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Samsung Galaxy Alpha Review

Intro

The 4.7inch Samsung Galaxy Alpha is officially on sale now in Singapore at major stores and telcos. It is a shift away from the normal Galaxy line, with this being a new design approach. With metal rims and the standard textured back cover synonymous with most Samsung flagship phones, the Galaxy Alpha is actually one of the best Samsung has come out with design wise. It is available in 3 colours(Black, White, Gold) with a 32GB internal storage space. You can pick it up at the 3 major telcos now: M1, Singtel and Starhub with a 2 year contract.

 

Price:

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is priced at $948(w GST) without contract at Samsung retailers.

 

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Prices(SGD) at telcos

Basic Data Plan M1 Singtel Starhub
Name i-Lite+ Combo 2 4G 3
Monthly Subscription $41 $42.90 $42.90
Upfront Price (SGD) $548 $598 $599

(Source: M1, Singtel, Starhub)

 

Design and Build:

 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is one of the best looking phone that Samsung has produced thus far. Compared to the full plastic body of the Galaxy s5, it has well designed sleek metal rims and edges. It really feels solid and a premium product in my hands. Although Samsung opted a metal bezel, the phone is surprisingly thin and light. At just 115g, and at only 6.7mm thick (which is thinner than the iPhone 6), Samsung has scored in design with this phone. It is good to note that there are few 4.7inches phone in the market now that weighs this light.

 

Samsung has chosen to use a dimpled soft touch back, which looks slight different as compared to its flagship Galaxy S5. It is also removable, so you can carry along an extra battery if you want.

 

The home button doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which can be used to unlock the phone and authorise online transactions. Samsung has also added a heart rate monitor at the back of the phone next to the camera which can be useful for those health conscious people out there. The camera is also slightly protruding out from the phone as with the iPhone 6.

 

The lock button is standard as with most Samsung phones, at the top right bezel and the volume rocker buttons on the left. The metal buttons both feel really well constructed.

 

One slight detail of the metal bezel of the Galaxy Alpha is that the corners are gently raised (not very noticeable) at all 4 sides to help out with gripping in landscape mode. Little details such as this has been taken note of and overall makes it an attractive looking phone.

 

However, the lack of a microSD card slot in the Galaxy Alpha really surprises me as it is one edge Android devices have over Apple these days. The SIM card size has also been reduced to nano SIM, so for those who are thinking to get one without contract, you have to go down to the telcos and get it changed.

 

Screen:

 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha features a 4.7 inch 720p HD screen, 720 x 1280 pixels which leads to about 312 pixels per inch (PPI). In comparison, the iPhone 6 has a 326PPI screen although it is negligible.

 

Samsung uses the Super AMOLED panel on this model leading to an exceptionally bright screen. However, colours on the Galaxy Alpha are not as accurate and as rich as compared to the Galaxy s5. Although the Galaxy Alpha performs well screen wise, I personally feel it is a shame and Samsung should have gone with the same full HD 1080p resolution as with the S5.

 

Processor, graphics and performance:

 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha runs on a Exynos 5 Octa 5430 Chipset and has a Quad core 1.8Ghz A15 CPU and a 1.3Ghz Cortex A7 CPU. This as compared to other phones in the market is relatively fast and its processing power should be more than enough to handle your daily mobile needs without any lag. The 2 CPUs present in the phone allow you to handle demanding tasks and the other will allocate power usage more efficiently. It comes with 2GB or ram so multitasking wasn’t a problem at all during testing. Comparing it with the Galaxy S5, online tests such as the Geekbench 3 benchmark test puts the Samsung Alpha way ahead. This is indeed a very powerful phone.

 

In addition, it comes with the standard accelerometer, Gyro, Proximity, Compass and the all new heart rate sensor.

 

Storage:

 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha comes with 32GB of storage. However with the Android ecosystem and the pre installed Samsung applications, you will probably get approximately 26GB out of the box.
However with the cloud hype these days, you can probably use Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox to store your documents. This said, I would again prefer Samsung to have included a microSD card slot in the Galaxy Alpha.

