but you can get them new for under $300 on eBay and places like that, and those are unlocked so you can run AT&T on them, which means a lot of other good stuff.

Basically what I am saying is this:  If you aren’t a nerd and could give a rats

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – Preamble

You are probably wondering why our review is so much different than the reviews that have basically been regurgitated around the Internet. Once “Engadget” says something is good it seems like all the review sheeple get in line to baaahhh. Ok, I’m not being fair to Engadget. It is clear after reading their review back in October that they spent a very limited time with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. This is precisely why we don’t do this. It’s inaccurate. I’m one of those guys that likes to eat the brussels sprouts on his plate first to get the bad stuff out of the way.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – The Brussels Sprouts (Yes they are Brussels)

The performance on the Alpha is really solid when you first get it. That’s because you haven’t really started loading it with the apps you need or use everyday. For instance it is CLEAR to me they never loaded it with Clash of Clans LOL. If they had they would have noted the poor performance. It runs the game fine, the problem is if you home screen out instead of exit (which you might want to do to give yourself a little time before it times out preventing people from attacking your base) the phone is basically useless. This is especially so if you have anything else running on it. Without getting into the nerdy reasons why the phone does this – it is unacceptable.

AT&T and their locked bootloaders – one word: Boo. Those of you not in the nerd world an unlocked bootloader means you can’t (most of the time) put a custom rom on your phone. It also means you can’t use another service if you are travelling abroad and will likely either pay through the nose or have to buy another phone for that type of thing. This sucks and it not high on my list of things I like about AT&T. That said, AT&T has the best service in the United States, I to date my organization has recorded the fastest 4G LTE speeds we ever saw on AT&T devices. Yes, this includes Verizon.

The last line item for me (and the reason I can’t/won’t use this phone in my personal life) is the lack of an IR Blaster.  The IR Blaster lets you turn your phone into a universal remote control. I know I’ve become spoiled and it doesn’t effect most people… but think about that the next time you are stuck in a waiting room at the Doctor’s office or Dentists and there is a soap opera playing. I fire up my phone and change the channel or shut it off.  LOL Hey I’m not going to get pre-tortured before being actually tortured by a dentist with a drill.  It’s also a lot of fun to go to a sports bar on Superbowl day hahaha… that critical “Will he go all the waaayyyyy the Patriots are about to score the winning Touch Down… the 40… the 30… the 20….” CLICK.  muahahaha. (Yes it’s always the Patriots, being from New England I can safely click it off. I know they are going to win.)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – The Good Stuff

Ok so by now you are thinking wow this phone sucks.  Wrong, you just ate the brussels sprouts first so now you can enjoy the rest of your meal.  This phone is perfect for people that are interested in having a pretty average smart phone that has a solid build and Android Lollipop running on it.  It’s about $75 too much (in my opinion) but you can get them new for under $300 on eBay and places like that, and those are unlocked so you can run AT&T on them, which means a lot of other good stuff.

Basically what I am saying is this:  If you are looking for a decent higher-end value phone AND If you aren’t a nerd and could give a rats derrière about rooting, custom roms, and the like… then get one from AT&T and enjoy the $11 a month easy to pay price.  If you do care about that kind of thing the work around is to grab a new or used one on eBay (unlocked) for between $230-280 and throw your AT&T sim card in it.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha build quality is pretty decent. I really do like the design and it is a major departure from Samsung’s plastic stuff.  It has a metal frame that makes it more durable, it’s just the right size for a phone.  To be honest it reminds me a lot of the iPhone 4s (which I think was Apple’s best design to date).  Just remember you have to close out your game apps, and any other apps that take up a lot of memory or processor or you won’t be happy.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – Accessories

I’m a huge fan of the Otterbox line of cases.  They have saved my bacon a bunch of times.  One of the cool things about the Alpha is that Otterbox has a few cases for them.  We tried one out for this review and it didn’t add a ton of size to the phone, and protected it well.  They send me the cases for the phones I test (so I don’t break them) and I put a link in the article to them.  It’s a fair deal, but I want to be clear about this – it is because I believe in the cases and we make 0 dollars doing it.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review – Summary

All in all I’d rate Samsung Galaxy Alpha slightly above average. If you don’t want to break the bank, and you mostly just use your phone to make calls, check email and look something up now and again…  use the GPS to get around… then the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is a good choice.

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