 

Connectivity:

 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has the latest wireless connectivity feature as you would expect. It comes with LTE Cat 6 (up to 300Mbps download speed) and the usual 3G and 2G connectivity. Latest Wifi a/b/g/n/ac standards are also all supported.

 

The Alpha also comes with low energy Bluetooth 4.0 which can be use to connect to the various wireless accessories such as the android watches being released these days without using too much battery. It also includes Near Field Communication (NFC).

 

Cameras:

 

Photos taken by Samsung Galaxy Alpha in bright light and low light

alpha-photos

 

Photos taken by iPhone 6 in bright low and low light

iphone6-photos

 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha generally has a decent camera. It comes with a 12.1 megapixel back camera with LED flash and a front facing 2.1 megapixel camera which can also be used to shoot full HD videos. The back camera can shoot video qualities of up to 4K which is ultra high definition videos. The image sensor has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which means it shoots widescreen photos.

 

Samsung has loaded a variety of modes into its camera app, including Panorama, Virtual Tour, Dual Camera and Beauty Face. You can also now download new camera modes from the Galaxy App Store (e.g. Surround Shot).

 

The camera held itself well when photos are taken in daylight. Together with the HDR mode, it is able to brighten darker elements in an otherwise bright background. However, in low light conditions, the image quality isn’t as good. As compared to the other phones such as the HTC One M8, the Galaxy Alpha struggles for photo sharpness in low light. Do note that colour accuracy of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is one of the better aspects of the pictures taken by the phone. The front facing camera produces decent enough selfie photos.

 

Video recording wise, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is able to shoot at 2160p. You can choose the resolution of the video quality from 2160p all the way to VGA quality. The slow motion effect on videos that are getting quite popular these days is also available but only if you switch the resolution settings to 720p. Shooting at 2160p or ultra high definition puts certain limitations such as a 4 minute restriction and certain shooting modes are disabled.

 

Software:

 

The Galaxy Alpha runs on the latest Google Android 4.4.4 Kitkat out of the box with Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI. Samsung has listened to consumers in recent years and have met their software less bloated and cleaner in general. There is also a new customisable Magazine UX that appears as a screen which allows you to view information that you want.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a feature called Screen Mirroring. It allows you to switch seamlessly between Samsung phones and tablets. It seems useful for people who own a variety of Samsung products. However, I have not tested it out myself and the convenience and functionality of this feature cannot be confirmed.

 

After using the phone extensively for one week and with numerous apps downloaded for the app store, performance of the phone is still snappy and there is no noticeable lag or delay. Do note that as the Alpha launch is not as great in magnitude as the flagship Galaxy S series, future android software updates may not be as frequent as as quick.

 

Battery Life:

 

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha comes with a removable 1860mAh battery. It is small in capacity in comparison to the Galaxy s5 2800mAh battery or the iPhone 6 Plus 2915mAh battery or the 3100mAh battery on the new Sony Xperia Z3.

 

While it is capable to get you through the day with normal usage, I highly suggest you bring along an additional battery or a power bank just in case. If you choose not to or one is unavailable, the Galaxy Alpha has a Ultra Power Saving mode which keeps only the core functions of the phone running. (etc. messages and calls)

 

Based on tests done online, a 30 minute charge will get you from 0% to 25%. It sadly does not have the fast charging feature Samsung has recently incorporated in the Samsung Note 4.

 

I personally feel Samsung should have included a larger battery capacity to provide longer usage hours at this price point.

 

Verdict:

 

Samsung introduced this phone to battle with the iPhone 6 maybe the Sony Compacts. With its all new metal sides together with the ubiquitous plastic faux cover, it is at best slightly better than a mid range phone. Although its specs and camera can match flagship phones from Sony or HTC, it seriously falls short in the battery department and the lack of a microSD slot.

 

So the question is should you get this? If you are in love with Samsung approach towards the Android ecosystem and want a solid and better designed phone, yes. If not, at this price point, there are certainly more options to consider such as the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5 or the Sony Xperia Z3.

 

Credit: Daniel Lim

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be released/available in Singapore on 11 Oct 2014 priced at $1088!

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be released/available in Singapore on 11 Oct 2014 priced at $1088!

You can visit our Qoo10 Shop, like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or add us to your circle on Google+ to keep yourself updated on all the latest and cheap mobile phone prices in Singapore

iPhone 6 review

Intro

The iPhone 6 was announced on September 9 2014 during Apple’s Special Event in the USA. It was officially released to the public on September 19 in selected countries, and Singapore was lucky enough to be the selected few. To date, over 10 million iPhones have been sold worldwide (Forbes Report). It comes in 3 available storage space: 16GB, 64GB and 32GB. It is now available to buy via the Apple online store (though currently out of stock) and you can pick it up at the 3 major telcos: M1, Singtel and Starhub with a 2 year contract.

 

Price:

The iPhone 6 without contract with the telcos will set you back close to a thousand dollars for the 16GB model.

 

iPhone 6 Prices(SGD) at Apple Online Store

  • 16GB – $988
  • 64GB – $1148
  • 128GB – $1288

 

iPhone 6 Prices(SGD) at telcos

Basic Data Plan M1 Singtel Starhub
Name i-Lite+ Combo 2 4G 3
Monthly Subscription $41 $42.90 $42.90
iPhone Prices 16GB – $525

64GB – $665

128GB – $805

16GB – $508

64GB – $648

128GB – $788

16GB – $518

64GB – $650

128GB – $796

(Source: M1, Singtel, Starhub)

 

Design & Build

Apple has finally shifted from the sharp designs seen in the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5S to a more ergonomic design complete with rounded edges. One issue I have is that Apple has probably made it too smooth, and it feels it can slide off easier as compared to other phones.

 

With the iPhone 6, it is currently one of the thinnest and better looking handsets in the market at only 6.9mm(the iPhone 5s is 7.6mm thick). Available in Space Grey, Silver and Gold, t is constructed from an anodised aluminum chassis and a stainless steel Apple Logo at the back. It basically means that your iPhone 6 will never rust. The way the edges of the screen curves also add to the aesthetic of the phone, giving it a rather seamless design. After using the iPhone 6 for a week, I must say it just feels really well constructed.

 

The other major change to the iPhone 6 is to the position of the sleep/wake button. It has been strategically moved from the usual top right to the right hand side of the phone. This makes a lot of sense and in line with many other Android phones in the market. Apple got it right this time. However, the power, volume and ringer buttons do feel a little loose than what you would expect from Apple but it isn’t much of an issue.

 

The second design change is the camera which now protrudes slightly on the back of the phone. It does seem worrying as many users put their phone flat on the desk and may cause scratches. However it is good to note that the camera lens is made of sapphire glass, which is basically a lot stronger than normal glass and scratch proof. However, once you have a case on your new iPhone 6, the protrusion shouldn’t be much of an issue nor noticeable.

 

Screen

The screen resolution on the iPhone 6 is 1334 x 750, which technically is at around 326PPI(Pixels Per Inch)(the higher the number the better). What Apple is having on the iPhone 6 is essentially a 720P screen as compared to the 1080P on the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the Sony Xperia Z3. I personally felt Apple could have followed industry standards and go for a better screen resolution. The difference in sharpness is visible when the two phones are put side by side.

 

However, I have always favoured the contrast ratio on the iPhone and the colour reproduction compared to other phones. In terms of display quality, the iPhone 6 has excellent viewing angles and there is no observable display loss even when seen from acute angles.

 

Processor, graphics and performance

The iPhone 6 is powered by Apple’s new A8 chip, which is a 1.4GHZ dual core A8 processor with 1GB of ram. It comes packed with the standard accelerometer, gyro sensors, proximity sensors, compass, and the all-new barometer. Although the specifications may seem mediocre as compared to the other high end phones, it is good to note because of Apple’s own efficient system and optimised software, iOS8, the performance of the phone is comparable to the Samsung Galaxy s5 or the HTC One M8. iOS 8 makes usage and daily performance of the phone simple and little to no delay was observed during testing.

 

Apple has also included an all-new M8 chip into the iPhone 6. It works well when I tested the phone between walking and running and the distance estimated was rather accurate. The all new barometer is also supposedly able to track elevation for the climbing inclined by measuring air pressure, but I was unable to test it out.

 

Storage

The new iPhone 6 comes in 3 available storage sizes: 16GB, 64GB and 128GB. It offers users more storage than ever, at 128GB, it is double of that of the iPhone 5s. For those app-crazy users or shutter lovers, there is more space than ever without having to delete any of your stuff. It is good to note that the iOS 8 software takes up approximately 4-5 GB of your storage so do consider it if you are getting the 16GB model.

 

Each Apple account comes with 5GB of iCloud storage free and there is an option to increase that storage for a monthly subscription. However, you can use alternatives such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive on your iPhone 6 for additional storage.

 

iCloud Storage 20GB 200GB 500GB 1TB
Monthly Pricing $1.28SGD $4.98SGD $12.98SGD $24.98SGD

 

 

Connectivity

The new iPhone 6 comes with WiFi 802.11ac in addition to dual band Wifi a/b/g/n. Bluetooth 4.0 is also supported. It comes with blazing fast LTE and VoiceoverLTE(VoLTE) which only Starhub currently supports. It promises clearer than ever voice quality during cellular calls. All iPhone 6 sold in Singapore retail stores comes fully unlocked and you will be able to use it in most countries.

 

It also supports WiFi calling with iOS 8. If you make a call over wifi, and leave the zone after that, it automatically transfers your line over to your cellular service without you having to redial. Although local telcos have not hopped on the bandwagon here, it has been announced that Starhub is one of the service providers for this feature in Singapore in the future.

 

Cameras

iPhone 6 comes with a 8megapixels back camera with f/2.2 aperture, dual-LED flash and Digital Image Stabilisation. On the front, it packs a 1.2megapixels Facetime HD camera with the same f/2.2 aperture.

 

The specifications of the back camera may jolly well not match up with the other phones on paper. (16MP on the Samsung S5 and 20.7MP on the Sony Xperia Z3) However, it is the picture quality that matters at the end of the day. Together with the new Focus Pixels, photos in low light on the iPhone 6 look great. It produces a better overall colour and tonality in tests done in comparison against other phones. All in all, the improved new back camera on the iPhone 6 makes it a good shot snapper.

 

The iPhone 6 front camera has the same aperture ratio which helps in taking good photos in low light condition. With all the selfie hype currently going on, this may not be one of the best front cameras you can find to take one with. If you are out to buy a phone for the pictures you can take of yourself, the Samsung Galaxy s5 or the HTC One M8 may be a better option.

 

Video wise, it can now shoot Full HD video at 60fps(frames per second). The Slo-Mo mode on the iPhones 5s has been upgraded and users can now shoot at 240fps. It allows you to capture stuff in slightly better detail. This basically allows you to reduce the speed of the video and make it Matrix-like. I have tried it out and it is really fun and easy to use.

 

Software

 

The iPhone 6 comes with Apple’s newest and latests software iOS8 out of the box. All the nitty gritty updates can be found HERE. I will only be touching on the major and more useful functions.

 

One new feature on the iPhone 6 is the ‘Reachability’function. This is in my opinion, the best function out there in the market right now and should be adopted on all smartphones. With screen sizes getting bigger these days, one hand usability on phones becomes an issue. Apple made it very easy to use and for users to catch on. By double tapping on the home button, without pressing it, it moves the user interface down to put icons on the top half of the screen within thumb’s reach. It works in all downloaded applications too. After usage for a week, this function becomes second nature at times.

 

Apple has also finally added predictive texting to the keyboard, which has been a useful feature of Android phones for a long time now. You can now also download third party applications such as the popular Swype or Swiftkey.

 

Another major reason to get Apple is Continuity. Apple has made, with iOS8, seamless to connect between your Mac or your iPad or your iPhone. You can now start an email on one device and seamlessly continue on another. iPhone 6 owners can also answer phone calls on their Mac when OS Yosemite comes out on the 4th Quarter of 2014.

 

Bottom line is the iPhone 6 software and interface is what Apple do best. Simplicity. It is clean and clear as you’d expect. It also scores high on functionality. However, it is not the perfect software for customisation as compared to Android.

 

Battery Life

The iPhone 6 houses a 1810mAh battery. Although it may seem insufficient on paper, the optimised software makes the iPhone a worthy competitor. The standby times on the phone were sufficiently long and battery percentage only drops about 2%-3% overnight when you are sleeping, with Whatsapp running in the background. With ample use, social media, Whatsapp, a few calls, the phone easily made it through the day. After a week of usage, I could usually finish the day with approximately 20%-30% of battery life left. The better than expected battery life could also be attributed to the lower resolution screen that the iPhone 6 is using, which draws less power. However, I would have liked to see Apple include a bigger battery in the iPhone 6.

 

Verdict

The iPhone 6 feels really good in the hand, with its aluminium body and curved edges, it feels like a truly premium product worth paying for. Apple has finally conceded in making phones with bigger screens and at 4.7inches for the iPhone 6, it has done it right. The operating system is smarter, cleaner and coupled with the variety of apps on the Appstore, it truly is worth considering. While it may not be the most powerful phone in the market now, Apple has assembled a product that will complement your daily life. Coming from an android user myself, Apple has given me sufficient reasons in the iPhone 6 to seriously consider a permanent

 

Reviewed by Daniel Lim

Apple Watch or ‘iWatch’ will be released in Singapore in early 2015, priced from USD$349!

Apple Watch or ‘iWatch’ will be released in Singapore in early 2015, priced from USD$349!

iwatch_singapore

 

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iPhone 6 will be released in Singapore on 19 Sept 2014, priced from $988, pre-order on 12 Sept 2014!

iPhone 6 will be released in Singapore on 19 Sept 2014, priced from $988, pre-order on 12 Sept 2014!

iphone6_releasedate_singapore

Below are the prices:

iPhone 6:
16GB – $988
64GB – $1148
128GB – $1288

iPhone 6 Plus:
16GB – $1148
64GB – $1288
128GB – $1448

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iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 4 will be released in Singapore on 19 Sept 2014 and 26 Sept 2014 respectively

iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 4 will be released in Singapore on 19 Sept 2014 and 26 Sept 2014 respectively

Price for iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 4 in Singapore will be updated soon!

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Galaxy Note 4 is expected to be release/available in Singapore on 3 Sept 2014

Galaxy Note 4 is expected to be release/available in Singapore on 3 Sept 2014

Price to be updated on a later date.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4

 

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LG G3 will be release/available on 28 Jun 2014 priced at $868 for 16GB, $928 for 32GB

LG G3 will be release/available on 28 Jun 2014 priced at $868 for 16GB, $928 for 32GB

LG_G3

 

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iPhone 6 is tipped to be release/available in Singapore on 19 Sept 2014

iPhone 6 is tipped to be release/available in Singapore on 19 Sept 2014

Prices will be release once information is confirmed.

iphone6

 

 

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 release/available for pre-order today, 21 May 2014 in Singapore

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 release/available for pre-order today, 21 May 2014 in Singapore

surfacepro3

 

Prices are below:

  • Intel Core i3, 64GB / 4GB RAM – S$1,108
  • Intel Core i5, 128GB / 4GB RAM – S$1,348
  • Intel Core i5, 256GB / 8GB RAM – S$1,728
  • Intel Core i7, 256GB / 8GB RAM – S$2,138
  • Intel Core i7, 512GB / 8GB RAM – S$2,698

 

Pre-order from here

 

You can visit our Website,  like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or add us to your circle on Google+ to keep yourself updated on all the latest and cheap mobile phone prices in Singapore